Ever ask your neighbor how much they paid for their seat?

And, more importantly, ever get into a fight when you realize they paid less than you did??

A JetBlue flight en route from New York City to San Diego diverted to Denver last week when a passenger in the Even More Space section of the plane (extra legroom seats) became upset that another passenger was reseated during the flight into an adjacent seat. It seems that the passenger reassigned into the EMS seat didn’t pay the same fee as the passenger who booked it in advance. The passenger who paid became so upset, fighting with the flight attendants, that Federal Air Marshalls apparently intervened and then the plane eventually diverted to offload the passenger. No charges were filed, though the passenger had to find another way to make it to San Diego.

I hate to wonder what the passengers who actually pay for their premium cabin seats would think about me if they knew my award ticket cost so much less. Then again, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with them yelling at me, so that’s probably a good thing.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I would tell someone to “get stuffed” (or something similar) if I was ever asked that question…

  2. There’s a bit more in play here. It’s one thing to pay different prices for the same product when it is offered by the airline at different prices, but a bit different to receive that product at no cost.

    Obviously this passenger is more than a bit nuts, and operational upgrades due to broken equipment are reasonable, but I can see why they would not want someone moved next to them who hadn’t paid for the premium seat. Of course, the airline owns the seats and has every right to do whatever they please with it, as long as they don’t compromise safety.

    I wonder if the non EMS section of the plane was booked solid? I would imagine that this was the case.

  3. You buy a certain amount of seats at a price mutually agreed upon at time of booking. It’s really none of your business what the airline decides to do with the rest of the seats no matter the class of service. If you don’t want someone sitting next to you in that empty seat I am sure the airline will happily sell it to you. Maybe “entitled” flyers need to remember exactly what they are entitled to.

  4. Have you ever seen the price of your flight drop after you’ve booked a non-refundable fare? Somebody bought the ticket then and therefore somebody paid less than you. All part of the game.

  5. Absolutely agree with Jason. We certainly have enjoyed some freebies over the years.

  6. He should of just bitched the Jetblue customer service after the flight and get points for his issue like everyone else does

  7. I had a seat neighbor ask my fare once. I could tell they were fishing … trying to make themselves feel good about what was I’m sure was in fact a low fare. Not wishing to indulge the person, I fudged and said I got in on the “$59 special that was run the weekend before.” I followed up with, “Did you get the deal too?” They didn’t engage. 🙂

  8. Never asked about the cost of a paid fate but will admit to asking about buckets & checkin time in an effort to understand a particularly confusing upgrade priority situation.

    To clarify, I never asked to pick a fight bit rather to try to figure out why an upgrade cleared. iirc I’ve only asked once or twice & only when the person sitting next to me was also cleared the UG waitlist.

  9. So no charges were filed? I think there should be significant punishment levied against anyone who causes a diversion (except obviously for medical reasons). It is is huge inconvenience to all of the other passengers who can behave properly, not to mention the costs to the airline.

    I don’t think forcing the passenger to find other means to SD is anything close to sufficient punishment.

  10. I paid for EMS on my recent JetBlue flights. The first one was totally full. Basically I think if the flight is full there’s a good likelihood that some of the folks sitting up front didn’t pay. But that’s just their good luck. They do not allow those folks to board until the end though so they don’t get first crack at the overheads at least.

  11. They divert for almost no reason at all in this country, couldn’t they have duct taped her?

  12. Silly… Of course everyone pays differently, that’s how air fares works. Do people really thnk that all seats can be had for $39 one way when they see the sales? The airlines would go out of business.

    There was obviously more going on here than just the cost of the ticket. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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