Who assigns seats this way?!?

I get that airlines want to sell ancillaries all the time. Really, I do. And I even understand that, from time to time, that sales tactic covers advance seat assignments in the “better” seats on a plane, something which causes passengers to pay extra to be sure they’ll sit together. But every time I’ve seen reports of that in the past it is based on the airline not making any free seats available to select. Last night I had a rather different experience booking a trip on Delta.

I booked a relatively simple open-jaw itinerary for two passengers and, as is typical for me, didn’t pay too much attention to seat selection during the booking process. I got the dates right and the fare close enough that I can handle it and I booked, allowing the system to auto-assign the seats for us. I then went back in to the reservation to make sure the seats were acceptable and found this:


For reasons I cannot fathom the Delta system assigned two passengers on the same PNR to seats nowhere close to each other. On the return flight it was similar.

Maybe it is because we both have “Aisle” as our seating preference, I considered. But then why not put us in one of the many pairs of aisle seats across from each other? It just doesn’t make any sense. Also, I don’t have my wife’s travel details saved in my Delta.com profile so that’s not really possible either.

And why did the first passenger get put further back in the plane.

All sorts of things wrong with this process. Fortunately it is an easy fix if you’re paying attention. But a completely bizarre situation to begin with.

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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. Funny, replace “Delta” with “United” and that’s the exact same reason everyone gives about United oddities!

  1. There’s an old saying that goes something like “never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.” And I mostly want to believe that’s the case here as well. But then I received an email a few minutes ago, about 12 hours after booking the flights. The subject is, “Seth, Do You Have The Seat You Want?” And is was all about the Economy Comfort up-sell.

    Well, I do have the seats I want now and I didn’t pay extra for them. But no thanks to your computers. Nice try on the up-sell, though.

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