The sky-high seating fees - Thomson respond
Our post yesterday, about charges to choose seating on-board flights whipped plenty of avid Bitterwallet readers into a frenzy.
We highlighted reader Cheryl's dilemma while travelling with Thomson, and many of you responded to the broader debate of whether airlines should ever charge for seating, and Thomson's seemingly bizarre seating policy:
"This happened to us 3 years ago with Thompson, they put all 3 of us on end row seats going down the plane, our main concern was the 3rd seat for our son - who was 18 months old at the time. However most passengers helped us re allocate by swapping seats and 3 others complained to the air stewardess about the allocation for our family - it was disgusting." Darren
"What “operational reasons” are Thomson talking about? When you buy your ticket you are reserving a “seat”, so you have the right there and then to choose from the remaining seats available." Bob
"We just flew with Thomson as a family of four. I liked the fact that you could go online and look at the selection you were currently given (shite) and then pay through the nose to change it. There were several rows of four still empty but we had been allocated three different rows to sit. This seems to prove that if you don’t pay, Thomson will deliberately separate you.
On the way back from Taba the local staff simply walked to all the families, took their details and ensured that they all sat together, so up yours Thomson." James
Crikey. We've since heard back from a Thomson spokesperson concerning both the debate and Cheryl's experiences - see what you make of this:
"Thomson Airways holds customer satisfaction in the highest regard and is therefore always disappointed when a customer feels their flight experience has not lived up to Thomson Airways’ high standards.
"Thomson Airways recognises that their customers have many needs when it comes to seating and therefore plans the seating arrangements for each of its flights in advance. Priority is given to those who have made the choice to reserve their seats in advance and those who have specific requirements based on medical or disability needs.
"Whilst first-come-first served seats are available at check-in on the day of departure, these can be limited due to the popularity of advanced seating requests. The option to reserve seats together is offered in advance of departure date in order to give customers peace of mind that they will be seated together. Customers who purchase group seating with Thomson Airways will also be given the added option of choosing the exact location of their seats, within the price.
"If on the day of departure it becomes apparent that a family could be separated for the flight, then for safety reasons, dependent children will always be sat with at least one parent or guardian.
"Thomson Airways would like to apologise to Cheryl that her group were not offered the most preferable seating arrangement, however it strongly believes that their seating policy is fair, and beneficial for the vast majority of customers."