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Ryanair Accused Of Preferential Treatment Around Seating

Dorathy Gass

Who actually likes sitting in that infamous ‘middle’ seat. Most travelers are either ‘Team Aisle’ or ‘Team Window Seat’.

This leads us into the latest air carrier scandal to hit the fan lately. It is being reported that airline Ryanair has purposely been placing clients, choosing against paying reserved-seating fees, to the middle seats during check-in. This has caused a separation in groups and couples flying together.

In the past, clients flying together who did not want to pay for specific seating, were still placed together when flying. Still, reports are coming down the pipe that this is no longer the case, and flyers of the airline seem to think that they are being placed in middle seats on purpose. A recent couple were given seats separate from each other, when a husband and wife traveling together used the airline to fly to Aarhus from Stansted and were placed in rows 32 and 8. Husband Chris Jones stated, when he checked in, 60% of the airplane’s seating was still available. He goes on to question why the airline would do such a thing.

Meanwhile, MSN reported a group of 20 travelers flying with the airline set to Spain for a golf trip questioned why a fee was needed for extra leg room. As one in the group, Patrick Gover stated, three travelers within his pack paid this fee where the 17 others were placed in the middle seats within the plane. He goes on to note that his cynical side feels that the air carrier is trying to ‘push’ travelers to pay for the seat-reservation fee through this move.

Don MacKenzie, one of four who flew with Ryanair to Zadar, Croatia from Stansted stated that flying in, the foursome was placed in seats together, but on their return flying, they were allocated random ‘middle’ seating, throughout the entire craft.

A Ryanair spokesperson denied the claims that flyers were being purposely placed in the middle seat, stating that clients who don’t want to purchase the reserved seating fee are allocated a seat at random.

Still, the Civil Aviation Authority stipulates that children need to have seats close to parent/caretakers when flying, although there is no requirement when it comes to adults with couples or travel groups.

In October 2016, the airline decreased the check-in opportunity for flyers who did not want to pay a seat-assignment fee. It was a week that was flagged down to four days. Competitor easyJet has a goal to accommodate groups or couples when it comes to seating, with no payment necessary.