Reply To: “Emirates should come clean about its non-A380 business class seats”

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Codeshares used to cause so much confusion and grief for passengers when they first started becoming commonplace. A passenger would book say a Qantas flight in Business Class, via with a Qantas flght number and then rock up to the airport on the day to find themself on a BA operated flight. Where airlines offered a similar product people rarely complained. But sometimes the ‘operating’ carrier was hugely inferior to the carrier the passenger ‘thought’ they were travelling with. So – IATA mandated that the operating carrier of a flight has to be clearly displayed to the passenger when they book a flight online and informed verbally if booked over the phone.

Personally – I believe the same thing should apply to seats. Especially Business/First class ones. Airlines should have to spell out in clear terms exactly what seat the passenger is booking – whether it be a cradle seat, angle flat, fully flat etc etc. I also believe that airlines should have to advise passengers of aircraft substitutions if it involves a change of aircraft with an inferior seat offering.

Some people book a particular flight on the basis of needing to depart or arrive at a certain time and that is their priority. Others book a particular flight because their priority is a fully flat bed – and they chose a particular flight number because that’s what it is selling. I feel airlines should be held to count if they change the product – there should be an industry wide agreement requiring them to advise of a change of aircraft if it’s in advance and offer passengers in premium cabins the ability to switch for free to an alternative service if seats are available.

Like everything it’s down to commercial and compeitive pressure. No airline that I know of offers this. I reckon if a few did start – there would be competitive pressure for others to follow.

Some airlines products are not so different and a change is nothing to (literally) lose sleep over. But others in my experience have been more extreme. On Qatar I have had an A350 flight subbed to a A330 (non flat bed config) and a A330 flight subbed to a A321. The variations in what I felt I should have got and what I did get were worlds apart. And when I complained to QR – not interested. They were within the terms of carriage. #firstworldproblems I know. But it wasn’t so long ago that you could be due to fly from Budapest to London on any european airline, they could cancel the flight on the day with no reason whatsoever and say ‘here’s your money back – find your own way home’. That was the case for years and airlines were within their rights to do that. Thankfully, things changed. Regulations were brought in and they can’t do that anymore. Despite the protests from the airlines noone went out of business because of it. The same thing should happen for product downgrades IMHO.

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