I was thinking about the importance of “reading the fine print” as I read a sad story in the always-lively Consumerist.
It seems a fellow and his wife were going to travel to Japan on United, and to be sure they’d be extra-comfortable, he sprang for premium seating – in this case, Economy Plus – for an extra $400. He managed to reserve two bulkhead seats right next to each other, far in advance, and thought all was well.
It wasn’t, and what he wound up with was two middle-seats, apart from each other (it sounds as if they were still Economy Plus seating, but it’s not clear – in any event, his biggest beef, it seems, is he didn’t get the side-by-side bulkhead seats).
So I went to the United website and – guess what I found? Keep reading…
Yes, there it was – the fine print (actually, it was pretty easy to find). It read, in part:
- Economy Plus purchase reserves a seat within the Economy Plus seating area. Specific seat assignments are not guaranteed.
- Economy Plus purchase is processed based on seat availability at time of purchase.
- This offer is subject to change without notice.
Does that make it all better? Of course not. Should the airline have done something to make up for this? I would. The situation stinks, but unfortunately, you can’t say the airline didn’t warn you.
And this sort of thing could happen I think, no matter what airline you fly, so always check out the carrier’s “Contract of Carriage” or “terms and conditions” or look under “details” before you spring for that perk, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting – or maybe not be getting.
As Mel Brooks once said, sometimes you just have to ”Hope for the best. Expect the worst.”