As most of my readers know, I fly frequently. Actually, I fly a lot! I find that my best ideas for blog post come from my time spent in the sky, and this is no exception.
I’ve been flying JetBlue a lot recently, and Tuesday night I was on a flight from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Newburgh, NY. When I book my flights on JetBlue, I spend the extra $25 to get one of their “Even More Legroom (EML)” seats. These seats are found in the first few rows of the plane as well as the exit rows. If you ante up for one of these seats you get a few extra inches of legroom.
On this particular flight, after the cabin door was closed, a gentlemen (with an obnoxiously heavy New York accent) who was sitting in a non-EML seat, walked up and took a seat in the empty exit row across from me. The flight attendant saw his seat shuffle and proceeded to tell him that the seat he sat in is an EML seat and should he choose to sit there he would need to pay $25.
Well, this “gentlemen” turned nasty. He started carrying on about how many times he flies JetBlue, how he’s a good customer and how he should be allowed to sit there at no charge. Seeing this going on, I just had to chime in:
“Hey buddy, I had to pay twenty-five bucks to sit in this row, if you’re going to sit there, give me the $25 bucks I paid and I’ll keep my mouth shut, otherwise, move.”
He proceeded to tell me that he is a frequently flyer and he earned the “right” to sit there. Well, that set me off even further.
“How frequent do you fly? I take this route two times a week on JetBlue, I’m Chairman’s Preferred on US Airways, Platinum on Continental, Elite on AirTran… and I paid the $25 for my EML seat… shall I continue?”
He still didn’t give in and continued to harass the flight attendant who finally called for the gate agent to come on board. Needless to say, our “frequent flyer” was relegated back to his middle seat in a non-EML row because he wouldn’t pay the $25.
I thanked the flight attendant and ordered a beer.
Today, I was on the flight from Newburgh, NY to Ft. Lauderdale, FL and once again I purchased an EML seat. I found it odd that there was someone in the middle seat in my row since I checked the seat map when I checked in an hour before the flight and it was available.
Thinking that the seat was sold at the last minute I kept my mouth shut and talked to the guy in that seat for the duration of the flight. It just so happened that Mr. 11B blew his cover at the end of the flight. He was stupid enough to say, “You paid extra for this seat didn’t you? I was back in row 20, saw this available and took it, I sat here for free, how does that make you feel?”
Since we were only minutes away from landing, I let it go. Otherwise I would have called a flight attendant over to report him. Instead I headed to the ticket counter immediately after deplaning.
I explained the situation to the agent who in turn got the supervisor on duty. He agreed with my frustration and said, “we’re working on doing a better job at making sure this doesn’t happen.” He told me that “there’s nothing I can do as far as a full or partial credit for the EML charge, but you can call 1-800-JETBLUE and see if they will do anything for you.” He ended the conversation by saying, “Let me know how you make out as I’m curious as to how they will handle it.”
Why does one flight crew enforce the rules and one doesn’t? Before takeoff, the crew counts the number of filled EML seats to ensure there’s no squatters. The sure counted the guy next to me today but didn’t do anything about it.
As passengers, we’re supposed to obey the rules.
As employees, they’re supposed to enforce the rules.
JetBlue, I want my $25 back for the EML seat today. I followed the rules, you broke them, now make good.