There’s shoe softener in your bread, Oasis isn’t getting back together, Netflix upped their prices and flying cars aren’t yet a thing. Oh, and airlines charge for seat assignments. Headlines all over the world are pointing the finger at airlines for confusing customers – and they’re all wrong. There is nothing confusing about airline seating assignments. Much like the list that started this article, we don’t like this new phenomenon – but it’s here.

You Pay

If you’re not a frequent flyer, and you want to guarantee you’ll sit next to someone – you have to pay. It’s honestly simple. Every airline tells you if they charge for seating assignments before you book, so who you book with is up to you. Figure out the real cost of an airline ticket before you book by factoring in what it will cost to guarantee you’re seated with your companions by paying. Maybe the ticket that was $20 more expensive but came with seating assignments was the better choice, after all.


No airline has ever guaranteed everyone on a reservation will sit together. Even when people select seats together, sometimes people must be moved for reasons like wheelchair passenger requirements. There’s nothing new here. If you want a guarantee that you’ll be seated with your travel companions, just pay. If an airline splits you up after you’ve paid, you have a legitimate complaint – if you don’t, you don’t. If a team is on your flight and every player selects an aisle or window by paying in advance – there’s only one seat left for everyone else and they simply will not be together. Making sense?

Free World

It’s a free world, and airlines make more than 60 million a year charging for seats. It’s a new thing, and I dare you to find me a person who wouldn’t love to have stumbled upon a way to instantly make 60 million more a year, doing the exact same thing they were doing. I dare you! An airline choosing not to charge may have a competitive advantage in earning your booking, or an expensive hole to fill, depending on how you see the world.

Common Sense

If you want to sit together with someone you have two definitively easy choices. Find an airline that does not charge for advanced seats – they still exist. OR… ready for it, pay. Take either of those routes and you’ve got a seat next to your travel companion guaranteed. We think it sucks too, but businesses finding new ways to make money is hardly original or illegal. If you are split, you can still ask (politely) at an airline desk if there are ANY two seats next to each other. Don’t just give up and sulk.


Now let’s assume most people do pay for seating assignments. Where do you think they’re going to pay to sit? No one says – ooh, let’s pay for a middle seat in the back. Passengers who pay for seat selection will opt for windows and aisles. Therefore, you and your companions will probably fill in the remaining middle seats – not together.


To summarize, there is no diabolic plot to ruin your travels by separating you from your friends, family or loved ones. You are just filling in the remaining seats which no one who paid to select a seat wanted. It’s that simple. Pay up or find an airline that doesn’t charge for seat assignments and of course – don’t forget to then select them. Simple enough, right?