Paid surveys reveal sneaky airline trick
Recent paid surveys by YouGov have shown that some airlines are apparently using this trick to get us to pay more money.
As a nation, we love budget airlines. They’re no frills, easy to book and sometimes cost even less than getting the train to London. But are some airlines using this sneaky ploy to make extra money out of unsuspecting passengers?
Paid surveys show possible hidden charge trick
In the YouGov poll of 4,200 people, a quarter of all groups travelling – who didn’t pay extra for guaranteed seating together – were separated from the rest of their party. The 25% of people who experienced this noted that they were automatically issued seats apart from one another, sometimes with the option to pay a fee to be moved together again.
Many of us will have experienced this as airline passengers, even in a group of two. Sometimes, some of us have been separated from the rest of our family whilst empty seats remain next to us, which is rather mysterious. Understandably, this occurs when we refuse to pay an early charge to be seated together, so in theory there is an option for groups who don’t want to be separated.
A common misconception though is family travel with young children. Many parents refuse to pay additional fees to be seated together, as they believe there is a law concerning seating children next to adults. In reality, most airlines have their own policy on the matter, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have a statement that ‘The seating of children close by their parents or guardians should be the aim of airline seat allocation procedures for family groups and large parties of children. Young children and infants who are accompanied by adults should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults.’ Not as set in stone as many believe it should be.
Paid survey results: Does it matter?
Critics have spoken out on the paid survey result, calling it ‘a sneaky trick to squeeze more money out of passengers who are on a budget’. Airlines have not yet admitted that they purposely sit people apart to make more money, but clearly many passengers are convinced this is the case. The paid surveys also showed a huge range in the price of fees to pre-book seats together, ranging from just £5 to over £20 per person (which would simply be unaffordable for many people).
Interestingly, the CAA is now launching a review into the seating policies of airlines, so we may well see positive change coming in the future.
However, according to the YouGov paid surveys for money, many passengers weren’t put off flying with these airlines in spite of this accusation. When being told they had to pay a fee to sit together, only 10% said they wouldn’t use the airline again, whilst 36% agreed it made them feel negatively against the airline but would still use them again. A big 44% of the paid survey participants said it didn’t affect how they felt towards the airline.
Perhaps we’re just used to it, or maybe we consider it the pay-off for using budget airlines and saving money on flights overall. People are clearly divided on this issue and whether it’s a question or morality or just business. It can be immensely frustrating as a passenger though to be split up when the aeroplane isn’t full (and, even worse, interspersed with other groups who have been split up).
It remains to be seen what the CAA will say about it, but for now we can but choose to take the risk or pay the fee. Depending who you are travelling with of course, it could always be a blessing in disguise!
Have you been split up automatically on airlines when you didn’t pay a group fee? Ever been split up and had to pay extra to move your seats together again when they are showing as available on the online check-in? Or do you think it’s a fair charge to make sure you sit together? We’d love to hear your opinions on the online surveys for cash about hidden group charges! Join the discussion on our Facebook page and let us know your thoughts! And don’t forget to take our online paid surveys for cash, and make money online in your spare time, at OOUK!