I flew down to Bogota today on United out of Newark. The plane was a 737-800. First class was sold out. The eight rows of Economy Plus through the exit rows were nearly empty. Regular economy was almost full.
Economy Plus was in no way indicated, no signage or curtains, exactly the same seats, just a bit more legroom. Naturally, prior to takeoff, several left their seats to move up and were quickly told by a flight attendant. One woman looked embarrassed and went fast. A couple remarked how silly it is and moved back, too. A middle-aged man started a protest about United, something about a rebooking and other complaints. Eventually, he too moved back. Fun start to the flight for the flight attendant.
In the middle of the flight a young man from the back moved up and settled in. He was noticed by a different flight attendant and she explained that he needed to move back, then continued on her run up the aisle before seeing him move. He didn’t.
Near to landing she came back through, and seeing he hadn’t moved, and still wouldn’t move, the discussion got heated and she went to the head flight attendant. She came back saying, this time in English, “Disrespectful. The police will meet you at the gate.”
So, to be a further ass, he moved back exactly one row, from the first exit row to the one opposite me. This time she saw that and called down the head flight attendant, and another, a tall man. The discussion in Spanish was enough to spook the guy into returning to his original seat.
I didn’t stick around to see if the police showed. I think the flight attendants let it go, north worth delaying their midnight hotel check-in to deal with that crap.
Why should they have to deal with it at all? True, these passengers could have paid attention to the announcements when boarding but otherwise they had no reason to think they had to remain confined to the back of the plane. When confronted for doing something they regarded as perfectly fine, predictably some did not respond gracefully. We get unhappy flight attendants and steaming passengers over a problem that shouldn’t exist.
United is supposedly trying to take steps big and small to improve it’s experience for employees and passengers. It’s a quick one to fix. Throw a doily over the seatbacks or just call up the Copy Everything Delta Does department.