British Family Had to Sit on the Floor For Their 900 Mile Flight

Back in 2012 Ryanair floated the idea of ‘standing seats’ to pack more passengers in and lower costs. And Airbus has a patent for ‘double decker’ seating. But neither idea is supposed to be real or is approved for flying — anywhere.

A family of three had paid about $1700 to fly from Mahon in Spain to Birmingham in the UK on TUI airlines. They were assigned seats 41 D, E and F but because of an aircraft swap there were no seats like that. The flight was over capacity by two passengers. Their 10 year old daughter was given the only actual seat, and the parents were given jump seats.

That worked for takeoff, but the crew needed the space — they needed to fold up the seats to work — so they asked the family to sit on the floor. Their 10 year old, not wanting to be along with strangers, joined them.

After the flight the airline only “offered a goodwill gesture of £30.” Since media started getting involved they’ve received a refund. And Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority is investigating.

UI refunded their fares and said a “last-minute aircraft change” meant the family’s assigned seats were unavailable, as the alternative aircraft had a different seating configuration.

It said it was “sorry for the way the situation was initially handled” and will contact the family directly to apologise.

…The Civil Aviation Authority says while passengers are allowed to sit in crew seats under certain conditions, they must not be left unseated during any stage of the flight.

    Credit: TUI UK

Two years ago Pakistan International Airlines boarded 416 passengers on a Boeing 777 with 409 seats for the 1700 mile flight from Karachi to Medina. The extra passengers stood in the aisle. It turns out the captain says he only learned about the situation after takeoff, and the airline didn’t want to dump fuel to land back in Pakistan so they just continued on.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Captain will carry the can, rightly, for this; the CAA will judge him before they focus on the company.

  2. Soon passengers will be penalised for daring to come on board when there are fewer seats due to air company’s error. Just wait.

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