Seat assignment chicanery

The original configuration

The revised configuration

I recently took a flight with my young daughter. I had booked the flight months in advance and had put her on the aisle and myself in the middle.

When we went to check in at the Salt Lake City airport – our boarding passes reflected this seating arrangement. 

When it was time to board, I had my daughter go first and when they scanned her ticket a paper printed out. The employee looked at it and said to my daughter “this is your baggage tag, make sure and keep track of this.”

This seemed really strange but my hands were full of carry on items and I gave her my ticket and we headed down the entryway. 

As soon as there was a stop, I glanced at her paper and saw that they had given her a new seat assignment in the row behind me. 

I figured that it was just some sort of error. We boarded the flight and sat in our originally assigned seats. 

A family came and sat in the row behind us and I therefore assumed that as was well.

10 minutes later a lady walked to our row and said that I was in her seat. 

I stood up, showed her my boarding pass and said that for some reason they had given us a new seat assignment.

I turned to the dad in the row behind us and said that he was in our seat.

He showed me his boarding pass and said this shows that I’m in the right seat. 

I responded by saying that’s strange and turned to call an employee. 

The dad then said “yeah the lady mentioned something about someone moving to the window seat on your row”. 

It then hit me – someone had moved my daughter to the row behind us, someone else to my daughter’s seat and then had moved the dad to the window seat in our row. 

It made no sense and I was pissed. What gives Delta the right to move a child under 8 to a different row away from me?  What story was told to them in order to swap seats and why didn’t they call me up to tell me?

At this point everyone was on the plane and I didn’t feel like there was anyway to resolve it so I had my daughter move over in the window seat next to me and I sat in my middle seat.

Have you ever had your family split up after you had booked together? What did you do? 


  1. Submit a detailed, concise, written complaint to Delta detailing what happened, flight number etc. The gate agent needs training, it is not acceptable to move your seats like that without a call-up to the podium. You may want to include any remedy you’d want (ie: a call from a supervisor, some FF miles, etc for the inconvenience. Be reasonably in your request, of course!)

  2. If you end up getting miles as a remedy, be prepared. Delta talks miles but, in my experience, does not deliver remedy miles as promised.

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