The key to getting a row of your own? Apparently bringing your dog onboard…
Yesterday afternoon I flew from Los Angeles to Washington Dulles on United. It was an afternoon flight and was pleasantly filled, but not packed. In other words, there were several middle seats open.
In the gate area was a woman with a large dog…it looked like a black Dobermann. This was an emotional support animal. It wasn’t a service animal because it lacked the identifying vest or patch. It also wan’t just a standard in-cabin pet because United requires those pets to fit within a kennel.
Boarding commenced and the woman took her seat: an aisle in EconomyPlus. And while the dog was very well-behaved, it took the floorspace of two seats when seated. That made for an awkward situation with the two passengers occupying the middle and window seats.
Sensing the discomfort of the other two passengers, a FA used her iPhone to view open seats, then moved the two passengers to other seats. One first class passenger did not check in, so the man across the aisle from me in the exit row scored a “battlefield upgrade”. That left his window seat and the middle seat next to him empty.
The couple were moved back a few rows to the exit row.
I’m sure the 1K seated on the aisle did not appreciate the open middle seat now occupied, but he had no ownership of it…
I liked that the FAs were proactive. I liked that the passengers who were moved actually received better seats. But my goodness, doesn’t this create a dangerous precedent? There was also a couple with a newborn baby seated nearby. I’m sure they would have appreciated a row to themselves.
It just seemed to me the passenger was rewarded for bringing on a dog that was too big.
What do you think?