Bizarre New Twist On Seat Selection Costs for Hawaii Flights?

Seat selection for Hawaii flights has long required navigating the complexities of airlines’ ancillary dynamic pricing. It is becoming even more so in terms of comfort coming at a premium. Airlines are seeking innovative ways to enhance their revenue from these selections, as the role of flight attendants and the functionality of airline apps are brought into today’s spotlight.

A post on X caught our attention, as did others. It depicts a whole new way that airlines may (or may not) be able to charge for improved seating on board. Read on for that unbelievable story.

Why are Hawaii seat assignments more critical now for airlines and passengers?

Securing a preferred seat on your flight to Hawaii can stretch into the hundreds of dollars per person per flight, representing a major revenue stream for airlines and a huge added expense for passengers. This trend reflects broader industry shifts where seat selection, in particular, has evolved from a standard convenience into the most important profit center other than the flight itself.

Differentiating the strategies used by airlines that fly to Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines: Known for steep charges for premium seat selection. Their fees have become frustrating for many, especially when they can be nearly as much as the flight itself.

Southwest Airlines: Instead of charging for specific seats, they charge for priority boarding, which similarly affects seat choice. The cost of that feature has significantly risen. “Upgraded Boarding” now costs up to $149 per passenger per segment, an increase from the prior cap of $80.

United Airlines: Known for up charging its extra legroom and preferred seating, United has introduced a new twist. Recognizing the passenger distress associated with seat assignments, United is rolling out a feature in its app that notifies passengers when a more desirable seat becomes available. This service, aimed at reducing last-minute hassles at the gate and on the plane, hopes to enhance customer satisfaction. It appears to mark a significant pivot in how airlines manage seat inventory.

Reflecting on your feedback from last year’s article, Jim T. mentioned the discomfort in regular seats and the necessity of paying more for extra comfort seats on Hawaiian Airlines. SD expressed disappointment in Hawaiian’s pricing strategy, stating it drove him to choose other airlines.

The sentiment on Twitter is similarly critical: @MaloraMathis highlighted the fairness issue in seat allocation, emphasizing that free upgrades undermine those who pay. @Evanmunro91 suggested that entitlement might be at play, criticizing those who expect better seats without paying more.

Editor Rob, who worked for United Airlines decades ago, rightly points out that flight attendants are probably not eager to manage seat preferences. This highlights the importance of technological solutions like United’s new feature. The tool alleviates pressure on cabin crew and proactively empowers passengers to manage their seating preferences. He adds that it is bad enough for flight attendants to do all the police work they already do, including managing restrooms, safety related to seat belts, and everything else.

United Hawaii Seat AssignmentUnited Hawaii Seat Assignment
Empty bulkhead seats on United are blocked unless paid for, according to X.

Hawaii seat assignment controversy reignited by viral Twitter discussion

In a recent debate on X (Twitter), a user shared a frustrating experience regarding seat assignments on a United Hawaii flight, which, while not independently verifiable, sparked significant conversation among other travelers.

Sunny1Knob @M4n3ct4 said: “UnitedAirlinesSUCKS!! May 24. HNL to LAX (UA 1169). Flight attendant wanted to charge $180 pp to allow us to change to empty seats when about to close doors, when denied she opened the trays to block everyone.”

One commenter in the social media thread emphasized fairness, questioning why some passengers expect free upgrades when others have paid. Another one criticized what he perceived as a sense of entitlement among passengers expecting premium seating without the associated costs.

Moreover, the thread reflects broader dissatisfaction with how airlines manage seat allocation, particularly as it pertains to charges and the transparency of the entire seating process.

We can’t say what happened, but the image shows that the row selected by the person on X was the bulkhead, which may have had an additional charge associated with it.

Evolving strategies in seat selection reflect the move toward digital integration.

As airlines like United seem to choose to make it easier to secure preferred same-class seating through technological improvement, passengers like us may be encouraged to utilize these tools to enhance Hawaii travel comfort. However, the core issue remains: the rising costs of seat selections pose significant considerations for travelers to Hawaii.

We invite you to share how recent changes in seat selection policies have affected your Hawaii travel plans. Do new features like the one rolling out at United make a difference to your planned travel? Let us know. Thanks.

Anna Harden

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