When Airlines change your plane

You have carefully planned all aspects of your upcoming vacation, from the dates you are going to travel, so they don’t interfere with the kids sports schedule or school commitments. You’ve pre-selected your room category because of it’s location on the property, at the medium sized resort you’ve decided to stay at, based on the amenities as well as it’s proximity to the various excursions you want to do when in destination.

You’ve decided on what items to pack, based on the weight restrictions for luggage on the air line you are flying with and have paid them extra to pre-select your seat, so you can alleviate all anxiety about where the airlines may seat you, as they do not necessarily place people who are flying under the same ticket, next to each other. This way you can choose seats near the front, close to the bathrooms but not too close and get that window view.

A few days before your departure, you get an e-mail, advising you that your airline has had an  ‘equipment change’ and as a result the seats you too so much time choosing, are no longer available and you need to contact the carrier for your seating options. First, you need to understand that airlines are well within their right to change the type of plane they are placing you on. They sold you a ticket from point A to point B and how they do it, is up to them.

The reason a carrier would change the plane, depends on a few things. Perhaps they did not sell the plane out and so they are downsizing to minimize their expense of flying with empty seats. Perhaps there was a mechanical issue or weather delay impacting a plane which was outgoing, in the destination you are going to, so they have to get a larger plane down to the destination, to handle the guests who need to come back.

All airlines have the control on how they deploy their fleet and a guest is most often impacted, when they change from a larger plane to a smaller one, as there are less seating options available. This is something which happens regularly to Air Canada flights; when you purchase a seat based on their Air Canada plane configuration and then you are downgraded ,onto an Air Canada Rouge flight.

A Rouge flight has a very limited number of Premium seating. If 18 people had one of them on the Air Canada flight, it means 6 people will be bumped down into regular economy seats when the plane changes, because they simply don’t have the extra Premium seats. They decide who gets bumped down, based on Carrier loyalty and status, how much they paid for the tickets and when they bought them. The airlines will refund your money in 7-10 days to the original card used.

The Rouge configuration is such that the economy seats have less width than other seats, less recline pitch and less leg room to the seat in front of you, so they can be cramped depending on your height or size and it makes longer flights more challenging because of that. When at all possible, it taking those things into consideration, it might be worth considering the upgraded seating to Premium, as shown below, if you have the option and it’s within your budget.

If your flight equipment has changed, ensure you get your refund for what you paid and ask for compensation from the airline as a good will gesture on their behalf for altering your plans. They are not technically required to provide you with anything, so asking for something and getting it, would be an unexpected bonus.

As incredibly frustrating as this change is to your well laid plans, do not let it impact the over all experience you are going to have, after you are transported to your chosen destination. There will always be issues of some sort and how you handle those changes, helps create the memories you can look back at and talk about.


About travelonlywithjodi

As a Canadian living in a country of such great diversity, the experience of vacationing throughout the world brings you a deep appreciation for the beautiful world around us as well. Spending money on travel is like investing in your soul. Be inspired. TravelOnly with Jodi.
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