You bought airline tickets together to your bucket list vacation, and when you get to the airport, now your seats are not together. You specifically chose the window and aisle seat so you could be toegher!

What Can Passengers Do?

You can panic or yell.

But why do Delta, American, and United Airlines change seats last minute?

The most likely reason that your assigned seats are no longer available is for equipment change.

Because of weather, mechanical or other reasons that airplane may not be availabe. So the airline chooses one waiting “in the wings” to be the substitute airplane for your flight.

But that airplane has fewer seats.



We do not know the pecking order for who now DOES get to sit together. But here is what you can try to get to sit together again.

1. Ask the Gate Agent for Available Seats

If you are traveling with young kids or with a passenger who has special needs that require your assistance, this will make you top priority.

If that does not help, you can

2. Ask a Flight Attendant for Help

As soon as you board, ask the flight attendant and she will direct you to

  1. go ahead and stay seated while they figure it out (most likely they will ask other passengers) or
  2. they will ask you to stand at the back of the airplane and wait while they do their magic.

3. Ask a Passenger to Swap Seats

Very niceley you could ask the passenger whose seat you need to sit in your newly assigned seat. But be prepared for the worst.

The worst is on an anniversary trip or long flight to Europe and now you do not get to sit together. Actually the worst would be if it’s your child’s first flight. But we are 99.99% sure that would never happen.

Since we fly standby alot, we are very used to not sitting together. But still, it stinks.



4. Ask to be Put on the Next Flight

It is not convenient, but if it is absolutely necessary, you could ask.

Travel Tip: Keep the Flight Number

When the airline asks for your opinion after your flight, you are more likely to be heard if you can add the flight number.

Travel Tips for Booking Airline Seats:

  1. This rarely happens! But when it does, it’s your whole world because this is your vacation.
  2. They will most likely be able to reseat you together in the new airplane.

If you are new here, I am a pilot’s wife YouTuber helping passengers “travel the globe without a worry in the world” based on the mistakes tips I have learned over the last 20 years packing in only a carry-on suitcase.

My husband answers weird questions in several videos, but here is a video if you are scared of turbulence in the airplane.

And grab an Ultimate Packing List if you need it.


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