Ah yes, the game of musical chairs. The music stops and everyone rushes to find a seat. You have to move quick because there are not enough for everyone. While perhaps you can think of a better analogy, the latest United Airlines app update offers a very helpful middle seat avoidance feature…but the potential to promote a mad scramble.
Musical Chairs: New App Feature Will Help You Avoid Middle Seats On United Airlines
No one likes a middle seat. Well, except for this guy–
To help, United’s latest app update offers a new feature: if you are in a middle seat and a better seat opens, you’ll receive a push-notification alerting you the seat opening.
Sounds great…and it is great. If you are fast.
So imagine a Boeing 737 MAX 9 with 27 rows in economy class, meaning 54 middle seats. A woman is upgraded and all of a sudden an aisle seats opens. If the flight is pretty full, imagine 40 people receiving that alert. Now let’s say that half of those passengers are traveling with a companion and don’t want to move. That’s still a lot of people who will be encouraged to pounce on the seat.
To be clear, this isn’t a complaint. This is better than nothing at all and fairer than just auto-assigning the seat to a random passenger. I do think some passengers will get the alert, get excited, act quickly, only to be disappointed when the seat is already gone…but that’s the nature of scooping up airplane seats, so I hope they won’t hold it against United.
Kudos to United for its frequent app improvements that are moving it in a linear positive direction. The United app is far and away the best in the business and the ability to help passengers avoid middle seats is just another cherry on top.
(H/T: Zach Griff at TPG)