Recently I was checking in to a flight and was asked if I'd like a window or aisle seat as usual and choose a window seat. I was then told that there are no more window seats available but I could get an aisle seat without someone sitting next to me and then just take that window seat. The plane was an ATR-72 so the rows were 2+2 seats.

I know about weight distribution to the front/back but I couldn't come up for a good reason to do this. What could be the reason for not giving me that apparently free window seat right away?

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    $\begingroup$ I think you're unlikely to get a good answer here. Whether you sit in an aisle or window seat has no practical implication for the aircraft. The answer would be purely related to the airline's boarding/seating policy. Even if you named the airline in question, there probably isn't someone here who would be an expert on their policies. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2014 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @BretCopeland yeah, I expected that much. Thought it was worth a try. If I don't forget I'll ask on my way back on friday. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2014 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ @DannyBeckett they had some computer problems and there was a huge line so I didn't ask. But it won't be the last time I took that flight so there'll be another oppertunity :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2014 at 10:17
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    $\begingroup$ One guess is that the flight was weight restricted and so it had to go out with fewer passengers than seats. (This is more likely on a small aircraft.) Their system may have enforced this by requiring that certain specific seats be blocked and not assigned to passengers. If 5A was such a blocked seat, they couldn't give it to you, but they could give you 5B. And then, once the flight has boarded, nobody will stop you from sliding over into 5A. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2014 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about seating policies of a specific flight/plane/airline. $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 22, 2014 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


There are certain restrictions due to which the airliner didn't give you the seat even if you were ready to pay extra for it (Depends on the operations policy by the manufacturer and the aircraft).

It's mostly the weight restrictions for the flight to take-off as there might be some obstacle for the flight during take-off(hoarding on the end of runway, climate etc.). If the weight is too much then it will result in a disaster so equal weight distribution is mandatory.

Moreover in the end it's airliner which has to suffer because the seat occupancy get's affected and it has huge losses incurred by not leaving to its capacity.

  • $\begingroup$ @Andre i wrote this post because i happen to read a news wherein the DGCA asked the Mumbai AAI to remove the banners from the runway exit(don't kow exactly which runway).IT was that an Airline by the name Indian Airlines requested the DGCA to remove some advertisement banners as it was having weight issues during take off(and also reducing the passenger count) $\endgroup$
    – user285oo6
    Dec 17, 2014 at 10:45

The only plausible reason is that the airline charges a different rate for the window seats, and you didn't purchase a ticket at the proper price point to get it. It has no effect on the airplane whatsoever.

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    $\begingroup$ As I said in the comments that's is not the case. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2014 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ It's how the computer system does it then, perhaps it blocks window seats until aisle seats are filled. There is no operational reason for it. $\endgroup$
    – Khantahr
    Jul 24, 2014 at 12:04

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