I’ve been downgraded from First to coach before, but on a coach ticket that was upgraded to first. This was back on US Airways, and I was in the front row.
When I boarded, there were two people already in that entire front row. It was clear one of the people needed extra care and the other person was their caretaker. My guess is they were rebooked from another flight.
I stood there awkwardly for a while because I wasn’t sure what this meant for me, or where I should sit.
Soon, I heard the bad news. I don’t have a first-class seat anymore. Sigh. Though, since it was a free upgrade, I couldn’t complain too much.
On Quora, there’s some discussion going about whether airlines can downgrade your paid first class or business class ticket.
The plane type can change (resulting in fewer first class seats), and first class can be overbooked as well.
But it’s important to make sure you get adequately compensated in that moment rather than try to chase it down later.
In one case on the Quora thread, they were just going to boot someone out of business to accommodate someone booted out of first. He stuck to his guns and they finally tried offering compensation. Another person in business was interested in the compensation. It allowed the man to keep his business class seat, and for someone who valued the compensation more than business to take the deal.
If he simply moved, he might have been able to fight it later, but probably would have only received what the airline deemed as the difference in fare between coach and first. (And when do you determine the cost of coach? As a walk up ticket? At the time of booking?)
Keri from Heels First Travel was able to recoup the cost of her entire trip by making sure she got compensated for her downgrade on a LAN flight.
I wouldn’t cause a ruckus, but I would be firm in this case. I would stress that I understand their side of the situation, but I also laid out a lot of money for my ticket, and want to make sure that gets addressed if I lose my seat.
Have you ever gotten downgraded? What happened when you did?