FURTHER to recent correspondence on the problems of getting the seat that you want on a flight (Independent Traveller, 2 April), Anthony Rosen of Headley reports his experience of bringing a group back to London from Santiago in Chile. 'Among the 38 people with me, there were 15 married couples. The British Airways computer managed to split up 14 of the 15. Frequent correspondence with BA brings no satisfactory explanation . . . . They seem to consider it a privilege to be allowed to fly with their airline.'

D Horlock of Fordingbridge, however, takes exception to my 'whingeing and whining'. He writes: 'You must be a very difficult person to please . . . . What is your solution to providing places for those who want to sit well away from smoking or (probably selfishly) want extra leg room? How do you suppose this is to be achieved on, say, a full aeroplane? Get real Mr Barrett.'

I don't think it would be too much for airlines to allocate seats on a first-come first-served basis. But Peter F May of St Albans suspects that airlines don't offer this facility because they may switch aircraft from route to route, and because aircraft of the same model can have different seating configurations. Airlines also often increase the size of the business class cabin for a flight, at the expense of economy seats. Mr May thinks scheduled airlines could learn from charter carriers who seem to do a good job in keeping families together. Another option is to fly first or club class where seat bookings are accepted. 'The only other solution is to check in as early as possible.'

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