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what are the risks of changing the seats or is it advisable to change the seats without informing the crew?
As full as flights tend to be these days I’d wait to see if the seat you want is open or not. Of course if you’re trying to get to a better seat (including premium economy when you didn’t pay for it) the FAs are likely to send you back to your original seat.
The times I’ve changed seats I’ve tended to wait until the cabin door is closed and there is a whole row open.
Within the same class of service, you can change with another passenger if they agree but I wouldn’t attempt to commandeer another’s seat in advance of asking.
If there’s an empty row and/or you’re switching within your same section then it’s fine however, on a recent UA flight the purser made a very specific announcement telling people NOT to move to EconomyPlus
It depends in which class you are sitting as to whether you can do it with or without permission.
Last week, I was in J on Qantas, and requested the purser’s permission before switching seats (since I’d already placed my meal order, they wanted to make sure my meals were delivered to the right person etc.).
The purser also requested that I remain in my original seat until we had taken off (I identified the empty seats after the door had closed, but while we were delayed in taking off).
When I’m flying Y, I just switch seats for empty ones once the plane has taken off (and the fasten seat belt sign has gone off), without asking permission.