Allocated Seating at Greater Union

On the weekend, I had my first encounter with allocated seating at the Greater Union Innaloo cinemas.

As usual, we’d bought tickets separately. It wasn’t until going in to the actual cinema that a staff member said that we were expected to sit in seats scattered around the cinema (one of which was on the very edge).

As the cinema wasn’t completely full, we did the only sensible thing: ignore the allocations and pick some seats next to each other. Looking around the cinema, it looked like a number of other people were ignoring the allocations (the seat I’d been allocated was taken by someone else in a group of about 5 people).

As far as I can understand, the reason for introducing this was to make the internet booking more compelling by letting you pick your seat. I guess they felt the need to do something, since the current system has never seemed worth it:

  • They charge an extra dollar per ticket for internet sales. This is despite the fact that they get the money earlier, and you might not even turn up (the tickets are sold on a no returns basis).
  • While there is a special queue for picking up internet sales tickets, there often isn’t anyone staffing it. I’ve only seen people in the queue a few times, and they needed to wait until one of the other ticket sellers was free.

Maybe they thought screwing with the majority of their customers’ experience would make the extra dollar worth it.

I sent a complaint to Greater Union, and in future plan to treat their seating allocations as a suggestion. It is a shame that so many other cinemas have been closing down over the years 🙁