Pay more for premium seats?

December 24, 2008
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Would you pay more for an aisle seat?

If an airline representative were asking, you might say yes. But what if it's an arts venue's ticket seller?

Whether you call it "demand pricing" or "scaling the house," across the country, theaters are experimenting with putting a premium on the most desired seats--not just those that are closest to the stage.  See story here.

So is this any different than a matinee being cheaper than an evening show? If you paid $50 for seat 202, would you be offended if you found out the person in 203 had paid only $40 just because he's not on the aisle?

Do you want this sort of thing to happen in Indy?

Your thoughts?
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  • When The Producers first opened on Broadway (6 or 7 years ago?), some of the choice center section seats were priced at $400 while normal seating was in the normal price range of $120. They still sold out for a long time at those prices.

    This sounds like the theaters are just creating more pricing layers which could backfire if the choice seats go unsold. But I say that if people want to pay the premium, let them.
  • I strongly support the arts and I understand the concept of premium seats, but I don't support it in this case. That's because I've gone to the theatre with people who sit on the aisle for health reasons. Paying more so you can breathe or politely and quickly exit during a coughing spell doesn't sit well with me.
  • People who sit on the aisle for health reasons would fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have a health issue that requires an aisle seat, you should be able to request it as an ADA accommodation. I have a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and often need the aisle seat due to knee pain and sometimes having to use a cane. It is illegal for the theatre to charge more for the aisle seat than a regular seat if the person is purchasing the aisle for medical reasons. However, most people with minor medical issues and not permanent disability may not be aware of their rights in this case and would suffer from the policy.
  • This is bad PR. The more complicated going to a show becomes, the less likely I am to go. I'd say a lot of people feel this way.
  • Last night I popped downtown to complete my Christmas traditions and see the IRT's A Christmas Carol.

    I happened to get an EXCELLENT seat - aisle seat on row H in the ground floor middle section - for half-price because I bought my ticket less than an hour before curtain and that one seat was still available. (Most of the section was full.)

    However, a mother and her preschool-aged son came in late and sat down in a seat across the aisle and slightly behind me. They whispered quietly (not) during the WHOLE FIRST ACT!

    Aaaggh!

    I was ready to switch to a non-excellent seat for the second act, but fortunately the yakkers didn't come back after intermission.

    So...I think there is such a thing as an excellent seat, but theatres don't control the most essential elements of it. (Nor do airlines for that matter.) I refuse to pay extra for something that really isn't for sale.

    Hope Baugh - www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

    PS - The show itself was a TREAT. I am in love with Chuck Goad as Scrooge all over again.
  • Hasn't this pretty much always been how it works in major places? This is just an extension of pricing zones from what I've seen.

    But the answer is Yes, I'll pay a premium for good seats. I always ask for Dress Circle at the ISO, for example.

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