Single seat booking restrictions

We received the below report about restriction on single seat bookings. What are your thoughts, should venues be allowed to restrict seating sales to force people to buy more than one seat?

I recently booked a seat for and event at a local entertainment centre. I found the website had too much advertising re dining options etc so I phoned to book. It would have cost $6 to book a $20 seat so I returned to website.

There were very few seats left and when I selected one a response came up that I could not book because it would have left a single seat next to it. I could hardly believe I could not book an available seat as a single person. As a single, I should be able to choose which seat I book. I phoned and the woman I spoke to was very defensive if their policies. It smacked of greed to me.


Just as well airlines do not do this.

No, a customer can choose, in this case, the particular seat, they want.
What is happening to Customer service and satisfaction?

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I can see why it is done as some groups (2 or more persons) don’t want to be split up all over the arena due to poor seating allocation. I have had the experience of being separated from the rest of the group and it made it hard to catch up in intermission and also after the game of tennis (when everyone is trying to leave at the same time).

I assume that one could have booked a seat near the isle or where only one seat remained due to other groups booking (seat left between bookings).

I think the policy of fair as one could say that allowing single seats to be booked everywhere could disadvantage group bookings. It is possibly easier to fit a single person into a venue that larger groups of people.


A bit like the Cruise industry where you have to pay for the extra berth in Twin or 4 berth etc rooms if you want a room to yourself or 2 or 3 to a four berth and so on… They want to fill as much to capacity as they can but will allow the wasted space if the payment is made.


When we booked seats on the Tilt train from Brisbane to Cairns last year there were no double seats available. Some of the doubles had only one passenger. Sitting separated was an option to ensure we would not miss travelling.

The train also has a number of single only seats. Surprisingly none of these had been allocated to any of the one off travellers.

Flying works the same. You book and either pay extra to select a seat, or the airline plonks you where ever. If the plane is near full you may be separated. Conversely if you book as a lone traveller the airline does not refuse your fare.

Entertainment venues tend to write their own rules. Does current legislation define discrimination whether you are single or a twosome? I wonder how the same venue might have responded if you wanted to book for three?

It may be enlightening to have the lowdown on how consumer and common law relate (tough) to the purchase of a place at an event or venue. The view of the wise one in our family when she worked in the industry was the venue is always right, unless agreed otherwise with the promoter who might be even more narrow minded.


Is it the venues or the promoters that create this issue? Either way they’re in it for money, not your enjoyment. They use previous event stats to game seat sales tactics, including choice of venue, to maximise return. It’s their venue/show so they can do as they please, you can’t expect them to potentially forego sales to accommodate people who want to book single seats. Probably a bit like standby fares, or overbooking flights to compensate for no shows.

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Should a venue or event in advertising or in the lead in conditions of any web service state clearly they will not accept bookings for other than couples or even numbers of purchasers.

It might be that such a practice in the open may be more likely to cause legal challenge. Or result in regulation because the evidence is self evident.

I can’t say I was ever refused as a single. Most places ask how many up front, before politely suggesting they are booked out. Would we ever know for sure?