Published: 00:01, 17 July 2014
Two groups clashed at a screening of Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie - in a row over allocated seating.
Frustrated customers are now questioning the decision to introduce allocated seating in Ashford’s Cineworld cinema.
For the last month, visitors to the cinema, in the Eureka Leisure Park, say they have experienced several problems with the new reserved seating policy.
That includes confusion over row and seat numbers, people ignoring rules, arguments and problems with booking tickets online and the website crashing.
Little Burton resident Kirsty Poynton went to the cinema to watch Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie but says the beginning of the film was interrupted after a disagreement over the new seats erupted.
She said: “There was an argument between a large group of people at the screening.
"It seemed that five people had already sat in the seats that a party of seven had booked.
“In the end the seven people chose to ignore their booked seats and sat elsewhere as the film had started.”
The new system has also prompted handfuls of complaints on the Cineworld Ashford Facebook page.
Ian Chinery said: “If the allocated seating is not abolished in a month I will be cancelling my Unlimited Card, along with hundreds of others by the looks of it. An absolute shocker of an idea.”
Clifford Bounds commented: “It was a complete and utter joke taking my parents to watch Mrs Brown’s Boys.
"It was the first film they watched in ages and now they don’t want to return due to the rows over seats. They didn’t want to be there after that and it spoiled a good night out.”
Amy Nahome said: “Sadly not a good first experience of allocated seating. Booked specific seats for a reason and arrived to find people in them.
“They moved out of them... eventually, and not before managing to make me feel rude for telling them to move.
"We have always been happy to just arrive early to get the seats we need. Most likely will end up cancelling our unlimited cards if allocated seating remains!”
A Facebook page titled “Say No To Allocated Seating at Cineworld” has also been set up and has so far attracted nearly 3,000 “likes”.
"If the allocated seating is not abolished in a month I will be cancelling my Unlimited Card, along with hundreds of others by the looks of it" - Ian Chinery
Bosses from Cineworld say the benefits of the new system, which was brought in across all Cineworlds in June, includes peace of mind for customers.
They can now select their seats in advance and arrive at the cinema knowing their preferred seats are reserved, as well as ensuring that bigger groups can sit together.
In addition, the rows and seat numbers have been relabelled to make it clearer which seats have been allocated.
Despite the negative feedback, some customers are pleased with the new move.
Sam Ireland shared her thoughts on the cinema’s Facebook page, saying: “I don’t know what all the moaning about allocated seating is about. I think it’s brilliant.
"It means I can pick the exact seats I want and not have to get to the cinema extremely early during busy times to get a decent seat.”
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