The seats you were trying to avoid are truly uncomfortable by almost any standard. The pitch, or distance between seats, is about 31 inches, which means you’re wedged into a tiny enclosure for 10 hours. That shouldn’t be legal.
When TAM double-booked your “comfort” seat – which has about the same amount as the average economy class seat in the ’70s – they should have offered you a courtesy upgrade into a vacant business-class seat. If they couldn’t, then the least they should have done was to quickly refund the upgrade fee you paid. TAM didn’t do that, either.
Refunds on upgrade fees ought to be automatic, but as it turns out, they aren’t. When you didn’t get your premium economy-class seats, a crew member needed to fill out paperwork authorizing a refund. That also didn’t happen.
Airline passengers don’t deserve this. Every seat should have a minimum amount of legroom and width, no matter what they pay for it. Airlines shouldn’t be allowed to remove much-needed room and then demand more money just to treat you with a little dignity.
I find it absurd that TAM would string you along for five more months, promising you something it probably never intended to deliver. I mean, until I contacted it, TAM’s unarticulated position was that because you didn’t have the refund paperwork, it would get to keep your $150. Come on.
I asked TAM to look into your claims and a representative told me it experienced “difficulty” in obtaining the data from all pertinent departments because your paperwork wasn’t filled out correctly after you were denied a “comfort” seat. TAM refunded your $150.