After checked baggage fees, the most irritating fee airlines charge customers is probably the one to select your seat. For many years this “perk” came at no additional fee, and in many cases it costs the airline nothing to provide, so is it now just another profit centre?
When we discuss charging for selecting a seat many might presume we mean low cost airlines such as EasyJet or Ryanair, where customers are made aware of these additional charges at the time of booking. However there is a new trend emerging where carriers operating scheduled long haul flights are beginning to charge this fee to book the seat of your choice. These charges vary dramatically between airlines and many carriers do not charge passengers who hold the highest levels of frequent flyer card or are paying fully flexible fares. One carrier in particular charges as much as £80.00 to pre reserve a seat in the business class cabin, and more if you are looking to sit in the upper deck. Only when online check in opens from 24-48 hours before flying, does this then become a free service.
Some airlines now offer seats in economy with additional legroom, not to be confused with premium economy which is in a separate cabin. Carriers such as KLM and Delta offer seats in “economy comfort” where passengers can purchase these seats at an additional cost. These fees do not apply for the travellers who possess the top tier of frequent flyer card and reduced fees apply to those holding certain lower tiers of card.
Providing it is within a company’s travel policy, Colpitts endeavour to make travel bookers/travellers aware of this service, but with more and more carriers going down this route, it’s getting harder to obtain the seat of your choice. Looking at certain aircraft seat maps, airlines are blocking out more seats so travellers have to pay to be get the guaranteed seat of their choice at the time of booking.
You may want to consider how many hours you will be sitting on your seat as to whether you pay these premiums!