Easyjet to test allocated seating for up to £12 for premium places

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Airlines, Gatwick
Tags: , , , ,

Low-cost airline to let 40,000 passengers choose seats for a fee, which chief executive Carolyn McCall said was ‘revenue-neutral’ which chief executive Carolyn McCall said was ‘revenue-neutral’

Easyjet to test allocated seating

Easyjet is to trial fee-based passenger allocated seating. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

Low-cost airlines’ signature scramble for seats may soon be a thing of the past after easyJet announced it is to test allocated seating for passengers.

But as the airline told the City that it had reduced its losses thanks to higher baggage charges, it said the plan to allow 40,000 passengers to pre-book their seats from today on a range of routes this summer was not motivated by squeezing more money out of customers but by a desire to reduce their stress.

When the first easyJet plane took to the skies in 1995, the dash for the prime positions was as much a feature of low-cost flying as a garish onboard colour scheme and an often obscure destination airport.

Now, as the boundaries between traditional airlines and low-cost carriers has become increasingly blurred, passengers can pay to choose their own seat or be allocated one free of charge.

While the service will cost £12 for premium places in the front or exit rows, or £3 for any other chosen seat, the chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said the plan was not a money-spinner but “revenue-neutral”.

“We’ve done a lot of research and found unreserved seating can stress people out a little bit, if they’re not used to boarding that way,” she said. “Our surveys showed that it can be a barrier to people travelling with us.”

Unreserved seating was a founding feature of the low-cost airline revolution primarily because it was seen to be a faster, more efficient way to board aircraft. A fast turnaround at airports has been a key element of the low-cost business model……

More on this story at The Guardian here……

Gwyn Topham, transport correspondent and agencies
The Guardian, Tuesday 27 March 2012


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