EasyJet to trial seat allocation surcharge

28th March 2012

Passengers who want to select their seats prior to boarding could be expected to fork out up to £12 if the airline's trial is approved

Currently, easyJet operate a free-for-all policy when it comes to seat allocation; the first to scrabble onto the aeroplane get their preferred choice of seat. However, this may change as the airline is trialling a new policy that charges passengers anywhere between £3-£12 to book a seat in advance. The price depends on whether passengers opt for the roomier emergency exit seats or a standard seat.

The new surcharge will be tested on routes from Luton to six destinations including  Istanbul. However, before the policy is rolled out onto all flights, easyJet wants to asses feedback from passengers.

“Our aim is to make travel easy and affordable for all our passengers. It can stress people out, the boarding experience. With easyJet, they may not be used to the way we board. It can be a barrier to travelling with us. People are just not used to unreserved seating,” says easyJet's chief executive Carolyn McCall.

The new initiative has been met with some opposition, as the airline already operates a £4.50 surcharge for 'speedy boarding'.

EasyJet is not the only airline to operate an extra charge to pre-book seats; Ryanair also requires passengers to pay up to £10 to choose their seats. Ryanair, however, have been under investigation for their seat surcharge policy by the Irish Aviation  Authority. The Irish safety watchdog been concerned about how this rule has left emergency exits unmanned.

While this is not currently an issue to an English registered company like easyJet, the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airline Pilots Association have started to express concerns about this policy.

Meanwhile, easyJet launched a new flight route from London Luton to Iceland's capital Reykjavík yesterday.

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