The Difficult Process Of Choosing A Seat On A Plane Made Even More Complicated
The introduction of new “selection” fees and extra charges to sit in certain locations in the aircraft made this process a bit more complicated than the ordinary pick according to the necessary legroom.
The strategy of unbundling often used by airlines, now charging almost every service that used to be baked into the ticket price, it not a new one, and it seems that they’ve come to a point where they even ding passengers for seats with more legroom or near the front of the plane. The cost is worth it for some people if the “premium” seats deliver what the airline promises, but unfortunately this is not true in all the cases.
Most seats in coach can be had without paying a fee but sometimes airlines charge passengers for selecting any seat, being it in a quiet area or having more space.
Usually, many passengers choose the front seats for a quieter ride with less turbulence, avoiding the annoyance of being near the bathrooms, the galley, or the engines; not to mention the fact that some statistics have indicated that you’ll a better chance of surviving a plane crash if you are in the front area of the aircraft. But, the front or first seat row has a drawback, and that being the wall dividing coach and first class which doesn’t allow too much room for stretching the legs.
In the emergency exit rows the trip might be a bit noisier compared to the front row but you’ll have extra space to stretch your legs, and if the plane you are riding on has two emergency exit rows back-to-back, like the popular Boeing 737, it would be better to sit in that second row, because the first row of seats won’t fully recline.
The coach class sometimes seems like a cattle car because the airlines try to put in there as many seats as possible, but the “premium” coach seat, found usually in the front of the plane, is a quiet area with more legroom and even if you pay extra that doesn’t mean that you will receive some extra services.
The sad truth is that some airlines are just charging extra for little or no extra benefit. For example, Matt Daimler, founder of SeatGuru.com, a website that helps travelers pick the best airline seats, advised his readers to save the money if they plan of flying on US Airways because the “choice seats” cost $5 to $15 extra and don’t provide extra legroom.
But there are other airline companies, like American Airlines, which introduced “Express Seats” last month, so for a charge between $19 and $39, a passenger will get onboard early and sits in the first few rows of coach that include bulkhead seats.
Southwest Airline also offers priority boarding for an extra cost of $10, but the option of reserving premium seats only at the airport is accepted by all airlines, even if that might inconvenience travelers accustomed to checking in online.
United and JetBlue airlines provide enough extra legroom to make it worth the extra payment and the priority boarding incentives.
Travelers can ask for help anytime they feel in need, especially when they get overwhelmed by all the different charges and rules; Daimler even shared tricks of how make your flight comfortable, starting from the airport: book early and always choose your seat right when you book.
As he also stated “I really don’t mind the fees when I’m getting something for my money, and these are ones that I think are really valuable”, so beware of the extra fees charged by airlines such as Spirit and AirTran. For Spirit, you’ll have to wait for an agent to assign you a seat at the airport, and for AirTran, you can book a seat within 24 hours of your flight for free, at the airport or online.11