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Qantas introduces advanced seat selection – for a fee

30 Mar 2011 by BusinessTraveller

From today (March 30) international economy passengers flying with Qantas can now choose their favourite seats in advance online, for a fee of A$20 per flight.

Australia’s national airline is following in the footsteps of its Oneworld partner British Airways in charging for the service which could potentially provide Qantas with hundreds of thousands of dollars in ancillary revenue.

The difference is that, unlike BA, Qantas is not levying the fee for passengers booked in its business or premium economy cabins. (BA does not charge for first class seat assignment). And Qantas’ fee is less than the £20 and £60 rates which BA charges for long-haul economy and business class seat selection.

Qantas says that it will not charge the fee for domestic flights, nor for higher tier members of its own loyalty scheme or equivalent members of the Oneworld Frequent Flyer programme. And passengers who check-in online 24 hours before departure will be able to select their seats, as at present, free of charge.

Although some readers may criticise Qantas’ move it must be remembered that the Australian carrier probably operates a higher percentage of long-haul flights than any other airline so that is why is so important to be able to choose your favourite seat.

In particular, Qantas flights between Europe (London Heathrow and Frankfurt) and Australia via Asia are almost always heavily booked and without frequent flyer status the average traveller usually finds the best seats taken at check-in time. So the $20 fee is invaluable in this respect because, let’s face it, it represents only a tiny proportion of the cost of a long-haul ticket.

With all airlines looking to raise extra cash we wonder how long it will be before others follow the move set by BA and Qantas ?

For more information visit qantas.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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