Aegean's new seating policy – designed to annoy loyal customers?

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  • EU_Flyer

    Greece’s Aegean has started a new seating policy where seats on their A320/319/321s from the emergency exits forward until Business are only available for purchase (called ‘upfront’ seats). Upfront seats are between 8-16 Euros and exit seat are between 12-18 Euros approx. Aegean Gold FFs (highest tier) get 50% off the upfront seats but no discount on the exit seats. Seats behind the exits are free for everyone.

    Apart from a slap in the face for loyal frequent flyers, this policy has an operational problem. Unlike most full service airlines which open all remaining seats to top ffs (or even most passengers) at check in, Aegean doesn’t do this. This means that, unless one is willing to pay for the ‘upfront’ or exit seats these can’t be selected at check in, only seats behind the exits.

    What happens if everyone selects the no-charge seats from the exits back? What happens if these fill and then they have to start allocating ‘upfront’ seats for free to those checking in late, who arguably may most likely not be frequent flyers? Will this cause resentment from Gold card holders used to – until now – selecting any available seat for free. Will the fact the plane is full at the back and much less full at the front cause it to fall out of the sky? (slight tongue in cheek but point made). Will it cause delays at boarding as seats need to be reallocated to ensure correct weight distribution, meaning some FFs will be allocated seats they didn’t choose.

    Your thoughts on this new policy are much appreciated. Am I the only one who thinks this policy hasn’t been thought through?

    Thank you, in advance for your thoughts.


    In think there are other airlines doing similar – operationally I think it works, but I agree it’s a slap in the face for loyal frequent flyers – particularly if it’s currently offered as a free perk.

    For example, I recall KLM would reserve the front seats – which had a bit more legroom – in a similar way; they were free for Platinum but Gold members (like I was) merely got a discount. But, as per the scenario you outlined, it was rare that they sold even the majority of these seats, so would often have to accommodate passengers there who hadn’t paid for them. I assume that these were usually passengers checking in last at the airport. The result was as a loyal and regular flyer, choosing seats at booking and almost always checking in online, I got an average seat further back – while there were non-frequent flyers who got into the nicer seats. It was a factor – albeit one of several – in me ultimately taking my business elsewhere.

    But I think the policy has probably been thought through – they’ve just decided the short-term revenue gain outweighs the longer-term erosion of customer loyalty (and they won’t be the first airline to have done that…). But I agree, it’s certainly not the approach I would take.


    easyJet ditto. We have the easyJet+ card which is not a cheap purchase, and usually have front seats. Quite often when some (usually the centre ones) are not sold, they are allocated to other passengers. Recently I had a very large and uncouth youth next to me whose bulk and the noise from his headphones were intrusive and unpleasant.

    Whilst it is not reasonable to expect an airline to deny boarding to anybody when seats are available, there should be a better solution than this.

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