Easyjet to trial allocated seating

15 Nov 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Easyjet has become the latest low-cost carrier to announce a trial of allocated seating, to take place on selected routes from this coming spring.

Passengers will be allocated specific seats on these flights, with passengers on the same booking “allocated seats next to each other where possible”.

Revenue will come from passengers having the option to reserve front row seats, seats with extra leg room, or “any other they prefer” in advance, for a charge.

Easyjet has yet to announce what this charge will be, or which routes will be involved in the trial.

The carrier currently operates a revenue-generating Speedy Boarding offering, allowing passengers to board its aircraft in advance of other travellers – if it was to move to a permanent allocated seating model it’s unlikely this service could continue.

Commenting on the trial CEO Carolyn McCall said that Easyjet would “roll it out further only if it works operationally, from a revenue perspective and increases passenger satisfaction. If it doesn’t, we won’t.”

Ryanair launched its own reserved seating trial earlier this year, with 80 routes now participating (see online news November 7). Passengers pay €10 each way to reserve seats either in the front two rows, or in the over-wing emergency exit.

Low-cost carrier Bmibaby also launched a new offering aimed at business travellers, with the FlyPlus fare including seat assignment at the time of booking (see online news September 7).

The Easyjet announcement follows the launch of the carrier’s Flexi fare earlier this year. The offering includes speedy boarding, unlimited ticket changes and one piece of hold luggage. Until November 30 passengers purchasing a Flexi fare tickets whose flight is delayed by more than 15 minutes, will receive a free leisure ticket to anywhere on the carrier’s network (see online news September 20).

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Report by Mark Caswell

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