AirTran Airways New Premium Seat Choice Option
AirTran Airways recently added the option to choose your seat in advance for a $10 to $30 fee. Everyone in the blogosphere is whining about the extra fee, but I think the carrier has made a smart move. According to the recent Maritz Research survey, 63% of travelers agreed they would be willing to pay for premium seats (such as those behind the bulkhead or in the exit row). Well, if a majority of people are willing to pay a premium for the option, why shouldn’t the airline charge? It’s no different than scalpers charging several hundred dollars for World Series tickets. If people are willing to spend $800 on upper level seats, then supply and demand says that scalpers can charge $800.
Previously, passengers traveling on sale or discount coach fares couldn’t pick seats until they checked in for the flight. Now AirTran customers using those fares have the option of paying a small extra fee to reserve a seat at the time of booking. Booking any old seat will cost $5.00 each way; exit row seats are a hefty $15 each direction.
The source for this article had the following to say: “An AirTran spokeswoman said many customers are glad to have the option, but Atlanta lawyer Jay Barber doesn’t like the extra fee. Most big airlines don’t charge for any advance seat reservations, and last week he took Delta Air Lines to Philadelphia rather than pay extra to reserve a seat.” That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Why would you pay $150 more for a ticket on the larger carrier to avoid a $30.00 fee? I just searched that trip on each carrier and that was the price difference. Either Jay Barber is the stupidest attorney EVER or he’s considering filing some sort of class action lawsuit.
The new seat fees don’t apply to higher fare categories or members of the frequent flier corporate travel programs. Those customers can continue to reserve seats at the time of booking with no fee attached. Seriously, what attorney is so cheap he’s flying on the discount fares of a discount carrier and whining about an added $10 charge to choose his seat? I just can’t get over that.
Via Airport Business.