Millennium Post

Airlines may be able to charge extra for upto 20% seats

Indian carriers may have to limit the seats for which they can charge extra to about 15-20 per cent of the total seats on each flight, with the government planning to soon issue a directive in this regard.

The total seats on a two-class single-aisle Airbus A-320 or a similar Boeing-737 aircraft number around 130-140, of which the airlines would be able to charge more for a maximum of about 30-odd seats, official sources said.

‘We think six seats each in the front and emergency exit rows (which offer extra legroom) can be put up for preferred seating charge. Apart from this, window and aisle seats from the second to fifth rows could also attract these charges,’ they said.

A notification limiting the number of preferred seats is likely to be issued soon, the sources said.

In order to ensure transparency in charging for the preferred seats, the airlines would have to make it known to the public through their websites and agents about the charges and the preferred seats on sale, they said.

Following passengers' protests soon after the Civil Aviation Ministry declared unbundling of various services allowing airlines to charge separately for preferred seats, meals and extra baggage, the Ministry had asked all carriers to limit the number of preferred seats.

Soon after the decision on unbundling was announced, major carriers like Jet Airways, IndiGo and GoAir started selling preferred seats at rates ranging between Rs 200 and Rs 500. Air India and Jet also reduced the weight of free baggage allowance from 20 to 15 kgs.
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