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'Majority of passengers unwilling to pay extra for seats of choice in plane'

Mumbai: A majority of passengers would be willing to accept whatever seat the airline assigns to them during web check-in or at check-in counters than shelling out extra for a seat of their choice, a survey has found.

As many as 41 per cent of respondents said they will take whatever seat is available.

Another 24 per cent said they will reach the airport early and try to get a seat of their choice.

"Only 12 per cent passengers said they will pay and reserve (a seat of their choice)," said the survey conducted by community-based social network LocalCircles, based on 23,000 responses.

The study comes amid the controversy sparked by budget carrier IndiGo's announcement that all seats assigned through web check-in attract a fee.

Following a huge outcry, the airline later said that "some seats" might still be available without extra cost.

The move also prompted the government to announce that it will "review" the decision.

"As per our revised policy all seats are chargeable for web check-in. Alternatively you may check-in at the airport for free. Seats will be assigned as per the availability," IndiGo said on November 25. Through web check-in, passengers verify their presence on a flight online and seats can also be chosen.

As per the survey, 43 per cent of respondents said that only a quarter of total number of seats should be allowed to be charged, if at all, while eight per cent opined that such a decision (the number of seats to be charged) should be left to the airline.

Another eight per cent said not more than half the seats be allowed to be charged.

On VIPs getting preferred seats on domestic flights, 78 per cent of respondents said that it is their clout which gets them the seat without payment, and only six per cent thought that VIPs pay for it.

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