Airline fees for seat selection pushing passengers to tipping point


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Submitted: Tue, 05/22/2012 - 9:20pm
Updated: Wed, 05/23/2012 - 1:03pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For the past few years, airlines have hiked up fees for a variety of extras like early boarding and checked bags. Now they’re looking to charge for seat selection.

Several airlines are tacking on fees for select seats in coach, while some are charging passengers for assigned seats.

US Airways and American Airlines have started reserving more aisle and window seats for those willing to pay the fee, but that also makes it harder for friends and family to sit next to each other unless they shell out $25 or more each way.

ILM Airport Director Jon Rosborough says the rising cost in fuel is the main reason for the changes.

“Our passenger numbers are up 5.9 percent, and these fees have been on for some time now, for the last six to 12 months, and sooner or later there’s going to be a tipping point, and I think that’s what the airlines are seeing,” Rosborough said. “How much further can they go without turning away customers?”

The Associated Press reports the average domestic round trip ticket this summer is estimated at around $430. That’s three percent higher than last year.

Some passengers say if airlines keep tacking on the fees, they just won’t fly any more.

“‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ style, and just pack up the family wagon and drive,” ILM passenger Zach Lehman said.

8 Comments

  • nyyankeegirl says:

    We have family in Florida. It used to be that my husband and I would fly back and forth to Florida 4 to 5 times a year on Allegiant Air because their rates were so inexpensive. We have quit doing it and drive instead. Why?? Because Allegiant Air started charging for assigned seats (if you don’t buy into this, you will not be sitting with your traveling companions. Then they raised check-on baggage fees…..then fees for Priority boarding (if you don’t buy in to this, you will also end up sitting away from your traveling companions too!)……..and now they charge carry-on fees!!! What looks like about a 109.98 round-trip ticket sometimes, ends up being over 250.00 once you add all the fees attached to it. I realize gas prices are higher, but why don’t they just raise the price of the airline ticket instead of insulting our intelligence and turning us off with their many different incidental charges? Most airlines are doing this crap now. It just stinks!

  • Nofool says:

    It doesn’t matter who started this because it smells like collusion no matter what. Its an unsanitary way of institutional squeezing of customers. Its plain dirty. After all, the is a fuel charge so what does fuel cost have to do with seat assignments. So much for efficiency with web check in!

  • my2centstoday says:

    “They just won’t fly anymore”. What a load of rubbish. If that was a solution to this problem there wouldn’t be millions of people in the air this morning. Airlines should just put the price of the ticket up and include all the bells and whistles just like they used to back in the day.

  • Barry Graham says:

    People want cheap fares. This allows that, and those that need to choose better seats pay for it. I am ok with that.

  • Guest33 says:

    The TSA (Total Sexual Assault) needs extra money now for all that radiation
    and hard squeezing work they do to keep you safe from Al-CIA-da.

  • Major Tom says:

    The airlines raised their fees back 2007/08 when fuel prices rose, to cover their costs. They did not go down when fuel costs went down. Now that fuel is up again they want to raise it more!? I think not. I’ll simply drive or stay home.

  • Guest211 says:

    I heard they were going to charge more for window and aisle seats. What big choice does that leave? The middle. or maybe the wing. then you can get off first.

  • Guest211 says:

    LAST YEAR, I FLEW ROUND TRIP FROM ILM TO RSW. THE AIRLINE CHANGED ONE OF MY SEATS OUT OF RSW ON THEIR OWN.IF I HAD CHANGE THE SEAT, I WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED FOR DOING IT. I DIDN’T GET ANY COMPENSATION OR EVEN A CHOICE. ALSO, IF SEATS AREN’T ASSIGNED, HOW WILL A PERSON KNOW IF THEY CAN EVEN GET ON THE PLANE? THEY ALREADY OVER BOOK SOMETIMES.

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