There’s already has been loads of coverage about airline baggage fees, but did you know that some airlines charge seat selection fees? Knowing these fees is important, because they add to the overall cost of your flight. Keep in mind that fees are always changing, so check with each specific airline before you book.
JetBlue, my favorite airline for a multitude of reasons, doesn’t charge for seat assignments in general. However, if you’d like an “even more legroom” seat, you’ll need to pay extra, even once you are on board. United (now merged with Continental), also charges for some seats, in the section of the plane called “Economy Plus”. There are no additional perks to Economy Plus except for the seating, and expect it to cost around $70 for a cross-country flight.
Delta Airlines does not currently charge for seat assignments, but in most cases, you can’t get an exit row seat unless you are a Dividend Miles Preferred member. There are other seats that are also dedicated specifically to preferred members. Southwest has their infamous no-seat-assignment policy, but for an additional fee, you can check-in early and get a more desirable boarding number. USAirways charges for choice seats, some of which are just standard aisle or window seats (with no additional perks).
America offers several seat options. Travelers can choose from limited seats available for free, or one will be assigned to you. Preferred flyers or those paying full fare have the option of preferred plus seats (including exit rows). Preferred seats are available for an additional fee. American also charges an extra fee if you want to board in the first boarding group.
Spirit and AirTran both charge if you want to make a seat selection in advance – a fee that can be frustrating if you are flying cross-country. With Spirit, if you do not purchase an advance seating assignment, one will be randomly assigned to you and cannot be changed. AirTran, on the other hand, doesn’t charge with certain rate codes (i.e., for more expensive flights, you may not have to pay extra). They also charge if you would like a preferred boarding number.
Is that all confusing enough for you? It’s even more difficult to get your whole family seated together on flights now – although there still are some things you can do.
So, if you are purchasing a seat, which seat should you choose? I’d recommend checking out SeatGuru, where you can see the most and least desirable seats on your specific flight!
Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan on FlickrCheck prices for your vacation on Expedia, Southwest Airlines Vacations, and Hotels.com.