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EasyJet Will Assign You That Seat, Thank You Very Much

November 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

On one hand, EasyJet shows all the signs of being an ultra-budget LCC. The airline isn't as obnoxious about their exorbitant fees and/or lack of services as Spirit Airlines or Ryanair, but they did pointedly ring up Prince Harry on a bunch of fees the last time he flew with them. They even charged him extra for checking through his green army bag, which was issued to him while he was serving in Afghanistan, among other places. Thoroughly charming.

On the other hand, the British airline has made a number of moves implying that they want to be something more than a "frugal LCC" also-ran. They've led the way on genuinely innovative features like offering in-flight trip insurance, and they were the first UK commercial airline to coat their planes with nano-paint so they could fly more efficiently.

And now EasyJet has crossed an LCC red line, embracing seat assignments and thereby—per an admittedly kind of fawning Guardian writeup—"tearing up the rulebook for budget airlines." We're not sure about that last part since Ryanair already lets you pay for reserved seats, but EasyJet should get credit for going one step further and assigning all seats. They're also breaking with other LCCs on a PR level by emphasizing—quite explicitly—that they're trying to appeal to business travelers who don't want to overspend but also don't want to feel like they're on a bus with wings (our words, not theirs).

Although some of the details are still being worked out, EasyJet has already announced that they'll follow the depressingly standard industry practice of charging for premium front and exit row seats. Other than that, the trials will feature assigned seating the way that assigned seating usually works, with everyone on the same reservation getting to sit together whenever possible.

Ryanair was quick to note that they have no intention of following EasyJet's lead, and that if you want an assigned seat on one of their planes you'll still have to pay for it.

[Photo: easyGroup / Wiki Commons]

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