Easyjet to Launch Allocated Seating across Network

Easyjet, a UK-based budget airline, is ready to launch its allocated seating on all routes of its network from November 2012, having completed a successful trial of the seating arrangement on chosen routes.

The allocated seating includes a priority boarding system against a payment of a minimum of £3 per person, enabling passengers that purchase Speedy Boarding to board the aircraft first, followed by passengers requiring special assistance and families. All other passengers will board the aircraft after these groups.

The allocated seating is available for three price ranges, £12 for extra leg room in front row and exit seats, £8 for seats at the front of the aircraft, and £3 for any other seat.

70 percent of the 800,000 passengers that have flown since the launch of the seating allocation in April 2012 have reported being in favour of the new arrangement.

Carolyn McCall, the airline chief executive officer, said, ‘This is an example of easyJet trying to do all it can to make travel easy and affordable for our passengers. Our customers asked us to trial allocated seating and we are really pleased with the positive passenger feedback during the trial. As importantly, we have shown that we can do so while delivering strong on time performance – the most important driver of passenger satisfaction.

Allocated seating gives all our passengers a better boarding experience and offers the choice of selecting a seat to those who want to. On trial flights the majority of passengers were simply allocated seats when they checked in. Some passengers chose particular seats with best-selling seats usually those near the front, for those who wish to get off the aircraft quickly at their destinations, and exit row seats with their extra legroom.

We are confident this move will make our current passengers happier when flying with easyJet and will attract new passengers to fly with us in future.’

British Passengers Condemn Sharing Social Media Profiles with Fellow Passengers

British passengers are not in favour of proposals for sharing social media profiles with airlines to decide on favourable fellow passengers for flights.

HolidayExtras.com, a UK-based travel amenities company, found that British travellers are wary of what airlines call ‘social seating’, according to a survey, with 57 percent of the customers polled voting against airlines using social media profiles of passengers for shared information prior to boarding. Customers have cited safety concerns, with 64 percent of women fliers and 51 percent of men raising the issue.

Airlines are currently testing new software that will allow travellers to choose their ideal neighbour, based on their social media profiles. 38 percent of the airlines’ customers branded the new ‘social seating’ software ‘a completely scary idea’, while 19 percent admitted to feeling concerned that the software could be a danger to them.

For around 12 percent of the people polled, social seating would offer them a dream travel scenario, with the potential to fulfil a romantic notion, or to avoid ‘passengers from hell’. Of the people polled, men seemed more taken with the possibility of finding a date among their fellow passengers, than women.

Anthony Clarke Cowell, associate merchandising director at HolidayExtras.com, said, ‘It’s great to see the travel industry using the latest technology and harnessing the power of social media, but judging by these survey results, social seating could be a step too far for British travellers.’

The survey also points out that a small proportion of the customers (13 percent) may opt for social seating, if they have full control over the information shared with their fellow passengers via the airlines.