What’s a Fair Fare_

DGCA has asked all airlines not to charge passengers for selecting their seats online. While the charges range from anywhere between 50 and 400, EXEC asks passengers if they mind shelling out for that extra comfort?

With frequent travel, one of the most important things a business traveller looks forward to is having a comfortable seat. Reason why, seats near the emergency exit or in the front row are in much demand. Few airlines charge for the extra legroom and some even charge for reclining seats. According to reports, DGCA has sent a letter to all airlines to withdraw such charges with immediate effect and also remove information on such fares from their respective websites. While some airlines have to still implement these rules, EXEC asks business travellers if they mind paying extra for a comfortable flight. And this is what they have to say

An Unfair Fare

“I do not think airlines should charge for booking seats in advance. In today’s world everybody is net savvy and can get online in a matter of minutes to choose seats according to his or her preference. For the same reason, airlines should be flexible enough to let their passengers travel in comfort. Although I prefer choosing my own seats, I am completely not cool with them charging us for this ‘convenience’ – Deepti Berera,Manager, Deloitte India

I am not ready to pay extra for choosing seats with better legroom. Airlines already charge a lot for a flight that if managed effectively can cost really less. Why should they charge extra for some innocuous frill benefits? Agreed, they have to pull up costs to make ends meet, but with the amount of revenue coming in with air traffic increasing across the country, I do not think that the airlines should resort to such measures-   Ajimesh Saha,Anchor, Living India Media

It is not feasible for the passengers to pay more just to select a seat of their choice. When you are flying, your blood circulation gets affected sitting in the same place for long hours, so passengers are entitled to ask for seats of their choice if they arrive early at the airport. It is not practical for passengers to pay extra for these things – David Clamant, Director Sales, Marriott Hyderabad

It is malpractice to charge extra, just because a customer wants more leg room and wants to select a seat at the front row or near the exit. By default certain areas of the flights have comfortable seats, and the airlines are cashing in on that. In certain domestic low-cost airlines it is not allowed to shift to a comfortable seat even if it lies vacant. I know for sure that Indigo charges more for this. However, not all airlines indulge in this practice. – Narinder Anand, MD, Value Line 

Well it’s not fair to charge more for selecting seats as it discriminates passengers. One can understand distinction between classes but for seats it’s really not fair. You can’t compare aircrafts to theatres, where you pay more for seats. Airlines are modes of transport and not means of entertainment. I will definitely not like to pay extra for the same.  –Kedar Gidh,Architect, P.F.A Design Firm Pvt Ltd

It’s certainly not right for any airlines to charge extra for a preferred seat. Airlines, being a part of the service industry, are supposed to take care of guests’ convenience and give them a preferred seat without charging for it. Not all airlines do this but this practice must be checked. I certainly do not advocate this practice and will not like to pay extra for a seat of my choice until and unless necessary. – Asif Iqbal, Director, Zubiq

I don’t think it’s justified on any airline’s part to charge anything extra for a particular seat , if they are not upgrading it. In case there is a better seat available, then it should be given without any additional charge on first come first serve basis. So if a passenger wants a seat with more legroom then he should check in early and take the advantage of being the first without any additional payment. –Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell Limited

Why should there be a differentiation? The seats it should be given on first come first serve basis.

Nikhil Kashyap, General Manager, Molecule Communications

It’s absolutely not fair. We are already paying enough to the airlines for tickets. The money charged for extra seats an be used to have a cup of coffee in the airlines. – Rahul Tandon, Proprietor

Well, airlines certainly shouldn’t charge for it. They should just give us the option of choosing seats when we make the booking. I’d rather not pay for it but I still do. – Padmanaban Ramanujam, Senior Manager, Bhawan Engineering Group

The airline industry promises good service. Good seats and leg space are a part of that service. I don’t see the point of paying for things that should come as part of the service. –Don Anand, Assistant Manager, Operations

Don’t Mind Paying For Comfort

I think it is fair to charge extra for selecting a seat of your choice on a flight. Even in the hotel industry it is a common practice to charge extra when somebody wants to occupy a prime seat at the restaurant or hotel for the advantage of having a great view or better comfort. In India, it is usually the low-cost airlines that charge extra for seat selection. But I am sure there are many people, not from the service industry, who feel offended by this practice. – Roger Hessing, MD, Via Milano

I am not sure if this move will go down well with the Indian consumer who already is looking for cheap alternatives to air travel. One way through which airlines can address this issue tactfully is to earmark a few ‘premium’ seats in the economy class for some higher rates. If people buy them, it would be good, and if not, the airlines can always ‘upgrade’ any passengers on a first come-first serve basis. This way the issue of charging more for special seats can be addressed. I usually would not mind paying a bit more for that ‘comfy’ seat if it is actually needed.

Abel Hmar, Director, Hmar Associates  

It depends on what time your flight is. I don’t mind paying extra 50 rupees and get a comfortable window seat for a power nap. It is ideal when you are traveling in the morning for a business trip. I don’t mind paying extra as at times you can be caught in the middle seat and that’s the worst situation. –Manish Khattri,Head Marketing and Sales, Mahindra

If it’s a budget airline, without any Loyalty programme, it’s ok to charge fee for choosing a seat. Else, it should be free and priority should be given to loyalty programme members. I don’t mind paying extra as long as the ticket price is cheap. If the ticket price is high, preferred seats should not be charged.

Moshiar Rahman, Sr Manager – Marketing, GKB Lens Pvt Ltd

Yes, it is fair. It is business and in business nothing is unfair if someone is making profit on it. I personally will not mind paying for my choice of seat.

Sk Zulfikar Ali, CEO, Bengal Group of Companies

Yes, I think it’s ok to charge an extra fee for booking seats beforehand. If I’m traveling with family then I will not mind paying for better seats.

Bunty Sethi, Director, Merlinz Restaurants Pvt Ltd

 “For a long flight, it is very important to have the right seat and yes, I don’t mind paying for it. For the short haul ones, like Chennai to Bangalore, I really wouldn’t bother with it” –Dr. Mir Ali Reza, Executive Director, Overseas Operations and PR, Dentistree

“Airline costs have come down so much and so many people travel by air these days. So having a seat of my choice is a luxury I am willing to pay for. At a reasonable cost, of course” –Sumitra Roy, Director, Planning and Operations, Terra

I’ve always believed that good service comes at a price. If I am travelling and I want a specific seat, I wouldn’t mind paying for the same. –Moosa Khan, Creative Director

I travel very frequently on business, and I want to be comfortable during the long journeys. If I have to pay extra for my comfort, I really don’t have a problem with it. –Smitha Menon,Marketing Executive

If the airlines do charge you for giving extra benefits, I think it is all right. As the airline world is reeling under extreme competition, I think it is ok for them to do so. We do pay an extra ‘convenience charge’ to choose movie halls seats while booking them online. If we are ok with that, then why not with airlines net-bookings? Yes, on the other hand, airlines should also keep it a nominal amount and not charge a bomb for it.-          Sapna Goel,Lead Associate, Ernst and Young

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

scroll to top