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Indian passengers paying extra for flight seats due to unavailability of free ones: Survey

A survey reveals that over one third of passengers had to pay extra for flight seats in the last 12 months as free seats weren’t available, reports PTI.

Indian passengers paying extra for flight seats due to unavailability of free ones: Survey

Some passengers prefer to reserve their seats beforehand to avoid any inconvenience during their flight. This facility can be either availed while booking flight tickets or even at check-in counters. But passengers have to pay extra to avail seats of their choice. The cost usually lies somewhere between Rs 200-1,500, especially for seats in the front and emergency rows as they offer more legroom. In case the consumer doesn't wish to purchase a preferred seat, airlines are supposed to ensure that there are enough free seats available for them to select from during the web check-in. However, a survey has revealed that around  one-third of air passengers had to pay extra money for seats on a flight in the last 12 months as free seat options were not available. 

The survey, conducted by online platform LocalCircles, was based on 30,000 responses from individuals across 351 districts. As per the survey, some 60 percent of the respondents also batted for capping the number of paid seats at 30 percent of the total seats.

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had in 2015 announced unbundling of services, allowing Indian airlines to charge all of their fliers extra for choice of specific seats, luggage and use of airline lounges, among other facilities. “One in every third person surveyed said that the airline they booked did not give the option to secure a free seat,” the survey said.

"Many consumers have been complaining on LocalCircles and other social media platforms about some airlines still charging a fee for allotment of all seats on the plane and there is not a single seat kept for free allocation. However, some airlines continue to charge consumers extra for all seats on the plane,” it said.

According to the platform, during its survey, it was also found that 2 in every three consumers, who booked flights in the last 12 months, paid extra fee for reserving a seat once or more while another 34 percent of them said they had to pay every single time. One in three of those consumers who booked flights say the airline was charging extra fee for allotment of each seat on the plane.

“In summary, over 1 in 3 consumers who booked flights in the last 12 months say the airline was charging extra fee for allotment of each seat on the plane. Furthermore, 2 in 3 consumers...Say they paid an extra fee for reserving a seat once or more. Of whom, 34 percent said they had to pay every single time,” LocalCircles said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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