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EasyJet to Introduce Allocated Seating

The budget airline wants to see if “passenger satisfaction” is increased by knowing they have an assigned seat.

For most of us who take budget flights to our cheap holidays every year, once of the most irritating parts of the journey is the undignified scrum that can build up when boarding commences. From the frustration of waiting in a long line as the “priority boarding” elite file past to the confusion and scrummage for seats together – or near your hand luggage – the process can add to the stress of travel.

That is why pioneering cheap flights airline easyJet has decided to trial an allocated seating system, which will begin operating next year in the spring. Under the trial system, all passengers will be allocated a specific seat number and will therefore know exactly where they will be. If passengers would like a seat closer to the exit or a front row seat with extra legroom, they can pay in advance for the privilege – a move which will replace easyJet’s Speedy Boarding option.

The carrier’s chief executive Carolyn McCall said that the trial represented “another example of easyJet trying to do all it can to make travel easy and affordable for our passengers.”

“We look forward to seeing how our passengers respond and how the trial works,” Ms McCall added.

“We will roll it out further only if it works operationally, from a revenue perspective and increases passenger satisfaction. If it doesn’t, we won’t.”

EasyJet has had a good year so far, with the announcement today that it has managed to deliver a 60 per cent rise in the full year’s pre-tax profits to £248 million – some £195 million of which will be paid out to shareholders despite a £100 million increase in the cost of air fuel.

The report also revealed that the airline’s capacity has increased by 11.5 per cent thanks to expansion of the network from bases at London Gatwick, France and Switzerland.