‘Family fee’: Air travellers to pay more for seats next to familyWhile the concept of ‘seat selection fee’ or the ‘family fee’ has existed worldwide for long, airlines are now looking to put it into effect rigorously.
While airline commercials depict the most hospitable services to families on board, the reality may be quite different in terms of the money you need to shell out to enjoy your travel. The airline industry, which have been served with a cap on baggage and cancellation fees by regulators, have now come up with a fresh levy on families that make requests to be seated together on a flight.
While the concept of ‘seat selection fee’ or the ‘family fee’ has existed worldwide for long, airlines are now looking to put it into effect rigorously. Air India introduced the fee in May, while private carrier Jet Airways also revised its seat selection fee recently.
As per details cited by the Times Of India, a family of three on board an Air India flight from Mumbai to London will have to pay Rs 9,000 extra in one-way fee to be allotted seats together. On Jet Airways, the same would cost around Rs 4,500. Moreover, if exit row seats with more legroom are chosen, the fee would soar by Rs 10,500.
According to the report, Air India has sent a circular on December 12 to travel agents that provided a comprehensive list of the tariff and the selection fee chart.
“On flights between India and the Middle East, and Asean countries, the categories are high season, peak season and other months. It's evident that when the revenue they earned from baggage fees and cancellation fees came down, Jet increased the seat selection fee,” TOI quoted an aviation consultant as saying.
The report also claimed that after the Indian aviation regulator, DGCA, put a cap onbaggage fees and cancellation fees this year, airlines have started using ‘seat selection fee’ to raise their ancillary revenue from non-ticket sources, such as baggage fees, preferred seat, food bought on board, etc.
Moreover, Air India didn’t even bother to give specified details of ‘seat selection fees’ on its website and has instead put a "blanket preferred seat price" of Rs 3,500 per seat on flights to the US and Rs 3,000 per seat on flights to the UK, Far East, Europe and Australia.