EasyJet to roll out allocated seating in November

EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) is preparing to introduce assigned seating starting in November. The company issued the following statement:

“As part of its aim of making travel easy and affordable, easyJet is to roll out allocated seating across its network from November 2012. The airline has been trialling allocated seating since April and over this period more than 800,000 passengers have flown on 6,000 trial flights.

Research among these passengers shows that more than 70% think allocated seating is better than easyJet’s current system, due to the improved boarding experience, while over 60% said that they are more likely to use easyJet in the future as a result.

easyJet trialled allocated seating because passenger research showed that the current boarding process can be a source of stress for some passengers and in some cases puts people off flying with easyJet altogether. The key tests of the trial were to improve passenger satisfaction without impacting easyJet’s ability to deliver industry leading punctuality or adding cost – all of which were achieved on trial flights.

On allocated seating flights passengers who do not wish to pay to select their seat will be allocated a seat free of charge. Passengers travelling on the same booking will be seated together wherever possible by easyJet’s reservation system which uses the most advanced seating algorithm in world aviation.

Some interesting facts emerged from the trial flights:

    • On shorter journeys seat 6A was the best seller while on longer flights it was 1A
    • On shorter journeys seat 16B was the least popular while it was 19B on longer flights
    • Passengers preferred seats on the left hand side of the plane with seats A, B and C out selling D, E and F

Allocated seating will continue on trial flights and the key dates in the roll out across easyJet’s network are:

Services to/from Date
Gatwick South, Luton, Stansted, Southend, Bristol and Glasgow 13 November
Gatwick North, Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino and Paris Charles de Gaulle 20 November
Belfast, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Basel, Geneva, Lyon, Nice, Toulouse, Paris Orly, Madrid, Lisbon and Berlin Schönefeld 27 November

All passengers will be allocated a seat for free on easyJet’s flights but will be have the choice of selecting their seat for a fee when they book flights or add them later to guarantee where they’ll be sitting.  There are three bands of pricing, dependent on the seat selected:

      • £12 for extra leg room (front row and exit rows)
      • £8 for up front seats (row 2-5 on A319 or 2-6 on A320)
      • £3 for any other seat

easyJet trialled allocated seating during the summer season, the airline’s busiest time, to stress test the new systems and procedures. The airline will roll it out during the winter season when fewer people travel to ensure a smooth transition from one system to another. The trial flights showed that allocated seating can be delivered at the same time as maintaining strong levels of on time performance and without adding cost.

easyJet plus! annual cardholders and Flexi Fare customers will be able to select a seat free of charge as well as continuing to enjoy the benefits of Speedy Boarding’s dedicated check-in desk and Speedy Boarding – allowing them to board the aircraft first.

Passengers purchasing Upfront or Extra Legroom seats will be given access to the Speedy Boarding dedicated check-in desk and will be first to board.”

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A320-214 G-EZTN (msn 4006) climbs away from Geneva.

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