MUMBAI: IndiGo has done away with the recently introduced fee for pre-selection of middle seats on board its domestic and international flights. With this development, Air India Express is now the only airline to charge a fee for pre-selection of every single seat on its flights, including the uncomfortable middle seat.
The feedback of our flyers is of utmost importance to us and, as a result, with immediate effect, IndiGo will not charge for pre-booking any of its middle seats, except for rows 1, 12 and 13, IndiGo announced in a statement released on Tuesday. So, for now, the only middle seats that will be charged are the ones that come with extra leg room near emergency exits or those in the first row.
TOI had carried reports on protests by passengers over the middle seat fee. No airline in the world levies a charge for pre-booking the middle seat.
Under the initial seat preference scheme rolled out by IndiGo, middle seats on its domestic flights were to be priced at Rs 100 and those on its international flights at Rs 200. Passengers who did not opt for seat preference did not have to pay extra. The fee, though, hit those travelling with spouse, children, parents or friends; in short, passengers who wished to sit together on board a flight. Such passengers would have needed to pre-select seats to be together, thus paying a premium even for the middle seat. For a family of three that wished to sit together in a row (which did not have extra leg room), the sum worked out to Rs 500 (Rs 200 each for pre-booking a window and an aisle seat) on a domestic flight.
On Monday, Air India Express followed IndiGo’s model and put a charge for pre-selection of each and every seat on board its Boeing 737 aircraft. The government carrier did so three days after the civil aviation ministry asked airlines to limit the number of preferential seats they could offer in a flight. Airlines were asked to revert to the ministry in ten days with proposals identifying the seats that come with a fee when pre-selected.