travel

Continental Airlines to sell seat assignments

17 Comments

Beginning March 17, Continental Airlines will offer customers the option of purchasing, at check in, premium seat assignments for unreserved economy-class seats that feature extra legroom.

Continental’s OnePass Elite frequent flyer members and their traveling companions will be able to continue to assign themselves seats with extra legroom in economy class without charge.

“Our customers want more choices,” said Jim Compton, Continental’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Seats with additional legroom are higher-value seats, and we want to offer them to customers who recognize that value.”

Depending on the type of aircraft and row, seats with extra legroom provide customers with a minimum of seven additional inches of leg space. Customers will be able to purchase these seats at continental.com or at the airport kiosk during the normal check-in period, beginning at 24 hours prior to departure of the first flight in an itinerary. Pricing for the premium seats will vary depending on a number of factors, including the length of the flight and market.

Continental joins several other U.S. and international airlines in offering customers the option of purchasing premium seat assignments.

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17 Comments
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That's a fairly misleading title. They have rearranged the seats. At a minimum the seats have to have at least 7 extra inches of pitch. On some planes it's as much as 14 inches. Anything less than 7 inches will not incur any charge. You'll be competing against Elite members. So check in at exactly 24 hrs before the flight. Not that Continental has much in flights to and from Japan. That's firmly split up between JAL, ANA and Delta.

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The extra legroom seats, or seats that are next to emergency exits, are supposed to be given to healthier-looking customers who can assist in the time of an emergency by helping other customers get off or help to open the doors if the attendants are not available. If Continental start to sell these seats to elderly people or people with young children then they are risking the safety regulations for money.

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Well at least the toilets are still free (for the time being).

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If Continental start to sell these seats to elderly people or people with young children then they are risking the safety regulations for money.

They don't care, so long as the profit is up next quarter and the stockholders are happy.

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Well at least the toilets are still free (for the time being).

Ryanair tried (or maybe succeeded) in selling entry to the loo.

I think the last thing the airlines need is more complicated pricing structures. They are like a giant ponzi scheme now with this fee covering this other cost. Just put a good, reasonable fare, give us comfortable seats, and get us there safely. It's not rocket science.

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I agree with northlondon regarding exit row seats. But if it's any other seat than that, why not? Though it's on a first come, first served basis.

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Selling access to toilets? So what if I don't have money and have to do it?

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I really think the airlines should have net auctions for these extra leg-room seats. Once they have there 200 or so passengers/tickets sold, then at online check-in you can join an auction for these premium seats, with prices starting at 0. If your lucky you might get it for that, if your not you might pay double or even triple than what the airline would think to charge.

I also agree with northlondon, emergency exit seats should only be assigned to people who can actually open the doors. I was on a flight from Tokyo to London once, and there were 3 idiot girls sitting in the emergency exit seats. How do I know they were idiots, they didn't even know how to open the door to toilet... they had to ask the in-flight attendant to show them.

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emergency exit seats should only be assigned to people who can actually open the doors. I was on a flight from Tokyo to London once, and there were 3 idiot girls sitting in the emergency exit seats. How do I know they were idiots, they didn't even know how to open the door to toilet... they had to ask the in-flight attendant to show them.

This is quite scary. It's as bad as JAL recruiting pretty young attendants who clearly would be of not much use in an emergency situation. People should read this news and choose a safer airline.

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It is against international law to put people near the emergency exits that cannot help. I like the aisle seat next to those people near the emergency exits, because they have to let you off first. I am glad I am small and do not need the extra leg room. I will not pay for that.

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This is how KLM offer more space:

Get comfortable on intercontinental flights! In our Economy Comfort zone you have extra legroom and more recline. The zone is located in the front of the eco cabin, so upon arrival you'll be among the first to be on your way. The price for a seat in the Economy Comfort zone is costs extra EUR 120 per one way on top of economy fare for Japan-Amsterdam. Please note: seats in the Economy Comfort zone can only be paid for by credit card. You can easily arrange your seat in the Economy Comfort zone on all intercontinental flights operated by KLM.

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The seats with extra legroom should be reserved for tall people.

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This is just another pitch to rip people off in a conniving way. It shows you that continental is losing money due to today’s bad economy. Rather than try to fix their company and make their business more attractive with better service and lower fees, they due foolish things like this. In my opinion, they should bring in more attractive flight attendants with better service rather than have the same old senior citizens that look as old as grandmas and papas with terrible service.

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This is getting more and more common. Virgin sell off the exit row seats and when they offered it to me I tried to make a joke of it saying before they used to look for people like me - reasonably fit male traveling alone who could help people out in case of emergency and at the very least get the door open.

Didn't work - didn't pay - they plane was half empty so had plenty of leg room.

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Get Emergency First Response trained and you can flash your EFR card at check in. They are more likely to give you the seat. You can get EFR training in English here in Tokyo.

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Does this pertain to FQ's as well? Traditionally, these seats were reserved for them, at least at UA. I'd pay for these seats anyway, if I could get them on long trips.

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Sounds like the airline industry is going through a little turbulence of their own. Things just aren't the same any more like the good ole' days. In fact, airline travel has gotten more complicated (rules, procedures, waiting times, etc.)

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