‘Here’s my ticket and ID. I would like to have a seat with more leg room. Preferably the Emergency exit row…’. These are the first words I use at an airport check-in counter. That day was no different. Except that I was flying with Indigo Airlines.
‘Sir, you will have to pay Rs. 300 for that…’, said the lady on the other side of the desk.
‘Excuse me , For..?’
‘Sir, those are premium seats which are available for an additional charge of Rs. 300…’
(‘You kiddin’ me!!?’) ‘Ok… well, i would like a normal aisle seat then.’’
‘Here Sir, your boarding pass. Have a pleasant flight… ‘, and she recited those mugged up lines.
So, I got into the aircraft and enquired about those seats from the air hostess. She took a moment to check and I was shifted to a non-reclinable emergency row seat having more leg room. I asked if I was supposed to pay any additional charge for it. Turned out that non-reclinable seats did not have an extra charge. Phew. Mission accomplished!
While instructing the passengers about the safety procedures, the flight attendant also announced about the premium seats, stating that anyone could shift to those seats for an additional charge of 300. Soon after take-off, I saw a family of three, happily walk up towards those ‘premium’ seats and occupy them, delight reflecting on their faces. And especially, the small kid, she clearly seemed to enjoy every bit of her ‘premium’ seat.
And there it struck me. There was nothing so great about that seat except an additional 3 inches of leg room. Yet, the family sat there with an utmost feeling of joy. After all, those were the premium seats.
Apart from earning extra bucks from those seats, the airlines had actually succeeded in instilling a feeling of being special among the others on-board.
A few years back, Deccan Airways had set a trend when they stopped serving food in their flights to make flying affordable for the common man. Soon after that, most domestic carriers dumped the business class seats to make flying more economical. Now, Indigo Airlines has tried to bring back the premium seats for no additional cost (to them). Here is how it works:
The front row seats and the emergency exit row seats are labeled as Premium seats since they offer more leg room for the passenger.
Case 1: Flight is completely booked.
No additional charge for premium seats. Given out on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Case 2: Flight is partially booked.
Additional charge for premium seats.
A few people, like the family I just mentioned, will always be there, who won’t mind paying an extra 300 bucks for those seats. Hence, it is purely an additional income for the airlines.
This seems to be profitable for the airlines but we can’t predict whether it will become a trend.
As a consumer, I definitely don’t want this to become a trend. After all, isn’t getting those seats for no additional charge much better!?!?!
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Premium Economy Class – The Next Trend? http://wp.me/pinhe-dO
— Prakhar (@genobz) April 18, 2011
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