Why do some airlines charge for seats?
Seat assignments were once part of the package deal, but over the last 10 years, airline profit models have changed considerably in regards to how an airline views its seat inventory. The airlines understand that preferred locations, the preference for friends and families to sit together, and the availability of seats for those booking well in advance vs just prior to departure, can be monetized. Selection of preferred seat assignments prior to airport check in is often considered an ancillary chargeable service.
What seats do airlines typically restrict?
This can vary considerably but many airlines will charge more for economy seats close to the front of the plane, and for seats located on the aisle or window. Also, emergency row and bulkhead seats are often restricted until time of check-in.
How much do seat assignments cost?
Pre-assignment pricing ranges from an average of $20 – $200 per person / per flight. This pricing can vary depending on how many seats are available on the aircraft, the location of the seat, the length of the flight, and the type selected (standard, extra leg roomv, business, etc.).
I have seat preferences. What can Exito do for me?
Every airline has a different procedure for securing advance seat assignments, seats in preferred locations, and/or seats with extra legroom. Some airlines, like Delta for example, offer the selection of extra legroom seats prior to ticket purchase. Other airlines require that purchase to be made on their website after a booking has been confirmed. In some extreme examples such as British Airways, a fee may apply for all seat assignments made prior to check-in, including premium economy and business class.
Given the variability of airline policies and free versus chargeable seats on each flight, Exito will review seat options on a case by case basis. Please let us know your preferences and we will do our best to assign seats accordingly, or provide instructions if they must be secured after ticket purchase.
Can I assign emergency exit or bulkhead seats?
Most airlines will restrict emergency row and bulkhead seats for assignment at time of departure or check in. Other airlines allow pre-assignment of these seats for a fee.
Our seats have been assigned. Are they guaranteed?
Unfortunately no. Whether Exito has chosen seats on your behalf or you have purchased assignments directly, seats are not guaranteed according to airline policy. The airlines reserve the right to change seats for operational, safety, or security reasons. In most cases where a seat change occurs, it is due to a flight schedule or equipment change where the original layout of the plane is altered. In this case, Exito staff will do its best to secure comparable seat assignments – should they be available – or request a refund of seat purchases that can no longer be honored.
What role does frequent flyer status play in assigning seats?
Every airline has different perks for their most loyal customers. Seat charges may not apply to passengers with elite mileage status on a specific airline or that airline’s alliance partners. Adding a mileage account number during the booking process may result in better seat options on applicable flights.
I’d like to review a seat map prior to purchase. What should I do?
Great! If you prefer to review the layout of a flight prior to purchase we recommend the following website:
While the website does not show which seats are available in real time, or guarantee that the flight in question will operate with the same aircraft type, it does give more information on how the seats are likely to be arranged on each flight.
I don’t want to purchase a seat. When can I secure a free seat assignment?
Most airlines that charge for advance seating will allow seats to be selected free of charge 24 hours prior to departure, or within the airport check-in window.
Are there any downsides to waiting until time of check-in to make assignments?
While this can be great in terms of avoiding additional charges, waiting to make assignments until time of check-in can increase the likelihood of being bumped from a flight. If you are traveling in a group or with children, it also increases the likelihood that you will not sit together if adjacent seats are no longer available.
My flight does not allow seats until time of check-in? What should I do?
We recommend checking in online for your flight – if possible – 24 hours prior to departure. If an airport check-in is necessary, be sure to get to the airport as early as possible. This will increase your chances of getting a decent seat assignment prior to the check-in rush.