Frequent flyer status is a curious thing when it comes down to it. Some of the benefits are nice to have things that you might use on rare occasions – I’m looking at you extra baggage. Who takes three bags on a regular basis anyway?
While lounge access is a favourite perk of elite status holders, there is one other excellent thing in my mind. It’s something that actually saves you wads of cash.
I am going on holidays with a group of friends and we are all taking different flights. At one point, one of them was going to be taking the same flight as me and I had already selected my seat.
Sitting separately on board would have been silly, so I checked how much extra he would have to pay for a seat. A quick dummy booking revealed this for a flight from Dublin to Chicago on American Airlines.
Would I pay £99 for a middle seat in the bulkhead row? Probably not, as I am not particularly tall. I imagine a tall person probably would fork out for that and people must do it otherwise it wouldn’t be priced like that. It’s pretty hefty!
As you can see above, the connecting flight from Chicago to Seattle is not much better. At £55 it is more than half the amount for the previous long haul flight.
Is it worth it though? Main Cabin Extra passengers are due to get complimentary beer, wine and spirits from spring 2018 and that plus the extra leg room and reserved overhead bins might make it worth it.
It’s Not Limited To Economy Class
On another trip, I had to do separate bookings for one sector for myself and a friend. When there’s one frequent flyer seat, someone else has to pay. When I went to select seats for my friend, this is the pricing that British Airways gave in Club Europe.
Pricing for the one hour sector is not too expensive, but it is not cheap. I’m dubious about charging for seats for business class passengers considering the price premium paid. At the same time, BA pricing is not unreasonable for Club Europe so perhaps it is okay.
Status Saves You Money
When you have frequent flyer status, you don’t need to pay for seats in most instances. I’m currently at the oneworld Sapphire level (still mourning the loss of my Emerald) and get to choose seats for free.
This literally saves me hundreds of Pounds, Dollars or Euros in seat selection fees. Of course, if you don’t want to pay for seats you can select your seat for free at check-in but I am not a fan of check-in seat roulette.
While tangible benefits such as lounge access are touted as the best benefits of status, arguably the one that saves the most money for a frequent flyer is the free seat selection.
I have had a high tier for years, so it is very rare that I even come across prices for seats. This year I’m taking two trips away with friends so it’s the first time I’ve seen them in a bit.
What do you think of charging for seats? Good thing or bad thing? Should elite frequent flyers get it for free? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt via Wikimedia Commons.