Travel News > March 2010 > Passengers told to pay more to stretch their legs

Passengers told to pay more to stretch their legs


Holidaymakers flying economy to the United States will be able to buy seats with extra legroom from the middle of this month, but they will have to pay a high price for the luxury.

Continental Airlines, which flies to the States from seven UK airports, has introduced a charge for exit row seats that give passengers up to seven inches more legroom than its standard economy seats.

The airline expects to charge a premium of about £130 per return flight for the exit row seats, but the precise fare will not be confirmed until check in and the price will vary according to the length of the flight and demand on the day.

Continental flies to the States from Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Belfast as well as Heathrow. It is not the first airline to start charging for economy seats that give more legroom, but it is the first to introduce flexible pricing.

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 recognise that value.

Customers will be able to buy the roomier seats at or at the airport from 24 hours before the first flight on their itinerary.

Other airlines have been making more money out of exit row seats for some time; British Airways charges passengers reserving their seats online an extra £30 per flight for a seat with more legroom and several charter airlines charge a premium for exit row seats and those in front of bulkheads.

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