Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Continental to Charge for 'Extra Legroom' in Coach

The process of "unbundling" various airline services and amenities continues.

Continental Airlines says today that beginning March 17 customers will be able to buy, at check-in, premium seat assignments in coach that feature extra legroom.

Continental was quick to add that its elite-status frequent flyer members and their traveling companions "will be able to continue to assign themselves seats with extra legroom in economy class without charge."

In general, elite-status passengers, any airline's most loyal customers, are wary when an airline decides to sell a perk, like priority seating in exit rows with extra space, that elite fliers supposedly have first dibs on.

In Continental's announcement, Jim Compton, the airline's chief marketing officer, was quoted as saying: "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," Continental said.

[NOTE: I have questions in to Continental on exactly what that means, where those 7-inch-extra room seats are, and whether selling priority seats will reduce the overall number of such seats available to elite-status customers. I'll update when I hear back from them.]


UPDATE 2 -- No response at end of day. Again tomorrow:

--Where precisely are those extra 7 inches (or more) of legroom? I am not aware of an existing Continental configuration that fits that description.

--How does this affect elite-status customers and their dibs on the better seats in coach?


Continental said that its customers will be able to purchase these seats at or at the airport kiosk during the usual 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 the length of the flight and market.


1 comment:

ChefNick said...

Joe, I thought you'd enjoy this. I posted it on my blog but maybe you could comment on it and include my comment:


A 12-year old giving ground instructions to jumbo jets. The mind boggles! "American 445 heavy, what is the status on the inflight popcorn at this time? Say again, American 445 Heavy, did I hear "Pirates of the Caribbean" was the movie at this time? Please proceed to 24 Right and hold short of the runway for me. Be advised the traffic landing on 24 Left and advise crosswinds of 26 miles per hour. Say again, American 445 heavy? Spongebob In Tibet is the feature? You have yourself a good day, sir."