[UPDATED March 5 with Continental response]
Continental's announcement earlier today that it would begin selling seats with at least seven inches of extra legroom to anyone who wants to buy one is creating a lot of concern among the airline's elite status customers. [Disclosure: I have the lowest elite status on Continental, silver. My wife has the highest, platinum.]
The announcement (see post earlier today) created a lot of confusion. Just where are these seats? And what does selling them mean for elite-status customers, whose major perk (in my opinion, from the lowest rung) is the ability to select a good seat at booking.
Along with its "for the media" press release, Continental sent a special "Hi Everyone" notice today to members of Flyertalk.com, the online frequent-flier group. Here's some pertinent language (the italics are mine):
"Our Elite members will still have complimentary access to these [extra legroom] seats on a first-come first-served basis at check-in. Additionally, if you're a Platinum or Gold Elite member, you'll be able to pre-assign exit-row seats as you do today at no charge. ..."
Oops, isn't that saying that Continental Silver status members will not be able to "pre assign" seats when they book?
[UPDATE: A Continental spokeswoman says that has always been the case. Silver elite members are and will continue to be able to book exit row seats at check-in, not when they make the booking.]
Continental also has provided scant information on how much they plan to charge for these seats, which seem to be the exit rows. The price will vary, Continental says.