Extra legroom being offered by more airlines, sometimes at expense of others

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The Independent Travel

On November 16 Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific airlines announced they will offer economy passengers the chance to purchase extra legroom for a fee in the latest trend of airline add-on charges.

Beginning December 1, Cathay Pacific, the third-busiest international carrier in Asia, will offer their long-haul passengers desiring more legroom the opportunity to pay nearly €70 (or 20,000 Asia Miles) to occupy the roomy seats located near the emergency doors. Most aircraft feature two to four emergency door seats, which require passengers to fulfill certain safety requirements, which remains a condition of procuring the seats from Cathay Pacific.

Previously, only Marco Polo Club frequent flyer members - Silver Tier and above - were eligible to purchase the seats, which are available for reservation online, which is a departure from the usual industry practice of keeping the seats available to placate rerouted passengers and to ensure safety requirements are met.

Beginning January 1, 2010, passengers to mainland China and other regional destinations will be afforded the same option, for the price of $25 (or 5,000 Asia Miles).

Denver-based low-cost airline Frontier announced November 3 that it is embarking on a more ambitious plan to offer extra-legroom seating, as over the next three months the company will reconfigure its entire fleet to include wider "Stretch" seats, which carry a supplement of $25 (€17).

The airline will not remove any seats, but instead the extra space will come from squeezing the non-Stretch rows closer together, meaning less room for the majority of passengers.

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