Now boarding… calmly. EasyJet ends the scrum

 

Britain's biggest no-frills airline is to overturn one of its founding principles. From November, easyJet will replace the boarding free-for-all with allocated seats on all its flights.

The airline has been running trials for allocated seating under the codename BOSS ("bums on selected seats") since April. Seventy per cent of the 800,000 passengers surveyed said they preferred allocated seating.

"Allocated seating gives all our passengers a better boarding experience," said easyJet's chief executive, Carolyn McCall. Every passenger is entitled to have a seat allocated free. Those who want to guarantee a particular seat will pay £12 for extra legroom, £8 for a place in one of the "upfront" rows allowing swifter disembarkation, or £3 for other seats.

Ms McCall said: "On trial flights the majority of passengers were simply allocated seats when they checked in." The airline claims to use "the most advanced seating algorithm in world aviation," designed to seat together families, couples or colleagues on the same booking.

The new policy is to be rolled out during the month in which passenger numbers are at a minimum. It will take place in three tranches. At Gatwick – easyJet's biggest base – the change will be introduced at South Terminal on 13 November, with the North Terminal switching a week later.

The conventional business model for no-frills airlines has always involved unassigned seating. Douglas McNeill, equity analyst at Charles Stanley Securities, said: "If it can be done without slowing down the turnaround, and passengers are willing to pay for it, then perhaps conventional wisdom is wrong; easyJet's trial results suggest it is. Other low-cost carriers may now follow – but they'll probably want to see easyJet make it succeed across its whole network first."

BA's low-cost offshoot, Go, ran trials comparing allocated seats with the "first-come-first-served approach" and settled on assigned seats. The airline was taken over in 2002 by easyJet, which reverted to a free-for all.

Go's founder, Barbara Cassani, said yesterday: "It was clear to us that the boarding process using free seating was not faster and added significantly to customer stress. I think the flying public of Europe will be so much better off having the choice of flying with the prices and quality of easyJet and having an allocated seat."

Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, offers allocated seating in the first two rows and the overwing exits, which offer extra legroom. A spokesman said: "It has proven very popular so we are likely to extend this to more rows… I don't think we will ever have the cabin fully allocated, as it would impact our 25-minute turnaround."

Monarch allocates seats, but passengers who choose not to pay extra to check in online are assigned a seat only at the departure airport.

Passenger planes set for formation flying

Passenger aircraft will soar up even faster on take-off and begin flying in formation like fighter jets in future, a major manufacturer has predicted.

Airbus believes that in the second half of this century, aircraft will pass a lot closer to each other on high-frequency routes. The changes will be aimed at clearing runways quicker and saving fuel.

The company also predicted that aircraft will taxi off runways more quickly and use "more sustainable biofuels and other potential energy sources".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

    £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'