Ryanair to launch reserved seating

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The Independent Travel

Ryanair is to perform an about-face and introduce reserved seating on some flights, it announced April 19.

Europe's largest budget carrier said that it would trial reserved seating, where customers are issued with a seat number before boarding, on certain flights operating to and from Dublin and the UK/Spain.

The new system, which will come into effect May 16, will allow customers to pre-reserve seats in the first two rows or over-wing rows (where there is more legroom) for an additional €10 each way, which includes priority boarding, normally €4.

A spokesperson for the airline said that if the service proved popular, it would be rolled out selectively on other Ryanair routes in the coming months.

Unallocated seating has become one of the fundamentals of the low-cost airline model - it speeds up boarding, reduces paperwork for the airline and has been adopted by most of the global low-cost carriers, including big names such as EasyJet, Southwest Airlines and AirAsia.

However, hit by the rising cost of fuel, airlines have been forced to become even more ingenious to squeeze extra money from the passengers that can afford it - last month, EasyJet started offering a business-oriented service which included flexible ticket conditions.

With Ryanair joining international low-cost names such as JetBlue and GermanWings in offering reserved seats for a price, it will be interesting to see how many of its competitors follow suit.