Ethics of Seat Selection Pricing

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Being in the travel industry for a while I know that it’s more economically viable to book trips either seven months out or seven days out. Being a student, the former works better for me, though I know that the latter is kind of a better way to make travel easier.

Getting to the point, I’ve booked for a student tour to be on Virgin Atlantic economy and am looking at extra legroom seating. While premium economy comes in over HK$21,000 (in comparison, Korean Air business class for two more hours comes at HK$7,000 more), I have no problems with an extra legroom seat, even if I end up in a middle seat beside a friend I’ll be with (yeah, I figured the “book the aisle and the window” strategy doesn’t work when there’s one extra legroom row in total). Given I’m sitting next to a friend I have basically full access to one of the 787-9’s windows, which I’m looking forward to.

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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Economy Class

While it’s half a year out, I value extra legroom, a window seat, and sitting next to my window-seat loving friend…I’m looking at crossing out two of these, as long as I still get to play with the window. 😉

An extra legroom comes at HK$590, which is a pretty great value for 13 hours, and even if travelling alone, I’d probably be inclined to take it. But then, a normal seat selection costs HK$300.

I mean, Thai Airways gives out seat requests for free on its lowest fare class, and we booked fare X on Virgin Atlantic, which, while not an upgradeable fare class, is far from its lowest.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seatmap

While I get that people should pay for seats they prefer, that should be in the fare class base fare and not in addition, in my opinion.

Either way, even if I can’t secure an exit row seat in time, I’ll go the extra $300 to not get stuck in a middle seat (like I did on a Singapore A380 flight before the blog).

Bottom line

While I’m excited about the number of economy flights I’ll be taking this year, I’m starting to learn all the tricks and scams of airlines down the back. Meanwhile, for those who like “business class porn”, I’ll still be on a few of those through the next few years, so stay tuned no matter what.

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