MUMBAI: India’s national carrier Air India has introduced seat-selection fee for most rows on domestic and international flights.
According to reports, the airline earlier charged only for the front row seats on long-haul flights.
After introduction of the middle seat selection fee or “family fee” as it is known in certain countries because parents or a passenger travelling with a kid would be forced to pay it to ensure the child doesn’t end up next to a stranger.
In a circular issued to travel agents, Air India listed the fees on various routes, which starts at Rs 100 for middle seats on domestic flights Rs 200 for the window/aisle seats. On international flights out of India, the fee is Rs 200 on most routes, except on flights to Kathmandu, where it’s Rs 100. The emergency exit row fee is between Rs 800 and Rs 1,500 depending on the route, while the window/aisle seat fee is between Rs 240 and Rs 1,500. On flights from international destinations into India, the seat fees depend on the currency of the airport or origin.
On the US-India routes for instance, the middle seat fee is $3, while that for the emergency row exit seat is $50. For all the other window and aisle seats, it is $15. A couple travelling with a child, say, a JFK/NewYork-Mumbai flight would be forced to shell out $33 to be seated on the same row. If they want to save and yet ensure that at least one parent is seated next to the child, they will have to pay at least $18 and book a window or an aisle seat and the middle seat.
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