AirTran Charges $15 For Exit Row Seat Assignment, Makes Customers Sad

Nickel and dimeing your customers leads to letters like this one, from reader Kristen who writes in to share an email her friend just got from AirTran, her favorite airline:

Hi Consumerist,

My friend received this e-mail from Airtran yesterday, stating how “convenient” it is that we can now pay for emergency exit row seats ahead of time to reserve them for our upcoming flights. I fly Airtran more than any other airline and almost never had any problem getting the emergency exit row for free when I arrived at the airport. I love Airtran for their direct flight from Orlando, FL to Rochester, NY, their free A+ Rewards program and affordable prices. Having to pay $15 each way to reserve my usually free emergency exit row could very well bump their prices above the competition, adding $30 round trip. Airtran – I understand many discount carriers are charging for these seats, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it as well! I don’t feel that this is any more convenient and might send me to another airline for business. Please reconsider your decision.

Thanks Consumerist,
Kristen

AirTran’s email inside.

AirTran writes:

From: AirTran Airways A+ Rewards Date: June 5, 2007 8:22:53 PM EDT Subject: Now you can choose your seat and get extra leg room!

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Dear (name) A+ Member Number (number)

To start the summer season, AirTran Airways is introducing a great new feature.

Advance Exit Row Seating

We know you sometimes like a little extra room when you fly. That’s why we’re now offering exit row seats at the time of booking, so you don’t have to wait until you arrive at the airport. An exit row seat gives you 8 more inches of legroom than a standard coach seat.

Convenience

Our new seat assignment options make travel even easier.

When you book a Discount Coach or Sale fare, you can now select your seat assignments, including exit row seats, at the time of booking for $5 per passenger for standard coach seats and $15 per passenger for exit row seats (per one-way trip).

With this new feature, you can opt for extra leg room in the exit row, make sure you get the aisle or window seat of your choice, or ensure your party all sit together. Business Class and Y, B, and M coach fares will continue to offer free regular seat selection during the booking process.

Already Booked?

If you have an existing reservation booked through AirTran.com or 1-800-AIR-TRAN, visit AirTran.com now to select an exit row seat. If you did not book your ticket directly through AirTran, call 1-800-AIR-TRAN to make your exit row seat selection.

As always, you can still opt to select your seats upon check-in for no fee. Check in online to select your seats up to 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure.

We’re always looking for new ways to improve your travel experience on AirTran Airways, and we look forward to welcoming you on a future flight.

Sincerely,

Tad Hutcheson
Vice President of Marketing and Sales AirTran Airways, Inc.

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AirTran Airways 9955 AirTran Blvd. Orlando, FL 32827

AirTran Airways 2007

Lame!—MEGHANN MARCO

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