Per a press release I was just sent, Lufthansa will add fees to pre-assign seats in economy class on longhaul flights for passengers booked in select fare classes:
Early seat reservation for passengers booked in selected booking classes (designated W, S, T, L, K) will incur a €25 per seat charge on long-haul flights in the future. The optional service will be introduced as of April 28, 2014. This change brings the additional advance seat reservation service fees in line with those incurred on domestic and European routes, which have been offered at a price of €10 since November 2013. As in the past, all guests may choose their preferred seat at no extra charge when checking in, up to 23 hours before departure.
Advanced seat reservation in these lower priced booking classes becomes an optional service at the time of booking. For the remaining Economy booking classes, advanced seat reservation remains free of charge. This service also remains free of charge in the upcoming Premium Economy Class, Business and First Class. For HON Circle members and Senators, advanced seat reservation is free of charge in all booking classes.
Seats can also be reserved during or after the booking process with travel agents, online via LH.com, or at Lufthansa ticketing locations.
Of course this isn’t good news, though at the same time it’s hardly surprising. It’s “easy” revenue for the airlines, and much of the competition charges similar fees. At least they’re not as bad as British Airways, which charges fees for seat assignments in Club World (business class) on longhaul flights. Now that’s a slap in the face, in my opinion….
For what it’s worth, typically when airlines charge for seat assignments in advance it’s still possible to secure a pretty good seat if you check-in as soon as possible, since most people won’t pay for pre-assigned seats.
Why US airlines haven’t started charging for economy class seat assignments across the board kind of surprises me…