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Now Even Luxury Airlines Are Charging for Seat Assignments

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 7/12/2018 Cailey Rizzo
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Hidden fees are no longer just a tactic of budget airlines.

Etihad Airways, the airline that offers the most expensive flight in the world, is now charging economy passengers to pick their own seats.

The airline, based out of the United Arab Emirates, is attempting to come up with different ways to make revenue. According to Loyalty Lobby, the airline sent an email to its customers, advertising a new way to “enhance” their journey: seat selection for a small fee. Up until this point, the enhancement had always been available for free.

For a one-way flight, passengers can expect to pay $25 to select a standard seat on Etihad during booking. Once the flight is 24 hours away from departure, economy passengers can select a seat for free, according to the Etihad website. Passengers who don’t choose their seat within 24 hours of departure will have a seat automatically assigned.

Those who wish to book a preferred seat (one in an exit row or quiet section of the cabin) can expect to pay up to $140 per flight. The airline has offered the “preferred seat” charge since 2017. Passengers also have the option of paying for an extra legroom seat or bidding to have an empty seat next to them.

Etihad still allows two free checked bags, up to 50 pounds each, on flights to and from the United States.

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