Air France-KLM to Start Charging for Business Class Seat Selection
Business Class passengers flying with Air France or KLM will be charged up to $98 for pre-selecting their seats from April 4
From next month, non-status Business Class passengers traveling with Air France-KLM will need to fork out between €70 and €90 ($76- $98) to reserve seats before their flights.
The airline will begin charging for advance seat assignments in Business Class on long-haul routes on April 4 for travel on or after April 13.
According to Air France-KLM, the Advance Seat Reservation (ASR) scheme for the Business Class cabin is similar to the scheme the airline already has in Economy Class, where passengers must pay a fee to reserve seats in advance. However, the airline notes that seats can be secured for free once the check-in window opens, 30 hours before departure.
Flights to and from North America will initially be exempt from these charges, likely because of the group’s joint venture relationship in that market with Delta Air Lines, which does not charge for advance seat assignments.
Air France-KLM notes that Silver, Gold, and Platinum members of its Flying Blue loyalty program will be exempt from the charges, as will corporate customers. However, it’s unclear whether the exemptions apply to Elite + members of Sky Team.
Air France-KLM aren’t the first carriers to hit up well-heeled Business Class customers for seat reservation fees. British Airways has charged for Club World seat reservations for years. Lufthansa will certainly begin doing so when it rolls out its new Allegris Business Class product, with seven different seating options, including highly coveted suites with fully-flat beds, from early next year.
However, the move will likely annoy Air France and KLM Business Class travelers, who are justified in believing the high amount of money they pay for their tickets should include the option to secure the window – or aisle – seats of their preference before the free-for-all begins at check-in. In addition, family members who want to sit beside each other will likely have to shell out to ensure they can.
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