El Al Charges $10 for Seat Selection

YERUSHALAYIM -
(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Do you want an aisle seat? Want to seat next to your husband or wife? Either pay an extra $10, or El Al will assign you a seat at random.

That’s the new policy, introduced by the airline on Wednesday, a revenue booster in El Al’s ongoing competition with low-cost carriers, many of whom already charge for seat selection, Globes said.

The new surcharge will have no bearing on the fee of $25-$100 for seats with “extra” leg room or near an exit. In addition, if a passenger cancels a reservation after paying the new charge, the money will not be refunded.

El Al offers no guarantee that families or couples can sit together on busy flights, so the new fee may be an unavoidable extra cost for people who want to travel together. Generally speaking, unreserved seats are in the back half of the plane.

El Al follows the lead of other major carriers in imposing the surcharge. British Airways can charge $35-$40 for reserving seats, and Delta charges $40. Swiss charges $29, Air France charges $20, Iberia charges $19-$22 and Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines each charge $11. Air Europe will have a seat reservation charge of $25 as of Thursday.