Continental will be offering customers the option for as much as an additional seven inches of legroom when they check-in for their flight. The airline has no projected revenue target for the new feature, nor does it have a single price. “It depends on the length of the flight, the market and even the time of day,” spokesperson Julie King told the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
“For example, on March 17, the day we launch the new service, for a passenger traveling between New York and Houston opting for extra legroom will pay USD59. We are looking for opportunities to give customers the choice of purchasing additional features. It’s like booking a hotel with an ocean view room. A flight between Newark and Hong Kong will be more, and there will be flights where extra legroom will cost less than that.”
More information is expected during the second quarter analyst call when the airline discusses the impact of new initiatives. Another new initiative yielded USD25 million, according to the company’s first quarter earnings call.
Continental’s program begins on 17-Mar-2010. Passengers will be offered the option of purchases, when they check-in, premium seat assignments for unreserved Economy Class, extra-legroom seats. The airline’s OnePass Elite frequent flyers will continue their ability to tap these seats without charge.
"Our customers want more choices," said Jim Compton, Continental's Executive VP & Chief Marketing Officer. "Seats with additional legroom are higher-value seats, and we want to offer them to customers who recognise that value."
Depending on the type of aircraft and row, seats with extra legroom provide customers with a minimum of seven additional inches of leg space. Customers will be able to purchase these seats at continental.com or at the airport kiosk during the normal check-in period, beginning at 24 hours prior to departure of the first flight in an itinerary. Pricing for the premium seats will vary depending on a number of factors, including the length of the flight and market.
Continental joins several other US and international airlines in offering customers the option of purchasing premium seat assignments. In the past year, low-cost carriers JetBlue and AirTran have introduced the option as part of their efforts to attract more business travelers.