The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently announced that it has launched a review into airline seating allocation policies.
New research carried out by YouGov Omnibus and commissioned by the CAA surveyed over 4,200 people who travelled as part of a group in the last year, where they were the ticket holder.
The results show that a quarter (25%) of groups who didn’t pay extra to guarantee seats next to each other were separated from their travelling companions by the airline.
However, it seems many travellers are willing to shell out the extra cash in order to secure a seat next to their travel party. Of those who did manage to sit together on their most recent flight, 34% said that they paid extra to guarantee that they could.
The study analysed customers of several different airlines, including the likes of EasyJet, Flybe, Virgin Airlines and TUI. Passengers of low cost airline Ryanair were the most likely to report being separated from their group (35%) with Emirates and Virgin Atlantic following behind on 22% and 18% respectively.
Allocated seating could be costing UK travellers millions of pounds extra a year, with over half (55%) of those who have paid to sit together saying it cost them between £5 and £19.99 per seat. A fifth (19%) have paid £20 or more, and one in ten (9%) have paid under £5.
Despite this, the data shows that many passengers weren’t necessarily put off by this. Of those who were told by their airline that they would need to pay more to guarantee seats together, just one in ten (10%) say that it made them not want to use the airline again in the future, whilst 36% said that though it made them feel negatively towards the airline, they would still be happy to use them again in future. Over four in ten (44%) said that it didn’t affect their feelings towards the airline at all.