x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE carriers will not charge to reserve seat

Amid suggestions US carriers plan to charge passengers, UAE carriers commit to keeping families seated together.

ABU DHABI // UAE airlines have given assurances that they have no plans to charge passengers extra to sit with their family.

In the US, plans to charge passengers for reserving seats have caused uproar, with politicians saying the "anti-family" move would force parents to pay extra to sit with their children.

"Children need access to their parents, and parents need access to their children. Unnecessary airline fees shouldn't serve as a literal barrier between mother and child," said Charles Schumer, a Democratic senator from New York.

New York representative Jerrold Nadler is introducing legislation that would require airlines to assign seats together to passengers who are related.

Here in the UAE, only budget airlines, such as FlyDubai, charge a fee to book a specific seat in advance, and passengers who don't pay to book a seat still have leeway to choose where to sit when they check-in at the airport - especially those who arrive early.

A spokesman for Emirates said: "Emirates has no plans to introduce an additional charge to allow passengers to choose a window or aisle seat.

"As part of our full service offering, Emirates gives passengers the choice of preselecting their seat when using our online check-in facility."

Etihad also said they had "no plans to charge passengers extra for wishing to sit next to their family members or loved ones".

cmalek@thenational.ae