EasyJet encouraged by uptake of allocated seating

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EasyJet is pleased with how popular its allocated seating initiative is proving as it prepares to introduce it across its entire network next month.

"It's been on some trial routes but we are now starting to roll it out in anger and come the end of November we will become a fully allocated airline," EasyJet marketing director Peter Duffy told delegates at the Airline Business World Air Forum in Amsterdam.

"Customers really want allocated seating, so the free PR around it has been incredible and taken us all by surprise," he said. "We knew from research that it would be popular, but perhaps the level of warmth around it has taken us by surprise and the uptake of it is quite encouraging."

Duffy says the move improves the customer experience as well delivering some additional revenue as there is a sliding scale of charges for selecting a specific seat, depending whether they offer extra leg room, are at the front of the aircraft, or any other location. All passengers are automatically allocated a seat.

"There is a significant cohort of customers who were EasyJet rejecters because of the free-seating model, who will now consider us," says Duffy. "If you take one of those cohorts to be business passengers, then we think that is going to give us a significant advantage."

This is important as the airline is working to increase the amount of higher yield business passengers it carries. Around 18% of EasyJet's 54.5 million passengers are travelling on business, says Duffy.