Reserving a cheap flight seat

The cost of reserving a seat on the plane

Research by travel search engine has found that some low-cost airlines are charging up to 100% more to reserve a plane seat than the cost of a full adult ticket

Many travellers will remember the days when all you had to do to reserve a seat – or secure extra legroom – was to arrive at the airport nice and early. While many are now used to paying a little more in order to reserve a seat, research from travel search engine has found that in some cases, the cost of reserving a seat can be over 100% more than the cost of the actual ticket.

For example, Ryanair is currently offering seats from just £7.49*, but the cost to reserve a seat – for example, if you want to sit with friends or family or secure a seat with extra legroom – can be as much as £15.

It is a similar story on Jet2. Flights are listed from just £24, but booking a priority seat, which only offers you a spot of your choice on the plane, can cost £25 each way, more than the flight itself.

And not all airlines are equal when it comes to costs for reserving a seat. Lufthansa for example, charges as little as nothing to reserve a seat on short haul flights, but Thomas Cook charges a minimum of £10 – more expensive than British Airways.  

John-Lee Saez – travel expert at KAYAK, comments: ‘The research shows that some airlines are considerably tougher on the wallet if you wish to reserve a seat. If you have to check in at the desk, you will often find that being polite and just asking can get you the seat you want – whether that is next to someone else you want to sit with, or a seat with extra legroom. But in many cases, if you are checking in automatically, or with an airline where the format is “first come, first served” when you get on board, the only way to guarantee is to pay’.

‘Our advice is to do your research up front. Some airlines charge as little as nothing whilst others can cost as much as £70 extra for priority seating. Sometimes the comfort is worth the cash, but don’t get caught up with unnecessary charges if you’re happy to sit next to whoever on the flight.’

In a further bid to help customers make extra savings, recently introduced the free Travel Trends Tool, allowing Brits to find the cheapest times to fly, discover which destinations are becoming more and less popular, and where prices and rising and falling the most. According to new data, released by to mark the launch of its Travel Trends Tool, flights can be over two thirds cheaper if you are willing to be flexible about when you travel. The largest savings can be found on long-haul routes. For example, flights from London to Melbourne can cost up to £363 cheaper if you are able to travel in May (£586) as opposed to December, when flights will cost an average of £949, according to the Travel Trends Tool.**

John-Lee Saez adds, ‘We’ve always had great tools to help travellers plan and manage their travel, and now we are putting all of this insight into their hands so they can plan the perfect break at the right time, and save themselves some cash in the process’.



Note to editors:

*Prices and information taken from the airlines’ websites and correct as of 07.08.2017. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or may not be available anymore.  See carrier policies for details.
**The data is based on data from KAYAK Travel Trends Dashboard checked on 05.07.2017– based on flight searches and clicks made on All prices are subject to change, may vary or may not be available anymore. Savings are not guaranteed.

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