Air China slips “legroom fees” in on international flights
Air China will charge a “legroom fee” on select economy class seats of its two international flights from Chengdu starting March 11.
Air China’s southwestern branch announced it will charge a “legroom fee” on select economy class seats of its two international flights from Chengdu to Frankfurt Germany and Mumbai India, starting March 11.
Chengdu flights to run trial of new fee
The surcharge is applicable to the more spacious seats in the front row and next to the emergency exits, at RMB600 on the flights to Frankfurt and RMB400 on the Mumbai-bound flights.
These two services are highly popular for international business with excellent load factors and are serviced by A330 and A320 aircraft models offering economy and business classes.
Since August 7 last year, Air China had also introduced a “seat selection” option for flights from Beijing to Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Paris and London. For RMB100 passengers have preferential choice of economy seats from rows 2-10 while the front-row economy seats on the right side or next to emergency exits cost an extra RMB600 seat-selection surcharge.
New surcharge trend for China airlines
Air China’s new seat fee has sparked a heated discussion among netizens. A Chengdu resident Mr. Zhang said: “Air China has started collecting seat selection fees but hasn’t improved service one bit and the original ticket price hasn’t gone down either! I find that hard to accept.”
However, a white-collar frequent flier Jessica commented: “Many international airlines have “legroom fees” and I’m willing to pay more for a bit more space to stretch out on long-haul flights.”
Indeed Air China isn’t the first Chinese airline to test out surcharges. Hainan Airlines launched a seat selection service for economy class seats for RMB500 in eight of its international flights since April last year.
One observer said: “China’s airlines are using these additional fees to get through a bottleneck they are facing in profits. Additional fees will be an industry trend. Besides the seat fees by Air China and Hainan Airlines, the latter also added a surcharge on airport shuttle,” he said. (Translation by David)