Airline passengers flying via Virgin Australia have been assured they will continue to enjoy the extra legroom seats in the front row of the economy section on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft at no extra cost.
Airline travellers taking Virgin Australia this weekend may have to expect come in early at the airport and expect some disruptions as the airline carrier effects a new check-in and booking system.
"We currently have no plans to charge guests for sitting in the first row," an unidentified Virgin Australia spokeswoman told the Australian Business Traveller.
Charging passengers extra for the choice front seats in the economy section has become a norm for most international airlines. Passengers are charged extra for that coveted legroom space where one can stretch legs on a long flight, plus the advantage of being among the first to get off the plane.
Virgin Australia's sister, Virgin America, had actually in fact started charging its passengers for the sought-after spot in the sky, which provides 38 inches of legroom instead of the standard 32 inches in economy seating.
The Australian Business Traveller reported that Virgin America charges US$204 for a San Francisco to Los Angeles flight compared to a standard refundable economy ticket of US$188. That flight plan is just equivalent to flying Sydney to Melbourne.
Virgin Australia said the first two rows of economy will continue to be reserved for its Velocity frequent flyer program's Platinum and Gold members at no extra cost.
If these frequent, class A travellers aren't part of the flight, the seat reassignment will be given to the Velocity Silver members at boarding, the airline spokesperson said.
Earlier this month, Virgin Australia announced a $2.2 billion deal signed with U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing for the delivery of 23 737-MAX-8 in the next 10 years. The new fleet will replace the Airbus A320-NEO. The delivery of the new plane orders is expected to start by 2019. Target full delivery is by 2021.
To contact the editor, e-mail: