Most of the stories about low cost airlines are about Easyjet and Ryanair. This should be no surprise: most low cost flights are provided by Easyjet and Ryanair. But the idea of having an itemised extra charge for your seat isn’t a Michael O’Leary wheeze. So who’s the clever little soul behind this?
Or perhaps I should have said clever tiny soul, because this faintly daft concept comes to you courtesy of BMIBaby (the airline with allegedly tiny fares). I kid you not: try doing a booking through their website (that’s www.bmibaby.com, folks).
Why? Ah well, there is, as ever, method in this particular madness. Unlike Easyjet and Ryanair, who don’t allocate seats, BMIBaby let you choose your seat from a plan of the aircraft (a less than pristine Boeing 737-300, as I found out later) – and if you want more legroom, ker-ching! – that’s extra. But it’s still eight quid for starters.
Even then, BMIBaby aren’t done with you just yet. You take the least cost route and opt for online check-in when booking? With someone like Easyjet you can do both outward and return check in there and then. Not BMIBaby. You have to wait until 48 hours before departure, and that’s for both legs of your trip. So if you won’t have internet access while away, either you find an internet cafe, or that’ll be an extra charge at the airport because you didn’t check in online within the window offered.
Yes, BMIBaby are a mere tiddler compared to the big fish of the low cost ocean. But that doesn’t stop this practice being well out of order.