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Advance Seat Selection Fees

When buying a ticket, one of the first things people try to do is choose their seat. The best seats are the aisles and windows, especially near the front of the plane. These seats usually cost extra and are sometimes called “preferred seating.” Exit rows also fall into this category. What if you don’t want to pay extra for your seats?

You can choose seats toward the middle and back of the plane that are not subject to this extra fee, but it depends on the airline. If you look at the chart below you’ll see that with some airlines it is still possible to choose your seats for free so long as they are not part of the preferred seats.

With the discount airlines you will need to pay extra to choose your seats in advance. It may not be important to you to choose your seat if you are traveling alone (but you should expect to get assigned a middle seat). If you are traveling in a group, especially with small children, you are going to want to make sure to pay extra to keep your party together.

Fees to Choose Your Seats (1)
American Airlines Free (2)(3)
Delta Air Lines Free (4)
Southwest Airlines (5) $30 – 50 to board in first group
United Airlines Free (4)
Alaska Airlines Free
JetBlue Airways Free (4)
Spirit Airlines $1 – 50 (6)
Frontier Airlines $17 – 55 (7)
Allegiant Air Up to $80
Hawaiian Airlines Free (2)
Sun Country $7 – 80
(1) Price per ticket/flight.
(2) Limited availability.
(3) Not allowed with Basic Economy fares.
(4) Will cost extra with Basic Economy fares.
(5) Southwest does not have assignable seats.
(6) Price varies depending on when and how purchased.
(7) Price varies depending on fare purchased.

Information current as of January 10, 2021.

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Jay Muller

Author of The Flight Advisor

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