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'Ridiculous': Metro Vancouverites react to paused Air Canada seat selection fee

"Don’t they already charge enough for flying?"
Metro Vancouver residents are angry about Air Canada's new seat selection fee and question why they paused its implementation.

Air Canada hasn't moved forward with its controversial new seat selection fee over a week after it was slated to begin charging customers. 

The airline told V.I.A. on April 26 that it had "paused implementation" for "operational reasons" but still planned to move forward with the change. 

Currently, travellers have to pay for pre-select seats before check-in on an Air Canada flight but can select seats for free during check-in. The proposed change would require them to pay a fee to select a seat during the 24 hours before their flight. 

On Friday, May 3, Air Canada told V.I.A. that it still hasn't implemented the new fee and has "no other update to provide." 

The airline said the fees, once implemented, are "consistent with our branded fares" and are similar to the policies of other carriers in Canada. 

Air Canada sells several branded fares at various prices, including its Basic, Latitude and Business Class.

Metro Vancouverites react to proposed Air Canada seat selection fee

Air Canada says customers with children will not have to pay the fee to sit together, regardless of fare class. 

But the airline hasn't indicated whether people who book tickets in groups or couples will sit together. 

Many frustrated flyers say they've already experienced difficulties with seating on board, even when they select seats during check-in. 

Patricia Mee told V.I.A. that the airline was "killing us" for charging a seat selection just before boarding, quipping that it may eventually "charge for the 'fresh' air in the cabin during flight."

Eloden Romaniuk said they just happened to be flying on an Air Canada flight to Europe right before the change, which was then paused. 

"I was shocked and in addition, I know in my preferences I’m set up for aisle seats and they assigned me a window," they told V.I.A.

"I mentioned this to the lady at the check-in counter and she kind of scolded me and said this was the result of low-cost airlines driving fares down."

Diana Fortin feels the change is "just another way to rip off the customer" and joked that people may have to bring their own seats in the future.

"It is really sad where the Canadian airline business is heading in comparison to the European airlines," she said.

B.C. residents characterized the new policy as "ridiculous," asking "Don’t they already charge enough for flying?"

Elfie Pavlakovic told V.I.A. they believe the move is "another money grab from airlines" and that prices are already high.