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Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYA.DB, RYAAY) said Tuesday that it will test reserved seating for the first time in a move that will be closely watched by other low-cost airlines.
Europe's largest carrier of airline passengers will offer access to 24 seats on its Boeing Co. (BA) 737-800s for 10 euros extra. The front two rows are seen generating a premium from passengers wanting a quick exit while the two overwing exit rows offer more legroom.
While Ryanair has a reputation as a leader in generating ancillary revenue, it had stopped short of reserved seating in an effort to speed boarding and aircraft turnaround times. It already offers priority boarding for 4 euros extra.
The trial will start May 16 on its flights from Dublin to London Gatwick--which have a relatively high percentage of business travelers--and from the Irish capital to Malaga, Spain.
Fellow low-cost pioneers including Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) have looked at assigned seating but opted against the practice. Network carriers have long offered assigned seating, but over the past two years have started charging extra for those offering extra legroom or speedier boarding and exit.
-By Doug Cameron, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4135; email@example.com