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Travel Tip: Read This Before You Buy Preferred Seats

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United-Economy-Plus2-mediumAirlines make billions of dollars each year in ancillary fees, and one of the most profitable programs is the preferred seat system. But what’s the definition of a preferred seat, and is it worth the extra price?

Turns out, preferred seats aren’t necessarily a window or an aisle seat. Middle seats can be preferred if they’re near the front of the plane. Even seats near the back of the plane have been labeled preferred seats.

It’s all about supply and demand. On some flights, the better seats will be gobbled up by business travelers. But, the airlines will block off seats that aren’t necessarily better and call them “preferred.”

What they’re counting on is that fliers who don’t have guaranteed seats will feel pressured into paying extra.

Another target is families who can’t find adjacent seats when they book their tickets. They end up paying to guarantee seats together, instead of scrambling at the gate. Then, there are those who don’t want to pay to check their bags, but end up paying the fee for early boarding, just to get space in the overhead bins.

For more information, visit the airlines and airport category.

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