SeatGuruI’ve been traveling quite a bit over the last year, and I’ve discovered that not all airlines are the same when it comes to fees.  There’s already has been loads of coverage about baggage fees, but did you know that some airlines charge for seat assignments, or choice seats?  Knowing these fees is important, because they add to the overall cost of your flight.  Keep in mind that fees are always changing, so check with each specific airline before you book.

JetBlue, my favorite airline for a multitude of reasons, doesn’t charge for seat assignments in general.  However, if you’d like an “even more legroom” seat, you’ll need to pay extra, even once you are onboard. United (now merged with Continental), also charges for some seats, in the section of the plane called “Economy Plus”.  There are no additional perks to Economy Plus except for the seating, and expect it to cost around $70 for a cross-country flight.

Delta Airlines does not currently charge for seat assignments, but in most cases, you can’t get an exit row seat unless you are a Dividend Miles Preferred member.  Southwest has their infamous no-seat-assignment policy, but for an additional fee, you can check-in early and get a more desirable boarding number.  USAirways charges for choice seats, some of which are just standard aisle or window seats (with no additional perks).

Spirit and AirTran both charge if you want to make a seat selection in advance – a fee that can be frustrating if you are flying cross-country.  With Spirit, if you do not purchase an advance seating assignment, one will be randomly assigned to you and cannot be changed.  AirTran, on the other hand, doesn’t charge with certain rate codes (i.e., for more expensive flights, you may not have to pay extra).  They also charge if you would like a preferred boarding number.

Is that all confusing enough for you?

So, if you are purchasing a seat, which seat should you choose?  I’d recommend checking out SeatGuru, where you can see the most and least desirable seats on your specific flight!

Jodi Grundig, Finance Traveling Mom, regularly writes about her travels on Family Travel Magazine and Mom’s Favorite Stuff.