For the longest time, Vistara has been very generous with their seat selection policy. Most seats in Economy are available for free for pre-assignment. The Emergency Exit seats were blocked out, however. These seats could only be assigned for a standard fee at the airport. However, these seats used to be free of charge assigned to Club Vistara Gold and Platinum members and Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer Silver and Gold members. Others would pay between INR 500 to INR 1000 for these seats. Premium Economy and Business Class seat assignment would be for free.
Now, effective February 20, 2020, there is a change in the seat assignment policy of Vistara, as a new product called Vistara Select comes into being. Vistara Select would be valid only for bookings made after February 20 and travel effective March 1, 2020, onwards. Under Vistara Select, only Vistara Platinum tier members will get free seat allocation for the premium seats across all cabin classes (except when booked on Economy Lite fares). This means the benefit has been withdrawn for Vistara Gold members and Singapore Airlines Gold/Silver members as well, on bookings going forward. However, Economy passengers booked in the Flexi fare class will be able to get their seat assignments done for free, at least for some of these paid seats now, but not the Emergency Exit seats.
In case you don’t wish to purchase a preferred seat, you can always select from the seats available during web check-in, or you would be assigned a seat free of charge when checking-in at the airport.
Vistara Select has taken a large swath of the preferred seats, and made them payable for. Not just that, there is now going to be a differentiation between the price depending on the plane type, and whether it is domestic or international flights. Here is an elaborate list of how much you should expect to pay for flights booked today onwards for seat selection:
There is no aircraft with only Business and Economy cabin. Still, as it is being described, it looks like a plan is in place to perhaps operating some flights with a Premium Economy cabin just as Business and Economy Class. Premium Economy has more legroom than Economy class, and the rows described are the same.
Here are the charges if you want to make a seat assignment for international flights.
Vistara Select is available up to 48 hours before flight departure on flights operated by Vistara, after which these seats go into the check-in pool if not assigned prior. Vistara Select is not applicable for customers travelling on Economy Lite fare.
Vistara is now providing more people with the opportunity to assign preferred seats, and that is not a bad thing either for the people who may be willing to pay the price for these seats or the bottom line of Vistara. However, I think the Vistara Gold tier members will feel the pinch, and this is one way that Vistara has tried to create a distinction between Vistara Gold and Vistara Platinum, which mostly otherwise is Vistara Gold+.
What do you make of the changes to Vistara seat booking charges?