Some major European airlines are attracting heavy criticism over their "random seat allocation" policies. That's the practice of forcing passengers to pay extra so they can sit together. Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has come in for serious scrutiny with its customer base widely reporting that partners, friends and entire families were split up during flights. The problem has gotten so serious that the UK's Civil Aviation Authority launched a review in February of airline allocated seating policies.
Together with YouGov, the CAA released a survey showing the airlines with the greatest chances of separation for passengers who do not fork over extra money. Ryanair came first with 35 percent of its passengers saying they had been separated from their travelling group, followed by Emirates with 22 percent and Virgin Atlantic with 18 percent. The CAA estimated that passengers in the UK spend a whopping £390 million every year so they can sit together.
This chart shows the chances of being separated if not paying extra to guarantee seats by airline.*
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