Related to this question, but in my case I actually am in the situation where all normal seats are occupied.

This is what happens here: the online check-in system is trying to force me to choose extra legroom seats (since only those are available) and pay the additional cost.

It won't let me proceed if I don't do that.

However, this company (Eurowings) does allow checking in in person at the airport at no cost: I am therefore wondering whether to not check in online, go to the ariport check-in gate and ask for the free seats since I think I am entitled to them.

Can I do that, or is the system right? Should I accept to pay the additional cost when all normal seats included in my ticket price are taken?

EDIT Unlike many others, I'm not necessarily inclined to see malice from them here. I have chosen my free seats on their system many times before, always at no cost. This scenario, where all passengers with regular seats have already checked-in online seems quite uncommon and it may very well be that they forgot to implement a solution.

  • 47
    Holy cow, I am shocked how borderline criminal the online system is designed. I am quite sure a lot of people in this situation will buy the upgrade because they are not aware of the legal and consumer rights. And I highly doubt that they simply forgot to add that to their system.
    – dirkk
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 12:41
  • 7
    "this company ... does allow to check-in in person" - has that possibility become so unusual by now? I'm getting old. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 14:01
  • 8
    @HagenvonEitzen It is certainly always possible, but many LCC (and Eurowings is the low cost airline from Lufthansa) charge you a hefty fee for that.
    – dirkk
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 15:04
  • 9
    Well that's a new one. I didn't check this one, but all (European) online check-in systems I've encountered, do their best to trick you in to choosing an seat at additional cost, but all (to the best of my knowledge) have an option to skip that, and be assigned a seat. Some of them are on the level of adware installation software (i.e. "Do you not want to not install this crappy software, at zero additional cost to the slightly increased price?"), but they all (as far as my experience goes) do. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 16:58
  • 15
    Intimidation tactic. They want you to believe your only option is to pay the surcharge, because 80% of people will simply sigh and pay at that point. I'm honestly amazed that is allowed in the generally pro-consumer EU, and based on article 10(1) I suspect the website is actually engaging in an illegal practice, and I would report it. Still be careful this isn't "pilot error" on your part, they often make websites difficult or non-intuitive to use so they can show the regulator "see, you just do this and it works". On the other hand, sometimes websites are broken! Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 17:39

4 Answers 4


To answer more generally:

If the flight is covered by the EU Flight Compensation Regulation (all Eurowings flights are so), the airline is not allowed to charge the passenger for an upgrade in this situation.

Article 10(1): If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class higher than that for which the ticket was purchased, it may not request any supplementary payment.

The airline could however probably instead choose to deny you boarding (due to overbooking) and compensate you accordingly without violating the regulation.

  • 22
    Can the flight be considered overbooked if there are free seats somewhere? I thought overbooking required that the number of passengers exceeds the total capacity of the plane, not individual classes.
    – D Krueger
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 13:17
  • 11
    This would not be overbooking: there are seats available in the class the passenger booked. The online system will be programmed to charge for those seats but the human at the terminal check in will not make the charge, as indicated by the tweet the customer posted earlier.
    – user16259
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 13:22
  • 3
    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Are extra legroom seats a different class, or not?
    – Yakk
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 15:44
  • 6
    I took the original reference to extra legroom seats to mean the ones next to an exit. These are sold as part of the same class as the other seats in the vicinity and do not form a separate class from the airline's point of view. My reasoning is, if they were a separate class, that class would be an option at time of booking, not just during seat selection.
    – user16259
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 16:14
  • 3
    @user16259 I understood perfectly well, that we are talking about seats with extra legroom at the emergency exits. If an airline sells some seats with more space or more room for a premium fee, that fulfil IMHO every reasonable definition of a class upgrade, no matter what marketing label the airline decide to use for this extra frill. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 20:33

I got their reply on twitter:

You will be able to check in at the airport. My colleagues will assign you a seat for free

As to whether or not a check in fee will be added the answer is no: with eurowings you can check in in person at no cost. The online process just speeds it up, allowing you to skip the queue when you have no stored luggage, and lets you choose the seat earlier

  • @dotancohen where does such a "in-person check in counter fee" exist? at least that doesn't exist in norway nor vietnam, and i've never heard of that fee before
    – hanshenrik
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 12:05
  • But you risk being bumped. Still... principal? Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 12:41
  • 4
    @hanshenrik Mostly only on ultra-low-cost carriers. Traditional carriers normally aren't quite that bad about nickel and diming you. Probably the most egregious example is that Ryanair charges 50 EUR or 50 GBP for it! And, even if you've already checked in, if you need to re-print your boarding pass at the airport, that's another 15 EUR/GBP. Oh, and if you're due a refund of government taxes/fees, there's a fee for giving you the refund!
    – reirab
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 17:55
  • If the company as a telephone number and a human can do it, it might be done for free over phone too. Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 9:06
  • 1
    Anecdotally, this exact thing just happened to me yesterday (with the same company). The app told me I cannot check-in online and I was slightly upset about that. After checking in at the counter, I realised only on entering the plane that I had been silently updated. No extra fees included.
    – skymningen
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 10:07

The same just happened to me today. I tried different browsers from my PC, but on a one-stop route I could only select a seat for free on just one airplane. It seemed like I could not select anything but an 18€ seat on the other airplane, nor an option to skip that step, in spite of their disclaimer:

Seat reservation You can reserve a seat even after you have bought your ticket. You can do so up to the end of the check-in procedure before departure online or via our call centre. There is a fee per seat reservation (depending on the fare bracket) per passenger and leg (on domestic German flights add VAT). If you do not reserve a seat, you will automatically be allocated one at no extra cost when you check in.

Anyway, I tried to check-in from my mobile and even though I could only select "larger seats" again, it did not show any price attached to that. Basically I got a larger seat at no cost.

Hope this helps!

  • Confirmed, this works like a charm.
    – fe_lix_
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 6:24

with the app you can choose your free seat enjoy, the company try to get our money, but if you think that maybe old people that they are not very good with technology will pay for the seat the company make lots of money, they just take advantage

  • Are you trying to say that Eurowings has a ticketing app where seat selection is free? If so you should include link to the app and maybe some examples of free seat bookings.
    – RedBaron
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 10:10
  • I confirm this just worked for me. I downloaded the app from the AppStore. When I went to the check-in, no additional cost was required when selecting that seat. Only extra-legroom seat were availalble.
    – fe_lix_
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 6:23
  • I agree, if you download the app you can select the exact same seats that they try and charge you £18 for on the web, but for free on the app! Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 18:18

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