Low-cost carrier easyJet has announced that it will be introducing allocated seating for passengers who are prepared to pay a fee. Carolyn McCall, the airline’s chief executive, claimed that this was not another way of squeezing cash out of customers as the scheme would be revenue neutral.

Analysts in the City have been told that easyJet had managed to reduce losses because of higher baggage fees and that its latest move was prompted by a desire to ease the stress for passengers who do not wish to scramble for their seating.

Premium places at the front of the aircraft or by exits will cost passengers an extra £12. Other chosen seats will cost £3. McCall said that the company had been doing some research and found that some passengers were put off flying with easyJet because it did not allocate seats. She hopes that a change in policy will make those customers reconsider.

Unreserved seating was first introduced because it meant that boarding times were cut down which meant a speedier turnaround of aircraft. The chief executive said that if allocated seating meant that operations were made slower, then the idea would be scrapped.

The airline, which flies to destinations in 30 countries, expects to announce pre-tax profits for the first half of the year to 31 March of between £110 and £120 million. This is compared to original forecasts for the six months of between £140 and £160 million.