As far as long-haul travel is concerned, I am one of those people who always turns up extra early at the airport in an attempt to secure an exit row seat. At 197 cm tall (yes, I know I am a freak), such a seat is a necessity rather than a luxury.
Qantas has started charging for the privilege of this extra leg room. That's $160 bucks a pop each way from Australia to Europe.
In truth, I don't mind paying if it lessens the anxiety of potentially missing out (especially if it's actually my work that pays). However, the whole process has turned out to be quite tedious. First up, it doesn't seem like travel agents, or indeed Qantas staff, have much of a clue as to how the whole process works (judging by the long, awkward silences and the 'umms' and 'ahhs'). Second, if you do manage to find out how it all works (and eventually, I did), it would appear that (1) booking an exit seat online involves the use of a fickle online booking system which may not work, and (2) booking over the phone is only good during regular business hours. On top of it all, no one can actually access the system until one week before departure (that's next Saturday for me).
So...in the long run, I probably haven't really lessened the anxiety after all...just moved it forward by about a week before departure. The question remains: will I get my exit row seats to Germany or not? I guess I'll know tomorrow (if the computer system works) or Monday (if I have to call the 1300 number).
As a postscript, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article today bitching about airlines charging extra costs onto the price of the ticket. One of the things they discussed was, of course, Qantas' decision to charge for exit row seats.