Airlines are Really Beginning to Bug Me

Okay, I can deal with cutting out food and drink, and I can almost handle the cancellations and delays, but charging more in economy for aisle seats near the front, or for exit rows? C’mon, be serious.

Pretty soon they’re going to start charging you extra just to get you there:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. We are currently 30,000 feet over Los Angeles. Fuel prices have risen 2.7% during this trip down from Seattle.  Please insert your credit card into the seatback in front of you in the next twenty seconds if you want to avoid being ejected before San Diego. Thanks.”


  1. Brent Buckner says:

    I’m happy with rationing partly via price rather than rationing entirely via time of ticket purchase. Push those annoying budget-conscious vacationers to the back!
    And hey, if I book a window seat at the front I won’t pay any more, and maybe I’ll get a better class of seatmate. :-)

  2. Nigel deGruyther says:

    I’m with Brent here. Clearly each seat on a plane has a different value; else there would be no need for advanced seat selection.

  3. I also hate being nickel-and-dimed, but in this case agree with the commenters: if there are seats that passengers “fight for”, that means those seats represent premium value, why not use a market-mechanism to assign them, vs. random luck.I love the humor though:-)

  4. Franklin Stubbs says:

    I generally fly at least once a month if not more, and I always go for the exit row (assuming the star alliance first-class upgrade isn’t available).
    Hate to say it, but if they charged more for an exit row window I’d definitely pay. It really makes a diff when you’re going coast to coast.
    I bet Southwest could make a little extra cash selling preferred / assigned seats too. I avoid them whenever possible because of their cattle-call boarding style. There are some of us who hate having to line up at the gate early, lest we wind up next to the crying baby in the last row.

  5. Okay, I’m apparently a cheapskate and in the minority on this. Nevertheless, I have no base problem with sensible differential pricing, and there is no question, pace Nigel’s point, that different seats on planes have different value.
    But differential pricing at the check-in counter could rapidly become a real hassle. Lines can be long enough now without people waffling through “Let Make a Deal” on seat 6C vs 17D and the $15 price. Ugh.

  6. That’s a good point, the premium should be included in the price, at the time of booking (what the heck, those pricing schemes are already complicated anyway). I wonder how they could consolidate this with the regulation (?) to only allocate the safety seats at the airport where they can ask for the passenger’s consent about responsibility .. etc.

  7. How about giving a discount for having a lousy seat like the last row which is right in front of the can where you get to hear the toilet lid slammed every few minutes and oh, that wonderful smell!

  8. Paul, I am a cheapskate too. I know a lot of people call SW a cattle car and it does not pre-assgn seats but you cna check in on-line day before you are almost gurranteed A group boarding. your chances of getting your preferred seat are pretty high. I myself like a aisle on the left side of the plane so I can easily move my right hand on the laptop and towards middle of plane, and I cannot remember the last time I did not get the preferred seat. No $ 15 charge!

  9. I am 6’7. Granted I am essentially a mutant, but when I see short people in the exit rows it makes me want to kill; hating hate, I would begrudgingly pay for the row. I’d prefer if people could have the courtesy to leave it for the freaks, but perfect pricing techniques that squeeze customer value do sometimes better match supply with demand.
    ps gocarey let me in on the infectious greed and i am hooked!