Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Choice Seats: The latest airline robbery

Every time I get the urge to write a posting about the airlines, I try to resist, because I've been blogging about them far too much, and there are many things about travel that interest me far more than the airlines. But it seems like they provide me with fodder on a near-daily basis.

Case in point: Just as I sat down to write today's posting, I checked my email, and read a press release from US Air. I just about fell out of my seat. As if charging you for a crappy sandwich or checking a bag wasn't insult enough, now they want to make you pay for the privilege of getting a window or aisle seat.

In their own words: "Starting May 7, we'll introduce our new Choice Seats—select aisle and window seats in the first several rows of Coach. You'll have the option to purchase a Choice Seat assignment during Web Check-in. That means aisle and window seats are likely to still be available even for last minute travelers."

I keep wondering where they'll draw the line, and every time I think they've drawn it, they erase it and redraw it a little closer to your pocketbook. Granted, their pay-for-the-privilege "Choice Seats" are in the first several rows of Coach, but even an idiot can predict that this will inevitably lead to a standard extra charge for any window or aisle seat, anywhere on the plane.

So that's where we're heading. Zone 1 boarding? Extra charge. Carrying on a bag? Extra charge. Checking in online? Extra charge. I'm going to throw a party on the day one of these legacy carriers goes bankrupt.

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