In an announcement that is sure to stir up plenty of press this week, Northwest Airlines just announced that it will charge an extra $15 for seats in the exit row or at the front of the coach cabin, facing the bulkhead. In essence, they’re charging for more legroom, charging for empty space.
On the one hand, this smacks of once again trying to wring out more revenue out of something that used to be free. On the other hand, those seats have either been the luck of the draw or have gone to elite frequent flyers, so you could argue that this is a fairer system. Anyone who is over six feet will probably gladly pay the extra to be assured of getting more legroom.
But what’s next? At some point will we have to pay more to sit beside a skinny person? Will seats beside a crying baby be discounted? Can I pay extra to choose a hot-looking seatmate from a database?
I just hope this doesn’t apply to those tuna cans they call “regional jets.” Every seat in those sucks no matter where you are, so paying an extra $15 for anything is a rip-off.