Do As I Say … Unless It Means Five Hours in a Lousy Seat.
Everyone knows that more and more airlines are stuffing us into narrow seats with less and less legroom. No wonder people are mad: for years they gave us something for free, then they took it away, and now they’re selling it back to us.
We all grumble, but we’re going along. Well, I am, anyway … and it pains me to admit it.
I’m now working out the details of a couple of trips – one to Canada in February, the other to Italy in June – six flights in all.
I used American Airlines mileage for two of them and paid cash for the other four. In each case, I was offered the option of “upgrading” into supposedly more comfortable seats with additional legroom. In each case, my response was, “Hell, no!” It was a matter of principle, doggone it!
Then, a couple of weeks later, in the wee hours of a night when I had trouble sleeping, I was at my computer going over one of the itineraries when I stopped at a red-eye Delta flight from here to Seattle. I swear that “Seat 41B” was blinking at me. Ugh! Way in the back and a middle seat, to boot! Strictly as a matter of curiosity, I went to the Delta website to find out what it would cost for an upgrade to a better seat.
Ten minutes later, I had switched to a seat that is a little wider, has three inches more legroom, and is 21 rows closer to the front of the plane. And I was $79 poorer.
Then last night, I did it again. In late June I’m returning to Boston on a British Airways flight from London. It had originally been booked with mileage through American Airlines, so there was no seat assignment. On the BA web site, I discovered that their computer would generate seat assignments 24 hours before departure. Of course, I could choose whatever economy seat I wanted right now for a £35 fee. (Thirty-five pounds? That’s $55 to you and me.) And, yes, I confess I did it.
I feel no less indignant that these airlines are squeezing me – both my butt and my wallet – but the sad fact is that I end up aiding and abetting them by going along. I guess it’s a little easier if there are a couple of weeks between the aiding and the abetting.