Where’s Howard Beale When We Really Need Him?

I try to book my flights as far in advance as possible. And, since no matter where I’m headed, living on Maui means I’ll be spending a minimum of five hours in the air, I’m fussy about where I sit. I want a window seat; I want a seat that will recline, is close to the front of the plane (but not opposite a lavatory), and has a power outlet.

To be sure I get a seat that meets my personal specs, I have the SeatGuru.com website open to the seating chart of the plane on the specific flight I’m booking. Getting the right seat is important to me. And, in fact, it’s important to most passengers. Wouldn’t you think what’s important to us would be important to the airlines?EP-140929314
Well, as of March 1st, Delta Airlines will start offering no less than five seating options on most of their flights, including three for those of us in the back of the plane: Basic Economy, Main Cabin, and Delta Comfort. What was Business Class will now be called First Class, and First Class now becomes Delta One.

In addition to a more comfortable seat, one of the “benefits” you’ll get in the new Delta Comfort class will be dedicated space for your carry-on bag in the overhead bin above you.  Delta’s new Basic Economy class, on the other hand, is more about what you don’t get. You don’t get to make any changes. You don’t get any refunds. And—ready for this?—you don’t get to select your own seat.

That’s a deal breaker for me, but there’s a much bigger issue: Another major airline is taking away something we have always gotten for free … then offering to sell it back to us.

You know what we need? We need a Howard Beale. Remember? He was the TV news anchor in the film Network played by actor Peter Finch who exhorted us all to go to the window, stick our heads out and yell, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!”