“And the Last Shall Be … Really Last.”
It really seems as though things are going from bad to worse in the airline industry. At least that sure seems to be true for those of us who fly in an Economy seat … at least most of the time. We keep running into new and not-so-subtle ways the airlines have of nicking us for an extra 20 or 30 dollars. And, of course, this is in addition to squeezing the rows closer together.
I recently booked a flight back to the U.S. from London and the combination of best fare and best schedule was a British Airways flight. After I finished the process, up pops a screen asking if I would like to select my seat for the flight. Well, yes, says I. Of course! OK, says the airline, that’ll be an additional 25 pounds (about US$39).
I’ll admit it, they’ve got me. The plane is a big 747 with 3-4-3 seating in Economy Class. If I don’t cough up the money now, BA can stick me in whatever seat they want when I show up at the airport . . . and you just know that will be in the middle of a row and way in the back. Is it worth $39 to get the seat I want? Considering the alternative, yes it is. But do I resent the airline extracting one more extra fee in such a not-so-subtle way? I sure as hell do!
And now an obvious segué to the latest insight into the modern aviation industry that won’t surprise any of us who fly with any regularity. As we all know, airlines are squeezing the rows closer and closer together and they’re also making the seats smaller and with less padding. These changes have apparently prompted airline crews—by that I mean the flight attendants—to re-name all those seats that are sold for ultra-cheap prices. Amongst themselves, they’re actually calling it “Last Class.”
Get it? Up front, it’s First Class; all the way in the back, it’s Last Class. First-to-Last. Hardee-har! Ain’t that a hoot!
But there’s more to it. Well, actually, there’s really less to it, because these “Last Class” seats will come with some severe restrictions: no changes, no refunds, and you can’t pick your own seats. According to an aviation analyst, the airlines will continue to “push the limits” until passengers really start to complain—not to the individual airline because they could care less. To the FAA.