American air carriers become more and more creative these days. Their goal remains the same – to squeeze more money out of the passengers any way they can. I know that blanket costs $7, the junk-food-quality meal starts from $5, the first checked in bag is $15, the next one is even more expensive, a bottle of water goes for $2.
Here ‘s a new one – US Airways prepared a nice surprise for me. I booked three seats on a plane for my wife, my son and myself. The email confirming the reservation had just one seat assigned: 5B. This got me wondering, if there is any mistake in this booking. I went online and found out that my wife is the lucky person – she got the middle seat. The isle and widow seats were available right next to 5B. The Web site conveniently offers the seat selection feature.
Any husband having reasonably good relation with his wife would select a seat next to her, and this is exactly what I did. I got the isle seat, which was immediately assigned to me. This was a good news. What I didn ‘t like though, was that it showed the price tag: $10. But, since the USA is a free country, I had an option of not paying. The message in red warned:
You can either buy a Choice Seat, or, if you do not select a Choice Seat, we ‘ll assign you a free seat at the airport. If you change your mind, you can buy a Choice Seat at any time until departure.
I value my freedom, but I don ‘t like the fact that I have to pay $10 for a privilege of sitting next to my wife, and another $10 for having my son around.
Anyway, I decided to purchase a seat next to my wife assuming that our teenage son will be listening to his iPod regardless of where he sits during this short flight. I click on 5C, entered my credit card info, and the entire process of seat assignments was over: 5B, 5C, 15D. The son ‘s seat was picked automatically out of those that were initially marked as unavailable. The optioin to change the seats online was not available anymore. Oh, well, as long as we have peace on the planet and our assets are not managed by the Madoff firm….