You’re sandwiched in between two generously proportioned humans in the middle seat on an airplane, 30,000 feet above ground, when suddenly you need to pee.
You try to hold it in, but then you start to panic that you’ll get Deep Vein Thrombosis from sitting still for too long – because as it turns out you are a hypochondriac with a very small bladder.
Do you clamber over the gentleman to your left and hope he doesn’t awake the very moment your butt is positioned directly in front of his face? Or do you tap him gently, then more vigorously, before eventually punching him awake so you can relieve yourself (FYI: this last option means spending the rest of your flight in awkward silence next to a man you just assaulted).
Well, you actually do neither. Because if you hate it that much, pretty soon you may be able to pay for the privilege of avoiding the much maligned middle seat on a plane.
The New York Times reported this week that, in a growing airline trend, carriers may start taking away your ability to choose your seat, meaning that if you’re not ready to flash some extra cash you could get stuck in a very undesirable spot.
At the beginning of the year Delta Airlines launched their “Basic Economy” fares, in an attempt to compete with budget carrier, Frontier. However, that meant cutting back and removing some of the so-called perks – namely not being able to select a seat in advance, being ineligible for upgrades and boarding last once the overhead luggage compartments are full.
And now United and American Airlines have announced they plan to follow in Delta’s footsteps. Making aisle seats a premium is the latest in a long line of money making endeavors by greedy airlines, who seem determined to cut down on our human rights and herd us in like cattle – all whilst making a tidy profit in the process.
We told you back in October that Airbus made an anxiety-inducing patent that involved stacking its flyers on top of each other to fit more in. And for those of you who’ve felt claustrophobic on a recent flight, you’re not imagining it – airplane seats have been shrinking in the last few years, according to the US Transport Committee.
While we understand that the demand for budget air travel is increasing by the day, it’s a little galling to pay extra for all the things that were previously given for free built into the cost of our ticket.
These “Economy minus” fares may seem like a good way to cut costs for those who don’t mind the absolute basic experience. But squeezing the last drop out of passengers just to maintain a reasonable standard of travel is a good way to lose loyal customers.