Capitalists Discover Capitalism


Friday I mocked the Liberals who dominate Broadway theater for their embracing market pricing for their tickets.  I was correctly mocked back in the comments for not calling out traditional conservative bastions for equal failure.

Well, critics all here is your reward.

Greedy corporate pig airlines discover capitalism:

Fliers can still choose between window and aisle seats on Delta Air Lines, but they’ll have to pay extra if those spots are near the front of the plane.

Economy passengers can now pay $9 or $29 for these prime seats, depending on the length of the flight. They were previously only available to frequent fliers in the airline’s Medallion program.

Other airlines such as US Airways, Sun Country and American Airlines already charge for window and aisle seats. The fee for premier seating is the latest in a string of surcharges by airlines. The fees have generated billions of dollars in extra revenue and have helped offset rising fuel costs.

I’ve long lamented the lack of markets in airline seating.  As airlines are continually being squeezed for revenues by the competition, they are looking to gain efficiencies wherever they can.  And part of that is scheduling flights as tightly as possible.  Often I find myself looking at a connecting flight with only 20-40 minutes to catch it.  I NEED to sit in the aisle and up front.  At other times I’ve scheduled my flight the day before and am in a position where I can sit in the back without a problem.

There has to be a better way than randomly assigning seats or even setting up an “e-bay’esque” type of event like Southwest does.  And for a long time I’ve told my poor suffering wife that “the market would set them free”.  Now, of course, I’ve always wanted them to set up a market where I could sell my seat position with the airline taking a cut.  But I guess this was inevitable.

In short, the market will allow people who need to be up front to be there while giving the folks who don’t need to be there the ability to well, not be.

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3 comments
  1. Moe said:

    Well, aren’t you just fair and balanced 🙂

    Back ‘in the day’ of 727’s and L1011’s, it was ordinary to be aboard a plane that was half empty – or more. I used to routinely have the whole aisle to myself and could pull the arms up, get a few pillows and blanets, stretch out . . . .LIGHT A CIGARETTE . . . and relax.

    That ended when fuel prices went up. It was a good time to be a passenger, especially if you had to fly a lot, which I did.

    • pino said:

      I used to routinely have the whole aisle to myself and could pull the arms up, get a few pillows and blanets, stretch out . . . .LIGHT A CIGARETTE . . . and relax.

      The days, right?

      And another thing.

      I used to fly a lot and would often get bumped and take home a voucher for $200-400. That NEVER happens anymore.

  2. In 1989 I flew American Airlines to Munich from Chicago. I had a row to myself and a window seat. They brought a filet for the meal (medium rare!) and asked what I would like to drink. I asked for a scotch and soda. They gave me two little bottles of scotch and two soda waters. After the meal they asked if I wanted an after dinner drink. Feeling buzzed and satisfied, I asked for another scotch and soda. Again, two little scotch bottles and two sodas. I drank those, streched out with my pillow and blanket, all the time watching the beautiful sunset out my window. One of the most enjoyable solo meals of my life. I drifted off to sleep and was awakened only to enjoy a delicious breakfast before landing in Munich. International flights are still much better than domestic, but always full, they discourage drinking by not offering it much (now it’s usually a glass of wine with the meal) and the meals are OK, but nothing memorable. It was expensive though — I think the ticket was over $1000, which would be the equivalent of about $1700 today! (Flights now are about $1200 round trip to Munich).

    To your point: It makes sense to charge more for premium seating.

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