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US Airways to Charge Extra for Some Seats; Hold on to Your Hats for Other Changes

US Airways announced its Choice Seats program where passengers can pay $5 to get an aisle or window seat in the first few rows of coach.

But that is nothing compared to the changes US Airways’ CEO say are coming down the ol’ pike.   You can read Douglas Parker’s note to his employees here, but it suggests that if DL/NW goes through, they will have to merge with someone (they suggest United or American) to survive at all.  And as I’ve discussed here before, the US Airways – America West merger still isn’t finished, so combining that airline with another would be a mess.

It’s going to get so much worse before it gets better in this industry.  And it’s going to get much, much worse for passengers.

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  1. Lots of people think it’s 5 bucks for a “choice” seat assignment here. Nope — that’s only for the short flights. I think the price goes as high as $30 for long hauls.

    FWIW, I like a good seat as much as the next guy, and will go to some trouble to get one. For instance, as a Continental platinum, I can get “elite seating” on their partner airlines as well, but I usually have to call. For Delta, that usually means talking to a poorly trained rep in India who’s likely not to understand my request. I still call most of the time.

    But to actually PAY for the better seat? I just don’t think I’d do that. I guess I’m a little cheap, but parting with money to get off the plane a minute or two faster doesn’t make sense for me.

    The better market is probably corporate customers — heck, I’d part with somebody else’s cash for the convenience! But I wonder how many corporate travel dept’s have provisions that allow reimbursement for this.

    I guess enough do, because it’s becoming an increasingly popular option.

    As far as another merger being “a mess” for US Airways, I guess we’ll see. The last “mess” seems severely hyped by the media, as the “really bad” inconvenience lasted only a couple days, and the “annoying” inconvenience probably a month or two. I would say it was par with the inconvenience United caused its pax in December when they ran out of pilots to fly their x-mas schedule, and that barely registered a pulse in the media. US Airways now has one of the best ops in the industry. You’d think Parker might like to keep it that way, given the history here.

  2. True, the US Airways merger was only an operational disaster for a bit, but the bigger issue is the ongoing labor issues there as evidenced by the US Airways pilots kicking their union out in an unprecedented move. I think you and I both agree that US Airways’ management team is fantastic, but another merger in this environment sounds like a distraction.

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