Pay to board your flight early

brdng2There was a time when flying was the preserve of the rich and famous, but since the introduction of jet aircraft, then large passenger planes like the Boeing 747, the real price of airfares has been coming down.  Back when fares were higher airlines threw in a lot of freebies to entice passengers to fly with them.

Once, when you paid for your flight, you would a travel bag in which you could place all the necessities for your flight.  Once on board you would be given a souvenir, and if it was a long haul flight, it usually comprised of a face mask for sleeping and oversocks so you could slip off your shoes and wander around the cabin in comfort.  There was no in-flight entertainment, but meals were served with real cutlery.  Although you paid for alcohol, you could take your duty free on board and drink that.

Now that airlines are sleek and saving costs, many of those niceties have disappeared.  To be fair, flying is, generally, now more comfortable, and onboard entertainment has been taken to almost ridiculous levels.

As fares have dropped, fees have increased, particularly with the no frills airlines embracing the ‘user pays’ system of charging you extra for just about everything, or perhaps even everything – with Irish airline Ryanair threatening to charge passengers to use their onboard toilets.  Is there an alternative to not using the toilets should you have an urgent need, and no change?  Or will Ryanair’s passenger pack include an incontinence pad or two?

Now, according to CNN’s A. Pawlowski “American Airlines has introduced the “Boarding and Flexibility Package,” which allows passengers who buy tickets on the carrier’s website also to purchase perks that include being among the first to board a flight. The “introductory price” for the package ranges from $9 to $19 one way and varies based on the market and routing.”

That same report says that (bizarrely): “Passengers who pay the early boarding fee won’t be the very first on the plane. That privilege will still be reserved for American’s elite status members.”

To me, that seems like you are paying a fee for no service.  I’m struggling to find the logic for charging a premium for a service that you won’t be entitled to use.  Why don’t they start charging you for the seatbelt you’re obliged to do up?  Actually, on the subject of seating, I wouldn’t mind if airlines charged passengers for reclining their seats – being a person of large mien (alright, I’m obscenely obese) and with long legs, one of my pet aversions is sitting cramped in my airline seat, then having my legs crushed by the goon in front reclining their seat so that the top of their head is situated right under my chin.  Pay one hundred bucks to recline?  I’d love to see that!

4 comments to Pay to board your flight early

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  • Alex

    I have read a few of you blog posts and although i agree with some of gripes I have to disagree strongly with your gripe about leaning the seat back. Now I say everything with respect and do not mean to call out your heft as an insult, but… when i buy an economy ticket I know what I will be getting… packed in a tin like a sardine, but with that ticket i also get a chair that reclines, you also get a chair that reclines and if i so choose I can recline that chair. It really isn’t my fault that you are a large man is it? If you dont like the amenities that you are getting in economy then upgrade to a higher class but otherwise, as long as airlines allow the seat to recline one shouldn’t have to worry about the guy behind him. This really introduces a cascade of problems, lets say the guy in front of me reclines, then i recline into you and you object(verbally and/or forcefully) and make me put my chair up… now I have to suffer with the limited space because the guy in front of me reclined coupled with the fact i cannot recline? I either have to tell the guy in front of me to move up or just deal with it… what if im non-confrontational and dont want to say anything or they dont listen…. I have to suffer because of you???? I dont think so pal! So the way i see it, its all or nothing. Either everyone should be able to do it or no one should.

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