Last week I mentioned that I didn’t think Northwest’s move to charge for ‘premium’ seats in coach (which, outside of exit rows, aren’t in any way actually better) was a big deal.
For infrequent flyers it’s neutral or a positive, the opportunity to access seats — though not meaningfully better — otherwise were mostly available to Northwest elites.
For frequent flyers it’s more or less a non-issue: if you’re regularly flying Northwest and spending much time at all in coach you should be changing airlines. The only positive Northwest has is its domestic upgrade program, which isn’t just complimentary but also something they regularly deliver on.
Still, charging elites for something they used to get for free (without even anything new offered up in return) is never a good thing.
But what really irks me is the poor spin that Northwest puts forward, telling the Washington Post that
- its offer matches — or is even better than — similar moves by other carriers. Ebenhoch cited United Airlines, which charges a fee for a seat in its Economy Plus cabin.
Unmentioned even by United is that Mileage Plus elite members get economy plus seats for free. Northwest should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to charge elites for these seats… and doubly so for claiming their offering is on par with United’s.