USAirways’ “elite” seats in coach are at the front of the plane, but unlike United those seats carry no extra benefits (such as additional legroom), you just get off the plane first. Elites get them at no extra cost, but starting May 7 USAirways will be offering them to all other customers during web checkin for an extra charge.
Now, I wouldn’t pay extra for these seats. Non-elites will be boarding later and have a harder time finding overhead space which will presumably be taken by nearby early boarding elites.
But this is a devaluation for elites, who on the rare flight that isn’t full will fface more crowded surroundings. The concept isn’t new, though, Northwest has done it for some time.