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Friday, January 18, 2008

The price for a bit of extra safety?

We're booked for a trip to Cuba. Here in eastern Canada, many of us escape winter by flying down south, either to DR or Cuba. They're inexpensive, all inclusive, and warm. Everything my hubby wants in a vacation.
So, the airline we're booked on emailed me to offer a prebooking of our seats, to, as they put it, save time.
Sure, why not?
I surfed over to the site, but couldn't go any farther without the file number, so I emailed my travel agent. She replied quickly, saying she'd be happy to do it, and which credit card should she bill it to?
Credit card? Bill it?
It turns out that if we want to choose our seats, we will be charged anywhere from $15 to $25, depending on where you want to sit. It seems that right by the emergency exit is the most expensive.
Now, you may argue that it's the leg room, but I want to counter that. Not every plane has that extra leg room by the emergency exit.
I say it's because of the perceived notion that you'll be safer near the exit, and be able to get out sooner should the plane crash. Except....
as a friend of mine pointed out, you'll also be trambled to death by others, if you in any way hesitate.
I told my husband, who, like I said before, like inexpensive vacations, said to me, 'Forget it. I don't care where I sit.'
But it got me thinking. The airlines are cashing in on people's paranoia. People want that extra bit of peace of mind, and sitting by an emergency exit will do it. Sure, you get to sit with loved ones, but frankly, I've not been on a plane where you couldn't get a seat close to a loved one. People don't mind moving around. And I don't buy that notion that you need to pay extra to sit by your loved one. Where the heck is your loved one going whilst flying in a plane? And frankly, having raised two kids, I would only be too happy to put my darlings next to some stranger, especially if they refuse my request to change seats.
Sure, mister, sit by my son. You'll never refuse a seat exchange request again, once you get a whiff of his cologne, (he's 15 and loves to bathe in Axe) and he loves to share his music with all those in earshot. It's been techno geek music lately.
But what burns me is the fact that airlines are just trying to get more money out of us. They're basically saying, 'You want to think you'll be safer by that emergency exit? You'll have to pay for it.'
What's next? 'Oh, ma'am, you want a life jacket? That'll be an extra $50. The ones that come with the plane only inflate halfway.'
Barbara, who will still enjoy her trip.