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Legroom Fees?

I wrote this article before the business of service fees hit airlines. The bait and switch mentality of this industry is astounding. First, we had legroom fees, now we have luggage fees, as well? Astounding.

The Air Canada “Leg Room Tariff” is one step too far, in my estimation. Over the years, I have watched travelling in an airplane going from being an elegant thing. Civilized folks dressed well and were all civil with each other. These days I think it’s lucky that folks are wearing clean clothes. Don’t get me started about the people who travel in sandals and then complain that the plane is too cold.

As time has passed, we have gone lost complimentary candies at the start of flights and on landing to help you with “popping ears”. Wouldn’t be surprised to see pay toilets offered by an airline.  Hidden costs abound in air travel these days. It is possible airlines could provide a free flight to Toronto from Ottawa and still end up charging you over $150 in service fees. Now there is a landing fee, does that mean if I don’t pay it we don’t land?.

This new tariff for the seats in the Economy that have a bit more legroom will cost more is beyond gouging. Being someone who does not fit in an airliner (unless I am in Business class or First Class), being able to sit in a seat that allows me not to fold myself in half to fit was excellent. Still, I will not have access to these seats unless I am willing to pay for them, and the seats are “available.”

The fee will only be $14 for each leg of your trip, to sit in a bulkhead seat or one of the emergency exits, but it stinks, in my estimation.  If someone who cannot open the emergency exit pays for the seat but refuses to move, people may die? Seems like a safety issue to me.

Will you pay this fee? I don’t travel these days, so it is not a worry for me. For the frequent fliers out there, are you going to pay? I single out Air Canada on this one. I will bet other Airlines will add this fee quickly if Air Canada succeeds with this new fee.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I think they got the idea from their American counterparts – I know United Airlines does this already. As for the emergency row seats, right now they ask people to confirm that they’re able and willing to assist in an emergency. I assume that will continue.

    I really feel for the flight attendants when people see empty seats in the emergency row with all the extra legroom and the flight attendants have to shoo people away from switching seats by reminding everyone that those seats cost more and therefore you can’t sit in them even if they’re empty.

  2. This is an optional fee, and I am therefore all for it. If you don’t want to pay, don’t. You’ll get a cheaper ticket because somebody else is paying extra.

    My problem with airlines is the unadvertised, yet non-optional fees. If I cannot buy a ticket to Vancouver for $99(+gst, since that’s how Canadians are used to assessing prices) then it should not be advertised as $99.

    If, however, I can pay $99, and then get charged extra for use of the entertainment system, a hot meal, extra leg room…really, anything thing that may make the experience more enjoyable but is nonetheless more than simply getting me from point A to point B, then charge away. If that bonus service has value to me in line with what you are charging, then I will pay it. If not, I won’t – a legroom charge is not gouging because it is optional.

    1. @MJM
      Excellent take on the Leg comment, full points.

      True it’s optional, but I just feel melancholy about the loss of the old days of air travel (now it’s much akin to cattle cars). I still will not be surprised to hear about pay toilets on planes soon.

  3. That might be $14 per leg of your trip, but it’s only $7 for each of your legs 🙂

    I see the Air Canada ads with very low prices to fly to lot of exciting places, but we all know now that the real price is much higher.

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