United: Move To An Empty Row For Only $156

Reader Matt is annoyed with United Airlines. On a flight from Minneapolis to Denver the passengers were crammed into coach — but there were entire unsold rows in the “$39 extra” section.

Matt says:

United Airlines booked coach passengers in full rows (six across). Unless passengers paid an extra $39 a leg (or $156 for a round trip with one stop,) they weren’t allowed to move into the multiple empty rows on the airplane.

Forcing people to sit six across, unlike removing pillows, saves the airlines no money. It simply makes them uncomfortable. I’d assume that it’s United’s marketing department trying to sell more seat upgrades.

In many respects, I was the airline’s worst customer: I had no loyalty to any airline, simply choosing the cheapest route from point “a” to point “b.” Now, however, it’s going to be the cheapest carrier other than United.

As business travel weakens because of the recession, situations like this are probably becoming more common. We wonder if United will have to rethink its policy as it becomes more difficult to sell expensive “extra leg room” type seats.


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