I was thinking more about Northwest’s new policy of charging for exit row seats and “prime” aisle seats.
The positive spin on the change is that it allows last-minute business travelers to get the premium seats. For those flyers, the best seats are often already taken by those who were able to book earlier. The Northwest plan would work for those travelers, since it essentially leaves a few of these premium seats open until the last 36 hours.
But besides the exit row, the “premium” seats Northwest is selling aren’t particularly special.
Sure, they’re closer to the front of the plane, so you’ll be able to exit more quickly than the guy in the last row, but that’s really all you’re buying. The screenshot on Northwest’s own page (image above) explaining the policy shows the seatmap from one of their Airbus 319s. Compare that to the Northwest Airbus 319 seatmap that’s published on Seatguru.com. 6C and 6D, the premium aisle seats costing an extra $15 each, are just plain ol’ regular aisle seats. Except for the exit row, none of the aisle seats on this plane offer any more legroom.
Before you consider paying the premium, check all your options — premium and regular — against the Seatguru.com map. You might find a decent seat for free.