NORTHWEST AIRLINES has just begun testing a program to charge domestic coach passengers $15 extra to book aisle and exit-row seats. (It joins Virgin Atlantic and Air Canada, which have similar fees). It's the latest in a string of recent airline fees-for-service, such as fees for boxed meals and fees for booking by phone (versus online).
In light of this, here are some possible fees to which airline passengers may be subject in the near future:
* $15 fee for a window seat on flights to certain locations (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico). There are discounts if you are willing to book a window for flights into Newark or Detroit.
* $15 fee for requesting a seat two or more rows from children under the age of 5; a $25 fee for booking a seat more than five rows from children under the age of 2.
* $15 fee for every time you ring the call service button more than once. If you anticipate that you will be a high-maintenance flier, you can purchase call service coupons ahead of time on the Internet for $5 per coupon (purchasing by phone will involve an additional, yet-undisclosed, fee).
* $25 fee to request a seat next to a passenger who is willing to not use your armrest or not mind your leg kicking the back of his or her seat. (This must be requested at least 36 hours prior to flight.)
* $25 fee to sit next to a passenger who is height/weight proportionate to his seat. (This also must be requested 36 hours prior to flight time).
* $15 fee for using the overhead compartment. If you wish to use the overhead compartment directly above your seat (as opposed to random assignment by flight crew), this must be requested online 24 hours prior to flight departure. Requests by phone will require an additional personal-attention fee of $5.
* Please be aware that there will henceforth be a fee for using the toilets onboard; $1 tokens can be purchased from the flight attendants prior to takeoff.
As the airlines say: "Thank you for flying with us. We wish you a safe and enjoyable flight."