March 14, 2006

NWA Exploits Tall People

I'm 6'5. Middle seats at most airlines are cramped for most people; for me, they make flying a wretched misery.

Northwest gives me yet another reason to teleconference or drive:

If you don't want to get stuck in the middle seat on a Northwest Airlines flight, starting today you'll be able to pay an extra $15 to get a spot on the aisle.
Let's see - wretched service, no pretzels, no pillows, surly strikeprone staff, and making you pay to not feel like you're in the black hole of Calcutta...

...Why would one take Northwest, again?

Posted by Mitch at March 14, 2006 06:39 AM | TrackBack

Actually, I think its a good idea. Higher prices for something for which there is a higher demand. The airlines rate structure makes so littel sense, though, and I suppose this it even more complicated. I would pay extra for the emergency row seat. I'll admit, however, the market can suck for tall people.

Posted by: Patrick at March 14, 2006 07:43 AM

Delta (mostly it's feeder airlines--Atlantic Southeast specifically) makes NWA look like a 1st class cruise when it comes to attitude and service!

Posted by: fingers at March 14, 2006 07:51 AM

oooooooo, the tall people are being discriminated against. You poor tall people. My heart bleeds. ;)

Posted by: JamesPh. at March 14, 2006 08:40 AM

See red tail, go by rail.

Posted by: rps at March 14, 2006 09:38 AM

I was rather hoping that the pilots would strike and drive NWA out of business so that we could get real competition at MSP. NWA really has a monopoly on MSP and it makes it hard to get flights on alternate carriers.

Posted by: nerdbert at March 14, 2006 10:12 AM


$15 seems like a small price to pay to get the seat you desire. Under the current seating selection system of first come-first serve, you very well might get stuck in the middle with no choice.

This way, only the people who truly want the aisle seats, and are willing to pay, will get them. I prefer the aisle myself and I'd be willing to shell out $15 to make sure that I get one.

Posted by: the elder at March 14, 2006 10:31 AM

NWA should just die and we could get some better carriers and competition in here.

There attitudes to "save" the airline is killing the airline.

Posted by: Greg at March 14, 2006 11:15 AM

That sounds like my twice-a-day bus ride. We don't get pretzels or pillows either, and no one ever walks the aisle to check up on us. Sometimes we have that black hole of Calcutta experience, but that is due to riders having to stand. You need a machete to make your way from seat to door when you attempt to exit the bus.

The cramped seating isn't so bad if you're sandwiched between two AWE-SOME BABES from the isle of hotness, but 99% of the time it's two other large men on either side. I often walk home with sore hips from getting scrunched.

There's no need for an aisle seat surcharge; sitting on the aisle means that people step on your feet and purses swat you in the head if you try to get comfortable. Who would pay for such torture?

I wouldn't put up with it were it not for the fact that my employer pays for the bus rides -- the only thing that makes public transportation worthwhile.

Posted by: Dave in Pgh. at March 14, 2006 12:17 PM

Also, I initially thought that "NWA Exploits Tall People" had something to do with Andre the Giant...

Posted by: Dave in Pgh. at March 14, 2006 12:19 PM


As the champion of "market forces", I am appalled you would criticize anything Big Corporate. Clearly the other airlines will redress NWA's foolishness, I mean I'm SURE that they won't follow suit.

Newsflash for you: NWA is a piece of short. That you'd raise the flag now, rather than when they were screwing their unions and pension holders (as well as their share holders) speaks pretty well to your parochial nature. Only when it affects Mitch is apparently a news story, and only then defending the impact to the average person is noteworthy.

I made the decision last year never to fly NWA again, a tremendous inconvenience considering I have to travel for my job with some regularity - but I made it based upon the fact that they were positioning themselves to break up the mechanics union despite the fact that the mechanics union gave them EVERYTHING NWA asked for except elimination of jobs (to be shipped overseas) including all of the cost cutting (salary cuts) NWA said it needed, and it still wasn't enough.

All of you who moan about unions and bankruptcy, NWA forced MASSIVE cuts through the threat of bankruptcy courts on decent, middle-class workers - perhaps you might have noted the real loss of power of labor and the impacts on real workers, real middle class hard working folks, many of whom lost jobs, but sure, be upset about your leg room and paying $15 to an airline lead by a bunch of predatory jackals.

This should have been titled, "My name is Mitch and I'm a day late and $15 short."


Posted by: pb at March 15, 2006 10:00 AM


Northwest is trying to stay alive and thereby save thousands of jobs for the middle-class workers that you care so much about. Its current cost structure does not allow it to be competitive. Frankly, I don't know whether it will pull through or not, but if it does go under that won't be good for anyone, especially NWA employees.

To those who pine for the demise of NWA, I say be careful what you wish for. You might seem more competition in the local market and be able to save a few bucks on flights to Chicago. But without a NWA hub, you won't see anywhere near the number of direct flights available that you do today, especially to international destinations.

As Minnesota companies increasingly seek to expand their business overseas, having direct flights to places like Amsterdam, Tokyo, London (I believe this was recently reinstated), etc. is a benefit that should not be underestimated.

Posted by: the elder at March 15, 2006 01:12 PM


Are more mad because NWA is run by predatory jackals, or because it is run by incompetent predatory jackals?


Posted by: Troy at March 15, 2006 02:57 PM

Sounds like another case of unbundling, or something like it. If you don't want to pay $15 extra, you'll still get to Sarasota. You just won't get the better seat.

Unbundling is a good free-market move: you don't want it, you don't pay for it. "Free" meals, movies, magazines, etc. ... not essential to a safe passage (and therefore in everyone's interest), so why should the cost of operating the flight be inflated to pay for these things.

And another non-safety-essential item is the question of where you sit. Why should something more valuable (an aisle seat) be sold for something of less value (the middle seat)?

This move is nothing but an extension of, on the one hand, yield management (buy at different times, pay more) and first-class fares (better seats, pay more).

Posted by: PolicyGuy at March 15, 2006 09:12 PM

As one of those Tall people (6'3) who also happens to be a 260 pound bodybuilder, I try to get airline seats not only for my own self, but for others comfort as well. Really the aisle isn't all its cracked up to be, I constantly get pounded in the shoulders by flight attendendts and travelers that think they should be able to walk in a straight line down the aisle, shoulders be DAMNED! I don't see no stinkeeng shoulders! Carts are fun too.

The way that I saw getting the seat in the past was that I paid attention to picking my seat early online or getting there early. THAT is how the "market" forces SHOULD work. I don't think some 5'6 150 lb schmo that waits until the last second to get seats should have priority over me just because he wants to be the first person to stand up when the plane lands.

Thank god that I am elite status and will have access to these seats first. However, it really IS descrimination. I see the need for NWA to get costs, but I think that should be by offering more amenities, not exploiting the seat structure any more then they already have been.

Posted by: Jim P at March 17, 2006 10:53 AM

Oh and another question: Why is an aisle seat any more valuable then say a window seat? Everybody can agree that the middle isn't fun, but wouldn't the window be the more valuable seat because you can look out? WHo sits in the aisle seats? When I look it is mostly people like ME.. Tall guys.

Posted by: Jim P at March 17, 2006 10:55 AM

You're 6'5. And what, the world owes you special treatment. Show up earlier and get a better seat. You people who show up last and expect the aisle's or window's piss me off. Not to mention you get pissed off because there's no room in the overheads for your overstuffed bag. And by the way pal...the head room is the same on the window and aisle seats as it is in the middle. You just don't like to sit in the middle. Who does.....

Posted by: George at April 6, 2006 10:03 AM

Please visit

Posted by: balanced school days for nagative at October 9, 2006 04:10 PM
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