With gas prices continuing to rise, airlines are looking for new ways to make extra money on flights. Charging passengers for a second checked bag has proved popular among airlines and now US Airways is charging a minimum of $5 per flight segment for a Choice Seat, an aisle or window seat in the first several rows of coach class. As of May 7, 2008, passengers are able to purchase a Choice Seat on US Airways and US Airways Express operated flights during Web check-in at usairways.com. Dividend Miles Preferred members will be able to reserve a Choice Seat free of charge any time after booking. While $5 doesn’t seem like much, the cost is required for each segment. So if you’re flying from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and connecting in Charlotte, you will be paying an extra $20 to secure a Choice Seat roundtrip. Most of the coach seat assignments will not be designated as a Choice Seat and are assigned free of charge — only approximately eight percent of seats will require the minimum $5 fee.
US Airways president Scott Kirby said in a letter to the airline’s employees: “Several other airlines have already instituted similar programs, and I would venture to say we’ll soon see more competitors offer something comparable. Our industry is changing to a more a la carte model where customers who want extra services, like a better seat assignment, will have the choice to purchase these things.”