Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I’m going to Muscatine, Iowa tomorrow.  For those of you, like me, that didn’t know where that was:  it’s 45 minutes from Moline, Illinois by car.  The boring details of the trip involve depositions which, I suppose involve some persistent questioning, though that’s not what this post is about.

I’m flying AirTran.  I bought the ticket last week online.  Airtran.com is an OK e-commerce site.  Except for one thing.  You have to tell it numerous times that you don’t want to buy things that you didn’t have to buy a couple of years ago.  Namely, the right to pick a seat.

When you buy you are asked, after you’ve bought “a seat,” if you’d like to choose a particular seat.  Say yes and it will cost you anywhere from $6 to upwards of, I think $20 for an exit row seat.  Say no and you could end up in a middle seat at the back of the plane unless you know how to play the game.

I’m a bit reluctant to tell my secret for getting an aisle seat for free; but, I can’t think of anything else to write about.

24 hours before your flight takes off (and I mean 24 hours, not 24 hours and 1 minute), you can go online to pick a seat.  The site will tell you can buy a first class upgrade for between $49 and $129 depending on the length of the flight.  Click no.  It will then offer to again sell you a particular seat (see the third paragraph for details).  Click no.  It will then offer an icon to “pick your seat.”  Click the icon.  Here AirTran makes one last try for a bit more of your money, asking if you want to pay $10 for the privilege of boarding first with the disabled, those with young children and people in first class.  Click no.  Pick one of many open aisle seats shown on a little diagram of the plane.

Now you are home free and can print a boarding pass, which so far, they haven’t figured out a way to make money from.


Bill the Engineer said...

That will all change anyway when Southwest takes over because they don't have assigned seating.

fermicat said...

Sounds like a lot of hassle for a discount.

I just booked a frequent flyer trip to San Diego three weeks out without any trouble at all. Got a decent seat on the way out (gotta see the city side for the dramatic landing), but return trip had only middle seats available. My sister says don't worry - she knows all the SAN gate agents and they'll take care of me. She is why I still fly only Delta.

Dave said...

The part I'm going to hate Bill.

Fermi, I hate being nickle and dimed and then being pushed and pushed to give in.

I hate paying what used to be "the price" and then finding another four or five percent in the fine print.

Pretty soon when we go to a restaurant there will be a "plate charge" added to the "service fee for parties of four or more" who don't want the food tossed on the table.