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Big news, holiday travelers! American Airlines has a new family deal for you. If you and the kids are headed off to grandma’s house or wherever, American will seat you together.
Well, yes, airlines have always done this, but the “new” part in American’s family deal is this: you pay a fee for it. Being seated together is no longer a gracious service, but a calculated nickel-and-dime opportunity for the corporation to squeeze you. American calls this rip-off “seat reservations” – $25, each way,.
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Of course, paying this corporate tax doesn’t guarantee that your seats will actually stay attached to the plane. American, you might recall, had a rash of flights grounded in October, due to the rather startling in-flight experience of passenger seats suddenly coming loose. At the time, the airline’s executives rushed to suggest that disgruntled unions were behind this odd malfunction.
Well, no. Internal documents have now revealed that the sabotage came right out of the executive suite. Having ordered a revised seating plan, so they could charge additional fees for a bit of extra legroom, the geniuses at the top then tried to get the re-installations done on the cheap. Rather than having their own highly-skilled and experienced mechanics do the work, they outsourced it to low-wage, non-union contractors. They, in turn, “misinterpreted” American’s maintenance manual, did “incorrect installations” of seats, and even had students doing some of the installations.
Incredibly, American’s hierarchy resorted to cold corporatethink to rationalize their shoddy management: “Our competitors [do maintenance] where it is most cost-effective,” they explained, so “We must similarly adapt.”
Cost-effective? Fee-fie-foe-fum, I smell another fee coming on. “You want safety? Hey, there’s a fee for that.”
“Want to fly next to your child? Prepare to pay,” www.nbcnews.com, May 12, 2012.
“Cost-Cutting Cited in Loose Plane Seats,” www.nytimes.com, November 23, 2012.