Comfort of the middle seat

In an attempt to make flying an even more unpleasant experience, some airlines have begun charging for aisle and window seats.

One immediate effect will be that families will no longer be guaranteed that they will sit together – unless they pony up the cash for the new “premium” seats.

So, just when you thought the industry had done all it could do to torture you with spacing between seats that would give a contortionist cramps, there comes a new twist:

Now you’re going to get to baby-sit someone else’s 4-year-old on that five-hour flight. It would be kinder to just put “eject” buttons in the armrests.

Honestly, it seems that every couple of months, some genius comes out with a new way to get another “unbundled fee” out of the traveling public. What began with fees for checked baggage, blankets, pillows, food and soft drinks has now devolved into a race to find the last quarter in a passenger’s pocket.

We wrote two years ago about Europe’s discount carrier Ryan Air considering a fee for using the restroom on a plane. Pity the poor passenger who can’t come up with that fee – not to mention his seatmates. Now couple that with the desperate dolt’s inability to purchase a window or an aisle seat and this “discharge fee” could quite possibly make for three very unhappy passengers.

In the past year, a couple of airlines have begun charging for carry-on bags stowed in an overhead bin. Don’t want to pay us to check those bags? Then give us some money to lug your own stuff onboard. Brilliant!

Honestly, isn’t there some airline that can figure out that most of us would gladly pay an extra $50 to $60 per ticket for uncramped legs, a can of Coke, a pillow and the joy of knowing that Junior will be sitting with Mom and Dad – not depositing his pudding pop on our trousers?

Nobody of this generation will believe it, but the flight to and from your destination used to be a great part of a vacation. Somehow we think there is an airline somewhere who is going to recapture that idea.

(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.