British Airways and The Idiot Tax

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How is it that so often life clashes with the great and brilliantly glorious ideas that occasionally pop through our brains?

I am not necessarily referring to justice, world peace, bold dreaming, equality and all these noble and majestic uplifting nuggets of what we self-label brilliance and bright ideas that come to all of us from time to time.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if___________? (Fill in your own blank here). In such a happily creative and indisputably brilliant state I decided to buy myself a business class airline ticket. After all, what harm could possibly come out of that other than the negative growth of my bank account?

And in comes British Airways! I find their connections convenient, have thousands of accumulated miles, and for various questionably smart reasons I chose them to take me to my destination. So far so good, right?

Not so fast, am afraid, dear Watson….

Do you see what I mean? At first, I thought something was wrong with the on-line manage your booking system. Then, after the initial two second disbelief, I got it.

If I wanted to choose my seats, I’d have to pay $180 more!

I have to admit – this was one of my dumbest moments. After all,  Club World, is “a business class designed around me or so does the BA description claim. And yes, the privilege of flying business class comes with a much heftier price (maybe just the idiot tax in my case).

The airline industry is the success model for dynamic pricing – and yes, the alternative of stacked human sardines crammed for long-haul flights in uncomfortable and narrow spaces is to me the most persuasive argument. So, while I realize I have no alternative other than to pay the ransom of a higher price for certain health related benefits (such as no lower back pain, stiff neck, occasional deafness and hospital-like food displeasure), I get incessantly mad at the idea that I’d have to pay for everything in order to get on that plane.

So, what do you do? How do you react to something you consider illogical, outrageous, unfair or simply out of place? Yes, there is a choice: Pay or not pay; fly or not fly, do X or the opposite of X; try to find the alternative or simply find some sort of a compromise solution. In my incredulity, I made a vow not to pay the extra and go with the randomness of the last moment seat selection – but this is for this time only. Will I fly BA again? Will I tell people it’s a great way to fly to the west coast through Europe? Will I do all these nice customer loyalty things anymore? And the question is will BA (and any other airline out there ever care or listen?)

You know what? In the end, each one of us has to do what needs to be done. While the actions/reactions to any given event, obstacle, happening, injustice or random occurrence are taking place, our state of balance within our own self will naturally find its fine point. No, I am not happy with British Airways and other airlines in general. Neither is the majority of passengers who fly the friendly skies on a daily basis – and the airline industry is not the only culprit.

Yet, I go on with the business of my own business speaking up, letting it out, recognizing the symptom of the declining passenger service phenomenon and eventually moving on with my life and my trip. Do I feel better now that I shared the experience with all of you? Hell, yeah! Absolutely! So, go on spread the word, tell someone, do something. If nothing else, it makes you feel so much better.

PS: Please see British Airways comment/response via twitter: “We added paid pre-seating as an optional extra. You can still choose your seat for free from 24 hours before your flight.”

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