money_skiesIf airlines can charge for every upgrade, blanket or dry bread roll they offer on a plane, isn’t it time we passengers got refunds for every downgrade, inconvenience and miserable experience they foist upon us?

This idea came to me on my last cross-country odyssey–a travel marathon caused by bad weather in Chicago and exacerbated by bad service from United Airlines.

Using the check-in kiosk at United was like ordering food at McDonald’s – would you like fries with that? How about a super size? United wanted to sell me more leg room, a blanket, a pillow, check-in luggage service and of course, plane food in the air all. All at an additional airline fee, of course.

Putting a Value on Lack of Space

If space on a plane is a tradable commodity then lack of space should have value as well.

I sat in the last row on a Delta plane and even my 12-year-old daughter thought we had been demoted to 4th class. The seats, as you know, do not recline but the ones in front of that row do. So not only can you not recline, your personal space is further reduced by the passenger sitting in front of you whose seat does recline, exacerbating your neck and back cramping.

Proposed Fee Structure

  1. $15 for less than normal legroom. If airlines want to charge me $15 for extra legroom, then I should receive a $15 credit for enduring less than normal legroom.
  2. $15 for lack of light. To be assessed in rows where there is no window.
  3. $15 for space sharing. This would be refunded to passengers in the last rows who share their aisle space with the passengers lined up and waiting for the lavatory.
  4. $2 for broken media. Each instance–the movie screen that doesn’t work, the sound system that offers only static–is worth a refund.

Have you got others? Add them below.