You know, I did a lateral move at my company a few years ago – one of the reasons was I was hitting that question of “Am I working to live, or living to work?” and too often the answer was the latter part of that question. Traveling up to 85,000 airline miles / year (or more) and gone (generally) a week at a time, I had no life of my own. So now I get to work from / at home and no longer have to experience the thrill of having the flight attendants greet me by name without ever looking at my boarding pass (for six months).
All that means is that I’ve lost touch with the vagarities of flying on a regular basis. But knowing how things have been heading, I was not unsurprised when I got back in the car after running into the store to get some rolls for tomorrow night’s repast: “That is the stupidest thing on the news I’ve heard lately!”. Then she proceeded to tell me that airlines are charging extra for window or aisle seating (I prefer the latter). Seeing that they’re already charging extra for sitting in the emergency rows (extra leg room), snacks / food, extra for checked bags, and I hear charging for carryons coming, I was not surprised. This means that those of means (or do not want the dreaded middle seat) are going to get those seats ahead of time.
Now, there have ALREADY been cases where little Suzy has been seated by herself, and then the[unrelated] man sitting next to her has been told to move (automatically branding the male traveller as a sex pervert and declaring him guilty well before all the overhead bins have been closed. Just WAIT until families start to really complain about Suzy and Timmy sitting rows and rows away from Mom and Dad – and one of them is a lawyer. And on the flip side, the biz traveler is not going to be a happy camper when the little one leans over and barfs on their laptop (yes, I’ve been barfed on – thankfully too soon in the flight to have had the laptop out and turned on).
Or that s/he has paid extra for the seat and is then told to move. Or given that planes have been retired and seats are all full, they get yanked from the flight. Or the family gets kicked for an oversold flight.