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It seems like U.S. airlines never miss out on an opportunity to screw their customers.

Just when it appeared that the reputation of airlines for cavalier treatment of their customers could sink no further comes news how they’re trying to screw passengers on advance seat assignments.

As if screwing customers over checked baggage, early boarding and meals were not enough to drive customers up the wall.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on how the airlines through seat assignment fees are further alienating their customers in a bid to extract more money.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Seat fees are the latest iteration of the airline industry’s new normal. Carriers are blocking more seats from advance-seat selection, especially for low-fare passengers. More crowded planes also make it tougher to get a desirable seat. As a result, more travelers are feeling pressured to pay a fee and reserve a seat rather settle for an assigned one—which could be a middle seat or not located next to their family members. Worse, those without assigned seats stand a higher chance of getting bumped from a flight.

On some Frontier flights, one-third of all seats require extra fees or higher fares to reserve in advance. AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, which recently increased the number of seats it reserves as “preferred” seats requiring a fee or elite status, says a “majority” of its seats are still available unblocked. Delta Air Lines has been studying a preferred-seat fee plan, and an announcement is likely before the end of the year, industry officials said. Also coming next year, United Airlines will drop a perk that lets the lowest level of elite frequent fliers reserve Economy Plus extra-room seats in advance.

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