Imagine reading an ad for a cheap movie ticket. Instead of paying the usual $10.50, the ticket is $3 and it’s a brand new movie you’ve been waiting to see. You rush to the box office and buy tickets for your and your significant other. The ticket seller takes your $6 and before handing you the tickets asks “would you two like to sit together?“Of course,” you say. “Well, these are assigned seats but if you’d like to pick your seats so you can sit together or in a specific place, that’s $2 more. Each.” You grumble, but heck, it’s still only $5 to see the movie, so you say OK.
“Did you park a car?” In suburbia today, not many folks walk. “The parking fee is another $2. But it’s only $1 per ticket.”
“I see you have coats. We charge a dollar for use of your seat to store your coat during the movie.” Suddenly, your great deal isn’t looking so great.
Another of my bizarre fantasies about bad business practices? Not so much. Go buy a ticket on Spirit Air as I did recently. Cheap fare – $200 round trip. You give them your credit card and get ready to check out. Fantastic! But as they’re getting ready to process your credit card there’s something else. Oh wait. It’s a golf trip – I will be checking 2 bags. $40 more. Each way. More if you don’t pay now and handle this at the airport. Want an assigned seat instead of pot luck when you get to the airport? $10. I ended up paying 50% more in fees on top of my fare.
Spirit’s CEO was featured in a Times article recently. His attitude was “we do it because we can.” I like flying Spirit although I’d probably fly another airline if I had a choice for exactly that reason.