Scam alert: A-la-carte ticketing has arrived

Bad news, flyers: A-la-carte ticketing has arrived. Northwest Airlines is the first airline to inflict these new costs on us, and in typical fashion the airline is trying to make it sound like good news. It's not.

Here's the "deal." Effective immediately, Northwest says it is "saving some preferred coach seat assignments until check-in" on about five percent of domestic seats. If you want that aisle or exit-row seat, be prepared to fork over another $15 to reserve it.

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Right now the airline is unleashing this as a "test" program on limited flights, but if it's successful (read: if Northwest makes a fortune off us) you can bet the airline—and others—will rush to expand it.

Northwest is billing this as "Coach Choice." To me it just looks like we'll have to pay $15 for something that was free yesterday.

I know which seat I'm picking: one on another airline.

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