Rich Galen

  • Regular Mullsters are aware that I consider Northwest to be the France of the airline industry. Mention Northwest to anyone who travels a good deal and they will automatically use the words surly, rude or - if they majored in English Lit. - churlish.

  • Last month I wrote a piece about how Northwest had begun to charge an extra $15 for aisle and exit row seats (Oxygen Mask? $25, Please).

  • Within a month, USA Today reported:
    Northwest Airlines' most loyal customers no longer must pay $15 to secure a seat with extra legroom. The change gives its most frequent fliers access to those seats without paying the fee.

  • But wait! Here's a new money-making opportunity for Northwest! The New York Times reported yesterday that Airbus has developed a system which would allow airlines to sell standing-room "seats."
    Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal.

  • Now we're talkin'! Standing-room "seats."


    Airlines have developed a language which no one else uses, like:

    - instructions to turn your cell phone to the "off position" instead of just "off," and

    - reminding you that if you sit in an exit row (whether or not you've paid the $15 fee) you have to be able to follow crew instructions without "being distracted by other attentions," and

    - thanking you for your "continued patience" immediately upon telling you your flight will be delayed for two hours and 15 minutes.


  • According to the Times, "Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness."

  • Where do you think they tested this, Abu Ghraib?
    Talk, terrorist dog, or you'll stand all the way from Detroit to Tokyo.

    Aiieeeee! Give me seat! I tell you everything!

  • Northwest, being the entrepreneurial devils they are, could add to their revenue stream by offering floor pads and sneakers at a reasonable price for those "propped against a padded backboard and held in place with a harness."

  • Short flight? $15 for the pad and sneaks. Transcontinental flight? $75.


  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at