Northwest Gets One Right

Last month Northwest began charging $15 to pre-reserve its best (sic) coach seats. Now they’ve relented and decided not to charge this fee to elite members.

One benefit has always been blocking the better coach seats for elites. There’s not really much in the way of ‘better’ coach seats on Northwest, unlike United which offers elites extra legroom at the front of the coach cabin. But all of a sudden non-elites could take these seats for $15, and even elites had to pay.

(Bizarrely under the scheme, elites would get upgraded to first class but still be charged extra money for cruddy the coach seating they had pre-reserved.)

Now Northwest says they’ll still reserve some of these seats exclusively for elites and won’t charge elites for ‘coach choice’ seating. It’s a small victory, a very small victory, but the coach choice program had become endemic of a belief that Northwest no longer cared about its best customers. So it’s good to see the move reversed.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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