President Biden: Charging For Extra Legroom Seats After Ticket Purchase Is Racist

According to President Biden,

Some airlines, if you want six more inches between you and the seat in front, you pay more money but you don’t know it until you purchase your ticket. Look folks, these are junk fees, they’re unfair and they hit marginalized Americans the hardest, especially low income folks and people of color.

Airlines generally make sure you do know about opportunities to purchase extra legroom seats, and buy ups to first class, before you complete your ticket purchase. They want to upsell you. Online travel agencies do a poor job serving the interests of consumers, though even they are being dragged along by the airlines to generate ancillary revenue along with tickets sales.

The Department of Transportation has proposed new rules over airline fee disclosure. Airlines and travel agencies (including online travel agencies) will be required to display passenger- and itinerary-specific fees. Airlines will have to provide those fees in a format usable by agencies. But what the rule actually does is quite different than the press release, and needs significant improvement before any final rule is adopted.

However the notion that airlines even sell seats with six extra inches of legroom on many domestic flights, as the President suggests, is fanciful. Three inches is far more common. Airline passengers skew quite well off, relatively few marginalized Americans fly regularly. It seems odd to suggest that they are disproportionately harmed (or, for that matter, that they are buying up to extra legroom seats).

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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  1. Absolutely amazing that over 80 million people voted for this demented clown who walks around giving handshakes to ghosts.

  2. Biden tries and hes typically not offensive but seriously I think it may be racist and a stereotype
    to say that people of color are most affected as they must mostly be poor?
    I have friends of mine that make far more than I do of every race
    That said after DT I’ll take almost anyone when it comes down to choosing Dumpster Fire Trump and the turmoil my country had faced under his dictatorship I mean lack of leadership
    yes there are far better choices than Joe but where are they? Hello?

  3. Andrew: it’s more amazing that 70+ million voted for a profound sociopath racist obese orange rapist illiterate republican who caused our country to go into a deep pandemic crisis because he didn’t take it seriously, against the advice of medical and epidemiology experts. He represented darkness evil hatred and the most base anti-intellectual demons in the meth filled garbage small towns in flyover America.

    Gary: Biden didn’t say this was racist. Shame on you. Now, what have you ever done in your life for marginalized communities? Other than attack them on technicalities like 6 inches instead of 3? You’ve posted numerous anti Black articles such as the recent attack piece on Nikole Hannah Jones at MVY airport. You are an overweight white racist.

  4. “Some airlines, if you want six more inches between you and the seat in front, you pay more money but you don’t know it until you purchase your ticket. Look folks, these are junk fees, they’re unfair and they hit marginalized Americans the hardest, especially low income folks and people of color.”

    He’s right.

  5. GUWonder is the breath of fresh air we all need

    Please continue your fight against racism and authoritarianism in all forms.

    And Gary before you post any more nonsense, LOSE WEIGHT

  6. Trump’s dictatorship? Give me a break. One party rule under Biden smacks more of “dictatorship” than Trump’s presidency. Dwondermeant clearly suffers from TDS.

  7. Lord Trump worshippers and fanboys are carriers of TDS.

    Too bad even DeSantis, Cruz, Hawley and the rest of the wing-nut pack can’t put Trump out to pasture.

  8. Wow, this really hit a nerve with some folks. Playing the race card on airline add-on services? It must be the 11th hour before we hit lame-duck status in this administration.

  9. There is no one party rule under Biden. The Republican-stacked Supreme Court and the rest of the Republican-stacked federal judiciary speaks to that. And so does the US Senate where the DINO from West Virginia and from Arizona behave like the dinosaur centrist Republicans.

  10. This is both a ridiculous and stupid statement from Biden.

    This shouldn’t even be partisan. The guy made a dopey observation, and we should leave it at that.

  11. Who in their right mind voted for Joe Biden? And I don’t mean those not in their right mind who self identify as being in their right mind – those fools cannot even define what state of mind they are in.

  12. AlohaDaveKennedy, literally every empathetic human being with a heart and a soul voted for Biden.

  13. @ AlohaDaveKennedy — I think it is more important to ask yourself “Who in their right mind voted for Donald Trump?”

  14. @Olaf U. Fokker-Sergei. But its most amazing that 80 million voters voted for this hair sniffing, demented pedophile democrat who drove our country to a recession and didn’t care about our youth being killed by letting chinese made fentanyl slip through our border. The old fart who begged the Saudis to postpone oil production until after the midterms to create an illusion that he is doing something for the american people.

    By the way, Trump took covid seriously. So serious that he banned air travel to and from China. While Democrats led by Pelosi went to Chinatown in SF did a press conference without a mask, hugging people and accusing the admin of being racist for banning air travel.

    Get your facts right.

    I’m a brown person. 20 years ago, I migrated to this country (in economy seat) literally with only a couple of hundred dollars in my wallet. After decades of hard work, you are telling me that I don’t deserve even a Delta comfort+ for a 14 hour flight? What about the people who have back problems?

    Attack piece on Nikole Hannah Jones?? You mean the person who wrote that 1619 project crap? The person who is revising America’s history? The racist who made these not so racist comments?

    “There is a difference between being politically black and being racially black. I am not defending anyone but we all know this and should stop pretending that we don’t,” -comment she made after Biden said “If you don’t vote for me you ain’t black” to Charlemagne the God

    “Destroying property ‘is not violence” – Billion dollar worth of properties destroyed after the so called peaceful protest, dozens of lives lost…remember David Dorn?

    “Tipping is a legacy of slavery” – Tipping someone for a job well done is racist? Okay.

    You are upset because Gary was quoting her about her idiotic comments about people wanting to be recognized for their status? Gary is doing his job. Most of his article actually involves Floridians, Texans and Republicans. But quoting a Democrat? Not criticize, quote….triggers you? Goodluck with that Gender Studies degree of yours snowflake.

  15. @ USMarine1 — You just skipped right over the part about Trump being a pathological liar and a treasonist. I guess that is somehow OK because Biden put the US in a recession (BTW, the US is NOT in a recession.)

  16. This is what the Jan 6 patriots at the Capitol were protesting. This is Democracy. Democracy looks like slavery. The communists actually won the Cold War. They are called Democrats now.

  17. I just bought a Snickers junior size candy bar. I found out after I bought it that the regular Snickers bar is more expensive. God damned racist candy bars.

  18. Just unsubscribed from these comments…too ugly, too opinionated without foundation, too toxically partisan….and on an air travel website….good grief!

  19. The comments are really venomous and disgusting and I have to agree with Francis.

    We may not be in a recession – yet. But I don’t know how much closer we’re going to get before we are.

    But then I guess if most of these nasty comments are coming from well off business men (nasty from both sides of the fence) then they probably haven’t noticed how out of control the rising costs have become. And that they are continuing to rise along with severe droughts in our food belts. Food costs alone are SO high that many can’t afford to put food on the table, not a choice of a balanced diet, I’m talking about being able to put ANY food on the table!

    Maybe standing back and looking at exactly where America is headed would be a good idea. Then ask yourself, “is this what you want to see happening in America? Is this the legacy you want your children and grandchildren to inherit?

    Sometimes people can’t help but look out through only their own eyes and never see anything but what they want to see. We aren’t fighting politics here. We’re in the fight of our lives to get back to an America we were once proud that many want to see torn to bits. That’s what’s disgusting and disheartening and sadly, many of these comments play right into that.

    It seems pretty obvious when you look at these comments.

  20. This sort of stupidity will end when enough minorities finally tell the democrats to go eff themselves because they are not children and they can fend for themselves. How degrading to be always thought of as being so helpless.

    “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump then you ain’t black,”

  21. 2 more years of this nightmare. Please America don’t let this ever happen again. I’ll deal with the orange idiot anyday over what we have now.

  22. Olaf… yes and now we are screwed. I messed up so bad. That how’s they get you. Trump is a piece of trash but you can see it. The democrats are disgustingly worse and better at hiding it.

  23. Let’s be upfront – the world would’ve been a safer place if Trump was in office.
    No amount of Biden-worshipping can change that fact.

    There’s a reason why Malcolm X didn’t trust democrats – and Biden is shining proof of that.

  24. @Olaf U. Fokker-Sergei. Calling Gary a white overweight racist for posting an article about your heroine/SHERO Nikole (who is by the way is racist to both white and people of color) doesn’t make him racist. By the way, Nikole is no Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  25. Wait — is Biden suggesting that people of color need more space in airline seats than whites? Sounds like he’s saying they’re “larger” than non-BIPOCs. What a bigot !

  26. @Gene. Before you ask me “Are you an Economist?” ….. I am telling you I am not.

    Recession defined by WORLD-RENOWNED ECONOMISTS (and dictionaries).

    a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in TWO successive quarters.

    Statement directly from US Department of Commerce:

    “Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2022, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 1.6 percent.”

    Here is the link

    What about you? What is your definition of “recession”? 3,4,5,6 quarters of GDP decline? Are you an Economist?

    Facts don’t care about your feelings

  27. The only racist here is this trash calling himself @Fukker-Sergei who seems show up and stink to high heaven with his racist, despicable, personal attacks. It’s OK to argue about policy, politics, I can even discuss advantages and disadvantages of different US Administrations, this one or the previous one…. but who needs this POC to come every time and start throwing personal accusations? Disgusting trash.

  28. Woke gone wild coming home to roost. As a person of color I can only assume Biden means all of us are fat. Those who don’t have an argument play the race card.’

  29. Doesn’t this poor man have people to help him get things straight? Who are these two dopes behind him? They should help him, poor boy. Being able to pay for extra leg room is the best idea to ever come up in history. But I’m white, female and 6′ tall … so my opinion probably doesn’t count??

  30. After getting pretty much daily email alerts from Gary of his “journalism” from View From The Wing, his biased reporting has been truly showing lately. First off, as a “journalist” Gary, you might want to use a neutral or at least a reliable news source. The Washington Beacon is NOT a neutral or reliable news source. The Washington Beacon is a skewed right wing biased news article.

    This current article and the one you published earlier today in regard to hotel resort fees, you’re twisting words around and bashing this administration, even though he’s confronting regular travelers biggest grip in regard to these made-up pretend fees that airlines and hotels forced on the consumers. Consumers can’t get opt out of resort fees, even though they get no real perk out of them. Resort fees usually come with the “benefit” of free local and 1800 calls, pool towels and 20% discount at the overpriced on-site spa. Hotels phones are outdated and pretty much obsolete. People use their own cell phones.

    As a former NW employee, I can tell you these airlines fees were first brought up when the oil crisis first fit back under the 43rd President. Airlines were crying foul and begging passengers to accept the need to charge for their second bag and to lower the standard free weight from 70lbs to 50lbs. Consumers accepted the begging and airlines took advantage of it. A year or two later, the ULCC came on board, and the legacies copied suite. No more free checked bags and the introduction of ale cart service. Airlines learned how to nickel and dime passengers and they know how to get creative. Your airline ticket prices didn’t go down when the unbundling happened.

  31. He didn’t say it was racist. Why are you putting words in his mouth? I’ve noticed like other commenters that you like to create drama about race. I wonder why.

  32. This quote needs to be put in context. He was using this as an example of a junk fee, but summary line at the end about ‘junk fees’ affecting marginalized groups was more about all these fees in general across many industries–particularly in banking with low balance fees, overdraft charges and other similar fees which charge you for not having enough money but don’t really reflect the actual cost to the company.

  33. So what do airlines do? First come first served to the better seats? They exist for s reason, to reward loyalty and generate ancillary revenue. That’s not racist nor marginalizing the very infrequent flyer lower income individual.

    Should we just do like Brazil and make every seat on the plane equally shitty? Is he happy then?

  34. Sad when the president of the United States is on a mission to find racism in everything he can.
    Maybe he could find some common sense instead?

  35. @ Gary — I think that being able to offer the worst seats for the lowest possible price through subsidies paid by those sitting tin the best seats is a benefit for the poor.

  36. Biden’s 100% wrong. Airline seating fees hit MAGA families the most since they typically have loads of kids.

    @Jay — don’t call out this blogger for his awful integrity he routinely compromises in the name of political clickbait! 🙂

  37. And with these comments Gary laughs all the way to the bank.
    Certain issues affect the poor and POC more…but to use the trigger word racist when that was not the original intention…well Gary should know better.
    Actually he does know $$$$

  38. I gotta side with Gary on this one: Biden is clearly suggesting it’s racist. For those who argue that Biden didn’t specifically use the word “racist” — where have you been the last two years? We are operating on a model in which anything that impacts BIPOC more than non-BIPOC is by definition racist. **Intent does not matter** Educational testing is racist if BIPOC on average score lower. Courts are racist if BIPOC are disproportionately in jail. Any given professional field is racist if BIPOC are less reflected in the field.

    One can argue that all of that is true — that such situations reflect racism — but then one can’t argue that when the same people say BIPOC are disproportionately negatively impacted by airline seats that they are not suggesting it’s racist.

  39. Re: comments by Olaf U. Fokker-Sergei, GU Wonder and Dewondermeant.

    Wow the liberal woke crazies are out in full force regarding the defense of their beloved leader. Not sure what DT, Gary’s weight etc have to do with this post but then again these guys thoughts never do make sense. Once again Sleepy Joe and his speech writers are bringing up the race card regarding a topic which race has nothing to do with. I guess there are no white people sitting in the back of the plane. Lol what a joke.

  40. I’m black (I wish people stopped looking at race and identified us as humans), and smart enough to know Biden has always been a racist. He’s a Democrat after all. Just look at what he’s said over the last few decades. Don’t blame it on his age or mental health.

  41. Charging for extra (i.e. a reasonable) amount of legroom isn’t racist, but it’s extremely unfair to people like me who are well over 6 feet tall. The fact that they call it economy “comfort” is just insulting, because they are acknowledging that the standard seats are uncomfortable.

  42. People over 6′ 2″ should claim their height is a disability and sue for an ADA violation.

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