We all know first class seats cost more than economy. Then there's "economy plus", which sometimes features more legroom than regular economy. It too is typically more expensive than the standard seat. I'm usually comfortable enough with a standard economy seat on most domestic flights so I'm not one to upgrade.
While checking in on a recent Northwest Airlines flight I was surprised to see they're offering yet another level of upgrade. Despite my stated preference for an aisle seat I somehow got booked into a center one on a 4-hour flight. It's one thing if none are available, but as I checked in I saw loads of open aisle seats on this particular flight and all of them were marked with "$25 Upgrade" icons. That's right. The seat just to the left of my center seat is available for an additional $25 fee. I wondered why this was the one leg of my journey where I couldn't make a seat selection during the website reservation process. Now I know why.
If the airlines want to charge me for an aisle seat they really ought to do it during the booking process, not after I've already committed to the flight. Had I noticed it was going to cost me more for this flight I might have chosen one from another carrier. If they're not hitting us with silly baggage fees they're nailing us with this stuff. What a ripoff.