First, punkrockhockymom pointed out that this allows airlines to bump people without reimbursing them, in fact forcing the passenger to pay extra for being bumped.
Then bigliberty comments that the airline can then make the seats even smaller, forcing more passengers to fall into the bumpable category.
Because really? 700 complaints gets you a whole new policy? Where's the "you have to pay extra if your baby disturbs someone" policy? Where's the "You have to pay extra if you wear too much perfume" policy? Or as OTM put it:
"surely you receive significantly more complaints about any one of the following...terrible food, insulting beverage charges, broken equipment, terrible customer service, lost luggage, delayed flights, frightening turbulence, filthy bathrooms, unexpected gate changes, tedious in-flight magazines, horrible movie offerings, and that insufferable flight safety video narrator. "
And she notes that none of those things seem to have been fixed.
This also keeps folks from complaining about seats that are too small and getting smaller - who's going to complain when it might mean you'll get booted off the flight and charged for a second seat?
Anywhooo, read the post, then read the comments. I really do think that punkrockhockeymom has it right on this one - that this is how the airline is trying to get around the reimbursement for bumping rules.