It's bad enough for passengers flying coach to be subjected to reduced flights with packed cabins, little leg room, and no food service to most domestic destinations (or food that can only be purchased), but must there be a special carpet at the gate that only business and first-class passengers are allowed to tread on?

The privilege of sitting in business or first class is nice enough. I recently cashed out miles to upgrade a recent flight on United aboard a Boeing 777, which was truly enjoyable. The attendants serve you drinks in cold heavy glasses and the meal is hot. (I wasn't so fortunate on the return trip, jammed into the main cabin of an A320.)

But the minicarpet is simply ridiculous. I've stepped on it as a traveler on coach, wondering if airport security would apprehend me. They haven't yet. And with cut-back service and crammed space and food that can only be bought, the carpet just adds insult to injury. It's time for it to go the way of USAirways' idea of paying for soda.

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