So Steve called me a few minutes ago from Charlotte, NC. He's trying to get onto an earlier flight so he can help out with getting the now three sick kids to bed, and he had some things to say about USAir.
He paid $25 to get on the standby list, which is a sign of his love and pity for me, because the desk attendant informed him that that $25 was USAir's whether he got onto the flight or not. (For those who don't fly standby often, including me, I conclude that this isn't normal practice... nor would I expect it to be.) He said to her, "So it's basically like gambling, then." She nodded brightly. (I may be reading too much into Steve's tone at relating this conversation.) "But your odds are pretty good!" she added.
Then he told me about another USAir flight he'd taken recently. USAir, like some other carriers, charges for meals; this flight was to span the dinner hour, so Steve decided to pay his five or seven dollars and eat on the plane. The desk attendant in this case consulted the seating chart and advised him against buying the meal. "Why?" Steve asked. It was because he was seated near the rear of the plane, the meals were first-come-first-served, and therefore he stood a good chance of buying a meal but not receiving one.
So apparently USAir has figured out some extra sources of cash. Could be helpful when you're in bankruptcy, I suppose, though I've never been in bankruptcy myself.