Monday, July 31, 2017

Anger in the Air

Related imageThis is the time of the year when lots of people travel by airlines. You would be lucky if you don’t see an angry person at the ticket line, an argument on a flight or just anyone who paid the same price for the seat next to you. Anger over small seats, less service and big profits for the Airlines are driving people literally crazy. The Senate needs to get to work and put back the laws that regulate the airline industry and then maybe people would not be assaulted or dragged off a flight treated like animals. Our lawmakers are so filthy rich and travel on private jets that they do not even know what is going on at our airports.
Why should flying these days be a nightmare? Why has the friendly skies been replaced by constant delays and baggage fees? Blame it on the no-frills flights like Spirit Airlines that have no spirit and on unregulated greed. Why should we be paying for waiting 6 hours in an airport and to have a miserable day? Air travel these days is less like an adventure and more like a battle. Congress needs to get involved and stop voting 6 times on a failed health care plan and start voting on issues that have a chance to change things for the better like regulating the air travel industry again. Trump needs to focus on other issues important to the American people till the Republicans can devise a better health care plan that would benefit all Americans and not just give tax breaks to the rich.
Our airline disasters began in 1978 when the airlines became the first industry in America to be deregulated. President Carter signed his executive order to stop the rules that govern routes, schedules and fares. He had hoped with an open market that competition would rule and airlines would compete to offer better services to their consumers. Well, that didn’t happen. The new rules did force down ticket prices but that also put many airlines out of business. Now we have fewer airlines to choose from and since they have less competition, they arrogantly just make up their own rules because they know that they own the anxious traveler. People are now being dragged out of their seats for airline employees and are being told that the ticket they paid for their child has to be given to another adult passenger; put the kid on your lap for a 6 hour flight to name just a few disastrous mal- treatments of people going on flights.
Today only 4 airlines,  American, Delta, Southwest and United control 80% of all flights. They all have in place a thing called a Contract of Carriage that you agree to when you buy a ticket. It is a contract that you have probably never seen. It is a 80 page document that is completely biased that favor the airlines in their own made up rules and regulations. They manipulate their own rules. If your flight is cancelled and the guy next to you paid more money for his seat, chances are is that he would get a seat on the next flight out before you do. Money talks, you walk.
Discount airlines like Spirit have given the passenger more grief while they reel in high profits. Starting in 2007 they stripped down every comfort on a flight. They charge you for everything that once was for free like pillows and blankets. They charge you for drinks and snacks that once was free. Spirit has the lowest satisfactions rating yet they make the highest profits. Fuels costs have dropped recently but the fees are still rising. In the 1980’s seats were 36 inches apart. Thanks to places like Spirit airlines the space between seats are now only 28 inches so that they can cram in more seats on every flight. You can now assault some idiot without even leaning too far to reach him on a flight now. And now you have to feel lucky you even have that small seat at all. Last year U.S. Airlines bumped   more than 40,000 paid customers off their flights against their will. They call it “Capacity Control” where they sell more seats than they even have.
There are now 5,000 fewer flights each day than 10 years ago. They serve bad brands of booze on flights that just make people misbehave more. Chaos on flights went up but so did the stocks of airlines go up so we need regulations to stop the nonsense NOW. Now after 40 years the airlines could use some re-regulations. The FAA Reauthorization Bill must be passed. Get those bloated rich Congressmen off their private planes and cancel THEIR vacations to stay here and PASS THE BILL. The consumer needs protections NOW. The government needs to set reasonable fees for check baggage, itinerary changes and seat selection. Throw the airline industry lobbyists out that influence our elected officials with campaign donations. The consumer has no lobbyist to fight for our protections. There is only the smell of frustration and cheap scotch in our airline air. The only real spirit on a flight is the need to punch somebody in the throat!

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