Regulation Is Not a 4-Letter Word.

Not that long ago, it was actually fun to fly. In the 70’s and 80’s, the major airlines provided a quality experience even in economy class, with comfortable seats, adequate legroom, and a decent meal service.
But that was then; this is now.
And now the major airlines are at it again. They’ve figured out yet another way to extract a few more shekels from a few more helpless passengers.
According to Charlie Leocha, the driving force behind Travelers United, the three major airlines—American, Delta and United—are going to allow passengers in the economy sections of the planes to choose window or aisle seats . . . for an extra fee, of course. Isn’t that swell? Pay only the published fare and you’ll very likely end up in one of the dreaded middle seats.
Good heavens! What next? And where does it stop? And can anything be done about it?
May I suggest that this nickel-and-diming of ordinary passengers all started with deregulation of the airlines. Once free from much of the government oversight, the airlines were able to look for new ways to increase revenues. There was no one to say “You can’t do that”, so they did it.
But why are we surprised? Corporations have stockholders and dividends have to be paid, the bigger the better. Without regulation, the airlines can add fees. Without regulation, some banks make risky loans. Without adequate regulation, some pharmaceutical companies gouge sick people. Without adequate regulation, some auto makers fudge emission numbers. Without adequate regulation, pesticides turn up in our food supply.
The fact is, given the opportunity, some people and some companies will cheat, even if it causes harm to others. And rolling back existing regulations that could prevent that harm, in order to score political points with less than half the voting public is a travesty.


  1. Let’s not forget that air fares have dropped about 50% in real dollars since the 1970s. Yep, it sure was comfortable and nice to fly back then, but only the well off and businessmen could afford it. I like that the airlines now have a wide range of fares. Passengers willing to fly jammed into a middle seat fly with no carry on should pay a rock bottom fare. Those of us willing to pay a bit more can purchase “economy plus” seat with extra leg room. If you want to pay 1970s (adjusted for inflation) fares, you can fly first class and have all the perks which used to be included in the price of every ticket. Those perks were never “free” they were “included”. There is a big difference!

    1. True enough and a good point. Of course my experience with air fares is mostly limited to the cost of flying between various West Coast cities and Hawaii. (Once on the mainland, I take Amtrak.) Back in those Good Old Days, the one-way fare from the West Coast to Honolulu was $100, and that included checked bags and a decent meal. These days, fares are all over the lot, but–and this is strictly a guess–I’d say the average one-way fare is probably around $325. And that’s before you pay $25 for checking a bag or $60 for more legroom or $12 for the ever-popular turkey wrap. That said, it does indeed seem that air fares between mainland cities are much more reasonable. My wife flew from New Orleans to L.A. a year ago for $125.

  2. I see the solution to all airline woes as being quite simple. From over zealous TSA people, to crunched up seating to nickel and diming passengers every which way possible.

    Stop flying.

    Not permanently, but perhaps for a few weeks. All passengers should effectively go on strike…with demands.

    Airlines would be stepping all over each other to accommodate these demands when their bottom line starts tanking – which it will after a few days of grounded planes.

    But….people, like cattle, willingly follow the leader, accept insult after insult, pay new fees upon new fees and march to the beat of the airline industry without question or complaint.

    1. It’s been talked about on Facebook and on a number of blogs: A “No Fly Day”. You’re on to something.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.