This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 25, 2006 12:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was He will be missed. The next post in this blog is Comin' home. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More sardines per can

Ever since Ronald Reagan ordered the application of the almighty Free Market Principles to the U.S. airline industry, the experience of flying on a commercial jet aircraft has steadily declined in quality. Now you go hours without food, are lucky to get served putrid water, rise at 4 a.m. to make your flight, and endure ticket pricing that defies all logic. "Why should you have to pay for something you don't want?" was the dominant mantra.

For years, I have said that by that logic, the next step will be to take out the seats and have you stand all the way to your destination. Why make you pay for a seat if you're willing to go without one?

I was kidding, of course, figuring that a seatless option would be too much of a safety risk. But never underestimate the ingenuity of the selfish Free Marketeers -- lo, it is coming to pass. You'll strap yourself to a board.

Comments (9)

Just yesterday, on a flight from St. Louis to Portland (via Atlanta?!) I was thinking "Soon, they'll have us sitting on wooden stadium benches...." Here it comes.

Do you remember how expensive it was to travel by air in the 1970's 1980's? Those Free Market Principles may have eroded away the perks, but it has also made air travel affordable for everyone. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

Calling the airline industry free market after all the government bailouts is a bit of a stretch.

Ah, the good ol' days of airline travel.

I longlingly recall flying Braniff daily from Flint to Redmond, reclining in my Barcalounger whilst Twiggy fed me figs, Easy-Cheese and sidecars. I was the only passenger--indeed, the only person--on the plane because the air traffic controllers Reagan later fired were flying my plane remotely using pixie dust, as mandated by their collective bargaining agreement.

Plus my tickets were free courtesy of Milton Friedman, as were the Swanson salisbury steak TV dinners he gave me for lunch everyday. Where for art thou, frozen apple cobbler?

I suspect that if corrected for inflation those economy class tickets of 30+ years ago would be a couple grand for cross-country flight today. Cleaning out the files the other day I found an old travel agency voucher for an economy round trip from PDX to Miami in 1985 - right at $500. True, the government bailouts do compromise a purely "free market" environment but then doesn't every regulation, tax or fee? I suspect anyone who has decided to purchase a Chrysler product would appreciate the government's bailout back in the '80's.

But, if they ever do get this idea through I think I'd rather be packed in gelatin than strapped in - not only a convenient in-flight snack but if the plane went down there's some cushioning and fire retardent. Plus frequent fliers would soon have wonderfully strong finger and toe nails.

I suspect that if corrected for inflation those economy class tickets of 30+ years ago would be a couple grand for cross-country flight today.

As well they should be.

While it is great sport to blame Reagan for all perceived ills, I believe Carter was the president whio proposed airline deregulation. The bill passed in 1978 and Alfred Kahn was the brain behid the concdept. Reagan came along, if memory serves, in 1980

from cnnmoney.com "a spokeswoman for Airbus flatly denied the report Tuesday, going so far as to call it "crap."

Love the thread and glad the airline is backing down. As for inflation, a round-trip ticket from Detroit to San Juan on good old Eastern Airlines was $450 in the year 1975. Non-stop. Half-empty too, so you could sleep if you could find three empty seats in a row.

I'm guessing it's gonna cost you a little more than $450 these days, so air travel is cheaper than ever, which is why it sucks so much.

And if I get pulled out of line at PDX and "wanded" one more time just because I am olive-skinned, well, I think I'll just scream. Or go Greyhound.

Clicky Web Analytics