Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Airlines have more customers, less profit, more fees, and worse service

An article titled "Sept 11 changed everything" summarizes the state of the airline industry 10 years later. It does not mention that airlines were "too big to fail." They were bailed out - one after another - and then the responsibility for making air travel safe was federalized (it had largely been the province of local airports - which rent space to airlines - with some regulations in place by the FAA).

Sure, people were a little scared to fly for maybe 6 months or a year after 9/11. But prices started to creep back up about 2 years later and, now, airlines have more passengers than they have ever had. Yet they are still struggling to survive. Could it be not only has Congress continued to reward waste in the airline industry over the last 10 years, but Congress and the rogue TSA has made flying such an incredible pain that people really don't want to pay very much to waste a day and be harassed? As the article points out:

It's no wonder that for shorter trips, Americans now avoid flying. New inter-city buses have popped up and Amtrak now carries 37 percent more riders than a decade ago. Buses and trains don't have the security checkpoints that make it necessary for air passengers to arrive at the airport about an hour before domestic flights and two hours in advance for trips out of the U.S.
The days of arriving minutes before a flight are a distant memory, and lines are inconsistent. While one Transportation Security Administration checkpoint took four minutes to clear, another involved a 27-minute wait.
I have only crocodile tears for the airline industry at this point. They are intentionally ignoring the loss the TSA has caused for their bottom lines, but I am hopeful that they can't ignore this forever.