Even Cranky Liberals Are Coming to Understand the Air Travel Sector!
Brett Snyder, editor of the web site, crankyflier.com, wrote a revealing column this weekend, “Don’t let bag fees make you nostalgic. Airlines’ golden age wasn’t so golden..” Commenting on the Block Airline’s Gratuitous Fees Act – the BAG Fees Act by Senator Schumer, he noted that the “good old days” were good only for the wealthy. Elites flew, most people didn’t. It was too expensive, too inconvenient; airline deregulation democratized air travel making it more affordable and more convenient (this phenomena is typical of the role the rich play in making innovation possible, see my blog post “The Rich are the Society’s White Mice”). Snyder understands that ensuring sustainable profitable operations – a prerequisite if any of us are to fly at all – is complex. Today, most people select based on fares and number of stops but they may elect in the future to pick based on the costs of the full bundle of services they expect to use (checked bags, ability to change schedules at lower price, fewer restrictions on travel, nature of on-board services). Airlines and travel search firms are moving in this direction already. It is that market responsiveness – not politicians who will ensure more friendly skies (for most of us) in the future. After all, Snyder concludes: “… in the old days … most of us couldn’t even have afforded a ticket.”