We have been following the increasing lines at security checkpoints in our airports due to budget cuts and TSA incompetence while airlines pile on extra charges for passengers while reducing both room and comfort to the level of cattle cars. As passengers are treated with level more regard than cattle by TSA and the airlines, the airlines themselves are racking up huge profits. Indeed, the most recent report shows that U.S. airlines had a combined $25.6 billion in net earnings last year. Yet, the airlines successfully lobbied to kill a bill in Congress that would have required such things as the publication of leg room on seats.
The after-tax profit for 25 airlines with scheduled passenger service was more than three times the $7.5 billion reported in 2014. Not only that but average fuel prices are 35% lower than the prior year. This is the sixth consecutive years of profits for the industry.
Remember how the airlines justified those baggage fees on fuel costs? Well, they are not rescinding them. Indeed, baggage fees rose to $3.8 billion last year and reservation change fees totaled $3 billion.
Now here is what is most disturbing about the article below:
Four out of five airline passengers said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their travel experience, according to an Ipsos Public Affairs poll commissioned by Airlines for America. The majority of air travelers last year had household incomes of $75,000 or less, the poll found.
In other words, airlines have succeeded in changing the expectations of travelers. For those of us who remember air travel as comfortable and low stress, the status of travel today is nothing short of a scandal. I used to enjoy flying and now I avoid it whenever possible. It is punishing and degrading. Yet, the airlines knew that such memories would fade with the new generation and that they could lower expectations while increasing profits. They gambled on people accepting cramped conditions with few comforts and they won. Although some of us look at the rapid reduction of seat size and comfort for example, many have bought into the new industry move to treat travel more like a bus and people more like cargo.
So now we can wait for three hours in an understaffed TSA line and, if we can still make our flight, we can fight for limited space to store our bags to avoid increasing baggage fees and then squeeze into sardine-like spaces (or converted cargo bays). Where air travel was once an experience in itself, it has become solely a means to an end. It is the equivalent of replacing every fine restaurant with a vending machine on the theory that people only want food at the lowest possible cost. Call me a dinosaur if you will, but I will never forget the golden age of travel when airlines prided themselves on not just the arrival at a location but experience in getting there.
Source: USA Today