Friday, October 03, 2014

Airline Deregulation

Jimmy Carter deregulated the airlines, or at least started the process, and its often considered a great triumph of free market capitalism. Not by me. And not by my knees. Yes, if your are canny or persistent, you can get relatively cheap air fares to lots of places. Yes, more people can travel than ever before.

On the downside, all that air travel pumps zillions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere and probably messes with the stratosphere in inadequately apprehended ways. More to my own current dismay, it has turned flying from a luxurious adventure into an unhealthy torture, especially for anybody tall.

If you can afford to spring for a first class seat, you get upgraded to something more like significantly less discomfort, or, maybe on Emirates, some feeble hint of luxury, but given the choice would one really pick a week confined to an Emirates luxury berth over a similar period in a reasonably nice jail cell?

Air travel is rapid, relatively safe, and even pretty affordable, but it still puts the travail back in travel. Re-regulating to produce safer, more comfortable flying conditions would help make air travel nicer, and rarer, thus benefitting both passenger and environment.