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Senators Receive Award for Trying to Make Flying More Expensive

Senators Receive Award for Trying to Make Flying More Expensive
Jackie Reddy

The Consumer Choice Center has awarded two senators with a sarcastic Bureau of Nannyism Award (BAN) for their attempts to re-regulate the air travel industry and make flights more expensive.

Two senators have been recognized by the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), a global consumer rights body, for their efforts in making air travel more costly. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have received September 2018’s Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) award, an accolade that, according a media statement by the CCC, wryly acknowledges, “…the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice.”

The senators’ names are attached to a provision that is included within the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. The bill itself is currently with the U.S. Senate, but the provision supported by Markey and Blumenthal – referred to as Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act – could, according to the CCC’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski, “…force airlines to abandon the successful business model that has made commercial air travel the most affordable it has been in over 20 years.”

As Ossowski explains, this level of regulation would not only harm consumers, but alter the structure of the air travel industry itself.

“Deregulation of the airline industry helped countless Americans access affordable airline travel for business, leisure, and family obligations. FAIR Fees would be a re-regulation of the U.S. airline industry and would thus lead us back to a command economy in the skies, where flights are accessible to only wealthy passengers and business travelers. That’s the opposite of where we should be heading in the 21st Century,” he states.

The CCC hopes that this month’s prize, given to bring attention to the organization’s #FreeSkiesAreFAIR campaign, will “highlight how the setting of airline prices by politicians will only lead to higher prices for flyers and will be a huge detriment to consumer choice,” explains Ossowski.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. emma dog

    September 13, 2018 at 5:02 am

    The Consumer Choice Center is not a consumer-rights organization. It’s funded primarily by various organizations associated with corporate interests and individuals aligned with conservative viewpoints. The Donors Capital Fund and Templeton Foundation are the largest donors to the Consumer Choice Center.

    Sources:
    https://www.desmogblog.com/consumer-choice-center
    http://www.tobaccotactics.org/index.php?title=Consumer_Choice_Center
    https://www.ecowatch.com/brexit-koch-brother-2462614625.html

  2. rylan

    September 13, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Have to be careful here… too much deregulation got us to the point of hidden/non-transparent fees, 8hr+ tarmac delays, and airlines essentially doing whatever they want to passengers with no recourse.

    We’ve gotten some of that back with some passenger protections to limit the above items.

  3. RustyC

    September 13, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Thanks to emma dog for pointing out what smelled like a very astroturf organization. It’s inevitable that some airline (probably Spirit, but maybe a new upstart trying to out-Spirit Spirit) will push things too far in the never-ending quest to create more profit centers and only kick back some (if any at all) in lower fares. Pay lavatories?

    There’s a point where enough’s enough, but you’ve also got airlines fighting transparency, particularly all-in pricing, Spirit and others would love nothing better than to advertise $9 fares with a big fat asterisk that are really $60, or more, once the airline-imposed fees (read more profit centers) and actual taxes are added in.

    In other words, they want regulatory permission to bait and switch. I applaud Markey and Blumenthal for pushing back on that. With some airlines constantly pushing things based on unreasonable assumptions (like people being a lot smaller than they actually are and not needing any bags to travel as a baseline), it’s simply inevitable that they will go too far.

    For an example of this, by the way, Google “ValuJet”. Nearly a quarter-century ago that upstart budget carrier bought some hand-me-down planes and kept lobbying for minimal oversight and for regulators to cut them a lot of slack on safety requirements. They had an unusual pattern of non-fatal incidents, but it wasn’t until a crash in the Everglades with all aboard dead that the government clamped down on them and others. THAT’S what happens when you get an accommodative government with deregulatory policies that go too far.

  4. AADC10

    September 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Deregulation has led to a “you get what you pay for” situation. Yes, airfares have gone down, but everything except scheduling options between major cities is worse. The seats are smaller, planes are stuffed full, and there are fees for everything. While some libertarian astroturf organization promotes airline interests, the fact is that regulations were implemented in the first place to keep the fledgling aviation industry from destroying itself, something that also had to be done to keep railroads from destroying themselves. Airline execs like to whinge about being heavily regulated but many of those regulations are safety related or related to sharing the publicly funded runways and ATC.

    Some baseline standards that all airlines would have to follow will slow the race to the bottom that the airlines have been engaged in since the Carter administration. Those of us that are old enough regard the pre-deregulation era as a golden age, when the best way airlines could distinguish themselves was through their quality of service, rather than just the lowest fare.

  5. southpac

    September 13, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    nope, ANY regulation puts up fares, it’s that simple. Many people have learnt to fly without taking the kitchen sink, but if you want to, pay for it.

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