Thursday, May 04, 2017

You Can Blame Congress For Flying Torture Chambers-- The U.S. Airline Industry


Tuesday, one of Congress' most overtly corrupt members, Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (for whom the airline industry famously procured a mistress), convened his committee to make believe they were holding out-of-control airlines accountable. Shuster and the others crooks on his committee take immense bribes from the airlines and never hold anyone accountable for anything. The airlines have paid out $31,108,250 in bribes, to both parties, though mostly to Republicans, since 1990. The biggest all-time airline industry bribe-taker is, of course, Bill Shuster-- $329,599. Senior Republicans on the committee have been happy to take money from the airline companies they're supposed to be overseeing. The 5 sleaziest of the lot:
Bill Shuster (R-PA) $329,599
Don Young (R-AK)- $167,300
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)- $140,000
Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)- $125,309
Sam Graves (R-MO)- $94,400
Committee members made a point-- for the TV cameras-- of lambasting the executives from United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines. (Delta ignored the invitation.) That airline travel has become a hell on earth since massive deregulation of the industry in 1978. When Ted Reed wrote up Tuesday's hearing for, he mentioned that the "committee gave United and the rest of the U.S. airline industry a slap on the wrist and a warning. But any urgency to take action was diminished because the four biggest airlines already have taken dramatic steps to improve customer service" Is that so? Ever think the airline bathrooms can't get any smaller?

Writing for CNNMoney yesterday, Jon Ostrower noted that American Airlines is cutting more legroom in economy class. That used to be my airline of choice. I'll do anything to avoid it these days-- aside from using United or Delta.
American Airlinesis planning to decrease the front-to-back space between some of its economy class seats by another two inches.

The airline says it plans to add more seats on its coming Boeing 737 Max jetliners. To do that, it will shrink the distance between seats, also known as pitch, from 31 inches to 29 inches on three rows of the airplane, and down to 30-inches in the rest of its main economy cabin.

American isn't the only big airline heading in this direction. United Airlines is considering a similar move, according to a person briefed on its evaluations. United declined to comment.

The move signals a new step in the shrinking of U.S. airline cabins, and comes even as carriers are promising to improve overall customer service.

With the change, American will become the first large U.S. carrier to offer legroom with a pitch that's nearly on par with ultra-low cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Those seats are an industry minimum 28-inches apart.

By comparison, economy class pitch on Delta Air Lines and United ranges between 30 and 31 inches, while JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines have between 31 and 33 inches.

The one advantage the big U.S. carriers still have over their lowest-fare rivals was a few more inches in economy.

The bathrooms on American's 737 Max jets will also be smaller, one person familiar with the planning said.

The new Max jets will have more than 170 seats, two sources said, compared to 160 on its existing 737-800s. The airline said it is keeping its extra-legroom 'Main Cabin Extra' economy seats, as well as its 16 first class seats.

These new single-aisle aircraft will go into use later this year and will primarily be flown on routes in North America.

Fliers will still pay regular economy fares for the 18 seats with two inches less leg room. Two of those three rows of 29-inch pitch will be in the back of the plane and a third farther forward. These seats won't be part of its new basic economy fares, which sell for less because fliers don't get access to overhead bins, a seat assignment or frequent flier miles.

...The tighter legroom may mean that some corporate travel agents who avoid ultra-low cost airlines will balk at American, said Henry Harteveldt, founder of the Atmosphere Research Group.

As the big airlines match each other move for move, the risk is that 29 inches becomes the standard for flying economy in the United States. American has been a bellwether before for the airlines. For instance, it was the first big U.S. airline to introduce bag fees in 2008.

Airlines have enjoyed strong profits and low fuel fuel prices after a decade of consolidation. They're adding seats now to help offset rising employee wages.

"This is one of the best economic environments the U.S. airline industry has seen in decades," said Harteveldt. "There is no need to race to the bottom."

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At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ultimate airline passenger "accommodation" will be to strap us all to body boards so that we can't move, and then insert the boards into slot with just enough room for the nose of a passenger strapped to a board to just miss touching the board in front.

Just one more reason I refuse to fly anymore.

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congress either enables or endorses or both all the degradation that has taken place since the "Great Society" ended.

So blame congress for all of it -- the deregulation and tax restructuring to unburden the wealthy and the rest of it.

But congress didn't just appear out of the ether. They are elected and re-elected by American voters.

So either voters are non-sentient dumbfuckturds or they WANT all this degradation.. or, of course, both.

I'm leaning on both. Too much evil to be JUST from stupidity.


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