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Airplane deregulation led to crappier planes

Every time we watch an older movie featuring airplanes (this time it was Die Hard 2) Min wonders why the planes look so spacious. So here's a recent post by Yglesias on that.

The declining quality of air travel has to do with deregulation in the 1970s. Interstate air travel used to have its fares set by a federal agency rather than market forces, and it tended to mandate relatively high fares. That was cozy for the airlines, gave airline labor unions a lot of revenue to try to grab for their members, and generally led to a high level of service. You couldn't compete on price, but you could try to compete on quality, and unions were happy to agree to schemes featuring high levels of staffing and low plane density. Then came deregulation, competition, fare wars, price cutting, layoffs, staff givebacks, and everything else that makes plane travel annoying but fairly cheap.

It's not his first on the subject and this post takes it for granted that his theory is correct and moves on to talk about why that in turn means that airports have gotten "nicer" (in my opinion, more like shopping malls, but i don't know if that really translates to nicer), but he does lay out the basic idea.

By fnord12 | November 17, 2013, 10:49 AM | Liberal Outrage & Movies


we watched the first Die Hard, too. i haven't stopped yelling at the tv all wkend. fnord12 had to pause the movie 3 times in the first 17 minutes cause i was getting too rowdy.

the wife told the pregnant lady it was ok for her to drink alcohol!

and these fucking non-first class airplane seats are soooooo spacious. this guy's walking past the sleeping lady in the seat next to him and there's so much room, he can get past without her even knowing!!! what the hell!!!???

these movies are insane! and not just cause of the full-of-holes plots!

(that's alot of exclamation points!!!)

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey

Riffing off the Knee Defender controversy, Matthew Yglesias says if you don't like how much space you get on a plane, you should pay more. In the past, though, he's said that airplanes have gotten crappier because of deregulation. But...    Read More: But what if we just wanna complaaaaaain?