Monday, February 22, 2016

Airlines And Congress Hate Us And Love Money. So We'll Keep Suffering

The way things are going, I think airliners will
look like this pretty soon.  
I'm a big guy. I stand six feet tall and weigh 200 pounds.

I suppose I could make the airlines a tad bit happier and me a lot healthier if I lost 30 pounds or so.

But meanwhile, thanks to the airlines and money hungry Congress creatures, I and millions of others will continue to be totally uncomfortable and cramped when we fly somewhere.

According to The Economist, people did try to work with the airlines and Congress for relief. Of course, that was totally naive.

An outfit called, a nonprofit that represents air travelers, sent a petition to Congress demanding new guidelines for a minimum distance between rows in planes, said the Economist.

Things looked good at first. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, recently introduced an amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill that would have mandated a certain amount of legroom for airline passengers, the Economist reported.

Cohen said the average distance between seat rows dropped from 35 inches before airlines were deregulated in the 1970s to 31 inches today. Average seat width has declined from 18 inches to 16.5 inches.

Cohen drafted his amendment, sensibly, on public safety grounds. He said the FAA requires planes to be evacuated within 90 seconds in an emergency, and no studies have been done on whether this can be accomplished now that planes are so cramped.

He and other backers also worried about the health effects of people being in such restricted environments for too long. This arrangement can cause dangerous blood clots.

But, the House Transportation Committee shot down the measure.

I wonder if campaign donations had anything to do with this vote.

According to the Intercept:

"The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa, urged his members to vote against the amendment, and every member of the party did, except Rep. Don Young R-Alaska. 

Air transport PACS (political action committees) are Shusters largest source of campaign funding, with backing from major airlines such as American, Alaskan, Continental, Delta, Haaiian, JetBlue and Southwest. Air transportation PACS have given $92,000 to Shuster this cycle."

I wonder, then, if the airlines will keep shrinking space in the planes, because they do have cover from Congress. No, I don't want to overregulate industry, but I don't want industry to overregulatethe public either.

But I guess they have free reign to do so. I guess the airlines will eventually start stacking us on flights like cordwood.

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