airlines like Emirates and Qantas should be able to compete with
American companies on domestic routes. Photo by Daniel Muñoz/Reuters
The era of cheap airfares is fading away, thanks to consolidation and reduced competition.
merged with Delta. Southwest acquired Airtran. Continental was absorbed
by United. And most recently US Airways and American have merged, leaving the country with just four major airlines
(American, Delta, United and Southwest) controlling 80 to 90 percent of domestic flights and passengers with very few options.
But there's something even simpler the government can do to encourage a new wave of competition: let foreign airlines fly domestic routes in the United States.
Most American business travelers prefer to use foreign airlines already, cites a recent USA TODAY poll.
Airline Protectionism Hurts Travelers
International airlines do operate in this country, but they're forbidden from flying point-to-point destinations domestically.
foreign carriers from offering domestic flights are a throwback to
another era, when the American airline industry was tightly regulated by
the federal government. But today, with only a few carriers remaining
and security concerns of the Cold War a distant memory, it's harder to
justify the regulation.
foreign airlines were allowed to offer flights in the United States,
competing with our monopolies, it would greatly benefit travelers,
By increasing choice, this would put pressure on airlines to lower prices and improve quality.
Paul Hudson, FlyersRights' president told USA Today,
"Foreign airline competition and capital investment in U.S. airlines
could quickly improve passenger service, lower fares, result in new
start-up airlines, and relieve overcrowding."
Some hurdles include opposition
from pilots and flight attendant unions, which point out that some
international carriers receive subsidies from their governments or face
lighter tax and regulatory burdens, which would put U.S. carriers at a
Still, the benefits of opening up the domestic market to foreign competition outweigh the drawbacks.
Being able to
buy a transcontinental ticket on Cathay Pacific or Qatar Airways would
force U.S. airlines to offer lower prices and upgrade their service,
ending a race to the bottom that's defined domestic air travel in the
last decade. U.S. airlines would no longer take us for granted, reports USA Today.
Complaint Level Will Decline
Most people don't have a private jet at their disposal, and don't have the option of flying first class.
current system is broken. And allowing gigantic airlines to form in the
style of Wal-Mart and McDonald's while keeping out foreign competition
is not the way to fix it.
If we can't compete with foreign airlines, then we need to figure out why.
FlyersRights member, Dan T., sent in a Bloomberg article, which clarifies the point.
Frustration can begin with innocuous
activities such as other travelers' reclining their seats into our laps,
requests to remain seated during taxiing and unexpected turbulence and
even failure to secure an upgrade. Airport crowds, the stress of sitting in a confined space for hours on end and a fear of flying can also trigger incidents.
He describes his own recent experience on a 12-hour marathon flight from JFK to Phoenix, via Charlotte, on US Airways.
"Plane was a little late landing but no indication
of a change in departure time. Meanwhile, at 30 minutes before scheduled
time people line up to get on.
Gate agent gets on PA system saying that we need everyone to back away from the gate so the passengers can deplane.
go up to him and ask him to announce a change in departure time since
passengers were naturally expecting what was posted without any other
notification. He says to me 'I told them what they need to know to get
this plane out on time.'
Can't tell you how many times I have seen something
similar. They do not announce changes, and without that people start to
feel left in the dark and become antsy and uncomfortable. So after he
tells me the above, I notice a voicemail message from the airline. I
play it and it is announcing the changed departure time. Of course I put
the speaker on so others could hear it.
The information is there, but there is no real effort to understand what their customers need.
Sure it may be because they are overworked and understaffed, I
get it. But these are symptoms of a larger problem of bad service."
We are commited to solutions for promoting airline passenger policies that forward first and foremost the safety of all passengers while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens that adversely affect airline profitability or create exhorbitant ticket price increases.
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.