Washington: While Christmas appears to be coming early this year for the big airlines, passengers frequently are getting nothing but a big lump of coal. The airlines are pulling in record profits and fees — $82 billion by the end of 2017 from nonticket “ancillary” revenues paid by passengers, a 264% increase from 2010. Worldwide, North American airlines with fewer than a quarter of the total flights now account for nearly half of total airline profits. The airlines are publicly lauding the benefits they will reap from the tax plan in Congress, claiming it will allow them to “share those gains of lower taxes . . . customers.” With $82 billion in new fees and record profits, it doesn’t appear that much sharing is going on. Now these same airlines are lobbying to run air traffic control so they can control taxes, fees and routes. Entrusting them with this responsibility would officially make every aspect of our traveling experience miserable, inefficient and potentially unsafe. The airlines should get their own house in order.
Linda Sherry, Director, National Priorities, Consumer-Action