Fear of Flying: Is It Time to Re-Regulate U.S. Airlines?

July 2, 2012

in Consumer Alerts

  • SumoMe

Pan AM TV PosterThe “Golden Age of Air Travel”? When was that?

Well, it might have been in the era depicted in the ABC-TV series “Pan Am” or back in the late 1950’s when even passengers flying in Coach between New York and Paris on that now-defunct airline rode in style.

These days most of us find booking a flight, making our way through the airport, and flying the “No-So-Friendly-Anymore” skies, far less than a “golden” experience.

But how much of our angst about an upcoming trip by air is due to the U.S. government’s de-regulation of the airline industry in 1978?

In his new book, journalist and former airline operations manager William J. McGee tackles that question in his new book, Attention All Passengers: The Airlines’ Dangerous Descent and How to Reclaim Our Skies.

The title of the book’s prologue sums air travel today in just two words: “Flying Sucks.” And Attention All Passengersaccording to McGee, flying was only fun from 1903 t0 1978 when de-regulation began.

But since we’ve already aware of that sad fact of life, McGee tells us what we probably don’t know but could hurt us when it comes to airfare pricing, flight safety, outsourcing of aircraft maintenance and customer service, and training of regional airline pilots.

And in the chapter entitled “Lights, Camera, Strip Search: The Tragicomedy of Airline Security,” the author discusses what he calls “the kabuki screening of passengers at airports” and how security has changed in the post-9/11 era of commercial aviation.

Attention All Passengers ends with “A Manifesto for Taking Back Our Skies.” McGee talks about his service as the lone consumer representative on the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Then he lays out a plan for fixing the problems with air travel including drafting a national transportation policy, partially re-regulating the airline industry, requiring maintenance of all U.S. airline-owned aircraft to be performed in this country, and for the Justice Department to enforce fair competition between airlines.

Last week, McGee was interviewed on by Dave Davies in a segment entitled “While Flying is No Fun (And May Be More Dangerous’) on NPR’s “Fresh Air” program. After you listen to this 30-minute plus show, cast your vote below on whether U.S. airlines should be re-regulated by the federal government.


(Attention All Passengers is available in hardcover, Kindle e-book, and Audible Audio Addition versions from Amazon.com. You can buy it in hardcover or Nook e-book versions from Barnes & Noble. Purchasing the book through links on this page helps Tales Told From The Road continue to bring you top-notch travel-related news.)
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