After reading the recent headlines, one might be led to believe that every airline passenger is going to be treated like a prince on their next flight.
But the truth is, no act of Congress is going to change the fact that the airlines still hate you.
It’s not their fault, though. (Okay, maybe it is a little.) Congress has long catered to the demands of the airline industry like a spoiled child begging for a cookie – and is given not just one cookie, but the whole bag.
Of course, it wouldn’t be that way if it wasn’t for those in Congress who decided that the government just has to have their say in how Americans travel around the country and the world.
The praises now being shouted from the hilltops by the mainstream media about the “bold steps” being taken in the latest Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization is enough to leave you reaching for the air sickness bag.
Many of you reading this are probably wondering what this Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization has to do with you.
Well, like all things federal government, you will be affected one way or another. Either through the loss of freedom or through higher costs that come with burdensome government regulations, which drives up the price of everything.
Just look at anything the government has touched. All you see are higher prices and lower quality.
Healthcare, education, air transportation, housing—just to name a few.
All are heavily regulated and subsidized by the federal government, and all have sky-rocketing price tags with no significant gain in quality.
It’s Not About Safety
The FAA Reauthorization is simply another opportunity for politicians to give more power to a federal agency and grant more favors to the politically-connected airline industry, all under the guise of “improving travel” for the American people.
After all, the FAA exists for our safety, right? Well, that’s what they want you to think.
In reality, the FAA has long been criticized as a shining example of what’s known as “regulatory capture”—where the industry supposedly being regulated by the government agency dictates how things should be.
So basically, those theoretically being regulated are actually the ones writing the regulations.
Think back to the bank bailouts of 2008 and who it was that wrote the regulations that got us into that mess in the first place, and then became the same ones who were supposed to get us out of that mess—all while we taxpayers were forced to give them a blank check.
One of the big things the media is trumpeting as a major improvement for travelers in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization is the requirement for the FAA to set minimum standards on seat size and leg room.
While this sounds good in theory, after finding out that the airlines will effectively be deciding the new standards (and they are the ones wanting to shrink our seats), how do you think that’s going to work?
Instead of a free market determining seat size and leg room, the FAA will roll out the new minimum standards, which were already approved by the airline industry, and use that to justify the smaller seats and less leg room.
In other words, instead of actually addressing the root of the problem, which is a lack of free market competition, Congress put lipstick on a pig and enacted new regulations that will only increase costs and provide more cover for airlines and their abuse of customers.
Many of the new regulations buried in the 2018 Reauthorization also left me scratching my head, wondering where Congress has been for the last decade.
Take for example the bans on e-cigarettes and cell phone calls during flight.
These were already existing prohibitions, but now are federal crimes. Was that really necessary?
This is nothing more than the nanny-staters wanting to show everyone who’s boss by threatening traveling Americans with time in a federal penitentiary for the smallest infraction.
Legislating By Emotion
And how about making it illegal to now store a dog or any animal in an overhead bin? This new regulation is a perfect example of how Congress creates laws based on sensational headlines and emotions.
While we all agree the incident of the deceased dog was tragic, and I truly have compassion for the owners who lost their pet, Congress acting like there’s an epidemic of dogs dying in overhead bins only trivializes the matter by allowing politicians to score cheap points at the expense of others misfortunes.
None of these new regulations will likely change the way most Americans experience flying. But it sure will give those Congressmen a nice little talking point right before the midterm elections.
While the rest of us will be sitting on FAA approved 2x4s they like to call “seats,” members of the DC swamp will be up in first class patting themselves on the back for “radically” improving our travel.
Call me cynical, but I’m not expecting any great improvement in comfort or convenience on my next flight.
And until they actually inject freedom into the airline industry, Congress shouldn’t expect any “Thank You” notes from me.