November 3, 2016 | Kendall Creighton Website News Legislation Help! I’m Stranded Media Contact Those Were The Days Nov 2, 2016 In-Flight Fashion Show 1957 Occasionally we unearth photos from air travel’s glory days, from about the 1950s to mid 1970s. We know it’s hard to reminisce about roomy cabins, piano bars and cocktail lounges with today’s spartan, confined and famine-inducing flights. You might say this stark difference is becoming unacceptable considering US airlines have raked in record profits since 2009 – and $25.6 billion in 2015 alone, a 241% increase from 2014,according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Furthermore, passengers are telling the DOT they’ve never been more unhappy. (Note that the airlines do not publicize passenger complaints filed directly with the carriers.) photo credit: LIFE archives So, it is astounding that despite soaring profits and revenues, airline customer service is worse than ever. But customer dissatisfaction rewards the airlines. The industry has worked out that the more awful the experience, the more passengers will pay for the most basic services. Under the guise of “consumer choice,” passengers get bilked into spending more for this sham “premium” service. And unlike most industries, you aren’t likely to take your business elsewhere, at least when flying domestically in the US, because 86 percent of air travel is controlled by just four airlines, United, Delta, American and Southwest – a “collusive oligopoly.” Collusive Oligopoly This is why the US major carriers have been so aggressive in keeping out the Middle-East big three airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airlines and Qatar Airways – as it would jeopardize their current collusive oligopoly. The US Justice Department has acknowledged this problem and opened an investigation last July into the US major carriers for antitrust violations and fare collusion – the case is still ongoing. Per New York Magazine, “Investigators hope to find out whether these airlines let each other know about added flights and extra seats, in an effort to keep the number of open seats low and prices high.” There too many of these links between airline mergers and multiplying fees with drastic decreases in frequent-flyer benefits. The lack of competition affects US travelers across the board on both international and domestic routes. The FlyersRights ® Insider With this issue of FlyersRights® weekly Newsletter, we are launching a new section (The FlyersRights® Insider) that will contain travel and other travel-related information hints, tips and suggestions for our readers and members. We do not intend to supplant other sources and resources, but rather use this new section as a reference source for more detailed information and data. We will annotate and clearly (again, hopefully) this data for further research by the reader as indicated and appropriate. We welcome and solicit your feedback as to usefulness, relativeness; as well as any information and data you might have to contribute and be used in this new section of the newsletter. Here goes: When to renew your US passport – http://www.cntraveler.com/story This item will soon be banned in US passports – http://www.cntraveler.com/story US Passports to get a makeover in 2016 – http://www.cntraveler.com/stories The above articles can be viewed by clicking on the link. For more in-depth and up-to-date information on these items, please see Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and the US State Department. Remember: Always opt out of nude body scanners and file a complaint at tsa.gov Read & Sign our Petition! REINSTATING THE RECIPROCITY RULE Getting on a Plane? Put This Number in Your Phone: 1 (877) Flyers6 1 (877) 359-3776 The FlyersRights HOTLINE! Get our newsletters! If you like FlyersRights and want to help keep us going, you can support here: Follow FlyersRights on Twitter … or Facebook!