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Why the Trump administration has enraged flyers across America

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Trump's corporation-friendly team of regulators and deregulators are proving a boon for businesses whose corporate philosophy it is to extract every last cent from every transaction with people unlucky enough to deal with them. As long as he retains a hard core of support among at least 40% of Republicans, and while the Democrats continue to offer Clinton clones as the alternative, corporate money will ensure a second term for him. He's simply too good an opportunity to lose.


The reality is that the onerous airline policies and pricing are driven by the huge unnecessary costs (Billions annually) associated with the airline's Operational Dismality (not a word, accurate description).
Airlines could fix this and can dramatically improve their operations, product quality and on time performance, while reducing scheduled block/gate time, costs and ATC congestion/chaos/inefficiency.
But first, let me start with a simple question. In what business operational model does it make sense to unnecessarily relinquish control of your primary production facility (aircraft) to the government?
The airlines mistakenly believe that the ATC system (i.e., government or privatized, doesn't matter) will fix its broken internal production process. Not going to happen, as the airlines internal, curb to curb production problem requires a much broader, system focused, "day of" internal airline command, control and management solution incorporating so many other elements besides the ATC system (schedule, aircraft, gates, maintenance, crews, ramp management, galleys, lavs, etc.). And although the movement of the aircraft is the most important airline "day of" production asset/process, it is the internal airline integration and "day of" command and control of the airline's complete curb to curb production process that will mitigate the airline's delay problem and dramatically improve the ATC system, while providing the highest quality airline product and making the most profit.
In other words, ATC is only focusing on trying to improve airspace/airport efficiency with more control (think full time Ground Delay Program or CFMU), but airlines need to focus on consistently putting the passenger where they were promised, when they were promised, faster, better and more profitably by executing their system wide, curb to curb, "day of" production process, 247-365, to increase system efficiency, product quality, passenger treatment and profits (i.e., Operational Excellence).
Airline delays are not a given and are not inevitable, but delays are primarily defects and failures of the current internal, localized, 1950s airline "day of" operational process, driven by independent actions. And, as independently validated by FAA and Embry-Riddle University, delays can be dramatically reduced if airlines focused on their internal "day of" production problem from a system perspective, which provides the side benefit of improving ATC/airport efficiency and reducing airspace complexity.
Airlines are constantly telling ATC to fix what they see as the congestion around the airports, which airlines see as an ATC problem. But airlines desperately need to fix the huge daily variance around the "day of" delivery of their customers which varies greatly day to day. One day your 20 minutes early and have to wait for a gate, the next day 10 minutes late, the next day 3 hours late.
All that said, the truly hard part of fixing airline delays and airspace/airport congestion/chaos is not actually the doing, but simply getting the airlines to accept "day of" responsibility for their aircraft/customers and understand that it can be done, and that only the airlines make it happen.
For example, consider that only airlines can determine an efficient/profitable “day of” outcome for each of its flights. Only airlines have the worldwide communications capability already in place. Only airlines can easily reach across FIR and ATC sector boundaries to track and manage each of its flights. Only airlines know the fuel load to determine how much an aircraft can speed up. Only airlines can easily coordinate with both their aircraft and ATC in real time. In fact, only airlines have all of the necessary data, communications and capabilities in place today to easily track and manage their aircraft worldwide.
Further, only ATC can provide aircraft to aircraft separation and equitable access to the common assets (i.e., airport) as the “Honest Broker”.
The path forward, the common AT/airline/airport solution is Business Based Flow Management (BBFM). BBFM is a fully developed, COTS, aircraft centric, airline driven, ATC coordinated, independently validated (Georgia Tech and Embry-Riddle), real time, "day of" solution that uses time sequencing to coordinate flows (i.e., aircraft Required Time of Arrival or RTA). BBFM has been proven in over 8 years of live operations to increase airport capacity/throughput and on time performance, while reducing congestion, complexity, distance flown, chaos, delays, fuel burn, noise, pollution and costs.
Finally, nothing will change until airlines stop the blame game and accept responsibility for their "day of" delays, aircraft and customers, look internally for answers, start to track and manage their internal assets, especially their aircraft, and coordinate with ATC, all done in real time, "day of", 247-365 (i.e., BBFM).
RM Baiada,


It's such a shame that Obama didn't have the foresight to pass a law making it illegal to pass a law to throw the 45th president of the USA under a fast moving bus. Most sane people would not have been affected by such a law but for the obnoxious, racist, orange moron with his knee-jerk obsession to contradict every single thing Obama approved it would have been a convenient way to eliminate the scum.


“The department is committed to protecting consumers from hidden fees and to ensuring transparency. However, we do not believe that departmental action is necessary to meet this objective at this time.” In other words lip service.

gabim in reply to CaptainRon

Why should the department protect the consumer? It is bad for business. Consumers should discover at the gate that they need to pay $160 to get two bags on the plane. At that point they have the option of either paying or decide not to fly. In that case maybe the ticket can be sold a second time. Even more upside.

In general it is not in the best interest of the US to encourage transatlantic flights in the first place. People may get ideas. Also why not spend their money at home?


While most G20 countries increase consumer protection, in this industry and have consumer bills of rights, this current administration is hell-bent on rolling it back - especially, if Obama had anything to do with it.


With air rage among passengers at record high levels, this latest abomination from the Trump administration looks set to make flying even more of an ordeal. Unless of course, as the Trump set does, one flies in the most expensive seats or a privately-owned jet. And why would the financial elite care what the common man has to endure? A good chunk of the proletariat, it seems, will vote for Trump even though he's removing their healthcare, defunding their children's education, doing nothing about the nation's crumbling bridges and roads, taking away their national parks, ripping up environmental safeguards, increasing their tax burden, and that's just the start of it.

Tom Silo

Really? The Economist is really, I mean R.E.A.L.L.Y?!?! Advocating precious snowflake legislation? The problem is companies are given hefty fines and so have to be 100% correct on this. Whereas some people are so stupid and lazy they can't be bothered checking flight costs. IMHO, better let the dumb and lazy fly less while the rest of us pay less for flights due to less regulation.

pskils in reply to Tom Silo

Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but the evidence doesn't support it in this instance. More regulation in Europe of the issues discussed in the article has led to increased competition and lower airfares there. The relatively less regulated US airlines already offer poor value in comparison, and fares are rising because of Trump, who is a moron according to the secretary of state he appointed.

Tom Silo in reply to pskils

Yeah, it's tough to have a meaningful discussion given there are few points of evidence that I know about. For instance, Ryanair is cheap, but flies out of low cost airports and is based out of Europe.
I would further argue that it's not necessarily increased competition. It's a known fact that in other industries companies have people that due specific analysis on the competition, pricing, strategies, etc...
I do agree it makes it easier for people to make a direct comparison, but that's only on those areas covered by the regulation. Also, in a highly contiguous country like the US the burden of failure falls much more heavily on the companies who then pass this onto consumers. Perhaps that's the reason, if true, European travel is cheaper?

Zouf in reply to Tom Silo

I don't know what "snowflake legislation" means for you (I assume it's legislation that Trump's administration does not agree with), but I believe it is fair commercial practice to demand fare transparency up-front, particularly for fare elements that would otherwise only become visible once the consumer attempts to check-in. There is limited inconvenience for the airlines - once their ticketing systems have been updated to provide the information (which is the case now), there are no further costs, unless of course they provide incorrect information. I don't see how fares would go down if such regulations were abolished.

pskils in reply to Tom Silo

In the past the Economist has published analysis of factors underlying price differences between North American and European airlines. I'm sure these articles are not difficult to locate. Market leaders include easyJet, RyanAir, WizzAir and Norwegian. The latter two offer low-cost transatlantic flights which some of my friends have tried with favorable results.
I'm not saying that more regulation is better; far from it. The removal of some airline regulations across Europe in the early 1990s greatly increased competition. The removal of protections for 'flag carrier' airlines opened up the market allowing RyanAir to enter with positive disruption.
The point the Economist makes, which I generally agree with, is there's a balance to be found in regulatory influence of markets that will create a socio-economic sweet spot. Historically we've seen too much regulation has led to unhealthy, monopolistic markets, as does too little regulation.
Going back to low-cost airlines and routes, personally I never found it much of a problem flying in or out of Stansted or Gatwick. The former has a fast rail connection from the terminal building direct into the City of London, while Gatwick also has an express rail route into London's Victoria station. The transit time differences compared to flying into Heathrow are only a few minutes, and of the three airports Stansted is the most modern and best-designed. Earlier this year I flew into Bristol, where my conference was, saving time and money over landing at Heathrow.

guest-ajanwolo in reply to Tom Silo

what a dumbo.
Just coz you find it hard to understand the effect and you are ill informed to consider all the nuances doesnt make it a "snowflake regulation".
You might next be saying that online shoppers for a Tuxedo shirt should browse each and every of the fkin 4000 manufacturers of it instead of simply comparison shopping n Amazon.
You guys really are stupid.

Tom Silo in reply to Zouf

"Hi Zoufin, I made the term "snowflake legislation" to attempt to explain that too many people want the government to wipe their noses and hold their genitals while they go to the bathroom. It was a facetious attempt to express my frustration with the "nanny state". I didn't explicitly state that so I can understand why that broader (and IMHO more important point) wasn't picked up.
I don't have a specific issue with this regulation per se, but with all regulation. The government screws up EVERYTHING it touches, but they are a necessary evil so the default position should be (IMHO) that the government stays out of everything it possibly can.
In this situation, the US airline market is heavily regulated. Better to get rid of all regulation that isn't directly related to safety and let the airlines compete. Those that try and decieve their customers won't be in business long...

Tom Silo in reply to CaptainRon

The short answer is yes, IMHO.
The government screws up EVERYTHING it touches, but they are a necessary evil so I would argue that the default position should be that the government stays out of everything it possibly can.
Your pithy comment is a good one, but it is too tactical. There is a bigger issue here. Better to get rid of all regulation that isn't directly related to safety and let the airlines compete. Those that try and deceive their customers won't be in business long. IOWs, if you want the best experience with the cheapest flights stomp out unnecessary regulations and protectionism. This is my point.

Tom Silo in reply to pskils

Sure, ok, but if they are easy then I'd ask you to reference them so I can look them up. The larger question here is why you simply state this? Is it to make some sort of point? You go from "factors underlying price differences between NA and E airlines" and then talk about cheap flights - it's a non sequitur.
yep, I agree, reduced regulation is a key factor in reducing costs and this is my primary point (although not articulated fully in my original post). That is, reduce regulation as much as you reasonably can and you'll find increased competition and cheaper fares with a better service. This seems to be your experience so I don't see how you could disagree.
I understand and agree there needs to be a balance, but let's not fall into the trap of starting from judging everything from the existing position. Let's start from the perfect scenario and then from there judge what we absolutely need and don't need.
Sure, flying in Europe is fine - it's because they let a large number of airlines compete. Not in the US. Also, flying in and out of 2nd/3rd airports, if it suits you then - brilliant! Good on ya!
Unnecessary regulatory costs us all. Not just in flight costs, but in the governmental policies, laws, regulations, and teams of people to monitor that ends up in a quagmire of nonsense.

Tom Silo in reply to guest-ajanwolo

LOL! In my experience it's only stupid people that call people stupid. But I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and say yours is just a biological retardation.
I don't find it hard to understand the effect at all, it's very clear and simple common sense - the more regulation you put on a business the higher the costs to that business in adhering to that regulation. There is a greater risk (cost) associated with potential lawsuits and/or fines should they fail to fully follow the regulation. And there is a greater the burden on the taxpayer as the government has to set up the means to measure and monitor the adherence to any regulation. ALL this costs the consumer money - either directly from the business as it passes on the costs and indirectly in terms of the tax burden.
If you can't follow that then there is no point in discussing this with you. If you can then it's a question of where the regulatory burden should fall. One we can likely agree on is safety. The cost of noncompliance is the airline would go out of business, but then it takes with it 100-200 people which is too high a cost and so regulations covering safety are, in the balance, good and necessary.
Your example of Amazon is a great one! Exactly MY point, why does the government need to regulate this? If there is a need then some company will do it. Any airline that doesn't will go broke if consumers think they are being deceived.
The one caveat is protectionism. If the industry is protected then regulations have to build as true market forces can't clear the market efficiently. This is, IMHO, an excellent reason to stop the heavy protectionism of the US air travel industry.


Merits don't matter for this administration; if Obama did it, it's bad-- everything else is irrelevant.


So ... why has the Trump administration enraged flyers? Just because they can? Just to be assholes? Why, pray tell?

jouris in reply to gossypol

It's pretty simple, really. The number one reason for Trump to do anything is to reverse something that Obama did. Merit, facts, etc. -- totally irrelevant. Anti-Obama may be the one and only consistent policy priority for the entire administration.

A. Andros

Flying is an ordeal.
The seats are tiny, the aisles impassable, the food inedible, the service lousy. (In due course one expects that an airliner will catch fire on the ground and evacuation fail because of inaccessible exists -- I hope the wrongful death suits put the airline out of business.)
It has been lousy since Bush and Obama and now it is lousy under Trump.
A fee for checking one's baggage? Non-cancellable tickets? Bumping? Blood-clot inducing tiny seats? Passengers man-handled and dragged off the plane? Locked in a cabin for hours because of "weather-related problems?" Canceled flights when the cabin is not sold-out? Monopolistic carriers (e.g. Delta at Atlanta and Minneapolis) that leave one with no choice but to pay through the nose?
Where were George and Barak when all of this was going down?
Yeah, Trump may make things worse. But, most of it happened during George and Barry's watch. In response, both parties (thoroughly bought and sold) have done nothing.
Damn BOTH parties!

Langosta in reply to A. Andros

I remember the good ole' days when you could smoke a cigar and get a free shot of whiskey on a plane, and the stewardesses pranced around in hotpants. Those were the great days when flying was an adventure. Now it's like riding a bus.

Petey Pablo

As a consumer, I just love having limited information, few options and no negotiating power! Thanks Donnie!
For your next trick, can you please make sure every tank of gas we buy comes with a $35 surcharge and a swift kick in the crotch?
Much appreciated,

MoJos in reply to Petey Pablo

"For your next trick, can you please make sure every tank of gas we buy comes with a $35 surcharge and a swift kick in the crotch?"

Hey! That's what makes America great again...

At least for masochists.