By Joseph Valenti, MD, FACOG
Past Chair, Council on Socioeconomics, Texas Medical Association
Think back to your last airline flight. After paying a premium price for your ticket you probably waited in a long check-in line, paid hefty baggage fees, dealt with delays—and spent hours in a cramped, narrow seat. (I assume, like most of us, you fly in economy.) Commercial flying has become increasingly miserable in recent years. But as travelers, most of us feel pretty powerless; if we want to fly, we have no choice but to take what the airlines are offering.
We can trace the unpleasant state of airline travel to one overriding cause: industry consolidation. In the past 12 years, 10 major U.S. airlines have merged into four mega-carriers—and they have all the power.