Why Flying Is Miserable
Discover the reasons behind the misery of air travel in 'Why Flying Is Miserable' by Ganesh Sitaraman. Sitaraman explores the impact of airline deregulation and the consolidation of major players in the industry. He argues that a lack of competition and the focus on profit over customer experience have led to flight cancellations, delays, higher prices, and a generally miserable flying experience. However, Sitaraman proposes that by drawing upon the American tradition of regulated capitalism, we can find new solutions to make air travel more reliable, resilient, and rewarding for passengers.
We've all experienced the frustration and discomfort of air travel. From flight cancellations and delays to lost baggage and cramped seats, the once glamorous experience of flying has become a nightmare. But why is this the case? In his thought-provoking book, 'Why Flying Is Miserable,' Ganesh Sitaraman dives deep into the underlying issues plaguing the airline industry.
The Crisis in the Skies
It seems like airlines are constantly in a state of crisis. We hear about flight cancellations and delays on a regular basis. The stress and uncertainty that come with these disruptions can turn what should be a smooth and enjoyable journey into a logistical nightmare. And let's not forget about the ever-shrinking legroom and narrower seats that leave passengers feeling cramped and uncomfortable.
Airlines: Too Big to Fail
One of the reasons behind this misery is the lack of competition in the airline industry. Over the years, bankruptcies and mergers have led to the dominance of a few major players who are deemed 'too big to fail.' With only four such airlines left, competition is virtually non-existent. This lack of competition allows the airlines to have more control over prices, resulting in higher fares for travelers.
The Illusion of Profit
Despite making record profits before the pandemic, airlines still struggle to provide reliable service when travel demand increases. This raises the question of where all that money went. It turns out that billions of dollars in taxpayer rescue packages were funneled into these airlines, but they failed to enhance the overall travel experience for customers.
The Failure of Deregulation
Sitaraman argues that the root cause of these issues can be traced back to the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978. While deregulation was meant to spur competition and innovation, it instead unleashed a series of economic dynamics that resulted in consolidation, higher prices, and a loss of services to smaller communities.
American Traditions and New Solutions
In 'Why Flying Is Miserable,' Sitaraman suggests that the solution lies in learning from the American tradition of regulated capitalism. He proposes the need for new solutions that make air travel more reliable, resilient, and rewarding for passengers. This means finding a balance between regulation and innovation to ensure that the needs of both passengers and airlines are met.
Sitaraman's book offers a fresh perspective on the issues that plague the airline industry. By delving into the history of deregulation and exploring potential solutions, he provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of why flying has become such a miserable experience.
So the next time you find yourself crammed in a tight seat, dealing with a delayed flight, or missing your luggage, remember that it's not just bad luck. There are systemic factors at play that have led to the current state of air travel. And with Sitaraman's insights, we can start working towards a better future for air travelers.
|Why Flying Is Miserable
|Chris Henry Coffey
|Science & Engineering
|Random House Audio