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Are Airline Customers Fleecing the Industry by Getting Cheap Flights?

Illustration for article titled Are Airline Customers Fleecing the Industry by Getting Cheap Flights?

Derek Thompson over at The Atlantic has a new video about the costs of air travel in the United States. He goes through the history of deregulation in the industry and shows how air travel today is quite a bargain. While he gets a lot about the industry right, Thompson has some bizarre conclusions.


"Customers hate fees because we feel like we're being fleeced," Thompson says. "But in a way, we're the ones fleecing the airlines. This is an industry that lost $51 billion between 2001 and 2011."

What Thompson fails to mention is the various ways that governments (on both the federal and local level) have bailed out and subsidized the airline industry since its deregulation in the late 1970s. Sure, deregulation brought down prices, which was great for consumers. But when bailouts and sweetheart loans are tossed around with our tax dollars, it's hard to argue that we as tax-paying consumers didn't ultimately pay for a portion of that old fashioned ticket.


Air travel may be a real bargain, but when you look at the history of the airlines, you can't claim that customers are "fleecing" the poor, defenseless megacorporations.

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