June 21, 2017

"Climbing Down Into Airline Hell, Year by Year" — a fascinating time line.

By Joe Nocera at Bloomberg.

You know the story: deregulation, competition, and the people voting with their money for cheapness. But it's worth perusing the time line. You can see the prices fall along with with quality.

A factor not displayed: The increase in the size of the average American from 1980 (when deregulation kicks in) to today. The allocated space has decreased even more if you factor in how much larger we are.

I think, given the problem of global warming, there should just be a lot less air travel. If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins! You can disagree with that if you're a climate change denier, but if you're a believer, you must agree.

106 comments:

Curious George said...

"You can disagree with that if you're a climate change denier, but if you're a believer, you must agree."

You don't know much about liberals.

Freder Frederson said...

I think, given the problem of global warming, there should just be a lot less air travel. If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins! You can disagree with that if you're a climate change denier, but if you're a believer, you must agree.

So, are you finally admitting that global warming is real and anthropogenic?

(And, yes I realize that there is a 99+% chance you are being facetious and trying to demonstrate your superior logic.)

The Cracker Emcee said...

She's admitting Liberals are rancid hypocrites.

rhhardin said...

The more people you pack in, the less carbon emissions per person.

And they don't drive instead.

rhhardin said...

If they'd slow to about 200mph, they'd save fuel. Relive the DC-3 days in a jumbo jet.

David Begley said...

There is no global warming problem. There is an infrastructure and competition problem. We need more airports and more airplanes.

rhhardin said...

It was very nice for a couple weeks after 9/11 with no aiplanes in the sky. No noise, no contrails.

traditionalguy said...

The solution is so easy. Outlaw private Jets flying Establishment Politicians around by billionaire donors and require the Pols to fly commercial in tourist class.

The next morning all of the Airlines will only have first class seats and service with smoking sections and young bimbo Stewardices.

rhhardin said...

The death rate for driving is a lot higher than for flying, so you save carbon emissions through people reduction.

Henry said...

That looks like huge success to me.

This is the only chart that matters.

Simple fact: If you want space you can pay for it. Fly business class. It's less expensive than coach of 20 years ago.

Why airlines are awesome. Ignore all the handwringing. Just look at the charts.

In the 1980s, when I had to travel 2000 miles to and from college, it was a serious financial question whether I should ride 60 hours on a Greyhound bus or pay much much more for a plane ticket.

Henry said...

In Vox's whiny article they rely on charts from one of those AEI George Mason economists. Here's the source. Notice the headline difference.

Here's Louis C.K. on air travel. Everyone is amazing and no one is happy.

robother said...

Replace jet engines with exercise machines. Kills at least two birds with one stone!

LilyBart said...



Sometimes I feel that the Climate Change push is a little like the Sumptuary Laws of old. The idea was to 'protect' the little people from calamity, but really it keep the important class markers in place for the nobility. We little people should be living in small places, reducing energy and water use, eating a plant based diet, taking public transportation and skipping the exotic vacations!



Dave from Minnesota said...

This rightwinger doesn't think that is a bad idea. It seems too cheap to fly.
Also, I think Amtrak/rail service for service lanes under 500 miles isn't that bad of an idea. Free up the runway space for longer flights where driving or bus or rail isn't really an option.

Henry said...

Recommended reading: Paris is a Nice Dish. A travel book from the '50s. The first portion of the book describes an amazing journey by plane from New York to Nova Scotia to Greenland to Ireland to Paris. And at every stop the passengers deboarded and were served a full course meal.

Henry said...

I probably have the exact stops wrong, above, but you get the idea.

LilyBart said...


Airline travel has gotten to be a joyless experience. People say they want leg room and good service, etc, but they (or their companies) demand the lowest fares. So, here we are.

Most full service airlines offer different classes, providing more room and service for more money - but most people won't pay for those seats. People hope to be 'upgraded' to these seats!

Tommy Duncan said...

A few days ago I looked through a box of memorabilia from a 92 year old relative. Included in the box were items from her 1953 trip to Germany. There were price schedules for several airlines (Sabena, Pan Am, Air France). I did a quick lookup of the prices in today's inflated dollars. A round trip coach ticket from New York to Munich in 1953 was about $5,431 in today's dollars. We flew coach from Minneapolis to Munich in May of 2017 for about $600 a ticket.

When I started flying in the mid-to-late 1970's air travel was expensive. Most passengers were businessmen wearing suits. Men wore a sport coats when traveling for vacation. People riding in a bus in 1960 dressed better than the average airline passenger today. Last year I had a flight connection in Denver. The Denver airport felt like a dirty bus station.

Virtually Unknown said...

You can disagree with that if you're a climate change denier, but if you're a believer, you must agree.

You can just picture her tongue in her cheek as she wrote that.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

This rightwinger doesn't think that is a bad idea. It seems too cheap to fly.
Also, I think Amtrak/rail service for service lanes under 500 miles isn't that bad of an idea.


What does right-winger mean if not less government regulations, free market pricing and private sector solutions to economic problems.

David Begley said...

Trump is implementing a new air traffic control system. That will help congestion.

Obama allowed the airlines to consolidate,

Gahrie said...

I think, given the problem of global warming

Global warming is not a problem:


1) The Earth is currently in an ice age called the Quaternary that began 2.5 million years ago.
2) The Earth is also in the middle of an interglacial (a period of global warming during an ice age) called the Holocene that began 12,000 - 10,000 years ago.
3) Modern man first appeared 200,000 years ago. All of our existence has occurred during an ice age.
4) For the first 195,000 or so years of our existence we wandered around in small bands of hunter-gatherers.
5) As the Holocene warmed the Earth, man discovered agriculture around 6,000 years ago. Agriculture led to surplus, surplus led to specialization, specialization led to civilization, civilization led to history. All of human civilization and history has occurred during global warming.
6) The coldest parts of Earth have few or no humans. The warmest parts of Earth have large human populations.
7) The Earth currently has a record high of humans living on it, with record lows in hunger and absolute poverty.

Global warming began long before humans could have possibly effected it, and is in fact good for humanity. There was once a pile of ice a mile high on top of Chicago, and one day there will be again.

Virtually Unknown said...

So, are you finally admitting that global warming is real and anthropogenic?

Are you finally admitting that you think gas should be $10 a gallon minimum, heating oil only $9?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I flew round trip nonstop JFK to Paris last August for less than $350.00. The seats were horrible. Tight across the seat and no legroom. No food. New plane. But 7 hour flight. Who cares. Bring a snack and cup for water.

Virtually Unknown said...

The trick is to fall asleep before the plane gets to the runway, and wake up somewhere over Ireland.

JB71-AZ said...

MUST agree?

Hell, even the WARMERS aren't agreeing any more.

"“In the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble,” reads the abstract of Santer’s paper, which was published Monday.

“Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed,” reads the abstract, adding that “model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.”

Reality ALWAYS takes precedence over models.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/20/the-new-consensus-on-global-warming-a-shocking-admission-by-team-climate/

Virtually Unknown said...

You knew that science would win in the end over the politics. The divergence problem between the models and temperatures currently mirrors the divergence problems between the temperature proxies as they look currently and the temps as measured. These temperature proxies are what are used to show us that it is exceptionally warm today. The reality is that nobody knows if it is warmer today than it was when the Vikings were occupying Greenland a thousand years ago.

Dave from Minnesota said...

What does right-winger mean if not less government regulations, free market pricing and private sector solutions to economic problems.

Natural selection. Instead of competition driving prices down and making it Greyhound in the sky, airlines would offer a better experience for more money. And people would fly less then. But I realize that isn't going to happen. Not with Expedia, Travelocity, etc

Dave from Minnesota said...

Not to sound old....but when I was a little 'un, the main vacation was a 3 say trip to Wisconsin Dells....and we were happy to get that.

I have a neighbor, a divorced lady who isn't wealthy, but she flies to Arizona about 6 times a year (her parents live there) and spends a week or so there. Is that good or bad?

TheThinMan said...

No one denies that the climate is changing. Always has, always will.

Lyle Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins! You can disagree with that if you're a climate change denier, but if you're a believer, you must agree.

Current "airline Hell" has nothing whatsoever to do with global warming, but more to do with economics. Supply and demand.

Airline travel used to be a luxury for big trips or destination travel and even by business people going to important meetings. It was not a commute method of transportation by the Hoi Polloi.

It was a big deal to travel by air. People got dressed up and made an occasion out of it. There were cocktails and hors d'ouvers, served by glamorous women. Today it is like a cattle call with zombie like travelers dressed in their jammies and flip flops staggering to the groping stations. You are lucky if you get anything to eat or drink thrown at you by surly attendants who wish you were dead and they wish they were anyplace but on the plane with you.

Was it expensive. Sure. And because it was expensive there was less of it. Because it was expensive the experience was memorable and pleasant. After all many people would only take one or two plane rides in their lifetime.

Because plane travel was expensive and rare, the people treated it more respectfully and when they arrived at their destination, they also treated that place with respect and even a tinge of awe.

There are trade offs, of course. Less people travel by air. That means you can't get everything you want at a low cost. More people may take trains!

As rhhardin said :If they'd slow to about 200mph, they'd save fuel. Relive the DC-3 days in a jumbo jet. YES. DO this. It may take longer to get somewhere but the experience will be worth it.

Marcus Carman said...

Professor, your fear of flying is showing.

Pookie Number 2 said...

If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins!

I assume you're being sarcastic, but whenever the government makes it more expensive for people to buy the goods and services they want, everybody loses.

Known Unknown said...

So progressives only want airline travel for the rich.

Sounds about right.

Ann Althouse said...

"So, are you finally admitting that global warming is real and anthropogenic?"

It's not possible to "admit" something you don't know as a matter of personal knowledge. It's only hearsay from my perspective, so it would be dishonest to purport to "admit" it. I'll admit that I've heard it said by people I've heard said are experts. That's all I can honestly say.

Peter said...

"If they'd slow to about 200mph, they'd save fuel. Relive the DC-3 days in a jumbo jet."

Well, no, not really. Jet airliners are optimized for high-altitude cruise, and they couldn't do that at 200mph because the wings won't provide enough lift in thin air at that speed.

Overall, fuel efficiency (seat-miles per gallon) is a U-shaped curve, rising at both the low-speed and high-speed ends. The bottom of the curve is shallow, however, so airplanes tend to cruise at somewhat above the maximum-efficiency speed. It is, therefore, possible to increase fuel economy slightly with a small decrease in speed, but that's about it.

And higher altitude results in better fuel economy for just about all airplanes, even DC-3s (but these were mostly kept under 10,000 feet above msl for passenger comfort, as they're not pressurized).


In any case, I agree that when it comes to air travel, price is king. After all, most flights don't last all that long, making the relative luxury of an upgrade costly when calculated on a per-hour basis.

Ann Althouse said...

"The more people you pack in, the less carbon emissions per person."

In my plan, there are far fewer flights.

"And they don't drive instead."

You're not going to drive to Paris and Thailand.

And I've read that flying actually does use more fuel. Morever, cars can run on electricity. Planes need fossil fuel.

Freder Frederson said...

Are you finally admitting that you think gas should be $10 a gallon minimum, heating oil only $9?

I have never hidden the fact that I am all for Europe level gas taxes (which would result in gas prices in the $8 to $9 a gallon range).

Althouse, on the other hand, continually has blog posts that call into doubt global warming. But when you try to figure out what she believes her response is "I never said I didn't not believe that anthropegenic global warming is or is not real."

Ann Althouse said...

"The trick is to fall asleep before the plane gets to the runway, and wake up somewhere over Ireland."

Great. A plane full of drug users.

Freder Frederson said...

Planes need fossil fuel.

Not necessarily. Jet Fuel is basically between kerosene and diesel. It can easily (much easier than gasoline) be made out of bio stock, and even waste greases and vegetable oils.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse, on the other hand, continually has blog posts that call into doubt global warming. But when you try to figure out what she believes her response is "I never said I didn't not believe that anthropegenic global warming is or is not real.""

I'm for science. Why are you talking about belief and pressuring me to confess the faith? That's not just religion, it's religion at its worst.

Michael K said...

Field Marshall Freder would have loved the global warming in Arizona yesterday.

I flew to LA for work yesterday morning and flew back at 2:50 PM. However, when we got to Tucson, it was so rough from hot air roiling the approach that, after three tries, we flew to Phoenix and sat on the tarmac in 121 degree heat for two hours, then flew back to Tucson and finally landed. I was on the plane 4 1/2 hours for a 1 hour flight.

DKWalser said...

Is their a tag for "Althouse punks her commenters"?

Freder Frederson said...

I'm for science.

Well then why don't you post about the science rather than snarky posts that present false choices, or imply that the world would be better off without polar bears?

traditionalguy said...

FTR the friendly service on Delta is way better than the resentment of passengers you get on all the other Flying Tubes with no way out prisons. They are creating a niche by being nice.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

we flew to Phoenix and sat on the tarmac in 121 degree heat for two hours, then flew back to Tucson and finally landed.

Why didn't they just put you onto some nice double decker air conditioned buses and drive you to Tuscon?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins!

Maybe that's tongue-in-cheek, but this is silly. Everybody? I guess "everybody who already agrees with me," maybe...but if that's the standard there are a hell of a lot of laws I'm gonna get passed before yours restricting air travel, ma'am!

Everybody wins except for the millions of consumers who disagree with my preferences, the airlines and their workers, and the stockholders of the airlines and many related firms. Everybody.

Expat(ish) said...

@traditional - Agree 100% about Delta.

AA screwed me three times in three months, including cancelling the first leg of a trip from FL to Malaysia. At 2am. The morning of departure. And the four hours I spent on the phone made it clear that they didn't give a crap about a short turnaround business trip on a full fare tix from a lifetime platinum flyer. F*CK you AA.

I switched to Delta and it was night and day. Been a great 18 months.

I also flew a few legs on United (ugh) and some discount stuff with the kids - you get what you pay for there.

In November we are flying the family to Paris from Florida. $850 on AA/BA and $458 on Icelandic air. Hmm, let's see, 5x$400 savings is.... A lot. We will bring sammichs and water bottles to fill up in the airport.

-XC

PS - If you want to see some prime complaining about air travel: flyertalk.com Oh my.

rhhardin said...

Well, no, not really. Jet airliners are optimized for high-altitude cruise, and they couldn't do that at 200mph because the wings won't provide enough lift in thin air at that speed.

They're optimized for efficient high speed. But as far as work done, which gives fuel economy, work goes as the square of the speed, so low speed is really cheap.

The bottom end cutoff comes from induced drag, the need to start throwing air downwards at higher speeds as there is less of it to throw owing to moving slower.

It used to be, on routes that were noncompetitive, your 727 would travel the whole distance with the nose pretty high in the air, compensating for a choice of low speed that's as slow as to go unnoticed by the passengers.

HoodlumDoodlum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

"If only the government mandated quality then things would be great." Even for the weak case of that idea (where the claim wouldn't be that there are NO losers, but that the net winners outweigh or outnumber the net losers) this is shaky at best. There's a public good case to be made for establishing a minimum safety standard. Beyond that, though...what's the empirical evidence that a "quality-improving" scheme would work--where "work" means make everyone better off--in any related enterprise?

If such a scheme worked why wouldn't it be applied to other industries and other markets? We have government mandates for minimum safety and fuel efficiency for new cars now. If it'd make everyone better off why not just regulate that all cars have to get 100 mpg and be as safe as the safest car currently produced? We'd all be better off! Cars would become much more expensive, naturally, but driving is bad for the environment anyway and forcing people to walk or take the bus is good for society. Some foods are better, nutritionally, than others. Why not mandate quality in processed food? Your can of soup's going to cost $10, but it'll be much better for you and health care costs are borne by society...so everyone wins.

What's the limiting principle of this idea, Professor?

rhhardin said...

it was so rough from hot air roiling the approach that, after three tries

I've never heard of this. There's going elsewhere owing to unfavorable crosswinds but just turbulence is nothing. The up-down turbulence necessarily decreases very near the ground, so you're not going to be slammed into the runway.

Maybe it violates some policy on stabilized approaches. Where have the cowboys gone.

Peter said...

"work goes as the square of the speed, so low speed is really cheap."

Parasitic drag increases as the square of the speed, but induced drag (the drag from producing lift) decreases with speed. Thus the U-shaped curve.

There'a diagram, and basic technical explanation, here:

http://www.withouthotair.com/cC/page_272.shtml

Tank said...

Tank is flying on three planes on Friday. Wish it were one (ie. direct). Oh well, the consequence of living in a small market and going to a smaller one. On the other hand, when we get there, road trip (we can burn even more fuel). Even in Glacier NP.

I'll consider modifying my behavior when the GW advocates start modifying theirs.

jimbino said...

Ann's philosophy that It's not possible to "admit" something you don't know as a matter of personal knowledge. It's only hearsay from my perspective, so it would be dishonest to purport to "admit" it. I'll admit that I've heard it said by people I've heard said are experts. That's all I can honestly say. makes her an atheist, which is, of course, the only option for a person who adheres to science.

BDNYC said...

I'm in the minority on this, but I think flying is better overall now than 15 years ago. I missed out on the golden age of smoke-filled piano bars and hot stewardesses, but compared to circa 2000, air travel today is great. I can fly more cheaply and to more destinations than I could back then. Seats may be smaller, but I stay trim so it doesn't really affect me. It only affects me if some lard butt sits next to me and spills into my space. As for food -- if you actually care about that sort of thing, you shouldn't. Eat before and/or after your flight, and if that's not convenient for you, pack a lunch.

I always pay a little extra for Jet Blue or Virgin if either is an option. Give me a personal screen with satellite TV and I will endure almost anything.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I'm for science. Why are you talking about belief and pressuring me to confess the faith? That's not just religion, it's religion at its worst.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gaia.

Tank said...


jimbino said...

Ann's philosophy that It's not possible to "admit" something you don't know as a matter of personal knowledge. It's only hearsay from my perspective, so it would be dishonest to purport to "admit" it. I'll admit that I've heard it said by people I've heard said are experts. That's all I can honestly say. makes her an atheist, which is, of course, the only option for a person who adheres to science.


Respectfully (and I mean that), I think there is a flaw in your logic. Go back over it.

Tank said...

The planes are tighter and fuller and cost way less; I can accept that. It brings a lot more people into the "I can take a plane" group.

Most of the other hassles of flying are directly related to ... Muslims.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

BDNYC said...I'm in the minority on this, but I think flying is better overall now than 15 years ago. I missed out on the golden age of smoke-filled piano bars and hot stewardesses, but compared to circa 2000, air travel today is great. I can fly more cheaply and to more destinations than I could back then.

Sorry, BDNYC, you don't exist. You're a non-person.
"Everybody wins" under the Professor's preferred scheme and since you're asserting that you don't win, you must not be somebody. You therefore are nobody--and not even in a fun way like Odysseus was when he outwitted Polyphemus. You just don't matter, bro.

Colonel Mustard said...

"Morever, cars can run on electricity. Planes need fossil fuel."

Where does most of that electricity come from? Fossil fuel... lots and lots of it.

Chip said...

"Everybody wins!"

I realize this is sort of intended as a joke, but higher airfare rates lead to more human deaths due to the higher risk of traveling by automobile. Or maybe your suggesting that no one travel at all? I would be fine with that.

Sam L. said...

How about us skeptics?

rhhardin said...

Parasitic drag increases as the square of the speed, but induced drag (the drag from producing lift) decreases with speed. Thus the U-shaped curve.

That's what I said. Induced drag comes from throwing air downwards with higher speeds, as is necessary as you slow down and encounter less air to throw.

The slow down point however is around 200mph.

Freeman Hunt said...

The change to no meals was the big thing I noticed over time.

Also, jalopy planes. I was in a plane last year that had broken air conditioning that would not work on the ground. We boarded and were delayed on the ground for 45 minutes in Dallas in summer. People were sweating through their suit jackets.

Freeman Hunt said...

Air travel is so unpleasant now that a trip has to be at least 14 hours plus for me to consider flying.

rhhardin said...

I haven't flown since 1986 and that was a single trip on People Express ($25 Ohio to NJ). 1976 was the end of commercial flying for me, and I sold my last airplane in 1971.

Took up long distance bike riding.

MadisonMan said...

I've been flying a wicked lot for work lately. I'm likely to get to Gold on Delta this year. Or I'll just miss.

Planes are full. On my two flights yesterday -- one more than 8 hours, trans-Ocean, there were almost no empty seats. Moving people very efficiently!

If you pay, you can be comfortable. (Or you can be hope to be upgraded). What's not to like about choice? When I read articles where people are complaining about Airlines, I suspect they are traveling on the cheapest ticket they could get. My wife is on this trip with me. I bought her a ticket to put her into a comfortable seat. It's not hard to do, but it costs a couple extra hundred.

As far as the warming planet, well, that ship has sailed (that plane has flown? Why hasn't that metaphor changed with the time!) -- and the real money now should be in mitigation and adaptation. Adapting is something that Homo sapiens is really quite good at.

MadisonMan said...

Whoa -- it's odd posting from an entirely different time zone :) It's super early here!

PeterK said...

do you realize how many people fly for business purposes? talk about killing the economy

Danno said...

Having read the comments, I see so many here that truly want to dictate what other people do even though they profess to be limited government/ free market types politically. You're acting like Nazis!

Danno said...

Why doesn't everyone celebrate that we are truly free to make choices in life, which is what really makes America the great place that it is. I don't fly a lot even though I can fly free, but it is an option and is great to see places that are a long-haul if you drive. Some people are into fancy homes, fast cars, and showing off their status or wealth, and that is fine with me. Why am I seeing such petty opinions on this topic?

buwaya said...

On the matter of stewardesses;
Outside the US the nature of stewardesses is much closer to the old school.
It used to be that Singapore had the finest, but having flown several Asian airlines recently on this matter I must give the Pomme D'Or to those of Philippine Airlines.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

HTRE-3. Problem solved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear-powered_aircraft

And, yes, max range speed is considerably faster than max endurance (min drag, max L/D, best glide ratio) speed.

Virtually Unknown said...

Great. A plane full of drug users.

Nope. I can just fall asleep anywhere. Sometimes I might have a martini though, to help the process along. Leave about ten at night is the best time.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"If the government would impose quality requirements, ... Everybody wins!"

Althouse is trolling us again.

Virtually Unknown said...

I have never hidden the fact that I am all for Europe level gas taxes (which would result in gas prices in the $8 to $9 a gallon range).

I wonder why working class stiffs you make their living with their pickup trucks and vans don't vote Democrat as much as is in their interests?

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gaia.

Isn't Althouse descended of Cotton Mather?

Larvell said...

the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins!

There are people who talk like this non-ironically.

Ann Althouse said...

"I realize this is sort of intended as a joke, but higher airfare rates lead to more human deaths due to the higher risk of traveling by automobile."

By the time my plan goes into effect, cars will be self-driving and far safer. That should also solve the terrorist problem of deliberate running into people.

There's going to be so much winning in great-again America.

Ann Althouse said...

As for running on grease, noted above, in the future your self-driving car will run on your excess body fat. You will even be able to gorge yourself on long trips to fuel up for yor car.

So much winning!

Meade said...

Faster please.

Michael said...

The airlines have learned how to manage their loads with some precision. That is why there are hundreds of planes sitting in the desert waiting for the need for them to be put back in service. That is why you may pay a thousand dollars for a ticket and sit next to someone who paid one hundred and ninety. The cost of travel today, in real terms and not adjusted for inflation, is less than it was thirty years ago and for that we should all be grateful.

As to the hassle of flying I have no sympathy for the whiners. Either you congratulate yourself for getting a cheap ticket and enduring a few hours of agony or you put your big boy pants on and fly business or first. Buy a membership to a carrier's lounge. Get Global Entry. Get Clear.

Planes could be all first class and run on fairy dust and be free but Althouse would not be a passenger.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The airport is the new bus station. Including the risk of getting your throat cut.

Michael said...

buwaya

My vote remains with Cathay Pacific for both the quality of the staff and the service they provide. Have not flown on the ME airlines which are reputed to be better still.

Michael said...

Michael K

I have been re-routed from Arizona airports in the past because of crazy temperatures. I think it has to do with the barometic pressure as much as the heat. Don't know about that kind of thing. But as I recall I was also on a plane that was diverted because of a cold front, this time also in Arizona. It was in the late 80s or early 90s and the cold was so profound that the Alaska pipeline was frozen stuck. Perhaps some aviator here can explain.

Michael said...

BTW if you are really so concerned about the abysmal conditions of air travel you can take the Queen Mary 2 Southampton to New York for less than $700. Meals included. Cheaper to take that back and forth than to stay at home. You won't have much of a view from your interior cabin but you also won't be sitting next to a 300 pounder.

Bad Lieutenant said...

you can take the Queen Mary 2 Southampton to New York for less than $700. Meals included.

Really! REALLY?

Wow!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ann's philosophy that It's not possible to "admit" something you don't know as a matter of personal knowledge. It's only hearsay from my perspective, so it would be dishonest to purport to "admit" it. I'll admit that I've heard it said by people I've heard said are experts. That's all I can honestly say. makes her an atheist, which is, of course, the only option for a person who adheres to science.

@ jimbimo You have it completely wrong. An atheist has made a determination without any evidence that there is NOT a God. A scientist won't or shouldn't make a claim without proof. Which is why most people who have science leaning minds find the Global Warming pronouncements ridiculous. There is no definitive proof. It is just an unproven theory at this point.

Science adheres to the idea that until there is proof of a hypothesis that there can be multiple resolutions. Meaning the scientific mind would hold all these as possible until proven otherwise. There is no God. There is a God. There is something controlling but it is not a God as in a controlling presence. There was a God, but it is gone now. God exists in spurts not as a continual presence, there are multiple Gods, God has taken a vacation and his younger dumber brother is in charge for a while :-D .....and a whole lot of other theories.

Agnostic is probably the term that jimbimo is searching for.

Owen said...

Prof. A's trolling today is excellent.

tcrosse said...

you can take the Queen Mary 2 Southampton to New York for less than $700. Meals included.

Just not when you want to go. And it takes a week.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Well- biweekly, monthly? Are there others doing the run? Some people would regard that as a cruise worth taking in and of itself, if it's nice. Of course you do have to have the time, I get that part.

Virtually Unknown said...

I look forward to flying 17 hours from Los Angeles to Sydney on a jet running on recycled restaurant grease. I might develop some flying jitters myself.

jimbino said...

In 1971, I crossed the Atlantic from NYC to Antwerp on a Norwegian freighter for $135 total including 3 meals plus tea (with raw fish!) every day for 10 days. At the time a plane ticket on Icelandic cost about the same.

Then in 1975, I returned from Lisbon to NYC on a Yugoslav freighter for $250 total for 10 days including 3 meals with fresh bread every day. We even enjoyed a day in the sun, stopped in the calm sea near Bermuda while the ship's faulty propeller shaft was being repaired.

Too bad that the days of freighter travel are essentially gone and that the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 prohibits travel or shipping between Amerikan ports on a foreign-flagged ship of any kind. Where is Alfred Kahn when we need him?

GRW3 said...

The airlines use fewer planes because the ones they have now hold more people (not just because of seat pitch) and are way more efficient, thus saving fuel used on a particular route.

Renewable fuel components from alternative sources make really good fuel but it will be a while before it is competitively economical. They will never be as cost effective as refined fuel. Refine meaning to make fine, not make from scratch. Refining starts with crude that already has a substantial amount of what you want in it. Refineries so synthetic work but are powered by the byproducts of the system. Big cost advantages all the way around.

Last I saw at an IATA (International Air Transport Association) air travel consumes about 3% of the energy but only contributes 2% of the GHG. Remember, CO2 is not the only GHG, other forms of power consumption are not as efficient as a modern turbine engine. A turbine engine is a mobile pollution incinerator. Aviation's issue is visibility.

Boeing did a study that showed the passenger efficiency of a modern 737 flying from the Seattle to DC had a better passenger MPG than a Chevy Malibu, both being at design passenger capacity. I attended an international aviation forum in Rio de Janerio a couple years ago. The Brazilian transport minister declared that access to aviation was a civil right. Officials from other South American governments echoed those sentiments.

jimbino said...

@Dust Bunny Queen

Agnostic is probably the term that jimbimo is searching for.

You can start to get educated in the matterhere: https://richarddawkins.net/2015/01/atheist-or-agnostic-and-does-it-matter/

whinehouse said...

"If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins!"

Whether this was tongue in cheek or not, liberals embarrass themselves when they engage in public policy debates.

n.n said...

self-driving car will run on your excess body fat. You will even be able to gorge yourself on long trips to fuel up for yor car

A renewable, green energy source (and converter), that can be reasonably isolated (i.e. stable) from the environment, and the extra layers of fat will act as a dampener to mitigate the effects of catastrophic anthropogenic car collision.

Michael K said...

"I have been re-routed from Arizona airports in the past because of crazy temperatures."

I think this was wind. I did not realize Tucson was so much windier than Phoenix, which is mostly a plus for me.

We are flying to Chicago out of PHX tomorrow but our flight leaves at 8AM so it will only be 107 by then.

We are coming back in a week and landing will be in the afternoon. Hmmm.

Balfegor said...

Re: Michael:

My vote remains with Cathay Pacific for both the quality of the staff and the service they provide. Have not flown on the ME airlines which are reputed to be better still.

I was on a United flight to Hong Kong once -- seated in business with a colleague -- but they ended up cancelling the flight due to mechanical difficulties. So United rebooked us on a Cathay Pacific flight leaving later the same day. I was pretty well delighted with how that turned out. Also got to try the Cathay Pacific lounge, which was not spectacular, but was nicer than the United lounge.

Virtually Unknown said...

Continental was by far the worst experience I ever had with flight attendants. It's like they hated their jobs.

Michael K said...

I have pretty much stayed with Southwest since they went to online checkin.

They go to Midway, which is the convenient airport in Chicago for us.

We went American and United to England in 2015 and Alaska to Alaska in 2016.

We are getting old for much international travel anymore.

D said...

I wonder if theres a study identifying which part of the internets contributes the most emissions. Surely to goodness theres a way to regulate more efficient browsing.

Hey Skipper said...

I think, given the problem of global warming, there should just be a lot less air travel. If the government would impose quality requirements, the airlines would raise prices, and fewer people would travel. Everybody wins! You can disagree with that if you're a climate change denier, but if you're a believer, you must agree

Okay, let's take Waremenism as read, and raise the price of jet fuel so that flying becomes so much more expensive that there is a great deal less of it.

Yay for the climate!

Now, what to do about the absolutely cratered economies of Hawaii, the Caribbean islands, Tahiti, Seychelles, etc?

That's millions of people to resettle to avoid mass starvation. Of course, for members of the Church of Warmenism, there's a two-fer to be had.

[rhhardin:] They're optimized for efficient high speed. But as far as work done, which gives fuel economy, work goes as the square of the speed, so low speed is really cheap.

The bottom end cutoff comes from induced drag, the need to start throwing air downwards at higher speeds as there is less of it to throw owing to moving slower.

It used to be, on routes that were noncompetitive, your 727 would travel the whole distance with the nose pretty high in the air, compensating for a choice of low speed that's as slow as to go unnoticed by the passengers.

That is wrong. At cruise altitude, an airliner is going about 280 knots indicated airspeed, which is about 480 knots true airspeed (which is equal to no-wind groundspeed).

Airliners operate as closely as possible to max range airspeed (max endurance is slower). Moreover the difference between Vmo (max operating mach) and 1.3*(Vstall) is very narrow, maybe 20 knots either side.

Going lower takes more time and fuel; going slower at the same altitude is dangerous.

320Busdriver said...

The company I work for is the launch customer for the a321 neo(new engine option). The first 2 are now in service and provide a much nicer transcon experience than the ever stretched 737.

The new CFM engines are 15% more efficient than the ones they replace and emit much less noise. Our 321's come configured with 184 seats in three classes or you can ride with Spirit where they fit 228 seats into the same space.

In my experience the congestion at the major hubs, especially on the coasts, has reached a critical point and most of the unpleasant experiences for passengers are a result of delays and misconnects due to summer construction and limited gate space at these busy airports.

320Busdriver said...

"Moreover the difference between Vmo (max operating mach) and 1.3*(Vstall) is very narrow, maybe 20 knots either side."

I'm not a fan of climbing to where the margin is only 20kts unless there is not an adverse ride report anywhere near. You are right though, airlines have a great deal of interest in reducing their number 1 or 2 variable cost and slowing down does not represent a way to do that.