Cheap Consumers force Airlines to Charge Fees

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 10th, 2013

Week in Review

It is very difficult to get people to complain about high taxes these days.  They’ll just keep voting in Big Government candidates who just keep raising taxes to pay for more and more government.  When it comes to the huge tax burden on Americans you hear nothing but crickets from the American left and center.  But impose a transaction fee on using an ATM and holy hell breaks out.  And don’t get me started on airline fees (see Where Did Airline Fees Come From, and How Did They Get So Bad? by Derek Thompson posted 11/5/2013 on The Atlantic).

In the 1960s, the airlines were regulated and practically nobody could afford to fly. But in the last few decades, the real cost of flying has fallen by 50 percent, even after you include the most annoying charges. Intense competition and the quiet power of comparison shopping online have devastated profits, and the airlines have turned to fees to rescue their business.

People will complain about airline fees despite the cost of flying falling by 50% in the last few decades.  Taxes have only gone up and yet no one bitches about that.  But airline fees?  That’s just highway robbery.

There is a reason why so many airlines go through the revolving door of bankruptcy.  Between fuel costs, union labor and customers squeezing every dime they can out of the price of a ticket it is very difficult NOT to operate at a loss.  More people than ever are flying.  Because flying has never been cheaper.  Or safer.  But people can’t appreciate that.  All they see are the fees above the cost of their ticket.

If only these people would turn their anger over ATM fees and airline fees onto those high taxes.  Maybe we could make government work on the thin margins we force airlines to operate on.  So we can keep more of our money.  Which is why we’re probably bitching about ATM fees and airline fees in the first place.  As we have so little money left after all the taxes we pay that we can’t afford ATM fees and airline fees.

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