Airlines and Profits

The headline of the small article in the L. A. Times business section caught my eye, “Airlines’ Profits Rise 64%.” The 64% profits referred to was from April through June of this year. They collected $900 million in bag fees and $753 in reservations change fees. Data on other fees charged passengers are apparently not being collected. While gas prices have held steady during that period, consolidation of air carriers by reducing competition is thought to have played a role in this spike. During the second quarter of 2014 airlines earned $3.6 billion in profits. For the same quarter in 2013 they earned $2.2 billion. Also in 2013 the nation’s largest airlines collected $3.3 billion in checked bag fees while in 2008 that figure was $1.1 billion.

It seems so obvious, the airlines’ profits are accrued at the expense of weary and burdened travelers. Most of us if we travel coach know that it is not fun to travel anymore. I wonder what it will take for travelers to say in the immortal words of Peter Finch’s character in the movie “Network”, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” because while profits can be said to be part of a healthy economy, excessive profits enter another category altogether—one we shouldn’t subsidize with our discomforts.