The Current State of Airline Travel
Retired Delta pilot and air travel commentator (and Rotarian!) Mark Weincrantz shared his perspective on why airline travel is more frustrating than not these days. Mark focused on three main factors.
The first is deregulation that took place in 1978. Prior to deregulation, airlines were subsidized and were able to earn money whether or not seats were filled. After deregulation--which aimed at increasing competition and reducing the growth of "super carriers"--many legacy airlines could not survive because they were forced to compete with new startup airlines entering the market as well as international carriers that were subsidized.
The second factor was the rise of the 747, an aircraft that could carry many more people. Air travel began to be more about moving people from one point to another, and as many people as possible.
The third factor was Wal-mart. Travelers began to demand paying only for what they wanted and not a lot of extras. Couple this with airlines being more driven by profits and the result is a delicate balance of amenities and dollars.
We also had the pleasure of a visit from a Rotarian visiting from Scotland, showing Dunedin's Scottish heritage and the international reach of Rotary.