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Airline Passengers Showing More Frustration as the Industry Changes

What are the big issues facing air travelers this summer? How will the airline industry respond to higher gas prices? Will passengers willingly pay to have their baggage checked, or can we expect to

Airline Passengers Showing More Frustration as the Industry Changes

Tom Fudge: It's been 30 years since Congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act. Let's say the results of deregulation have been mixed. Air travel has become more affordable and flights have become more numerous, but these days flying is not much fun. And America's large airlines seem to be in a state of permanent financial turmoil. Even if you follow the news it's hard to remember which companies are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Financial problems in the airline industry have reached a point where fares simply have to go up. The big driver is the cost of fuel. Anyone who's filled up their car recently knows how much more expensive gas is. If anything the rise in the cost of jet fuel has been more dramatic. The cost of flying has already increased, as passengers are now being charged to check their baggage.

Numbers of flights are now being reduced. Remember all those urgent calls for San Diego to build a new and bigger airport? Well get this, the number of departures from San Diego's Lindbergh Field is expected to decline by more than seven percent by the end of this year.


What does all this mean? Is air travel becoming something we'll just do a lot less of? Will it cease to be a means of middle class transportation?


  • Patrick Smith , author of's Ask the Pilot column, and a book of the same name. Patrick is also an airline pilot.
  • Captain Karen Kahn , airline pilot, aviation industry expert, and author of the book Flight Guide for Success: Tips & Tactics for the Aspiring Airline Pilot.