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‘World’s Biggest Airline’ Cleared For Merger Takeoff

The US Airways-American mega-merger to become the world’s biggest airline is cleared for takeoff. We’ll look at what this means for prices, travel and our life in the skies.

In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker, right, and American Airlines CEO Tom Horton pose after a news conference at DFW International Airport Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Grapevine, Texas. It wasn’t an easy fight, but by the end of this year the 51-year-old Parker will be at the helm of a combined American and US Airways, the world’s largest airline. The two companies reached a settlement this month with the U.S. Department of Justice that would allow the merger to move forward. (AP)

In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker, right, and American Airlines CEO Tom Horton pose after a news conference at DFW International Airport Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Grapevine, Texas. It wasn’t an easy fight, but by the end of this year the 51-year-old Parker will be at the helm of a combined American and US Airways, the world’s largest airline. The two companies reached a settlement this month with the U.S. Department of Justice that would allow the merger to move forward. (AP)

In August, when Attorney General Eric Holder brought suit to block the mega-merger of American Airlines and US Airways, here’s what he had to say:  the giant merger would bring the American flying public “higher airfares, higher fees and fewer choices.”  The Justice Department noted ominously that the merger would give just four airlines control of 80 percent of domestic air service.  Bad news, they said.  And then?  Last week, the D.O.J. approved the deal.  American will be the biggest air carrier in the world.  This hour On Point:  what the mega-merger in the skies means for you.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ben Mutzabaugh, USA Today aviation editor and editor of the “Today in the Sky” blog. (@TodayInTheSky)

Christopher Sagers, anti-trust professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Nicholas Kralev, host of “Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.” Author of “America’s Other Army” and “Decoding Air Travel.” (@NicholasKralev)

Jon Ostrower aerospace & Boeing beat reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@jonostrower)

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today: Merger: What’s next for AA, US Airways customers? — “Neither American nor US Airways frequent-flier members are at risk of losing their miles. Eventually, the carriers’ AAdvantage and Dividend Miles program will be combined into a single program. Customers who have miles with each airline are expected to simply have their miles combined, though the timeline for that was uncertain as of Nov. 12. But US Airways customers will soon see one significant change. The airline has been a member of the Star Alliance frequent-flier program, but the “new” American will stay with the oneworld alliance that American is already part of.”

Bloomberg Businessweek: Meet the Mega-Airline: Regulators Roll Over for American-US Airways Merger — “Both the government and the airlines are claiming victory, naturally, but it’s hard to see much the Justice Department lawyers managed to alter from the initial merger proposal. American and US Airways will need to sell access at two airports that cap flights with takeoff and landing slots—52 pairs at Reagan National near Washington and 17 at New York’s LaGuardia Airport—while also relinquishing gates to rivals at five other large airports. ”

Los Angeles Times: Long Beach Seeks Boeing 777X – “Once considered a long shot, Long Beach is one of several cities under active consideration by Boeing after the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted down a tentative labor agreement by a 2-to-1 margin late Wednesday. Now Boeing, along with state and local officials, is in talks about the possibility of bringing the 777X program to Long Beach, where the company currently builds the C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet.”

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  • Libris Fidelis

    Soon EVERY commercial airliner will have the complete name “Airline” painted on them. Nothing else will be needed to be indicated for an identity.

  • Guest

    Soon EVERY commercial airliner will have the complete name only of “Airline” painted on them, and nothing else will be needed to be indicated for an identity of any kind.

  • Libris Fidelis

    Soon EVERY commercial airliner will have the complete name only of the one word of “Airline” painted on them, and nothing else will be needed to be indicated for an identity of any kind.

  • John Cedar

    President Roosevelt (not the dumb one) is rolling over in his grave.
    Who is the biggest corporatist president in history? Clinton or Obama? With XOM it look like Clinton still number one.

  • alsordi

    The “biggest airline” looks like its going to have some competition with all the airliners that has been ordered by Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. What’s up with this ? These little countries have a population of about only 12 million between them, and they are soon to experience a shiite revolution. I smell more rotten fish. The coincidence of these announcements, makes be wonder if this is just a ploy to kick the dead mule…the US economy, and to boost confidence in the waning “petro-dollar”. Maybe the oil-sheiks want to cash in their inflated petro dollars. Regardless, these orders are a long way off, and unlikely to materialize, given a multitude of factors.

    • alsordi

      Every time I post early, I get two gratuitous down-votes to start off. I don’t see the Jeffs or Brett posting yet ,so maybe these gratuitous demerits are from the onpoint staff or propaganda trolls?

      • fun bobby

        perhaps grumpy NSA agents

        • alsordi

          You’ld be grumpy too if you had to eavesdrop on people all day. Although some of them may enjoy that sort of thing.

          • fun bobby

            of course they are voyeurs just like the pedophiles and frotteurists at TSA

  • toc1234

    Hey Tom, since it is clear you are looking to talk about anything besides the Obamacare website, why not discuss Obama’s upcoming move to exempt the unions from having to pay their ACA contributions…

    “In an aside in a Federal Register document filed this month, the Administration previewed its forthcoming regulation: “We also intend to propose in future rulemaking to exempt certain self-insured, self-administered plans from the requirement to make reinsurance contributions for the 2015 and 2016 benefit years.””

    Who are the only significant organizations w ” self-insured, self-administered plans”? the unions, of course… what a joke of a law…

    • fun bobby

      that’s not fair, he does not want to talk about the NSA either

      • Jasoturner

        Benghazi!!!

        • lobstahbisque

          Yes, let’s turn over that rock again and plant some creepy crawlies there for the next idiot to overturn it.

          • Jasoturner

            It’s like catnip…

    • adks12020

      Just a heads up….He did a show specifically on Obamacare a little over a week ago and also spent significant time discussing it last Friday and the Friday before.

      • J__o__h__n

        The facts never get in the way of the talking points.

        • lobstahbisque

          The facts never get in the way of the Republican talking points. You guys invented them, then when the Dems fight your fire with their’s, you demonize them for using the same bloody tactics. SHAME!

          • J__o__h__n

            I was being critical of the Republican talking points.

          • lobstahbisque

            “Never mind”

      • toc1234

        first of all, tellingly, Tom was absent the day the Obamacare story aired two wks ago. Secondly, they discussed it for 12min of Friday’s week in the news show (even Tom really couldn’t around that one).
        basically, new info is coming our almost daily and its obvious that Tom has zero interest discussing it.

        • adks12020

          Why does it matter if he wasn’t hosting the show? It was still discussed for an hour. It’s Tom’s show; don’t you think he was involved in making it a topic? With very little news coming out re: ACA it makes sense to wait until the end of the month when the website is supposed to be fixed. That is the next major deadline. There are many other things to discuss than the ACA.

          • Don_B1

            The radial “conservative” trolls that consistently visit this site have their “agendas” to flog stories that embarrass the President, justified or not.

        • TFRX

          Tellingly?

          Pathetic.

          I’d ask you to troll better, but I think this is your best.

          PS Plenty of Friday’s roundup spent reading the Betlway Inbred media whoring about how Obamacare is just like a natural disaster where GWB was shown not giving a crap for days while a few thousand people died.

      • TFRX

        And very little on the lazy shopper stories where people who said “I’ve never wanted Obamacare, I tried nothing and I’m all out of options” “news” stories which are getting paraded to the front of theline at even-the-liberal CBS and NBC.

  • ToyYoda

    Well, if mergers mean higher prices, can we -travelers- demand more space and two exits and entrances onto the plane? I’ll pay more for this.

    • fun bobby

      nope

  • fun bobby

    air travel is going out of style.

  • J__o__h__n

    I’m sure this will result in better service and lower prices. The free enterprise system encourages competition as long as the government stays out of the way.

    • J P Fitzsimmons

      I’m not sure if you’re joking. But if this is an example of the free market in action, what’s oligopoly?

    • creaker

      Let’s kill FAA and TSA, let airlines provide these and pay for them out of ticket revenues. And have them pay for their airports as well. They would not last a week.

      Airline industry is anything but free enterprise.

      • fun bobby

        I like your plan

    • lobstahbisque

      Hahahahahahahaha……….

  • J__o__h__n

    “flies by air” – how else would one fly?

    • Don_B1

      A submarine controls its “flight” in much the same way as airplanes do, even to the point of gaining lift, etc., when it is faster than it can change its buoyancy.

    • fun bobby

      perhaps they said “flies by err”

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I think that higher fuel prices have a lot to do with higher ticket prices. Light sweet crude oil is getting more rare, year by year.

    • Don_B1

      Also flights are slower for better efficiency. The flight from Boston to LA used to be less than 5 hours, now it is more than 5 hours; the difference is more than half an hour.

      Also takeoff delays that used to be made up by faster travel are now seldom sped up unless there is a great jet stream tail wind.

      • TFRX

        Aren’t takeoff delays basically getting worse all over, especially if the takeoff or landing is at a major hub?

        I don’t fly much. But I do remember something about all the takeoff and landing slots in (big airport X–JFK, Logan, OHare) basically being taken up when people want to fly. Literally no more room on the schedule to even pretend they can add “on time” takeoff and landings to.

        The article said that, since there can’t be any more jets, the move to smaller jets and lower capacity means the throughput of these airports is decreasing.

  • creaker

    Without all the government supports it gets, the airline industry would just collapse. From government provided airports, security and flight control, without all the government supports it gets, the airline industry would collapse overnight.

    The sad part is more and more people support this industry but less and less can actually afford to use it.

    • ToyYoda

      What soft of government support do the airlines get? Inform, please.

      • creaker

        FAA, TSA, to start – read an article today how NYC is spending millions to beef up their airport to protect from flooding.

      • Roy-in-Boise

        The FAA’s air traffic control system, airports, and the TSA for starters. All paid for with your tax dollars separate from the air fare.

        • ToyYoda

          I don’t know if that’s a good example. You might as well complain that driving is subsidized by the government because your tax dollars go into paving roads, posting traffic signs and signal lights.

          • Roy-in-Boise

            You said it … That is a very accurate comparison. Even people who do not drive and walk to the grocery store ultimately share in the costs with the dollars they spend on products delivered by trucks. We are all in this together in one way or another. All things are connected.

          • fun bobby

            that’s what gas taxes and vehicle excise taxes are for

          • TFRX

            And all property taxes, not just vehicles.

            “Gas and excise pay the cost” is not so much except a slogan.

          • fun bobby

            the fact they do not does not its evidence of political failure and corruption more than a slogan. we should not be subsidizing air travel or roads or trains for that matter. We make lousy road surfaces designed to have short lives so there is endless pork constantly rebuilding them. There are some roman roads still being used so there is no reason besides graft why we spend so much and don’t have more durable surfaces.

          • Don_B1

            The gasoline tax is a fixed amount per gallon, not a percentage of the cost per gallon, so as vehicles have become more efficient (higher mpg) the amount collected is less leaving the cost to repair and build new roads, bridges, etc. unmet by those taxes, and dependent on other local and state taxes.

        • hennorama

          Roy-in-Boise — don’t forget that post-9/11, Congress provided huge relief to the industry, in the form of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSSSA). This partly bailed out the industry, with $5 billion in direct aid for U.S. carriers. There were also up to $10 billion in loan guarantees made available through the Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB).

          In addition, airline liability for 9/11 and other terrorist incidents was capped, at a total of $100 million.

    • fun bobby

      I think it would survive but the theater at security would be more no frills. plenty of charter operators do fine

  • Ellen Dibble

    I look at a more muscular airline industry as having the potential for shifting to energy usage that is less destructive to the environment, less costly in planetary terms. I could be mistaken, but I believe I’ve seen a few times that the energy cost of one flight is basically the same cost of an American driving a car for an entire year. So this is not like having carpools in the sky, creating cleaner, efficient transportation. Quite the opposite. Perhaps pushing people towards railroads is a good idea. I haven’t seen energy comparisons for that. But the railroad lobby seems to have a lot less pull on Capitol Hill than the airlines, however that happened.
    Anyway, I challenge the mega carriers to find a way to capture wind and solar energy, ASAP.

  • creaker

    People don’t take into account that most make less than they used to in real dollars – but they expect air travel to get more and more affordable for them. Dream on.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Define expensive? What did ship travel cost to the new world in the 1600′s … 7 years of indentured servitude?

    • Richard Johnston

      “Expensive” is I am paying for the airline’s incompetence and abuse of their dedicated employees.

  • creaker

    The days of “affordable” air travel were based on fares set during price wars where the airlines were all losing money and driving each other out of business. It’s not sustainable.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Build high speed rail, please! Trains can be electric (easily) and therefore they can use renewable energy. The caller who spoke to this was right on point.

    • fun bobby

      have you ridden the Acela?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Not yet, though I will soon. It is *hardly* high speed, though.

        I have traveled from London to Edinburgh on the train, in about 4 1/2 hours, which is faster, though still not nearly as fast as some modern high speed trains.

      • JBK007

        costs as much as flying…

        • TFRX

          And has just as little room as sardine steerage class on an airliner.

          Oh, wait…

  • ChefyO

    What about trains? Will the ever increasing airfares give a boost to our high speed rail system?

    • Don_B1

      It should, along with the ability of trains to go to the centers of cities, rather than having to be out in rural areas or be a noise and air pollution source for those living close by.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Boeing needs to be able to build their airplanes efficiently and cost effectively as they are in a neck and neck competition with Airbus. The stinking unions, of course, do not understand that and resist productivity, flexible work rules, etc. every step of the way. Boeing should have the right to build this new plane in a right to work state where people understand basic economics. The only thing going for Boeing is that the European countries and companies are even more strangled by lazy, inefficient, short sighted unions.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      What have the unions ever done for us?

      Only the 5 day 40 hour work week, overtime pay, paid vacations and sick days, etc.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        The unions served a purpose several decades ago, but like many other parties, they outlived their usefulness, accumulated too much power, and now hold the industries where they exist hostage to ridiculous wages, benefits, and non-productive work rules. What they have given us lately is industries such as electronics/etc. transferring their manufacturing overseas where a reasonable profit can be made as well as bankrupt cities (Detroit and others), states, and a federal government that is being held hostage by unions who own the Democratic Party that kicks the fiscal can down the road in order to get the union vote.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          So, preventing jobs from getting exported to other countries is not valuable?

          Also, so-called right-to-work states really are a race to the bottom. These are heavily subsidized with tax credits, and public heath and food stamps, etc. Corporations that force labor costs down by underpaying desperate people are hurting us all.

          Henry Ford understood this. I guess today’s CEO’s are too focused on short term profits, instead of long term viability.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            That’s my point. The lazy, anti-productive unions’ practices result in companies having no choice but to export jobs overseas. That is why we need to fight them every inch of the way. The only place where union participation is increasing is in government since the federal government can run the printing presses and create trillions of dollars of debt to pay for the union inefficiencies and featherbedding practices.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, it’s terrible. Nike has no choice but to pay Pakistani kids 25 cents per day to stitch soccer balls that they sell for 20 bucks. How else would they pay out big salaries to their top executives and millions of dollars to celebrity endorsers? They couldn’t do that when they were paying American workers decent wages. Solution: Third World sweatshops where workers don’t have rights and the air and water can be polluted at will.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            There are abuses as you have cited. However, in many more technological industries, the unions were short sighted and anti-productive, which resulted in the jobs being moved overseas. My brother worked for a U.S. steel company. The work rules that resulted in workers working one hour but being paid for eight, workers intentionally destroying equipment, union stewards just always complaining about one thing or another to get out of actually doing work, is what caused this steel company, like many others, to go bankrupt.

          • Ray in VT

            It also helps when you can move a job to a country where you can pay people only a fraction of what it costs to live on here in America. Try living in America on what IBM will pay its engineers in India. Unions have had their issues to be sure, but many times companies have jumped ship and shipped jobs overseas so that they can boost top salaries and profits. It’s not enough to make a lot of money. They want to make boatloads of money, and you can’t do that in many industries while paying workers well. Thankfully for them, though, they have people who will defend their deindustrializing of the American economy and blame the workers.

          • TFRX

            Anti-productive?

            Look, whenever the Galtians at the top start acting like they do in your comic books, I’ll take seriously your plaints about “antiproductivity”.

            Until then, it’s “Get what you can while you can” for the rich.

            Well, guess what? Everybody should act like they’re rich!

            I’m not rich, but it’s my motto too. I’m out for what I can get. Too bad if I’m not rich enough to have all those stroke books like Forbes and Inc polishing my…image.

        • UintahSpringsPress

          What you’re saying may have been true 20 years ago. Now it’s swung full circle. We’re back to corporate exploitation of workers.

      • Jeff

        Yes, how many years ago was that? BTW, we have laws created now where an employer cannot force an employee to violate those laws…so why do we need the unions today? Your point is the same as saying “Look at all the documents typed up by a typewriter…we must continue to use them due to their value in the past”. Give us legitimate reasons to keep unions around today, the past accomplishments are great but not really relevant with today’s laws on the books to already protect workers.

        • fun bobby

          the Russians just bought a whole lot of typewriters. they are the only thing the NSA cant hack

    • Jeff

      This is one of the big issues with the National Labor Relations Board, the Obama nominations were held up in the Senate because the board is so favorable towards unions they literally hold up businesses from building plants from being created in right-to-work states.

      • lobstahbisque

        Right-to-work is an embarrassing misnomer, courtesy of The Ministry of Love.

      • UintahSpringsPress

        I’ve lived in two RTW states. Their wages are so low all the mothers of young children work and the fathers work 2 jobs.

        • Jeff

          Sure, but was your cost of living lower as well? If you could measure cost of living vs wages what would the specific ratio be in the places you have lived?

          • UintahSpringsPress

            Already answered. If you have to work 2 jobs to obtain what people in other states obtain working 1 job…

          • Jeff

            I’m glad you used real numbers and ratios. That’s thing about being liberal, you don’t have to be good at math or use real numbers…only stories about struggling single mothers for every single issue. You couldn’t even give me the states so I could compare average salaries against average costs of living on my own. Good job, another emotional tug at the heartstrings and zero facts to back it up…only liberals get off so easy.

    • lobstahbisque

      So socioeconomic darwinism has gone from survival of the fittest to survival of the fetishist? If them lousy Euro like countries have such onerous regulations, what do WE have to worry about.?

  • Jeff

    Are ticket prices all that expensive? I bought a ticket from Minnesota to New Hampshire for around $270 (round trip) this year and I bought a ticket from Minnesota to DC to Savannah and back to Minnesota for $330 last year….doesn’t seem all that bad.

    • tbphkm33

      If you plan ahead and get online early in the week, prices are good. You pay extra for booking the same ticket on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday – they know that’s when a lot of people book tickets. Or business travelers who are incompetent and always book their tickets at the last minute.

      I had a coworker once who always booked a few days ahead of time, even for things like sales meetings and conventions that were known a year in advance. The VP of finance got tired of it and finally sent her to a rental car company. After being forced to drive 800 miles one way to the meeting, she finally got her act together. Of course, she showed up at work Monday morning complaining that she did not get home until Sunday afternoon – when the rest of us had flown back Friday afternoon. Being arrogant finally had caught up with her. Although, airlines love people like her, book at the last minute and the airlines will quickly elevate you in their loyalty programs.

  • lmmaloney

    My nearest airport is Burlington, VT. I haven’t seen a full-size aircraft there in five years. It’s all “regional jets” nowadays — the last flight I took from Dulles was a prop-jet! Regional carriers notoriously underpay their staff, and I hate flying with a pilot who may have worked all night at McDonald’s. Besides, the older I get (I’m 74), the harder it is to climb up and down stairs to get in and out of aircraft. Half my family live on the West Coast, so nowadays I am more likely to drive 200 miles to Manchester, NH or Albany, NY to fly Southwest.
    This is killing the Burlington airport, too: perhaps a majority of its passenger traffic is made up of Canadians avoiding the even-higher fares out of Montreal. The fewer flights, the higher the prices, the less attractive it becomes for them.

    • fun bobby

      even for large carriers the pilots can have starting wages of $19,000. they tell them not to wear their uniforms to the welfare office

  • JBK007

    No monopoly can ever be in the consumer’s best interest.

    What kind of business already treats its loyal customers redeeming hard-earned frequent flier miles like cattle, making them fly on the worst flights (crack of dawn departure with overnight stays etc), and charges them a fee for everything short of going to the bathroom = airlines!

    Think this will improve with a merger?!

    And, I’m not even getting into the price fixing and price gouging this industry is known for….

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Is “Twenty-Niner” still around here?

    • twenty_niner

      Still around, not much time to post these days.

      With FED clearly in Thelma and Louise mode, I’m trying to decide between gold, bitcoins, and my mattress.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Indeed. Look forward to more of your pointed and no-nonsense contributions.

  • lobstahbisque

    When I was in grammar and middle schools we learned about all the anti trust laws that went into effect— teapot dome, and how Roosevelts one and two reined in the robber barons and saved the country respectively. Now all we hear is job killers and abortion. What happened to the Progressive Party[?] Choose your poison…..

    • fun bobby

      tell the cable company about it

      • lobstahbisque

        Sometimes you’re not fun… That is the epitome of understatement.
        How about chronic bobby?

        • Ray in VT

          Maybe he would like that. Bobby has at times seemingly endorsed the chronic.

          • fun bobby

            drugs are bad

          • Ray in VT

            Okay, Mr. Mackey.

          • lobstahbisque

            And it’s spelled M’kay!

          • Ray in VT

            I crack up whenever they have him in a show. He’s not my favorite, though. I have to say that the character who I love the most from South Park has to be Towlie. There’s just something about the concept of a super-intelligent towel designed for spying who just wants to get baked that really makes me laugh.

          • lobstahbisque

            Towlie’s intervention was one of the high points in Western Civilization. But he and Mr. Hankey have never been in the same room together. Could it be a conspiracy?

          • Ray in VT

            It could be a conspiracy. Have to add that one to the list. I remember my boss saying that he checked out on South Park with Mr. Hankey. Talking pooh was just too over the line for his taste. I remember watching the original Santa vs. Jesus on a bootleg VHS in the dorms in college. Try to relate to that Millennials. Back in my day we didn’t have no fancy youtube, and to watch a video online you needed a computer and about 2 hours to kill while you got it via dialup.

          • lobstahbisque

            Lol.
            Howdy Ho! T’is the season!!

          • Ray in VT

            How dare you make a reference to the “season” without specifically mentioning Jesus?

          • lobstahbisque

            Ah aysk een tha naym uv Jayzuss too piey ma phone byll an geive me yowa devine four-giv-nuss.

        • fun bobby

          keep it to yourself. drugs are bad mmmk?

  • UintahSpringsPress

    First the frisking and cramped seats. Then an overnight American Air flight, Tampa-Las Vegas, on which 4 drunk thirty-something businessmen kept a baby and a dog awake the entire flight as the stewardi sold them more drinks! Money be damned, from then on I only fly when there’s no other choice.

  • tbphkm33

    Another example of U.S. crony capitalism hard at work to create monopolies. The loser in all of this is The People – the people working for these two airlines, some of whom will lose their jobs, all of whom will end up with worse benefits; and the consumer, who will have less choice and higher prices.

    To me, it is a large billboard for flying airlines such as SouthWest, Alaska or Frontier. I fly more than my coworkers, but whenever I can, I jump on SouthWest. Its no frills, but they are almost always on time. With one or two segments, it takes no longer than other airlines. Plus, if I have to check equipment or product samples, I don’t have a snooty ticket agent holding out a hand for more money. SouthWest’s agents just smile and toss those bags on the plane. Plus, if you fly a decent amount for business, it is staggering how much money SouthWest saves in the course of a year.

    • lmmaloney

      I’m with you! I fly mostly Southwest, even though it means I have to drive a couple hundred miles to Manchester, NH or Albany, NY. I’d take the train to Philly and fly from there, but the train won’t let me bring my cat. I have pleaded with them to come into Burlington, VT, for years. Maybe this will bump them. As it is, we get nothing but regional carriers in here (and no, we don’t have short runways; the VT Air Guard flies F-16s in here and are threatening — over our dead bodies, it seems, one way or the other — to bring in the F-35. It’s the same trick the railroads used to get rid of passengers: make flying from here as inconvenient as possible, reduce the numbers of flights and the size of planes, etc. This airport was booming with customers from Canada who’d come down here to avoid the high fares out of Montreal; not so much any more. American never flew here, only US Air; it will be interesting to see what happens with them.
      The last United Express (or whatever) flight I took from Dulles to Burlington was on a prop jet ;-) !

      • JGC

        I think the Montreal travellers moderated downward with the exchange rate, but it is slowly starting to tick in the other direction. Maybe you will soon be seeing more Canadians in the airport lounges, awaiting their flights.

  • new

    Time for the foreign airlines to compete in this domestic market!

  • Richard Johnston

    Whoa! Online checkin saves the airline money and takes my time. How does that justify higher prices?

  • PurpleCyclist

    Tom, I agree with Ralph. Sorry you blew off the caller about rail transportation. Ok, maybe its a subject for another show. We seriously need to change our ground transportation possibilities and high speed rail could become a serious alternative to flight. So how about a show on that?

  • Don_B1

    It is true currently in the U.S., but that is primarily because not enough people use trains and some connections have been abandoned in the past, so that it does not have the ease in getting from place to place as it should.

    But that could be remedied, and an intensive effort to do just that should be part of an infrastructure repair and building that would do a lot to provide needed job recovery from the Great Recession.

  • TFRX

    Given the cost of providing flying has changed, I don’t know anything historically to say about 1975 v. now.

    However, one way to get those who fly to value it is to not squeeze them in like sardines.

    The only comparable thing I can think of is a movie seat. And movie theaters’ seats, in places rebuilt or built new for the last 20-25 years, have been getting bigger and more comfy.

    Why? The movie industry has realized at what point people won’t put up with that because of the new options.

  • Lawrence

    All valid points. But you did not mention anything about the monopoly this will create. Instead you divert the attention of the monopolies to the banking system.

    Anyone that studies the adverse effects of monopolies can see this is a diaster for the public.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

 
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
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On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
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Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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