Monday, May 9, 2016

Airlines are happy; fliers, not so much

By Mouser the King Cat

The 25 U.S.-based passenger airlines booked $25.6 billion in profits in 2015, more than three times the 2014 figure. Fares and fuel prices are down. Everybody’s happy, right? Well, not so much.
Junk fees for baggage and reservation changes accounted for $6.8 billion of that bottom line. As legroom shrinks, service stinks. Formal complaints to the Department of Transportation rose 30% last year. USA Today quoted consumer advocate Charles Leocha: “Everybody keeps telling us that we’re seeing all these improvements, but nobody’s seeing them. New airplanes don’t help us when the planes are bigger with more seats on board and they’re squeezing more people into them.”
That, of course, is after the cattle – uh, people -- are fondled by TSA agents. Summer fliers have been advised to expect the longest security lines ever. Genius investor Warren Buffett tracks this industry with no intention of ever putting up money again. He once told an interviewer:
A little-known fact about Mr. Buffett: His wife passed away in 2004, 27 years after moving out of the family home in Omaha. They stayed married after his longtime companion moved in. Told you he was a genius.

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