It’s time to regulate airlines again: We gave deregulation a shot, and it hasn’t worked well for the flying public
Regulation is not always bad, particularly when a business quite deliberately downgrades its regular service to an intolerable level in order to sell service upgrades to those who can afford it. When the only guidance a business gets is the increase in profit, the public is screwed, repeatedly.
Libertarians, of course, know that when this sort of situation arises, free-market competition will result in some airline giving very satisfactory service at a competitive price, no regulation required.
That line of reasoning can be persuasive until you look at what has actually happened after airlines were deregulated. The Libertarian prediction has utterly failed in this case.
Unfortunately, regulating airlines would be impossible in the current political climate, but the overall situation in the US is getting so bad that I think the public might be ready to vote in some reform. The Kansas election today will be very interesting to see. Kansas has had an intensely conservative state government under Sam Brownback and the GOP-controlled legislature, enacting all sorts of GOP principles, and it has worked out horribly for the residents of the state (much like deregulation has worked out horribly for the flying public). The state economy is in terrible shape—it turns out that (as everyone else knew) cutting taxes does not lead to an economic boom.
See: “Why Republicans Are Worried About Kansas,” a post at FiveThirtyEight. He weights the two previous presidential election votes 75% (2016 election) and 25% (2012 election). Extremely interesting post.