Quoting the article:
This is really not a difficult concept. Supply and demand are driving the underlying pricing functions, while airlines' inability to accurately predict said demand, coupled with supply disruptions (weather, unscheduled maintenance) are driving the day-to-day price fluctuations. If Dave (or anyone) can predict air travel demand and weather better than the professionals who have billions of dollars invested in this industry, then there is certainly a hefty paycheck waiting for him somewhere.It starts with buying the ticket. I once spent $900 of an organization's money to fly me to Detroit to give a speech in Windsor, Ontario. I could have flown to Paris for less, and then I would have been in France. Nobody's been able to explain to me why that is.
We already had that system and it was abolished under Jimmy Carter. Under that system, prices were uniformly higher. Air travel was effectively priced out of reach for the lower end of the middle class. After deregulation (which is incomplete; the airline industry is hardly an example of market anarchy), market forces make air travel prices lower on average, but more volatile in response to volatility in supply and demand (i.e. a more accurate reflection of reality).So the suggested solution here is to go back to federal government regulation of prices. We do it at the local level for cab fares, so why not for flights? I'm not wedded to that solution, so if you’ve got another one I'd like to hear it.
Overhead bin packing on today's jets is a classic example of a Tragedy of the Commons. The "resource" (bin space) is "free", and thus everyone has an incentive to use as much of the space as they can get away with (or as much as they can comfortably carry). The proper solution in this case is the same as how any Tragedy of the Commons issues are solved otherwise - property rights. People should buy and "own" space in the bins. Problem solved.Next comes checking the bags. Ever since the airlines started charging bag fees, there has been chaos, confusion, and frustration. Understandably, nobody wants to pay the fees, so everybody tries to jam the largest possible bag into the cabin. It's a mess.
It really is quite simple, but Dave's assessment gets it exactly backwards:
This just creates an even wider Tragedy of the Commons situation. If everyone has to pay the same price whether they check/carry a bag or not, then there is no incentive to pack lightly. If no separate bag fees are charged, then airplane baggage compartments will be packed to capacity every time (because why not?), creating even more problems than there were before, and driving ticket costs up for everyone. Worse, the added costs of the irresponsible passengers - those packing more than they need - are borne by the socially-responsible ones who pack lightly.Here's one solution. If the airlines need to charge more, just roll it into the cost of the ticket. That's going to be far less than $25 a ticket, because how many people pay that now to check a bag? If you spread out that revenue stream to every ticket buyer, I have to think we're talking a few dollars here.
Other non-anonymous commenters on Dave's actual article have pointed out a number of other weaknesses in Dave's proposal. Kudos to them.
Dave - have you seen Louis C.K.'s viral bit on airline whiners?
(Story about guy who whines about poor airline service)
Louis C.K.: And what happened next? Did you fly through the air, incredibly, like a bird? Did you take part in the miracle of human flight...?