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US aviation failing? We've screwed ourselves

Posted by Patrick Smith May 15, 2013 02:21 PM

Our airports are terrible, and our airlines find it harder and harder to compete. We've done it to ourselves through shortsightedness, underfunding, and flyer-unfriendly policies.

In a CNN poll of 1,200 overseas business travelers who have visited the United States, a full 20 percent of them said they would not visit the US again due to onerous entry procedures at airports, including long processing lines. Forty-three percent said they would discourage others from visiting the US.

"The United States risks falling behind Asia, the Middle East, and Europe as the global aviation leader."
- Carol Hallett, US Chamber of Commerce counsel
In Air Line Pilot magazine

I'd say that battle was lost a long time ago.


The woes of economy class, real and imagined

Posted by Patrick Smith May 7, 2013 02:01 PM

This morning I caught a flight from New York up to Boston. The two people behind me were having a spirited discussions about the assorted miseries of flying: wailing babies, long lines, delays, and cramped seats.

It's that last one that jumped out at me, because you hear it so much...

It's legroom, or lack thereof, that most people whine about. There's less and less of it, as airlines cram in extra rows, eager to squeeze out every last penny of revenue in the face of razor-thin profit margins.

Or maybe it just seems that way?


About the author

Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist, author, and host of In his spare time, he has visited more than 80 countries and always asks for a window seat. He lives in Somerville. More »

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