Air travel these days is all about compromise. Would you like to pay extra to check your bag? Can you sit for hours with your knees against your chest? But someday we might yearn for today's discomforts, if the U.S. Department of Transportation goes along with the airline industry.
MarketWatch reports that a DOT undersecretary told guests at a recent trade luncheon that removing "onerous regulatory burdens" was a top priority for the Trump administration. Those burdens include consumer protections for how long you can wait on a tarmac, what kinds of fees airlines can charge for add-on expenses, and how big (or small) your seat can be. Suddenly those standing seats are looking a lot less hypothetical.
"[Undersecretary for policy Derek] Kan said DOT takes a 'vigorous systematic approach' to reviewing regulations on all transportation sectors," writes the website Air Transport World, "and has found that a number of regulations or proposed regulations 'do not seem to have a cost-benefit' rationale." Depending on what regulations are deemed "critical to safety," that could mean anything.
In a blog post called "The Gilded Age of Flying," passenger advocate group Flyers Rights makes a renewed call for a "comprehensive airline passenger bill of rights." Some proposals include compensation for excessive delays or cancellations, standards for both lavatory and seat sizes, and full transparency from the airline when something messes up your flight. This is exactly the kind of thing to ask your elected representatives about; whatever your feelings about regulations, they definitely can have an immediate effect on you.