Like many of you, I often find the need to fly to see family, take vacation, or go on business trips. And each time I’m struck by how little I get on the flight and how much I end up paying for the pleasure. So when I saw that American Airlines was filing for bankruptcy, I was shocked. Turns out 20 airlines have filed for bankruptcy in the last 10 years, and the future doesn’t look any brighter for the remaining ones.
We put together this graphic looking at the airline industry and its struggles since deregulation in 1978. It may not be obvious to the average US domestic air traveler, but prices are A LOT better now than they were 30+ years ago. In 1974, a round-trip flight from New York to L.A. would have cost almost $1500 (adjusted for inflation). Today, that flight can cost under $300. Still, air service is worse in a lot of ways, with smaller seats, less in-flight food, and more delays and cancellations.
I hope you find this graphic as eye opening as I did. While it won’t make paying “baggage fees” any easier, it should help you understand exactly why airlines have decided to price gouge us – and what might happen if they didn’t.