We all bellyache about the airlines. I had a terrible lost luggage experience with American Airlines last week, and ranted about it. I’m still upset about all the cab fares and late night shopping and money-spending I had to do because they couldn’t find and deliver my bag in time for my keynote presentation to a travel conference. (It arrived during my presentation, thank you very little â€“â€“ for nothing.)
But I was thinking, 20 years ago I paid the same rate I do now, to fly half-way across the U. S.
I have talked to some of my friends who are avid travelers, and they recall a time when flying was more of a luxury. Judy Legerski, a friend here in Lander, WY, who’s a baby boomer who travels about 100,000 miles/year, recalls that she used to get dressed up to go flying, an activity that was considered a privilege.
My parents, who weren’t financially worse off than our family is today, relatively speaking, didn’t fly on an airplane until they were in their 20s. My first flight was when I was in 6th grade. And yet our three young children …well, they’ve been to San Francisco, Hawaii, New York City, Mexico, and other destinations, all by flight.
My question is were the flights I paid $350-450 for 20 years ago better than the same flights I pay the same rates for today? I can hardly think of any other business or product that in 20 years has not raised their rates or prices.
I just wanted to post about this as I was thinking about it recently as I complained about American Airlines because of my luggage debacle.
We always complain about the airlines, and yet how can it possibly be that I can be in a June Wyoming snow storm at 8 am and be on a beach at the Atlantic Ocean by 1 pm? It’s like a miracle really. No wonder we love technology. Add to that that I’m not paying any more for the transportation that gets me there than I did 20 years ago, and well, I might even feel a little giddy about flying.
It leaves me to wonder if the quality of the flying experience has gotten so much worse, or if it was simply provided for significantly fewer people and as a result of scarcity it was priced more at a premium 20 years ago? Just curious.
I’m probably missing something, and am likely naive about all this, but I think it’s an interesting question. I would love to get some feedback and insights into why the cost to fly today is similar to what it was 20 years ago.
(BTW, I’m not proposing that airfares increase!)