How modern air travel got so miserable

A legal scholar explains how air travel became "The Hunger Games" - and why it wasn't always this way

Nov 13, 2023

There are reasons it takes longer to get from place to place, and why the journey is so unpleasant. Vanderbilt law professor Ganesh Sitaraman's "Why Flying Is Miserable: And How to Fix It" book is a fascinating history of modern capitalism, an investigation into the wide-ranging ripple effects of airline deregulation and a clear-eyed call for action.

Key takeaways

  • One of the most interesting points in the book is the death of access. People who do not live in New York or Chicago or L.A. or Miami have a really hard time getting from point A to point B;
  • As consumers, the costs have shifted to have what used to be a basic experience is now premium experience, that we have to pay quite a bit extra for;
  • The geographic concentration of hubs, the loss of service to different cities, have effects in a whole bunch of different ways — from fragility and delays and cancellations to convenience and access — to economic growth and opportunity. If we could do something about that problem, it would address a lot of other problems and have a lot of other benefits.

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