Joe Biden is about to severely screw up your future vacation plans. On Monday, the president announced that he’s taking executive action to force airlines to pay various costs in the event of delays and cancellations.
(Related: Biden’s FAA Nominee Absolutely Beclowns Himself When Asked Basic Aviation Questions)
Naturally, he did so with all the sharpness of a well-used butter knife.
The proposal sounds great, right? Who wouldn’t want their hotel and food paid for if a flight is delayed due to bad weather? Except there is no such thing as a free lunch.
In his remarks, Biden brags about all he’s done to hold airlines “accountable,” but what he fails to mention is that those changes have led to dramatically higher airline prices over the last few years.
BIDEN: In fact, a year ago, almost no major airline guaranteed any compensation beyond the price of the ticket if they caused a delay — the delay was their fault. No reimbursement for a hotel after a canceled flight or a meal after a delayed flight.
But then we challenged them to do better. And, in fact, they did. Airlines started to change their policies when they’re at fault for canceling or delaying a flight.
Now, 9 major airlines cover hotels, 10 cover meals, 10 rebook for free. And that’s real savings for middle-class and working-class families.
For example, to rebook fees, it could run as high as $200 per ticket. Now you don’t have to pay anything to rebook for most airlines. And that 200 — that $200 is back in your pocket — even more if you’re traveling with your family. But — but that’s not all.
Since all those “improvements,” airline fares have gone up 17.7 percent in just the last year alone. Given that travel had already reached pre-COVID levels by mid-2022, you can’t just blame that on increased demand either. Fundamentally, when you stack costs onto airlines, the prices will go up. There’s no way around that. The question has always been whether those extra costs should be borne by everyone via mandates or just by those who pay for higher-level tickets that allow refunds, free rebookings, and such.
Some people actually do want a budget flying experience without all the bells, whistles, and perks. If Biden gets his way with this latest executive order, mandating all sorts of new costs for airlines, that 17.7 percent jump in prices since 2022 will look small by comparison. Is that really what Americans want? Because there’s a difference between something that sounds good and something that produces a deluge of unintended consequences.
But while the market effects of Biden’s proposal are clearly seen, is there a more insidious explanation for his move than simply trying to protect consumers? What happens if airline travel becomes even more expensive? The answer is that demand will eventually drop, which means fewer people flying.
Ask yourself, given the left’s obsession with global warming, what would make them happier than for you and others to be stuck at home and not on an airplane? As far as the White House is concerned, hammering the airlines accomplishes two goals. It lets them pose as faux warriors for the little people, but more importantly to them, it crushes an industry that they despise.
You see, they are allowed to jet away on private planes, but if you fly Southwest to see your mother, you are destroying the planet. What better way to make you stop than to make flying prohibitively expensive? Nothing happens in politics by chance.
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