April 25th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
7 years ago

Sesno: Flying is about to get a whole lot worse

Flying might get harder.
Flying might get harder.

(CNN) - What if I told you the cattle call of air travel is going to get worse? You’d probably believe me if you’ve traveled recently.

But you might not realize just how bad it could get because you might not know just how bad things have already gotten. The airlines are getting pounded. They’re losing tons of money. Their stock prices are down. Several have already gone belly-up.

But almost every move the airlines make to turn things around is likely to make flying more expensive, less convenient and increasingly difficult for average travelers like you and me.

There are a lot of reasons for this, of course, but the main one is the cost of jet fuel. It’s taking off faster than an empty 737. The price is up more than 50 percent this year. That’s tough stuff if you’re trying to run a business.

So what are the airlines doing about it? They’re cutting back on flights, trying to raise fares and throwing a bunch of new surcharges and fees at us. They’re grounding inefficient planes and laying off workers. And – the part that will have really long term impact – they’re merging. Delta and Northwest want to become one airline because they think by combining forces they can save a billion dollars and have a route structure that will be more efficient and more competitive. Other big mergers may be in the wings.

But what’s good for them may not be good for the rest of us. Fewer planes and routes? Hope you like to travel at 6 a.m. on Sundays. Fewer workers? Oh, that’ll make for more efficient check-in!

I just pray they’re not cutting the jobs of all those nice people who are supposed to be doing the maintenance, changing the oil and keeping the engines bolted firmly in place.

So we are left to wonder - what if all this cost cutting and corporate consolidation becomes the next big trend, the airlines’ hottest ticket since frequent flier upgrades?

It’s a real possibility. It would change the face of flying, put the passenger in even more peril.

Maybe it’s time for that passenger Bill of Rights with its do’s and don’t’s for airlines – and some teeth to give the consequences a little bite.

Too bad consumers can’t merge into a giant corporation. At least we’d stand a fighting chance.

Related: Watch Frank Sesno's what if: flying got worse?


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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Young & Educated 4 Obama

    I hope the Hillary Supporters are reading this!
    THIS is a result of the same 'old politics' thats been played over and over again and see where we are now!
    But Hillary says she wants to Nuke Iran thats more important than whats happening on the home front! Oh what about those 3 guys in A&F t-shirts yeaaa man that will certainly lower the price of gas!
    The 'media' needs a major overhaul and so do the 13.2 million people who voted for Hillary!

    April 25, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. Young & Educated 4 Obama

    I hope the Hillary Supporters are reading this!
    THIS is a result of the same 'old politics' thats been played over and over again and see where we are now!
    But Hillary says she wants to Nuke Iran thats more important than whats happening on the home front! Oh what about those 3 guys in A&F t-shirts yeaaa man that will certainly lower the price of gas!
    The 'media' needs a major overhaul and so do the 13.2 million people who voted for Hillary!
    The GOOD NEWS is that 14.5 million had enough sense to make the wise choice and vote for OBAMA!!

    April 25, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Matt

    Maybe the government can stop giving Big Oil money and give it to the airlines? Of course Big Oil would just raise prices so they get their huge paydays.

    Drive less and give less to Big Oil. I hope alternate energies emerge from different companies and Exxon and the likes finally feel what the rest of the world feels.

    Here's a thought. We produce it in this country so the money flows in instead of out to Saudi Arabia. It could also create jobs. Look into Algae. It needs to be perfected but it has real potential.

    April 25, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Mike

    Yes Hillary monster YES YES! This is your chance to bribe, cheat, blackmail,cajol. DO ANYTHING to break the rules and count the illegal votes. It is your last and only chance to steal this nomination that you have so obviously lost but in your power hungry irrational mind, cannot accept.

    April 25, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. M.S. Indiana

    Any one got a horse for sale ??

    April 25, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Grif

    Think Green!

    April 25, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Kim

    This Airlines mess is the Clintons fault. It started back with Bill takeing sleazy money from the airline lobby groups.

    April 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Delaware

    Hamas is for John MCCain 08.

    April 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Margaret

    I have to travel from Ohio to Iowa on Memorial Day weekend. I've made the trip dozens of times via United. I'm driving this time, though I hate driving long distances. I don't want to risk spending my long weekend sitting on a tarmack for 6 hours one or both ways. I'm traveling overseas in October. I'm thinking about a cruise instead of a flight.

    But as long as the CEOs of these airlines get their golden parachutes while the companies go bankrupt. and the employees lose their jobs and pensions......that's all that really matters. Ain't capitalism great?

    April 25, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Young & Educated 4 Obama

    Break out the old bicycle!! Shoot since we dug a hole to China we may as well be like them!
    Start Riding Folks!

    April 25, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Demdixie

    I don't think the airlines care about the personal traveler. Business travelers spend more money on tickets and travel in general. I'm not sure what middle America is expected to do. This is just not fair!

    April 25, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. ike

    Young & Educated 4 Obama I am a Hillary supporter and your attempt to link clinton with the cost of Jet fule just goes to show us all how stupid and cultish you Obama freaks are. You all could find a way to blame Sen Clinton for anything. How about you take some time to educate us on how you great and powerful leader is going to save the day instead of your constant bitter attacks, You must think he has a magic wand. Unbelievable that you profess to support your candidate and yet you can not even follow your guys most basic be nice rule. I guess now that you are ahead and have smeared Sen. Clinton beyond recovery with your personal attacks you can change the rules. How dare you say that I need "a major overhaul" Go jump in a lake!

    April 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Mary

    Just hop on Hillary's broom !

    April 25, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. April in Texas

    At least Obama was addressing the issues today such as fuel and such. Hillary btw was asking about more debating as if 21 of them isnt enough..

    Obama 08

    April 25, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. Lizzy

    To ' Young & Educated 4 Obama'"
    What planet do you live on? Stupid, stupid, stupid post!

    April 25, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. j. Medley

    I am currious as to why so many Americans can still think it is alright to vote for Obama. The man is a RACIST. He listened to his RACIST pastor for years and years. Hd did not obeject in all that time. He did not stand up and say "NO" it is wrong to preach such hatred. Obama speaks in circles, no substance, no reality. Obama would be the worst possible President to follow a President that has lead us into catastrophe. I am a huge supporter of the democratic party and I cannot in good conscience vote for such a one sided man.

    April 25, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. DAN

    It took 100 years for the price of oil to get to 20 dollars a barrel and it took Bush 7 years to bring it to almost 120 dollars a barrel forcing inflation on everything else and no mention of investigation or impeachment from queen Pelosi or father Reid. They decided to play politics to win more in Nov at everybodies expense and that's why Lou Dobbs is right about a third party. They are not working for the will of the people instead they using the people for their own agenda.

    April 25, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |