Remember when airlines told us that high fuel prices and high overhead costs meant they had no choice but to start tacking on fees and jacking up fares in order to stay in business? That was then, and in 2015 with oil prices low and airlines more efficient, you'd think they'd lower prices.
You'd be out of your mind.
Don't expect your flying experience to be pleasant, or cheap this summer.
At a meeting of top airline executives this week in Miami, the word on every airline executive's lips was "discipline."
Translation: few seats, pricey tickets, bigger profits.
Despite plummeting fuel costs, the airlines' single biggest cost, few of those savings are getting passed along to passengers.
Instead, record profits. The International Air Transport Association increased its profit outlook for the industry to $29.3 billion, a new high, up nearly 80 percent from last year.
Meanwhile, passengers only saw a $.66 reduction in average airfares last quarter. And they'll soon have more fellow passengers to rub elbows with in the security line and bump into in the aisles.
Airline for America, an industry trade group, predicts 2.4 million passengers per day will fly on US airlines from June 1-Aug 31, up from 2.29 million during the same time last year. To accommodate the 4.5 percent increase in passengers, airlines say they're increasing the number of seats by 4.6 percent.
In other words, the flying experience will remain roughly the same. Cramped, crowded, and with no price breaks in sight.
The airline industry, once in dire trouble after 9/11, is now reaping record profits with more passengers than ever. And all indications are you'll pay even more at the ticket counter as greed controls the industry. Did you actually think the airlines would start investing in better service and more competition when treating people like cattle makes them tens of billions?
Working as intended, folks.