I was discussing airplanes with my father earlier today and how the advent of smaller, more affordable jet aircraft will likely affect air travel of the future. Right now such aircraft are so expensive that only very wealthy folks or corporations can afford to take advantage of them. But with new “air taxi” services starting to come online hosting fleets of smaller, much more affordable aircraft, and with our wonderful TSA with all their extremism, I can see a stratification of air travel on the horizon.
Right now we have the big, stuffy common carriers – who fight tooth and nail to ensure that there are no laws to protect the rights of the traveling public – and the more agile economy carriers – who work hard to keep air travel at reasonable prices.
The Achilles heel of both carriers is that they must operate out of airports that are governed by, with all due respect, unimaginative, pandering dolts. There is a tremendous potential market growing out there as America’s super-affluent middle class decides that it would much rather not be caged in airplanes waiting for delayed flight slots or trapped in airports after having surrendered dignity and just-as-valuable time to get past the uninspired, callous, rude and ineffective security systems.
I am predicting that regional airports in America need to gear up for a boon in business as America’s middle class begin to discover affordable air transportation alternatives in their local cities while the poorer classes become relegated to the airports for long-distance travel much as the current underclass are today relegated to bus terminals for their travel needs. Just as with the bus terminal class, poorer folks do not have options and cannot exercise their power to shop elsewhere. But many Americans have more money now than they know what to do with. It will be interesting to see how much dignity is worth in airfare price premium.
*Update* Just saw this story about folks being kept on a Delta plane for 7 hours on Friday… *sigh*