The airlines have created an evil cycle of fees for flyers: charge passengers for the solution to a problem they created. It takes twice as long for everyone to get onto their plane now than it did in the 1970s, reports The New York Times, and that's not counting the security line. Part of the reason is because airlines have started charging fees to check baggage, leaving more people with more luggage to stuff into overhead bins. "Checked-baggage fees have only added to the problem, because travelers now bring more roll-ons onboard, blocking the aisles as they try to cram their belongings into any available space," Jad Mouawad writes. Another reason is the creation of all those priority boarding classes. "As they have added new classes of seating to their cabins and new fees for priority boarding--all in the name of more revenue--they have slowed down the whole process," he writes. So what you're left with is a circle of supply and demand: the airlines provide the supply of complaints and discomforts, passengers demand (and pay for) a way out, which only creates more complaints and discomforts. Which, for now, is apparently working for the airlines: in the first quarter of 2011 alone, airlines made $784 million just for checking bags.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.