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Airline service won't get better

December 31, 2006

SCARCELY news to anyone subjected to the horrors of air travel today that despite their promises of improvement the airlines continue to provide ever worsening levels of hostility to their hapless customers ["Airlines' Plans to Improve Service Are Barely Off the Ground," Travel Insider, Dec. 17].

What is dismaying is that I see no reason to hope for any improvement. The basic reality is that most passengers today buy on price. Even the so-called luxury airlines are reduced to price-promotion.

Given that, there is no economic incentive for the major airlines to spend money providing service. And there is no chance that service will be improved through governmental regulation as long as those enforcing the rules don't suffer when they are ignored. As a philosophical libertarian, I welcomed deregulation of the airlines.

Today I regard each travel ordeal as the just retribution of the fates for my failing to have understood its implications.

ARTHUR O. ARMSTRONG

Manhattan Beach

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