Do Airlines Charge Too Much?

How is it fair for first class passengers to have such better treatment than those in the back of the plane, treated like their own luggage?

There's a common idea that it's unfair for airlines to have first class and economy tickets. Everyone should be treated the same, they say. How is it fair for first class passengers to have so much more room, such better food, and such better treatment, than those in the back of the plane, treated like their own luggage?

It's true that there is a very noticeable difference between the two flight classes. We've experienced it ourselves. But what people don't realize is that the people flying first class are the reason why economy tickets are so much cheaper, and that the mere existence of economy tickets is proof of how much progress we've made in economics and class equality: once upon a time in 1979, an average domestic round-trip flight cost $617, adjusting for inflation. That cost is down to $366 today – a 40% drop. How did that happen?

This week on Words and Numbers, Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan answer that question as they talk about the state of air travel today. Watch the conversation below or on YouTube, or listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.

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Further Reading

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