On June 17 a pilot filmed another aircraft coming straight at him just a 1000 feet below him leaving a huge contrail behind.
Airliners are pretty amazing devices. They are more closely related to rocket ships than to any other means of transportation. They fly at altitudes where a person without an airplane would need a space suit to survive. They can carry you across the country in a matter of hours and do it for a relative pittance.
Airlines, that is, the companies that operate these fantastic machines, are another story. They seem to be hell bent on driving each other out of business and making everyone hate them while they are at it. United just got another public relations black eye, and Boeing seems to be in league with the maniacs who think they can make money in this business.
I am beginning to think we need the Federal Government to step in and set up a Customer Bill of Rights (link goes to existing rules, which don't do much more than prohibit the intentional killing of passengers). I don't like more pointless government regulations, but I am starting to think that airlines can't be relied on to maintain any kind of standards. They will keep compressing coach seats until passengers start suffocating, and then they will blame the passengers for buying tickets.
Giving people a little more leg room and making aisles wide enough that a normal size person can walk down without having to turn sideways and inch along like a crab, might cost a little more money. But if all airlines are required to meet the same standards, then no one is going to gain a competitive advantage.
Ticket prices might go up by 10, 20 or even 100 dollars, but it's not going to matter. I suspect that at least half of the people flying coach are traveling because they want to, not because they have some urgent business to attend to. If the higher price deters them from flying, well, that's a benefit for everyone else: the airports won't be as crowded.
There might be some additional impact on businesses like resorts and vacation rentals, but eliminating a trip through hell to get there should make your vacation that much better.
You might not remember when the Federal government started requiring seat belts in cars. I remember the automobile manufacturers bitching about the cost. And remember when the smog was so bad in LA that you took your life in your hands going outside? The Feds put a stop to that as well.
Update February 2018 replaced missing video.