Friday, November 16, 2007

Giving thanks for easier air travel

Flying should be more efficient next weekend. The motivation? Reducing CO2 emissions maybe? Nope: it was to reduce passenger unhappiness.

President Bush outlined several welcome steps to reduce traveler inconvenience over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But each one raised an obvious question.

First, unused military airspace will be opened to commercial flights along the East Coast to relieve the chronically overcrowded Northeast corridor. OK, why does the military keep controlling airspace it doesn't use?

Second, the FAA imposed a moratorium on non-essential maintenance projects. OK, none of us likes taxes, so why is the government spending money on anything non-essential?

Finally, certain bump fees were doubled, from $400 to $800. Wait a minute, isn't that like a CO2 tax, where government makes something expensive so it's not used as much? So what exactly is wrong with a CO2 tax, especially when traffic flow accounts for as much as one-third of global energy consumption?

Enough questions. For now I'll give thanks just to arrive alive.

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