Consumer Protection

In the European Union (EU) no airline or airport security could remove and "re-accommodate" Dr. Dao from an airplane he boarded on a paying ticket---much less forcibly remove and abuse him as United and the Chicago Airport security did. In the EU all overbooking situations must be resolved prior to check-in---let alone boarding. This is called consumer protection, something successive US administrations (Republican and Democratic alike) have abandoned due to corporate lobbying, while furthermore allowing monopolistic mergers and establishing noncompetitive subsidies for US air carriers (e.g. requiring that state and federal employees fly only on US carriers). There is no point in being outraged about this situation; what we (including the media editorial boards) must demand is regulation to protect consumers and a government that enforces existing anti-monopoly and competitive laws with the consumer in mind, not just corporate interests. As the EU regulations demonstrate, it is quite possible to have such consumer protections in a capitalist and democratic society. By the way, what we call lobbying in the US is called corruption elsewhere (see South Korea and Brazil). It leads the to the society the US has become: only the rich can expect first-World health-care, education, and basic consumer respect.

From "Fear of Flying, for Good Reason - The New York Times"

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