The climate crisis is not a problem for future generations to solve—it’s wreaking havoc right now, it’s affecting us all, and it’s only going to get worse. Americans from all over are feeling the sting of intensifying climate-related storms. They’re stranded in overcrowded airports, missing out on precious moments with loved ones, grappling with skyrocketing fares, and left in a state of uncertainty as airlines, woefully understaffed due to their own mismanagement, struggle to manage the ensuing chaos.
Airlines aren’t obligated to compensate for climate-related delays, nor do they adequately pay their employees. This neglect of consumer and employee welfare is a pressing issue that can’t be ignored.
The four major players in the airline industry—American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines—currently command over half of the U.S. market. Their unchecked power allows them to disregard the needs of consumers and the planet.
Despite receiving a staggering $54 billion of taxpayer money during the pandemic, airlines are skimping on the very resources that keep them airborne: their staff. They may dress it up as “streamlining” or “optimizing,” but let’s call it what it is: a glaring failure to recognize the value of their own employees.
While airlines deflect blame, we must not lose sight of the root issue, which is a lack of effective industry regulation.
This is not just about poor customer service or corporate greed. This is about a sector that has been allowed to operate with little regard for the planet or the people it serves. It’s about an industry that has largely been given free rein to prioritize profits over people and the environment.
Congress holds the power to enforce climate accountability and consumer protection in the airline industry. By implementing strict regulations, Congress can not only discourage airlines from overbooking flights, junk fees, and ensure improved service, but also hold these corporations accountable for their role in exacerbating climate change.
The time for change is now. We must demand that Congress steps up and takes action to regulate the airline industry. It’s not just about ensuring that your next flight is on time or affordable. It’s about holding these corporations accountable for their impact on our planet and ensuring a sustainable future for us all.