American airports are awful, terrible and below the standards of our European counterparts.
It’s not “Breaking News” at all that America’s airports are a nightmare. If you’ve ever travelled through any one of these hubs of international travel you’d agree. The design doesn’t meet the function. It would be one thing if we could say functionality has overtaken style in our airports, but that is not the case. Our airports are both functional failures and stylistically lost in the seventh level of hell.
Don’t even get me started on the TSA and the many freedoms we’ve handed over and flushed down the drain in the name of Homeland Security. An intimate pat down or an in your face interrogation have really put a crimp in the once exciting idea of travelling through the skies.
For an American culture so against water-boarding, why do we allow our citizenry to be tortured from the moment they leave their car in long term parking until they are wheels up?
Because there is no choice, that’s why. Choice is the bedrock of freedom. They gotcha and they know it. No use complaining about bad service at the counter, or your lost bag, or the horrible layout of that airport that makes it virtually impossible to make your connecting flight. Might as well step into the airport bar and enjoy a ridiculously overpriced beer, because it’s obvious that the airlines priorities do not line up with the traveler’s desires.
Trump started talking about it on the campaign trail. He claimed America’s airports are substandard. Is he right? Do America’s airports suck? Yes, yes, they do. Guess how many American airports rank in the top 25 of the world? ZERO!
So, what do we do about it? The liberal would raise taxes and increase spending. The conservative would rent a private plane and avoid the sweaty masses. Neither one fixes the problem. If we want to fix our airport infrastructure and create an inviting experience for the air travelers of the world we need a radical approach. Our solutions rest in eliminating government regulation that will result in more competition between the airports of America and the world.
Like any business, if an airport is known as a beautiful architectural marvel providing smooth transitions from gate to gate, they should profit from the fruits of their labor. Happy customers with a choice choose to fly through a fantastic airport, leaving behind the dilapidated airports full of anxiety ridden people wishing they had simply driven to their destination.
Michael Sargent wrote a piece for the Heritage Foundation titled – Building on Victory: An Infrastructure Agenda for the New Administration. It is simply a must read if you’re interested in a thriving air community and a conservative approach to reforming the way we pay for airport infrastructure. Sargent lays out how “User Fees” can fund the renaissance in air travel that we need. More government funding is not the answer, it never has been.
Sargent writes, “Aviation. The current system of federal airport funding is woefully inefficient. Instead, airport funding should be localized by eliminating the burdensome Airport Improvement Program and its related taxes while empowering airports to generate and spend their own revenues through airport user fees. This will allow the nation’s airports to run like businesses with minimal interference from the federal government.”
It’s not much of an argument that we need a revitalization in aviation, how to pay for it is the dilemma. Tax and spend will not work here. Allowing our airports to operate like businesses with only minimal interference from federal government would revolutionize how we fly in a short time. Attempting to fund infrastructure improvements with the ailing Airport Improvement Program will be about as successful as that box cutter in your carry on. Forget about it.
It’s time for new paradigm.
For example, what if Steve Winn or Donald Trump or even Warren Buffet or Disney Corp. owned an airport? Wouldn’t that place sparkle? Wouldn’t you be happy to pay a slight user fee to enjoy everything about your time in Paradise Airport? And you know if something did go wrong they would have an entire customer service department dedicated to your happiness.
Settling for government dominated airports is like ceding our aviation experience to the people who brought us the DMV. No wonder American airports suck. Time to dump those aviation taxes lining the pockets of all the wrong people and never translating into anything meaningful on the ground. Privatization of America’s airports would usher in a new era in air travel.
Hopefully, between building that wall and draining the DC swamp Trump will make good on his promise to put America’s airports on a new heading. One that will lead to a boom in air travel shuttling happy people to and from our airports.