I hate air travel. I really do. I realize it’s sometimes necessary to cram myself into a gigantic metal tube with hundreds of my closest friends and feast on stale pretzels and flat soda, while it flies at a high rate of speed somewhere other than where I started, but I hate it. I hate the crowds, and the sometimes less than clean other passengers. I hate the TSA gropage (although, I do have TSA Pre, so that part of it is mostly painless nowadays). I hate the stale, recycled air and the fact that nearly every time I fly, I wind up with someone’s respiratory crud, and if not that, I usually get some kind of skin rash from the seat, which is always an unmitigated joy.
Flying is not fun.
That said, it appears someone with Special Snowflake Syndrome (SSS) has decided to invent another human right – the basic right to room on a plane. Christopher Elliott is a travel journalist and co-founder of something called Travelers United, whose mission is to “advocate in Washington, DC for all travelers. We educate travelers on their travel rights and we educate lawmakers and regulators on consumer issues.”
I will say this: anytime someone invents a group to “advocate in Washington, DC” about a right they just invented, I begin to worry, because that generally means that they want legisleeches to do something about said invented right that has allegedly been violated by a private company – a company no one compels you to use at the point of a gun – and with whom you deal willingly by paying money for their service. As soon as someone claims an invented right has been violated, politicians eager to be seen as doing something for their constituents spring into action to remedy said alleged violation. It’s the “doing something” that worries me, because generally, in their frothing zeal to look responsive, they fail to rationally think through the legislation they cram through the legislature, and wind up violating ACTUAL rights – not the right invented by the Special Snowflake, who desperately needs an education on the nature of a right. In this case, the Special Snowflake and crew want the government to regulate the minimum legroom the airline can give passengers in economy class.
Elliott notes that the average economy-class seat amount of passenger legroom, has declined over the years, from about 35 inches in the 1970s to about 31 inches today. Seat width has declined too, from around a high of 20 inches back in the 1980s to about 17-18 inches, according to USA Today.
OK, I get it. It’s uncomfortable. It sucks. Half the time, I spend my flight trying to jam myself into the corner of my seat to avoid the oversized bulk of adipose tissue that overflows into my seat from my uber large neighbor. But you know what I do if I really feel that a service doesn’t live up to my expectations? I certainly don’t try to get Congress involved! I either choose not to fly, and choose another mode of transportation, purchase an upgrade to a more comfortable seat, or I SUCK IT UP! I certainly don’t invent a right and then try to force Congress to impose an obligation on another private entity to help me exercise it!
Look up the difference between positive and negative rights, Snowflake, and then shut your yap.
You pay for a seat on a mode of transportation. It does not have to be comfortable. It just has to be a seat. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.
You know what happens when someone invents a right and then gets Congress involved? Well, let me smartsplain it to your dumb ass.
- You invent the right to more legroom on a plane.
- You take said invention to Congress, and Congress passes a law that obligates airline companies to give you said room.
- Airplane manufacturers start making wider seats with more legroom, thereby allowing fewer passengers aboard.
- Airline loses profits due to fewer passengers, charges your entitled ass more money to sit in a crappy economy seat.
- You start complaining about higher airline prices, invent right to lower prices.
- You take said invented right to Congress, and Congress passes a law to cap prices.
- Lower profits force airlines to cut jobs.
- And so on…
Get it yet? You have the right to travel. You have no right to force someone else to make that travel pleasant or comfortable.
You have the right to purchase a ticket on a specific airline. If said airline doesn’t meet your expectations, you have the right to take your business elsewhere. You don’t have the right to force another entity to conform to your subjective expectations at the point of a government gun.
You have the right to bitch and moan about your experience. Hell, I do so quite a bit when I experience crappy customer service. And miraculously, you know what happens? The provider of said crappy service normally does everything in its power to fix it, because the last thing it needs is to lose business to bad publicity.
And that works a whole lot better than running crying to the nanny state, because someone didn’t give you the warm fuzzy you think you deserve.