Here’s a letter that I sent to USA Today:
Transportation secretary Ray LaHood is angry that Spirit Airlines will charge passengers for carry-on luggage (“Spirit’s carry-on fee comes under fire from DOT chief, N.Y. senator,” April 12). He barked “we’re gonna hold the airline’s feet to the fire on this. Because we have an obligation to do it and we have the ability to do it.”
Who the hell does Mr. LaHood think he is?
He and his colleagues have no “obligation” to interfere with the pricing practices of private firms. If he doesn’t want to pay Spirit’s prices, let him fly another airline – just as every American is free to do. Because the airline industry is quite competitive – and has been so since the deregulation that apparently has gone unnoticed by Mr. LaHood – we can, and should, rely on competition and consumer choice to determine prices and pricing policies rather than on the personal sentiments of power-drunk bullies such as Sec’y. LaHood.
Donald J. Boudreaux