Letters to the Editor: Airlines want a bailout. They should stop mistreating customers first

The American Airlines ticket counters at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are empty on June 16.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

To the editor: Roger Lowenstein is right about not giving the airlines another federal bailout.

The last time the industry was saved by taxpayers, the airlines responded by putting in more rows of seats so that their already cramped cabins were made even worse. Meal service was eliminated or reduced in quality.

Before the pandemic I booked a trip to Virginia for $600. When the virus struck I canceled and asked for a refund, since no one in their right mind would get on an airplane in April 2020.


American Airlines said there would be no refund, but I had a credit to use until Feb. 1 — as if flying will be safer in the winter during the middle of flu season. The least it could have done was offer me 50%.

Barbara Graham, Dana Point


To the editor: Lowenstein makes an excellent case for not giving the airlines a bailout. Another approach would be to provide a bailout, but only if the airlines provide the customer service that they otherwise will not provide.

For starters, the airlines should be told to increase the space between rows of coach seats by at least four inches, increase the amount that a coach seat can recline by at least two inches, not charge for checking a bag, and charge no more than $25 for changing a ticket.

The airlines want the public’s help. A little customer service is not too much to ask in return.

Mark Mead, San Diego