Logo
    Search

    How flying got so bad (or did it?)

    enJuly 05, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Golden age of travelThe 50s and 60s offered luxurious flying experiences due to intense competition among airlines, but industry deregulation led to the decline of such amenities and the rise of budget airlines, making flying more accessible and affordable today.

      The golden age of travel in the 50s and 60s offered a luxurious flying experience with spacious planes, fancy amenities, and exceptional customer service. This was due to intense competition among airlines to outdo each other. However, the industry was deregulated in the late 70s, leading to the decline of such amenities and the rise of budget airlines. Today, while flying may not be as luxurious as it once was, it is more accessible and affordable for many people. The Body Electric Challenge encourages listeners to reflect on their own sedentary lifestyles and make changes to improve their health.

    • Air Travel Regulation ErasThe regulated era of US air travel, characterized by government control, led to luxurious flying experiences for the wealthy but high prices for most people. Deregulation in the 1970s introduced competition and lower prices, making air travel accessible to the masses.

      The history of air travel regulation in the United States can be understood through the lens of two distinct eras: the regulated era and the deregulation era. During the regulated era, which began in the late 1940s, the US government heavily controlled the airline industry, setting prices, limiting competition, and even subsidizing some flights. This led to luxurious flying experiences for the wealthy, but left most people unable to afford air travel. However, in the 1970s, deregulation became a consumer rights issue, and a visionary executive named Don Berg lobbied for the government to release the airlines into the free market. Despite opposition from major airlines and industry executives like Bob Crandall, deregulation ultimately led to increased competition and lower prices, making air travel accessible to the masses.

    • Deregulation and Budget AirlinesDeregulation allowed for the emergence of budget airlines like People Express, offering lower fares through cost-cutting measures and making air travel more accessible to a larger population.

      The deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1970s led to the rise of budget airlines like People Express. This was a response to arguments from economists, politicians, and consumer advocates that more competition would result in lower fares and more options for travelers. Without government regulation of fares and routes, new companies like People Express were able to enter the market and offer budget airfare by keeping costs low. This was achieved through operating from cheap locations, buying used planes and removing unnecessary amenities, and charging separately for various services. The success of People Express was an immediate hit, making air travel more accessible to a larger population. However, this also prompted competition from established airlines, leading to the next chapter in the story.

    • Cost-cutting measures in the airline industryAmerican Airlines' CEO Bob Crandall introduced discounted tickets, optimized airport operations, and a frequent flyer mile program to compete with low-cost carriers, leading to a shift in the travel industry and attracting customers with affordable prices and some perks.

      During the late 1980s, American Airlines' CEO Bob Crandall implemented aggressive cost-cutting measures and innovations to compete with the emerging low-cost carrier, People Express. Crandall's strategies included selling discounted tickets, optimizing airport operations, and implementing a frequent flyer mile program. American Airlines' ability to offer lower prices while still providing some perks led to a significant shift in the travel industry, attracting customers away from People Express. This moment marked the beginning of the sweet spot for passengers, where they could enjoy relatively affordable prices without sacrificing all the amenities. However, this trend wouldn't last forever.

    • Airline deregulation impactDeregulation led to fewer airlines but lower prices due to competition from budget carriers, despite logistical challenges and modern flight experience complaints

      The deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1970s led to a consolidation of carriers and an increase in market control by a few major airlines. This consolidation, while reducing the number of airlines, also led to lower prices due to competition from budget and low-cost airlines that emerged in the 2000s. However, this price competition has also led to increased logistical challenges and complaints about the modern flight experience. Ultimately, the ability to travel quickly and affordably is valued by most air travelers, even if it means sacrificing some of the perks that were once standard.

    • Deregulation vs personal experienceDeregulation of the airline industry led to lower ticket prices and more people flying, but also resulted in a less personal and less reliable travel experience

      The deregulation of the airline industry led to lower ticket prices and more people flying, but it also resulted in a less personal and less reliable travel experience. This trade-off is a reflection of the larger economic trend towards deregulation and cheaper goods and services. It's important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of this trend. In the coming weeks, Planet Money will explore the history of money and its mysteries. And remember, not all news is created equal. Up First will help you make sense of the news, every day, in just 15 minutes. In the new season of Extremely American, Heath Druzen will take you inside the Christian nationalist movement and its potential impact on American politics and rights.

    Recent Episodes from Planet Money

    Summer School 2: The golden ages of labor and looms

    Summer School 2: The golden ages of labor and looms
    Who has the power? Workers or bosses? It changes through the ages, though it's usually the bosses. Today, we look at two key moments when the power of labor shifted, for better and worse, and we ask why then? What does history have to say about labor power right now?

    We travel to Sicily, Italy in the year 1347, where the bubonic plague is about to strike. The horror known as the Black Death will remake European society in countless ways, but we'll focus on one silver lining: how economic conditions shifted for workers.

    Then we head about 500 years into the future, to an English factory at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, where textile workers take up arms against the machines taking their jobs and show how rapidly labor supply and demand can change. This is the famed tale of the Luddites, now a byword for knee jerk anti-technology, but the true story has nuance and a desperate but rational violent rebellion.

    This series is hosted by Robert Smith and produced by Audrey Dilling. Our project manager is Devin Mellor. This episode was edited by Planet Money Executive Producer Alex Goldmark and fact-checked by Sofia Shchukina.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in
    Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJuly 17, 2024

    Rooftop solar's dark side

    Rooftop solar's dark side
    4.5 million households in the U.S. have solar panels on their homes. Most of those customers are happy with it - their electricity bills have just about disappeared, and it's great for the planet. But thousands and thousands of people are really disappointed with what they've been sold. Their panels are more expensive than they should be, and they say it is hard to get someone to come fix them when they break.

    It turns out this sometimes crummy customer experience is no accident. It ties back to how big, national solar companies built their businesses in the first place. To entice people to install expensive solar panels, companies developed new financing models which cut upfront costs for customers. And they deployed lots and lots of salespeople to grow their businesses. But in the drive to get more households installing solar panels, consumer costs went up and the focus seemed to shift away from making sure those panels actually worked. All of this left some consumers feeling like they've been sold a lie.

    On today's episode, we look into how the residential solar business model has turned some people sour on solar. And we'll try to figure out where the industry could go from here.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJuly 12, 2024

    Summer School 1: An Economic History of the World

    Summer School 1: An Economic History of the World
    Planet Money Summer School is back for eight weeks. Join as we travel back in time to find the origins of our economic way of life. Today we ask surprisingly hard question: What is money? And where did it come from? We travel to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean for the answer. Then we'll visit France in the year 1714, where a man on the lam tries to revolutionize the country's entire monetary system, and comes impressively close to the modern economy we have today, before it all falls apart. Check out our Summer School video cheat sheet on the origins of money at the Planet Money TikTok.

    The series is hosted by Robert Smith and produced by Audrey Dilling. Our project manager is Devin Mellor. This episode was edited by Planet Money Executive Producer Alex Goldmark and fact-checked by Sofia Shchukina.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in
    Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJuly 10, 2024

    How flying got so bad (or did it?)

    How flying got so bad (or did it?)
    We often hear that air travel is worse than it's ever been. Gone are the days when airplanes touted piano bars and meat carving stations — or even free meals. Instead we're crammed into tiny seats and fighting for overhead space.

    How did we get here? Most of the inconveniences we think about when we fly can be traced back to the period of time just after the federal government deregulated the airlines.

    When commercial air travel took off in the 1940s, the government regulated how many national airlines were allowed to exist, where they were allowed to fly, and how much they could charge for tickets. But the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 swept all these restrictions aside – and stopped providing subsidies for the air carriers. Airlines had to compete on ticket prices. That competition led to a more bare-bones flying experience, but it also made air travel a lot more affordable.

    In this episode, we trace the evolution of air travel over the past century to discover whether flying really is worse today — or if it's actually better than ever. We'll board a plane from the "golden age" of air travel, hear the history of one of the original budget airlines and meet feuding airline CEOs. Along the way, we'll see how economic forces have shaped the airline industry into what it is today, and what role we, as consumers, have played.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJuly 05, 2024

    The two companies driving the modern economy

    The two companies driving the modern economy
    At the core of most of the electronics we use today are some very tiny, very powerful chips. Semiconductor chips. And they are mighty: they help power our phones, laptops, and cars. They enable advances in healthcare, military systems, transportation, and clean energy. And they're also critical for artificial intelligence, providing the hardware needed to train complex machine learning.

    On today's episode, we're bringing you two stories from our daily show The Indicator, diving into the two most important semiconductor chip companies, which have transformed the industry over the past 40 years.

    First, we trace NVIDIA's journey from making niche graphics cards for gaming to making the most advanced chips in the world — and briefly becoming the world's biggest company. Next, we see how the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's decision to manufacture chips for its competition instead of itself flipped the entire industry on its head, and moved the vast majority of the world's advanced chip production to Taiwan.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episode about NVIDIA by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Always free at these links:
    Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the NPR app or anywhere you get podcasts.

    Find more Planet Money:
    Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Our weekly Newsletter.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJuly 03, 2024

    Do immigrants really take jobs and lower wages?

    Do immigrants really take jobs and lower wages?
    We wade into the heated debate over immigrants' impact on the labor market. When the number of workers in a city increases, does that take away jobs from the people who already live and work there? Does a surge of immigration hurt their wages?

    The debate within the field of economics often centers on Nobel-prize winner David Card's ground-breaking paper, "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market." Today on the show: the fight over that paper, and what it tells us about the debate over immigration.

    More Listening:
    - When The Boats Arrive
    - The Men on the Roof

    This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Jeff Guo. It was produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Annie Brown, and engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

    Help support
    Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy

    Planet Money
    enJune 29, 2024

    The Carriage Tax (Update)

    The Carriage Tax (Update)
    (Note: A version of this episode originally ran in 2019.)

    In 1794, George Washington decided to raise money for the federal government by taxing the rich. He did it by putting a tax on horse-drawn carriages.

    The carriage tax could be considered the first federal wealth tax of the United States. It led to a huge fight over the power to tax in the U.S. Constitution, a fight that continues today.

    Listen back to our 2019 episode: "Could A Wealth Tax Work?"

    Listen to The Indicator's 2023 episode: "Could SCOTUS outlaw wealth taxes?"

    This episode was hosted by Greg Rosalsky and Bryant Urstadt. It was originally produced by Nick Fountain and Liza Yeager, with help from Sarah Gonzalez. Today's update was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Molly Messick and our executive producer, Alex Goldmark.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJune 26, 2024

    The Vapes of Wrath

    The Vapes of Wrath
    When the vape brand Juul first hit the market back in 2015, e-cigarettes were in a kind of regulatory limbo. At the time, the rules that governed tobacco cigarettes did not explicitly apply to e-cigarettes. Then Juul blew up, fueled a public health crisis over teen vaping, and inspired a regulatory crackdown. But when the government finally stepped in to solve the problem of youth vaping, it may have actually made things worse.

    Today's episode is a collaboration with the new podcast series "Backfired: the Vaping Wars." You can listen to the full series at audible.com/Backfired.

    This episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Leon Neyfakh. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Jess Jiang with help from Annie Brown. It was fact checked by Sofia Shchukina and engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

    Help support
    Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJune 21, 2024

    Why is everyone talking about Musk's money?

    Why is everyone talking about Musk's money?
    We've lived amongst Elon Musk headlines for so long now that it's easy to forget just how much he sounds like a sci-fi character. He runs a space company and wants to colonize mars. He also runs a company that just implanted a computer chip into a human brain. And he believes there's a pretty high probability everything is a simulation and we are living inside of it.

    But the latest Elon Musk headline-grabbing drama is less something out of sci-fi, and more something pulled from HBO's "Succession."

    Elon Musk helped take Tesla from the brink of bankruptcy to one of the biggest companies in the world. And his compensation for that was an unprecedentedly large pay package that turned him into the richest person on Earth. But a judge made a decision about that pay package that set off a chain of events resulting in quite possibly the most expensive, highest stakes vote in publicly traded company history.

    The ensuing battle over Musk's compensation is not just another wild Elon tale. It's a lesson in how to motivate the people running the biggest companies that – like it or not – are shaping our world. It's a classic economics problem with a very 2024 twist.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJune 19, 2024

    What's with all the tiny soda cans? And other grocery store mysteries, solved.

    What's with all the tiny soda cans? And other grocery store mysteries, solved.
    There's a behind the scenes industry that helps big brands decide questions like: How big should a bag of chips be? What's the right size for a bottle of shampoo? And yes, also: When should a company do a little shrinkflation?

    From Cookie Monster to President Biden, everybody is complaining about shrinkflation these days. But when we asked the packaging and pricing experts, they told us that shrinkflation is just one move in a much larger, much weirder 4-D chess game.

    The name of that game is "price pack architecture." This is the idea that you shouldn't just sell your product in one or two sizes. You should sell your product in a whole range of different sizes, at a whole range of different price points. Over the past 15 years, price pack architecture has completely changed how products are marketed and sold in the United States.

    Today, we are going on a shopping cart ride-along with one of those price pack architects. She's going to pull back the curtain and show us why some products are getting larger while others are getting smaller, and tell us about the adorable little soda can that started it all.

    By the end of the episode, you'll never look at a grocery store the same way again.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    Planet Money
    enJune 14, 2024