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Bogus flying rights

Nice piece by fellow blogger Patrick Crozier on Tuesday about the tale of a group of passengers using low-cost British airline Easyjet who refused to leave a plane and make way for a different set of customers.

It centres around the wrong-headed idea that a consumer has a “right” to something beyond the specific contents of a contracted service, such as a flight taking one from A to B at a set time. Enforcing such “rights” via government intervention will inevitably mean higher costs on the rest of us. If folk want to be able to fly at flexible times, then that entails a higher cost, since airlines can’t be sure exactly when their planes will be full.

The price mechanism is a great way to let consumers and providers balance the pros and cons of flexibility versus cost. I should know. I just booked a return flight to San Francisco from London on the Web for just 450 pounds. It is non-refundable and requires me to fly at a set time. If I turn up late and bawl about my “rights”, I’d rightly be regarded as a fool.

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