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Quick Hits: Airlines Keep Folding


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Lately, airlines seem to be going under at the rate of one a day.

First Aloha Airlines declared bankruptcy, then ATA went Chapter 11 (again). Yesterday, low-fare carrier Skybus closed its doors.

Those still in business aren't bothering to fly much. Southwest (LUV), Delta (DAL) and United (UAL) have all grounded planes on safety concerns. Even when they do manage to take off, travelers are tiring of chronic delays and poor service.

The Wall Street Journal reports consumers could previously count on competing airlines to step in and honor tickets issued by a bankrupt carrier. In its continuing attempt to strip consumers of their rights, Congress let government protection for travelers expire last year. Airlines can now abandon stranded travelers at will.

Choosing an airline was once predicated on price and service. Today, the decision can hinge on whether the carrier will ever get off the ground. The slow, cramped, hot, smelly Greyhound bus (what veterans of the game call "ridin' the dog") grows more inviting by the day.
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