In 1999, Senator John McCain introduced one of the most famous milker bills: a legislative threat to regulate the airlines with some new consumer protections. The protections would have been good for airline passengers as the industry began its slippery slope of poor customer service, excessive tarmac delays, and misleading advertising. McCain was expecting to run for president and soon his campaign was filled with $3 million in airline donations, led by United Airlines.
McCain and the CEO of United Airlines soon announced jointly the dropping of the bill, stating that after three days of intense negotiations the airline industry would be much better off regulating themselves. This is not what happened within the industry. Instead, the airlines got worse and worse, and more arrogant toward passengers until a rights group held a strand in on the DC mall, asking the senators and congressmen who sold out airline passengers in 1999 to come on down and sit in a cramped tent for 6 hours pretending they, too, were stranded on the tarmac. Not one single politician agreed to sit in the strand in tent, but a few spoke and voters responded. Finally, a law was passed limiting tarmac delays.
Every time I fly, I think of John McCain and how he professed his phony concerns about airline passengers only to have made them pawns in a game of fear based fund raising. How many hours of your life have you donated to John McCain's funding by putting up with poor airline service?