Despite having no room to grow, Reagan National is becoming a mini-hub and hosting bigger planes, more passengers and additional luggage. Yet it lacks the space to expand, to say nothing of the money needed for improvements. National faces a particular set of challenges, since the federal government determines how many flights are allowed there and where they go.
The problems faced at National are unique in some ways, but they do speak to a broader issue facing U.S. aviation: Air travel is expected to grow by 265 million passengers in the next dozen years, doubling passenger traffic at commercial airports and requiring billions of dollars to keep these planes and passengers moving. National and other airports – including Chicago’s Midway, New York’s LaGuardia and Boston’s Logan -- are having problems finding land for expansion, but even those with space are having trouble finding the cash. If many airports can’t get much larger, what else can they do to improve the flying experience?
Among flyers, frequent complaints include airlines’ fees, delayed flights, cramped seats and airport security measures. The Transportation Security Administration has introduced a program at National to speed up security, and the Department of Transportation instituted rules on airline fees, but the consensus among many passengers remains: Flying can be a pain.
So what should be done to improve air travel? We want to hear your ideas for what airports, airlines, regulators or flyers themselves should do to make things better.
We invite you to share your specific solutions below. (Please include just one solution per post. That makes it easier for other readers to vote for individual ideas.)
You can also vote on other readers’ ideas and leave your thoughts in the comments of each post.