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I hardly need to tell you that flying these days is a miserable experience. In fact, it’s so miserable that it’s tempting to suspect that the suffering is deliberate — that airlines are making us miserable as part of a calculated strategy to extort more money from us.

Tim Wu has given in to that temptation. In an article at the New Yorker, he argues that everything we hate about modern air travel — the tiny seats, the baggage fees, the exorbitant cost to change flights — is the result of a vast, social-welfare-destroying scheme to make us miserable in order to make us pay the airlines to palliate the suffering they’ve caused us.

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