I came to California on Virgin America flight from NYC yesterday. It was my first flight with this new low-cost airline and I was impressed by the service: leather seats; entertainment system that allows passengers to order food, watch one of 25 movies or satellite television, play video games or send instant messages to other passengers. And the mood lighting is really cool:
A casual traveler may wonder why there is not more airlines like Virgin America and here is why:
Under the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, Congress required that U.S. citizens own or control at least 75 percent of the voting interests of U.S. airlines. This standard has remained the same since then.
Current U.S. law defines a “citizen of the United States” as an individual U.S. citizen, a partnership whose members are U.S. citizens, or a corporation or association organized under U.S. law where at least 75 percent of the voting interest is owned and controlled by U.S. citizens. The law also specifies that the president, as well as at least two-thirds of the Board of Directors of the corporation, must be U.S. citizens. That is, the law has been construed as requiring actual control of the enterprise to rest with U.S. citizens.
I am sure they did not know anything about globalization back in 1938 but these requirements only help to cement the dire state of American airline industry today…