As Congress takes up a bill to renew funding of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the controversial plan from Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania, to privatize U.S. air traffic control promises to be a sticking point. One thing that Congress clearly does not need is an additional source of delay in doing its normal business, given the pressing problems of hurricane relief, passage of a budget, and other legislative tasks.

The plan’s boosters point to the example of other countries that have undertaken similar reorganizations, including Great Britain.

If you think airline service in the United States is terrible, apparently privatization in European countries has not spared their passengers from the same grief. Complaints from travelers in Europe about flight delays and unpleasant conditions in the air and in airport terminals would be familiar to U.S. travelers. On Aug, 7, the British Independent ran a story headlined “Every summer, airports and everyone connected with air travel decide to inflict as much misery as possible on customers — and no one is prepared to take the blame.”

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