Capitol gains

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Isn't the legislative process a wondrous thing when it works in your favor? It worked for the travel industry last week on Capitol Hill.

Three Senators, two Democrats and one Republican, pulled a slick move by tacking a pair of toothy amendments on to a transportation appropriations bill during floor debate: one on mandatory disclosure of overbooked flights and the other requiring carriers to make lowest-fare tickets available to consumers.

The timing -- this was last Wednesday, the same day the airlines released their own tepid customer service plans -- was impeccable. The airline lobby was caught with its pants at half-mast. The Senate, apparently swayed by a pair of studies condemning the airlines' self-imposed reforms, took a big bite out the airlines' exposed backsides by voting unanimously for the bill.

Ain't Democracy grand?

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