You may have noticed recent news reports about Congressional unhappiness over the American Airlines/US Airways merger. Some suggested that this grousing – over the possible loss of non-stop flights between representatives’ districts and Washington’s Reagan Airport – is nothing more than political whining over personal inconvenience. That could be part of it, but not all.

There is genuine concern about a potential loss of routes to and from smaller cities, and maybe even higher airfares – what one senator called “the creep of consolidation that threatens consumers” – but these worries are nothing new.