Rick Larsen

United CEO, airline execs face latest group of unhappy customers: Congress

Legislators who grilled executives from some of the nation's largest airlines Tuesday — an event precipitated by United Airlines' passenger-dragging incident last month — sounded like any other group of aggrieved passengers wondering why flying so often seems so unpleasant.

They complained about canceled flights and checked bag fees. They questioned why some airlines charge hefty change fees and others do not. They bemoaned airlines' practice of selling more tickets than there are seats on planes.

The difference between them and the general flying public: Congress has the power to force change through industry regulation, and legislators warned they may use that power if...