Some have argued that we have entered the Golden Age of Travel, with more of the world open to travelers today than ever before and our ability to go anywhere (relatively cheaply and safely) beyond compare. But a traveler can still dream, right?
The DOT operates at the "will" of the president. If the next president has a pro-airline leaning, the DOT's time frames can change in a heartbeat and we could be looking at 10 hours on the tarmac instead of three for domestic flights and 14 for international flights.
For decades, the commercial airlines have successfully managed to convince the DOT that they should police themselves when it comes to how they treat passengers--essentially preventing any meaningful reforms.