CAB's half-step

IT'S a bit like the child's game, Mother, May I. What was needed was a giant step forward. But what the Civil Aeronautics Board permitted was a relative baby step.

Still, it was some progress, banning all smoking on small planes with no more than 30 seats. The CAB had been asked to ban smoking on all flights that last less than two hours, which would have included some 85 percent of all commercial flights.

Needed now is to see that gains in rights of nonsmoking air travelers are not wiped out by the year-end dissolution of the CAB. Congress needs to act to ensure that the CAB's rules are retained beyond the life of the agency itself.

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