Airline passengers are people, not cargo

I’ve been stuck in a plane for an hour or longer, waiting for takeoff, and it wasn’t any fun. The fact that airlines have the legal power to keep you on that plane, on the runway, within sight of the terminal, for four, five six or nine hours if it suits their needs is just ridiculous. If you complain too loudly, they have you arrested.

That has to change, but it seems unlikely anytime soon.

From a press release from FlyersRights.org:

“Legislation scheduled to come before the House of Representatives this week would let commercial airlines themselves decide how long to force passengers to remain in their aircraft on the tarmac, according to Kate Hanni, Executive Director of FlyersRights.org, America’s largest consumer organization representing airline passengers.

“The Federal Aviation Administration bill is cleared for takeoff, but passengers have been left at the gate,” charged Hanni, who is concerned that “the bill gives the airlines the legal authority to keep us stranded on the tarmac for as long as they want.”

“Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-sponsored legislation to impose a 3-hour limit on tarmac delays when they were in Congress, but House leaders didn’t get the memo. Their bill does force airlines to at least have adequate food and water on board should a tarmac stranding occur, but that’s small comfort when you’re sitting in an economy-class seat for 7, 8, or even 9 hours — and that’s exactly what this legislation lets the airlines do.”

Hanni, who founded FlyersRights.org after she herself was stranded on an American Airlines flight from San Francisco to Dallas in 2006, said “there is nothing so frustrating as to be held hostage inside a locked tube for over 9 hours on the ground in an economy seat.”

“The least Congress should do is to mandate a ‘bright line standard’ requiring airlines to allow passengers off the aircraft and back into the relative comfort of the terminal after 3 hours.”

Amen, sister, amen. As the release points out, the Canadian Parliament is considering a law imposing a one-hour maximum wait. In response, “four leading Canadian commercial airlines have voluntarily agreed to self-impose a 90-minute limit, Hanni said.”

So a three-hour limit hardly seems extreme.

118 comments Add your comment

I Report :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 20th, 2009
8:36 am

Oh good, a government take over of the airline industry.

In 1913, for instance, thinking it was being overcharged by the steel companies for armor plate for warships, the federal government decided to build its own plant. It estimated that a plant with a 10,000-ton annual capacity could produce armor plate for only 70% of what the steel companies charged.

When the plant was finally finished, however — three years after World War I had ended — it was millions over budget and able to produce armor plate only at twice what the steel companies charged. It produced one batch and then shut down, never to reopen.-WSJ

The grass is always greener on the other side, at least until you get to the other side, then it’s greener back where you were before, so you go back, and then the grass looks greener over yonder, liberalism, insaaaaaaaannnnnity.

eeewwww.

ty webb

May 20th, 2009
8:43 am

I agree with the Canucks. It shouldn’t be longer than an hour.

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
8:50 am

Well, I think this is one scenario where the free market will find a way to deal with it. Irate former customers and a competitor advertising no such frustrating waits along with plenty of advertisements, nasty e-mails, etc., should do the trick.

Bud Wiser

May 20th, 2009
8:51 am

Obozo spreads his wings all over the country, and no, we don’t like the way he flies. Adored by the sycophant and non-functional media and the slobbering masses, he pushes crap down the throat of America on a daily basis. Look at the stat sheets – the airlines have been bleeding billions for over a decade now, and that is when they are being run allegedly by airline people. And the federal government is on its way to bleeding trillions (that’s with a T), and someone wants them to take over? Puhleeze.

BTW, anyone notice the new taxes coming every day as well? Obozo wants to allow the credit card companies to be able now to start charging interest against YOUR borrowing from the moment your card is swiped. Of course, the revenue generated is going back to the fed to pay back the billions sent out in TARP and elsewhere, so even the basic village idiot democrat should be able to see this is nothing more than an additional tax. And this is from the liar, Mr “Hope and Change”, saying still that 95% of Americans will pay lower taxes?

If you do not feel totally stupid and duped by now, then there is no hope for you. Dr Kervorkian is out of prison, give him a call.

Functional brain Americans will continue to fight this socialized takeover of our country. The rest of you go crawl back under your rocks, or just sit at home and watch those ‘Good Times’ reruns.

ByteMe

May 20th, 2009
8:56 am

People need to stop acting like penned sheep in these circumstances and risk arrest by having a mass fake epileptic fit at the 90-minute mark. If everyone on the plane does it, the CDC will get involved and claim it’s a health risk to keep people trapped in a hollow aluminum tube with only Dasani water and pretzels.

Paul

May 20th, 2009
8:56 am

Good luck. I’m leaving tomorrow. Only consolation is it’s a direct flight so the opportunities to get hosed are reduced.

And thanks for one more example where the Party of the Common Man complains loud and long about an issue… but fails to pass legislation to correct the problem or to keep a bad situation from happening again.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
8:57 am

So a three-hour limit hardly seems extreme.

Now now, Jay. Forcing our Godly Free Innerprize job-providers to be even half as humane as those Crypto-Commies to the North is obviously going to break the back of the airline industry.

Why do you hate our way of life?

Redneck Convert

May 20th, 2009
8:57 am

Well, I see they found this little critter they claim is the link between us and monkeys. I expect if they look a little harder they’ll find the mud pit where God made Adam and maybe a piece of the rib God used to make Eve. They might could even find the stump of the apple tree where Satan tempted Eve and maybe a part of the bones of the snake he used for a disguise. There’s so much Truth in the Bible story of how humans got here on earth. It figures the first wife would sneak away from her husband and go raid the Frigidaire and get in trouble. She was probly counting on coming back and whining to Adam about how much weight she was gaining and how she didn’t hardly eat nothing and how everything she touched turned to fat.

Anyhow, that’s the kind of science I want schools to teach the kids. We don’t need a bunch of pinheads in white coats in a lab to explain how things are. If we prayed hard enough maybe God would send back Oral Roberts or maybe Bennie Hinn as a pinch hitter to say Heal! and we wouldn’t need hospitles and doctors and all that stuff. And the only place we’re going to get that kind of science is private Christian schools.

Anyways, there’s a easy way to deal with the problem of flying. Just don’t do it. I don’t need to be trapped in a plane for hours or put next to a guy in a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt with his nekkid hairy feet in sandals and sticking out. If you can’t drive your truck to a place, just don’t go there. I been thinking about a vacation to California or maybe Hawaii but I plan to drive there. You won’t see me on a plane. If God had of wanted us to fly, you would of been born with little wings on your back.

Have a good day everybody.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
8:59 am

trapped in a hollow aluminum tube with only Dasani water and pretzels.

if you’re lucky.

TW

May 20th, 2009
9:01 am

Can’t imagine the CIA lying.

The flawless performance leading up to 9/11, and then the WMD abortion really serve to lock up their crediblity…flawless…

geez

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
9:04 am

Let’s get the government off the backs of airlines (as long as I’m not lined up with one of their flight paths) and make our GOPers a little happier. Let’s see, no rules or regulations — the GOP way. No more government-mandated inspections of people or baggage or anything. No more FAA. No more government involvement in air traffic control. No more government rules regarding the inspection of airplanes. Don’t worry about those little cracks — they’re hardly visible. A little paint will cover them up. Fly the friendly skies of Andy’s Airways. Shudder!!!!

georgian by birth floridian because I'm lucky

May 20th, 2009
9:04 am

Can’t imagine a grown up who thought we won the Alamo, but stuff happens. :)

RW-(the original)

May 20th, 2009
9:07 am

Why is the answer always government intervention? There couldn’t be a much more perfect scenario where free market forces would provide a better fix. If airline A says stfd and stfu while airline B says you won’t ever be trapped on our planes for more than a reasonable time without ample compensation airline A will be soon be selling what’s left of its fleet to airline B.

Off to the forest. See y’all upstairs later.

Davo

May 20th, 2009
9:07 am

Next column by Bookman…

‘What’s the Govt going to do about my stinky butt?’

Grow a pair why don’t ya.

ByteMe

May 20th, 2009
9:08 am

DBG: I’m on a flight tonight about 9 pm that’s supposed to be 4 1/2 hours long and I might get Dasani and pretzels… but they’ll happily sell me food on it! As Andy says: ewwwwww…..

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
9:10 am

‘What’s the Govt going to do about my stinky butt?’

What they always do. Brown nose right before election time.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 20th, 2009
9:17 am

How long have passengers been complaining about this? YEARS.

If “free market” forces were going to solve the problem, should not the problem have been solved by now?

Regulate the damn airlines. Now.

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
9:17 am

I was thinking about starting up a company that makes meals, for airline passengers, that can be purchased from vending machines or WalMart, etc. They’re ultra light weight and compact. Just add water to the collapsed bottle of de-hydrated Desani (natural dried fruit flavors available for an added charge), for instance, and enjoy a refreshing drink any time.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
9:25 am

If airline A says stfd and stfu

Such vulgarity!

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
9:27 am

We should have high speed rail for at least the short trips. Making those stupid trips by plane from Atlanta to Birmingham, for example, for a two-hour meeting was crazy. I think we need tunnels with passenger ‘cars’ that move using air flow — like the tubes used in the drive-throughs at banks. Whoosh!

TW

May 20th, 2009
9:28 am

“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that current Speaker Nancy Pelosi should resign, saying the California Democrat had destroyed her credibility by saying the CIA has repeatedly misled Congress.”

And speaking of crediblity…

Doggone/GA

May 20th, 2009
9:32 am

I’ve NEVER had a problem with being stuck on an airplane. Never. Of course, I never fly either.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

May 20th, 2009
9:42 am

Jay, your new, more lenient filter wrongfully snared me – what word am I using that reduse my work to a 50% post rate?

Red

May 20th, 2009
9:47 am

By now, we should have already had the tired old conservative argument affirmed: get a good job and fly first class and you won’t need to worry about being stuck on the tarmac for 9 hours.

So now that ‘hearts have been broken’ so to speak, I’m with Doggone-I never fly anymore. Used to be a Gold Medallion flyer with Delta, but now that the TSA has a scanner that lets them see your naughty parts, I refuse to submit.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
9:47 am

Obviously, if US carriers were to voluntarily agree to such a standard without having it mandated by law that works too. There are a lot of sticks that the Feds could use to effect this change.

We haven’t had the little chat about taxing frequent flier mile rewards from business travel as income lately, for instance.

Bosch

May 20th, 2009
9:49 am

I want to live in RW’s world where everything works out and nothing bad ever happens – and unicorns run around in my yard.

Bosch

May 20th, 2009
9:50 am

Red,

I don’t have a problem with such a scanner – they wanna see my naughty parts – go for it. I’ll walk through there naked without the scanner if they want me too.

Midori

May 20th, 2009
9:50 am

TW,

check out the putz’s appearance on The Daily Show last night: http://www.thedailyshow.com/

Bosch

May 20th, 2009
9:51 am

DB,

“We haven’t had the little chat about taxing frequent flier mile rewards from business travel as income lately, for instance”

Shut up!!!

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
9:54 am

“By now, we should have already had the tired old conservative argument affirmed: get a good job and fly in a corporate jet and you won’t need to worry about being stuck on the tarmac for 9 hours.”

Fixed your typo.

By the way, the resident conservatives appear to be slipping. Used to be whenever airplanes were mentioned they’d be ready with the usual Pelosi Jet urban legends.

sd

May 20th, 2009
9:59 am

I start to panic if we sit on the tarmac more than 10 minutes. I can’t imagine being trapped in that plane for hours upon hours.

I might freak out and get arrested to be honest.

I feel like if a passenger asks to get off that plane and the airline knows that it will be more than 30 minutes before take off, they should let the passenger off. Its false imprisonment to keep someone against their will.

godless heathen

May 20th, 2009
10:00 am

I’m all for less government regulation, but the reason that the FAA should smack down the airlines on this issue is because the government is really the entity that won’t let you off the d*mn plane. It’s a crime to get off or to raise hell about it If it weren’t a crime, when you got tired of waiting, you could say “Scwu it, I’m outta here.” Pop that EE and slide down off the wing,

Red

May 20th, 2009
10:00 am

Cheers to ya DB, I’m just too plebian to suppose on such a grand scale.

cranky old man

May 20th, 2009
10:02 am

I work for an airline, and I don’t think going back to the gate after 3 hours is necessarily an unreasonable expectation. There are a few things to bear in mind, however:

1. At a major airport where take-offs have been delayed, but landings have continued for a couple of hours, there may not be enough gates available to accomodate this rule. While it’s possible to roll out stairs and disembark on the tarmac, this creates a new set of headaches, including safety issues.

2. Forcing a plane back to the gate after 3 hours will probably delay that flight for several additional hours, when it might have actually been another 30-60 minutes from take-off. In many cases, it can cause a complete cancellation due to the crew coming up against their mandatory rest requirements.

3. One major airport delaying or cancelling flights more than absolutely necessary will cause a massive domino effect throughout the country, as each of these planes will now be out of position to make its next scheduled flight.

Bosch

May 20th, 2009
10:03 am

Is it still a rule when flying into National Airport at DC (or is that Ronald Reagan Airport) that you can’t stand up or get out of your seat 30 minutes before landing or taking off?

TW

May 20th, 2009
10:04 am

Thanks, Mid – I think the DNC is paying him :)

Yes, we need More Laws

May 20th, 2009
10:04 am

Do we really need YET ANOTHER law for something the paying public and easily influence? If the airlines set the rules themselves and public complains, the are more likely to change and extremely more likely to change quickly. I’m sure it’s aim of all the “Evil” corporate airlines to hold you against your will. Quit your b!t**** and vote with your dollars.

El Jefe

May 20th, 2009
10:08 am

Why is it that only 2 sectors of our economy treat the customer like dirt?

Airlines and new car sales

Both charge whatever they want, same plane, same flight, 15 different prices for the same coach seat.

Send ten folks in to buy a car and you will find 10 differnt prices for the same make and model.

Out of this mess, we have two sectors that try to work outside capitalism, and both are failing.

Hmm, this might be a trend as to how the government is being run.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:08 am

I’ve had to start flying quite a bit more for work, and I’ve found why you pay for business or first class and it has nothing to do with the actual service or flight. It has everything to do with sitting on the tarmac for 3 hours while a ground stop is in effect for Toledo, when you are at LaGuardia flying to Miami. I’ve found these delays are quite common, with the average being about an hour. I can imagine being in a coach seat for 90 minutes extra would be really intolerable.

I’m lucky my organization still springs for Business/First, but quite frankly, it’s hit or miss on the service aspect; I just do it for the legroom.

Joey

May 20th, 2009
10:09 am

The carbon footprint of the Air Transportation Industy is reprehensible. In order to save Earth we must adopt new regulations for airlines as well as private air transportation.
* No flight may load passengers until tickets sales equal 80% of the plane capacity. Combine flights if necessary. (Why can’t 45 Air Tran passengers to Detroit be carried by the half empty Delta plane that leaves 22 minutes later? Saves fuel, saves time. Income is the same so even the flight crew could be paid. For connections and continuing flights; we have computers. It can be figured out.)
* If the time between gate departure and take-off will be more than 30 minutes, the flight must be rescheduled at another time. Ideally it would be an off-peak time. We must end the grid-lock at our airports.

All I have time for now.
This pollution from air traffic is destroying Earth.

Bosch

May 20th, 2009
10:09 am

“If the airlines set the rules themselves and public complains, the are more likely to change and extremely more likely to change quickly”

What frakkin’ planet do these people live on? Not Earth.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
10:10 am

2. Forcing a plane back to the gate after 3 hours will probably delay that flight for several additional hours, when it might have actually been another 30-60 minutes from take-off. In many cases, it can cause a complete cancellation due to the crew coming up against their mandatory rest requirements.

If this is an insurmountable issue due to real-life congestion, perhaps some kind of mandatory refunding mechanism (sliding scale based on >3 hr wait; say, would be an alternative? Just thinking out loud.

And before the Ayn-Fanboys start freaking, duh, if you can get industry to do this voluntarily that’s swell.

Nancy Pelosi

May 20th, 2009
10:11 am

What’s it like to fly in a commercial airplane?

Please answer in 20 words or less. With all of my limo riding, bob-bon eating and pedicures, I don’t have much time for reading responses from the plebes.

md

May 20th, 2009
10:11 am

For many of the big airlines, its too many planes and no where to put them. Your plane is not the only one flying around out there, its a big domino effect usually created by mother nature and the airlines have no control. Like atl “slinky” traffic, you stop on the freeway because grandma changed lanes 2 hours before. For every plane sitting on the ground, there are even more in the air that have to come down before they fall out of the sky. It is not an easy solution.

Having said all that, there should be a time limit, but the airlines are afraid of losing their place in line when they bring the plane back to the gate, then you sit in the terminal for 2 days.

And I hope many of you know you can take your own food onboard. We always pack snacks in a carry on, make sandwichs for longer flights, or hit the Chic-fil-a or burger doodle on the way to the gate and take it with for consumption a little while later. Beats the heck out of the airline snacks and a lot cheaper too.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:14 am

Yes, we need More Laws.

“If the airlines set the rules themselves and public complains, the are more likely to change and extremely more likely to change quickly.”

That really cracked me up. You obviously do not fly often. Deregulation has done almost exactly the opposite of its intention. Yes, fares are lower, but airlines have an almost monopolistic grip on most hubs, and routes. Try flying from Atlanta to Omaha. A 30-day advanced coach ticket is about $1300. You can fly another airline for about $800 less, but it takes you about 17 hours to get there, because of connections.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:18 am

Nancy Pelosi,

The fact you doesn’t fly commercial doesn’t have anything to do with fact that you are 2nd in line of Presidential succession does it?

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:19 am

“The fact you doesn’t”

Oh, my English teacher would be shaking her head right now!

chuck

May 20th, 2009
10:20 am

Why would ANYBODY fly to B’ham from ATL? That’s crazy. It takes longer to find a place to park and go through security than it does to drive to Birmingham.

Nancy Pelosi

May 20th, 2009
10:21 am

jewCB writes: “Try flying from Atlanta to Omaha. A 30-day advanced coach ticket is about $1300.”

Does this include the penalty for wanting to fly to Omaha? Or is that self-imposed by the boredom tax in Omaha?

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:22 am

Joey,

Air transport is about 1.6% of worldwide GHG emissions and about 3.3% of US GHG emission. Your commute to work accounts for more than triple that amount.

Nancy Pelosi

May 20th, 2009
10:23 am

jewCB queries: “The fact you doesn’t fly commercial doesn’t have anything to do with fact that you are 2nd in line of Presidential succession does it?”

Is this a question, incoherent babbling, or possibly just plain delicious crazy-talk?

Road Scholar

May 20th, 2009
10:23 am

Budwiser: “…the credit card companies to be able now to start charging interest against YOUR borrowing from the moment your card is swiped. ” Well the last time I checked, when you take out a loan, the interest starts immediately. Why not with a credit card? If you pay the balance in full, no interest charge. Why not?

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:25 am

Joey,

“No flight may load passengers until tickets sales equal 80% of the plane capacity. Combine flights if necessary”

You must not have flown recently. I’ve not been on one flight in the past 6 months that was not at least 95% full.

“(Why can’t 45 Air Tran passengers to Detroit be carried by the half empty Delta plane that leaves 22 minutes later? Saves fuel, saves time. Income is the same so even the flight crew could be paid. For connections and continuing flights; we have computers. It can be figured out.)”

Because they are different companies, and may have to position the aircraft in certain area, even if the flight is empty, because the next flight might be full.

TW

May 20th, 2009
10:27 am

Not to mention flying over hurricane torn states a week later…or did ‘w’ pay for that himself, being that he saw it as entertainment…

md

May 20th, 2009
10:27 am

“but airlines have an almost monopolistic grip on most hubs, and routes”

There are no restrictions on routes. Each and every airline has the option of flying between whatever 2 points they choose within the US. Gate space is sometimes a problem, but most cities will work with any airline as competition is good for them.

As for regulation – check out the “nationalized” carriers in Europe, big tax eaters. Not the solution.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:27 am

Nancy Pelosi,

No just pointing out that the 2nd in line of Presidential succession is afforded appropriate security. Flying commercial would be a security risk.

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
10:27 am

Other residents of Dawson, Pickens, and Forsyth Counties remember the days of the red sky, in 1959, which many at first believed to be the end of the world but later attributed to GNAL operations.
During this time, the sky in the vicinity was a deep crimson color, and some families gathered inside to pray, fearing the Apocalypse. Was this phenomenon related to operations at the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory? No one knows for sure, and though June 1959 does go down on record as the period of most acute irradiation of the forest, those who remember the red sky do not remember dates for possible correlation.
It is, however, unlikely because any radiation emitted from the Dawson reactor would not have been visible to the naked eye.
Many mysteries still remain regarding the operation of the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory, as its livelihood was shrouded in the necessity of government secrecy.

Well, they would not have needed to wait for re-fueling if those nuclear planes had worked out.

Bosch

May 20th, 2009
10:30 am

jewcowboy @ 10:14,

yes, they obviously do not live here in our world – I want to live in their world with the unicorns.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:32 am

Nancy Pelosi,

I think it does include the boredom tax.

Billy Bob

May 20th, 2009
10:34 am

chuck

May 20th, 2009
10:38 am

jewcowboy,

I just searched Omaha flights on Delta and found a non-stop for about $930. A 1-stop flight that was about 5 hrs. total was only $754.

godless heathen

May 20th, 2009
10:41 am

Taxpayer,

Where’d did the passage about the GNAL come from. I’ve always been interested in learning more about it.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:43 am

md,

“There are no restrictions on routes. Each and every airline has the option of flying between whatever 2 points they choose within the US.”

The restrictions are self-imposed by the airlines themselves in order to maximize profit. Why enter a market where you have to compete and have price wars when you can sit back and divvy up the routes between the major carriers? Look at the major carriers and the hub and routes they have. You can see they really do not compete on any major level. The only ones really competing are the airlines like AirTran, Southwest and JetBlue.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:45 am

chuck,

This was 2 months ago, but it does make my point. You do realize you can fly to Europe for $500.

N.J,

May 20th, 2009
10:50 am

Tha’s the free market for you. Other nations recognize the absolute necessity of both air travel and mass transit and so subsidize air travel and land based mass transit like trains and buses, but here in the United States, most of the cost rests with the consumers, and like Jefferson said, if you allow people or groups of people to become too wealthy, or allow groups of people to pool their wealth in the form of corporations, they will use that wealth to control government in their own advantage, allowing government to create regulations that favor them and place smaller businesses and consumers at a disadvantage. There is no way of getting around this and that is what “No taxation without representation” was all about. The intent was not merely to prevent taxation or to lower it, but to use taxation in such a way that would allow every citizens vote to count as much as any others, for every person’s voice to have an equal portion of the government’s ear, so to speak.

The way thing work in Europe, all I have to do to get to the Spanish Riviera is to take an inexpensive flight to London from Atlanta, and then purchase a 30 pound scheduled flight on any regularly scheduled airline to Marbella. The total would cost me half of what purchasing the same one stop flight in the United States, but I would be traveling on the exact same planes. The usual case is that Americans bear the costs that allow the British lower airfares.

lovelyliz

May 20th, 2009
10:50 am

As for on-time departures………..

As soon as the plane pulls away from the gate they have officially “departed” even if they sit on the tarmac for 3 hours. Make the departure time count only once the plane is in the air and arrival only once they’ve started to let passengers off the plane. Post these statistics and then we can let the market decide.

The problem with free market is that we have no real way of knowing. The airlines and their high $$$$ lobbyist spend a lot of time, effort and money keeping the passengers in the dark. Once you think you have it figured out and buy a ticket on one airline, all of a sudden you are, oops, a victim of sharing which makes the airline you buy the ticket from almost meaningless.

You can have the hardest working gate agents, flight attendant, crews, pilots and mechanics, but they can’t do anything when management and others over book, overschedule and cut corners.

Bud Wiser

May 20th, 2009
10:51 am

My favorite announcement to the passengers when I flew for Atlanta’s home-town airline went something like this:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, could I have your attention please? I have both bad news and good news for you about our delay; the bad news is, we shall be here on the taxiway for another hour before being allowed to takeoff; the good news is that I get paid by the minute.

So sit back, relax, and try not to stress out.”

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
10:52 am

Taxpayer,

Where’d did the passage about the GNAL come from. I’ve always been interested in learning more about it.

There are bits and pieces scattered about on the topic. Here’s a little.

md

May 20th, 2009
10:53 am

Jew,

Yes, and you regulate it and they won’t make any money (aren’t now) and they go out of business and you are back to where you started. Regulation doesn’t equal lower fares. Look at your utilities- regulated and increasing on a yearly basis. Regulation only means “set” fares, not necessarily low fares.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
10:54 am

md,

“For many of the big airlines, its too many planes and no where to put them”

That’s why I like variable landing fees for peak time slots, like the ones proposed by the DOT for NY. Make it more expensive to land or takeoff at a desirable time and the airline can pass the extra cost to the passengers on those flights. It would cut back on demand for those flights and spread the flights around.

The airlines and the ATA are vehemently opposed to congestion pricing saying they make the airlines less competitive and fight it every step of the way.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 20th, 2009
10:55 am

Nancy, I understand that the former Speaker Newt has lost whatever was left of his mind.

Since he’s a House alum, perhaps you know–is institutionalization for mental illness covered in his healthcare plan?

md

May 20th, 2009
11:00 am

European airlines are subsidized and receive many tax credits. Fares may be cheap, but someone is paying for it somewhere. No different than corporate taxes. We pay them one way or the other, they come from our pocket.

AmVet

May 20th, 2009
11:03 am

Good morning all,

md, did you live in Georgia when they “de-regulated” natural gas and cable TV?

md

May 20th, 2009
11:03 am

Jew,

“It would cut back on demand for those flights and spread the flights around.”

More like become the business man special as corps continue to pay the high prices because they write it off. Then we pay through lost taxes on profits.

Any way you cut it, we pay it.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:04 am

md,

“Regulation doesn’t equal lower fares.”

I agree, and pointed that out at 10.14. However, regulation would stop the airlines from bleeding themselves in price wars, though they have effectively stopped that by not competing on the same routes. Now it is small airlines that force prices down.

I used to fly into Pensacola Florida in the late 90’s on a regular basis. When Delta was the only airline flying into the airport, the fare was about $700 for a RT 30-day coach ticket. When Air Tran started flying into it, the fare for both airlines dropped to $150. Air traffic increased and it is a profitable route for both airlines. That is what deregulation should have done.

However, deregulation, in most cases, has done the opposite. Like I said look at the major carriers. They are effectively flying the same routes they did before deregulation, with little or no overlap except for the smaller carriers.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:07 am

md,

“More like become the business man special as corps continue to pay the high prices because they write it off”

Isn’t that free market capitalism?

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:10 am

md,

“Then we pay through lost taxes on profits.”

How? There would be more taxes because the flights would cost more, and flights that had been scheduled during peak times would be rescheduled for off-peak times. No lost flights, just re-arranged flight times.

The airlines do not like this, because they would have to have staff times more spread out, instead of clumped together. 1 gate agent would handle only 1 or 2 flights vs. 7 – 10.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:12 am

md,

“European airlines are subsidized and receive many tax credits.”

So do ours, even if most of it is done indirectly.

N.J,

May 20th, 2009
11:13 am

“There are no restrictions on routes. Each and every airline has the option of flying between whatever 2 points they choose within the US.”

Another result of unregulated free markets. Businesses become large enough to have the money to influence legislation. Even if the legislators dont take a dime from them, the companies have all the resources to “explain” or market their point of view to Congress and the White House, while the consumers really have no such corporate department with a high budget to make sure the government hears their point of view and how this would adversely effect them. The American idea of the free market is to give the public limited choices and then they have fewer alternatives.

Most of us have to own cars, which spend 95 percent of their jobs not doing what their name autoMOBILE implies. Moving. Most of that time is spent parked, waiting for the few times a day, or in some cases, a week, that their owner will actually drive it.

Except for the large cities, mass transit is not an option, there is no choice “Do I use a vehicle often enough to warrant buying one” or “should I take the train, or fly” The total route time from downtown New York to Downtown Washington DC is about exactly the same train or flight, and takes half the time that the regular train or airplane takes if you use the ACELA line, but except for that single rail corridor that choice does not exist here, but it does in Europe. Europeans have real choice in their mode of transportation. Fly, take the train, a bus, or drive. Except for subway lines, most of which are very old and in the largest cities, there is little choice in the U.S.

The private sector does a piss poor job in areas in which must operate a large scale. Transportation, health, etc. There are few nations that look at the American health care system and say “lets copy it” because of any benefits they can see in the system. Same thing goes with our limited choices in transportation. The idea of a “free market” is destroyed by the wealth that “free market” creates. This became obvious within a few decades of the industrial revolution in the United States. Within twenty years, the privatized mass transit systems in cities like New York were abandoned by their owners as being “unprofitable” because of deals they themselves made with the city governments. They were allowed unlimited access to build what they wanted, where they wanted, in exchange for promising to keep fares affordable. They did not calculate for inflation, nor the costs of maintaining their rail stock, and it reached point where it took three hours for a subway travel a few miles. It was faster to walk, but with 16 hour working days, the workers who used mass transit spent half of their time trying to sleep standing up on the subways or walk home and get two or three hours sleep before turning around and heading back to work.

Those are the realities of the “free market” legislation that allowed employers to work employees every waking hour of the day, with terrible transit systems, and no alternatives to them. All of the companies offering employement were fixed in a few hands that were able to put other businesses out of business because they had the wealth to sell below cost for long enough to kill competition.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:17 am

md,

“European airlines are subsidized and receive many tax credits.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/06/business/06boonies.html

md

May 20th, 2009
11:19 am

Jew,

“Then we pay through lost taxes on profits.”

How? There would be more taxes because the flights would cost more, and flights that had been scheduled during peak times would be rescheduled for off-peak times.

As the corps write it off, their profits are reduced, and tax revenue declines with it.

Its all a big circle. We pay for it directly or indirectly, just depends on how you set it up.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:23 am

md,

“Its all a big circle. We pay for it directly or indirectly, just depends on how you set it up.”

But isn’t it that way for everything ;)

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:24 am

chuck,

“Why would ANYBODY fly to B’ham from ATL? That’s crazy. It takes longer to find a place to park and go through security than it does to drive to Birmingham.”

Not with the Clear lanes and MARTA.

md

May 20th, 2009
11:25 am

“But isn’t it that way for everything ”

Yes and no. Its the definition of “we” thatis the determining factor.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:32 am

lovelyliz,

“Post these statistics and then we can let the market decide.”

There is a great website http://www.flightstats.com that you can do research on to see a flights on time performance.

“You can have the hardest working gate agents, flight attendant, crews, pilots and mechanics, but they can’t do anything when management and others over book, overschedule and cut corners.”

I agree with you totally. I was on a flight from NC to ATL that was delayed 2 hours (doors closed at the gate). I was in first and the flight attendants were really entertaining, but you could sense the underlying rage at management. This is the line that got me, “See our nice refurbished interiors? The lavs even have hardwood floors. We really like them; that where our raises went.”

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
11:37 am

md,

If you do not like congestion pricing, then what is your solution to the problem you presented? Simply putting a time limit on taxi wait times does nothing. In many circumstances there is no gate to return to, because the airport is so full.

Shar

May 20th, 2009
11:39 am

N.J., your writing is still derivative. You are a derivation of every Founding Father you ever quote, and, while I admire the Old Boys, I’m capable of positing a thought on my own – now and ag’in.

Try it sometime.

Jeff

May 20th, 2009
11:46 am

Simple solution. Learn to fly, get an instrument rating, get your own airplane and then you can set your own schedule and depart when you want, probably from a general aviation airport much closer to you than Hartsfield – subject only to the whims of weather!!

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
11:48 am

Airplane trips from Atlanta to places like Birmingham were crazy. But, when the boss says to catch the early bird and be at a meeting at 8:00 that morning in Birmingham, you just do it. Besides, the pay was good.

md

May 20th, 2009
11:50 am

Jew,

I didn’t say I didn’t like your idea, but I think it screws mom and pop out of certain time slots. I would think the big boys would still pay to play.

Go back to my earlier post, I said there is no easy solution. But I don’t think gov’t is the answer. For my money, the brighter minds are in the private sector, not in Gov’t. Pelosi dictating air fares – don’t think so.

And I hope all you Obama folks are watching California. Everybody wants everything, yet none of them want to pay for it. That is were we are heading. And notice that the rich out there are fleeing to other states, which is what happens when you rob peter to pay paul.

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
11:51 am

All flights are subject to the whims of weather. In fact, I think that is the most common cause of the really long flight delays — the ones that make you want to just get off and hitch a ride or take a Greyhound.

Taxpayer

May 20th, 2009
11:54 am

And notice that the rich out there are fleeing to other states, which is what happens when you rob peter to pay paul.

Riiiight! The rich did not mind sticking around while everything was ‘free’.

md

May 20th, 2009
11:58 am

“Riiiight! The rich did not mind sticking around while everything was ‘free’.”

Care to expand?

cjamesatl

May 20th, 2009
12:02 pm

If this ever happens to me, I’m gonna ask all my fellow passenger to stand with me and demand they bring the airplane back to the gate. It’s high time consumers stand up and be counted, and stop letting airlines treat us like chattle.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
12:10 pm

md,

“I didn’t say I didn’t like your idea, but I think it screws mom and pop out of certain time slots”

You are right, but that is free market capitalism at its best. The reality is, the major airlines are not going to do anything they do not have to. That has been made abundantly clear through their actions.

Bob Crandall, former CEO of American could not have said it better, “”It’s time to acknowledge that airlines are more like utilities than ordinary businesses. We have failed to confront the reality that unfettered competition just doesn’t work very well in certain industries, as aptly demonstrated by our airline experience.”

Some government-imposed scheduling would go a long way toward reducing congestion. Yes, fares would probably go up. At the same time the fares would be more consistent, and you would have a less likely chance of being bumped due to over-booking. Regulation would also provide the industry with financial stability.

Bud Wiser

May 20th, 2009
12:16 pm

“…It’s high time consumers stand up and be counted, and stop letting airlines treat us like chattle.

Sorry to bring you into the real world, but that is what you are to the airlines, and what all of us are becoming in the new Amerika.

md

May 20th, 2009
12:31 pm

Jew,

“Regulation would also provide the industry with financial stability.”

What invaribly happens, is salaries become stagnant. Set fares equal set income range equals set expenses. Then the airlines go begging to uncle sugar for raises, and fares go up. Back to the circle concept. I still choose free market over incompetent gov’t. These people in DC put their pants on just like we do, but I doubt their smarts.

Joey

May 20th, 2009
1:52 pm

Jewcowboy: Sorry for the delay in responding. Work sometimes interfers.

I disagree with you about the carbon footprint jet aircraft. If you use the various carbon calculators you can get a wide range of impacts. I suspect that taxi, warm-up and standing time are not an element of the calculators, or at least not all of them.

Beyond that my comments were more intended to aggravate the Global Warming Believers than anything else. If you are one of those then maybe it worked.

But either way my comments were not as outrageous as you seem to think.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
1:54 pm

Bud Wiser,

“Sorry to bring you into the real world, but that is what you are to the airlines, and what all of us are becoming in the new Amerika.’

Because service just started to decline since Obama has become President. It was perfect before.

jewcowboy

May 20th, 2009
2:02 pm

Joey,

From the World Resources Institute:

http://cait.wri.org/figures/World-FlowChart.pdf

“I suspect that taxi, warm-up and standing time are not an element of the calculators, or at least not all of them.”

You maybe right, and even if they do, there is still much that can be done. It’s interesting to look at ground level ozone drift from ATL. Due to air current, O2 is pushed from the airport into Gwinnett. The neighborhoods around the south and west of the airport receive less O2 than do the regions to the north and east. Most of that is from sitting at the gates waiting for pushback or on crowded taxiways, not taking off or landing.