Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Airline Passenger Bill of Rights
There's been grumbling for years that the government should limit how long passengers can be cooped up on a plane that's waiting to take off or after it's landed. Despite the grumbling, there's been no legislation. But incidents involving two recent notorious flights bound for Minnesota may change that.
From January to June this year, a little more than 600 flights out of over 3.2 million, about 0.019 percent, were stuck on runways for more than three hours.
None attracted as much attention as did a Continental Express flight diverted earlier this month to Rochester, Minnesota. Passengers sat 50 yards from the terminal for about six hours in a cramped plane with crying babies and a stinking toilet.
Federal officials blamed the situation on a bad call by an employee of Twin Cities-based Mesaba Airlines.
This past Monday, a Sun Country flight from New York City to Minneapolis-St. Paul waited nearly six hours on a runway before the flight was cleared to take off.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said those two ill-fated, Minnesota-bound flights are giving new impetus to legislation limiting how long passengers can be kept on a plane, while it's on the ground.
"It's just ridiculous," Klobuchar said. "These passengers are packed in like sardines, and they can't get out of the plane. It makes sense to no one."
What other ways can this situation be resolved? How can the Free Market fix this, and fix it effectively and efficiently, without Big Nanny Government entering the picture?
I've never been on a flight that experienced anything like the above delays. Thankfully!
How many hours do you think it's fair to sit on the plane on the tarmac with no idea of when your flight may depart, before you are permitted to exit the plane? Is four hours too long? Does two hours seem fair?
I tell 'ya, sitting on the tarmac for two hours without any word of any tentative departure time means that if I'm on that flight, the place where I'm seated, and for those around me, becomes the Smoking Section.
The worst that will happen to me is I get yanked of the flight, which is the intent, and I go along with my removal very peacefully and cooperating with them and I pay a fine. While the rest of the non-smoking sardines are still inhaling the same recycled air of overflowing toilets and the germs and bacteria and flatulence being exhaled and released by their fellow passengers. Mmmmmmmm1 Yummy! The recycled air has that...that...certain aromatic je ne sais quoi about it. Healthy too!
Three hours doesn't seem like a long time, but the plane's AC wasn't working, and it was a hot, humid day in the Midwest. I baked like a Christmas ham, and sweated through business clothes.
We almost staged a mutiny. Eventually we took off, but I missed my connecting flight and had to arrive at my destination the next day. I missed meetings and work went much longer because of the inconvenience.
I don't expect government to solve the problem for me. I believe I solved it myself by never flying Northwest again. Now if I could only get everyone to do this, we'd get better service. Or would we? All the airlines do this, right?
You...in business clothes?
It was Carter who started deregulation. Try to get the facts right Wadge.
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