Air Transport World

A numbers games. (FCC and the ATA play the numbers game about airport delays) (editorial)

A numbers game

Air traffic delays in the U.S. this summer and early fall became the rule rather than the exception. The drill was this: board your flight at the assigned time, close up the doors and taxi in the general direction of the runway as if there was some hope of departing, and sit, waiting for the great goods in the air traffic control centers to see a parting of the seas of congestion. While awaiting this revelation, passengers and crew sit and stew. Passengers on schedules get the most restless, especially those with connections in our hub-dominated, deregulated industry.

Paying passengers have become angry, and their wrath has been directed at the airlines. The airlines, angry themselves, have done a poor job of informing their passengers exactly why they must sit motionless at their departure point, sometimes for hours. In one celebrated case a passenger is suing an airline for false imprisonment after being taken on a trip that was so delayed he no longer needed or wanted to go. …

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