You Can’t Always Get Where You Want

I predicted it.

I reiterated the prediction.

And, as per usual, it’s happened; the Obama Administration rule fining airlines for keeping passengers waiting on the tarmac over three hours is causing a huge spike in flight cancellations:

A Star-Ledger analysis of federal DOT figures reveals airlines are simply canceling more flights, presumably to avoid idling on the tarmac and exposing themselves to the whopping fines. In fact, the cancellation rate at the nation’s major airports surged 24 percent during the eight months after the rule went into effect.

There is no breakdown by airport, and there was a noticeable spike in cancellations during the wicked December weather. But over the course of the eight-month period, 7,095 more flights were ditched.

Put another way: Nearly 900 more flights a month are being scrubbed..

At 100 passengers per flight, that’s 90,000 a month having to change their plans on the fly – usually with a lot more than three hours’ delay.

“They’ve exchanged inconvenience for a relatively few number of people for an inconvenience for a tremendous number of people,” said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, a passengers advocacy group.

Jennifer Sutherland, 46, a gymnastics coach and Cedar Grove native now living in Clarksville, Ohio, was among the thousands of air travelers whose flights were canceled at Newark Liberty International Airport after the Dec. 26 blizzard. Sutherland has no way of knowing if the tarmac rule came into play in her case, but she was angry that airlines could be canceling flights as an easy, sure way to eliminate their risk of penalties.

“The airlines are saving the massive fines from the tarmac rule and at the same time forcing passengers into the impossible situation of waiting days or weeks to re-book or simply purchase another ticket,” she said.

Unintended consequences…

12 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get Where You Want

  1. I’m not surprised to hear that this is the way it worked out. As someone who has had a flight cancelled more than half-dozen times in the last few years, I prefer the cancellation to sitting on the tarmac for hours on end.
    That said, the Passenger Rights Act is working out just like the Dodd-Frank banking bill. (It enables the big banks to load up on poor quality loans while knowing that Uncle Sucker will pay the tab when the fecal matter hits the air distribution device.) This last Congress was so overwhelmingly clueless about how we peasants live – is it not surprising that they can’t get even basic common sense about banking and transportation? That’s what you get when you fly in a private jet (someone else’s) and get sweetheart loans from someone you are supposed to be regulating. Please, Liberal, please explain to me again why regulating everything is good for every living thing, especially children and puppies, only leave out the children and puppies part?

  2. What do you mean “unintended?” Obama and the Democraps played to the second biggest contributors they have after the unions: the trial lawyers. The public wasn’t even a consideration given who they were appeasing except for an opportunity to preen about how they were going to “do good.”

    That the public was inconvenienced isn’t a factor in Leftist ideology, it’s all about seeming to do good, not to actually do it. If actually doing good were a factor we would have had welfare reform in the early 80s, not having to have it shoved down the throats of the Democrats in the 90s.

  3. This is where the market needs to have an effect.

    Some one should start publishing cancellation rates for the airlines so that travellers can put pressure on the ones with the highest rates, and reward those that manage their businesses competently.

  4. It’s only an unintended consequence if it’s unforseen.

    When people have explicitly pointed out the inevitable consequence before the law is passed but Congress passes it anyway in full knowledge of the inevitable consequence, it’s really not fair to call it “unintended.”

    So why would Congress pass a feel-good law it knows will have a frustrating and expensive consequence for the people caught by it?

    How about: Unconcerned?

  5. Given there is no breakdown, the attribution of caues and effect here is pretty darn weak. It would be interesting to track how this compares to changes in the cost of air travel, for starters.

    I haven’t seen the new regulations adversely affecting my blogging partner, who is a frequent flyer – almost ever week – and flying that often, if this were a huge problem (say, compared to a lot of really bad weather) I would expect he would encounter it.

    Completely off topic (apologies, but I’m sure others share the sentiment) – Terry, if you’re reading, hope the volcano activity in Hawaii hasn’t come too near your door! Fingers crossed, and prayers and good thoughts that the eruptions continue not to be too serious a danger to anyone.

    Be well and safe!

  6. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is a perfect case study of said belief.

  7. Remember too – they want to get you on trains; so increasing the cost, hassle and inconvenience of the alternative(s) makes perfect sense from their POV

  8. Dog Gone, the new eruption is six miles south and a thousand feet lower than where I am.
    It was quite exciting when the plumbing changed on Saturday. Luckily there weren’t any large ‘quakes associated with this event.

  9. Pingback: links for 2011-03-07 « Marty Andrade

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