Saturday, December 11, 2010

Flight Delays and Trade Offs

I was in the process of writing another post on the concept of "Trade Offs" when the News informed its listeners that ALL flights to certain hub cities like Minneapolis and Detroit were being cancelled due to snow. Unless you had an appointment in one of those cities, or other plans, the chances are that this news only invoked a hmmmmmm.

But these cancellations didn't just happen because of a snow storm. There were trade offs involved. This is how it works:
  1. News worthy horror stories spread across the country about passengers held on airplanes for extensive delays. And they are horror stories, but still unlikely to happen to you-- kind of like a terrorist attack--which you shouldn't worry about for those same reasons.
  2. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, finds time between its normal business of ferreting out ever more outlandish ways to spend your money, to write laws making such horror stories illegal.
  3. These laws are passed with the effect of limiting the time that you, the innocent passenger, can be held against your will on airplanes for the purposes of more profit by those evil corporate executives; imposing stiff penalties should they fail to abide.
  4. Evil cooperate airline executives, knowing that Snow+Airports+Air-traffic, along with the the new rules: Delays=Extensive fines, simply cancels ALL flights. Why the same reality of Snow+Evening rush hour=delays does not correlate to air travel in the minds of most, I don't know. (Why Congress hasn't outlawed extensive evening commute times is beyond me, and perhaps a subject better suited for one less informed about the simple realities of twenty-first century life than most)
  5. Bob, who holds a ticket for an important meeting in a city; or Sue, who wants to see her dying mom one last time, suddenly learn that their flight has simply been canceled due to snow.
And there you have it. Bob and Sue's "choice" of making the trade off of incurring the unfortunate extensive delays that are associated by storms in order to possibly make it to their destination has been taken away by those who know better; and America says hmmmmmm... I've never seen the airlines do this before.... I wonder why its different this year?

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