Monday, December 21, 2009

That's the Man Keeping Someone Else Down For A Change

A long time ago we as a society lost out common sense. Or at least we lost the ability to listen to it and follow what it was saying. That is why we have to have warnings on hot things that say they are hot; that is why we have warnings on sharp things that say they are sharp, that is why everything is labeled and why it has to say "Don't try this at home" on the bottom of every sweet commercial or television show. That is why I had to put a disclaimer on this blog. Well, thankfully we have gone ahead and ramped things up a notch.
In a smart but ultimately sad move, the United States Federal government issued a proclamation, an edict, something, that forces airlines to allow passengers off planes that have been delayed on the ground for three hours. I am appalled that it took a Federal law to make this happen. It seems to me like it it mostly common sense, or even good customer service, or even morally correct but apparently letting people off planes that aren't moving anywhere anyway is a new and scary innovation that needed to be made happen by Federal law.
This is all, of course, in response to that incident in Minnesota where all those people were stuck on a plane for like six or seven hours. Somewhere along the way leading up to that incident the airlines forgot what it was like to be human, to fly, to be cooped up in a toothpaste tube with a couple of hundred strangers, all breathing the same stale air, all watching the same stale movies, all using the same limited toilet facilities, and all, ALL, wanting to be somewhere else. Anywhere else.
It just makes sense to me that you should be letting people off of the plane long before the three hour mark, because, honestly, if your flight is delayed by more than three hours things are sort of a clusterfuck anyway, no? I mean, an hour because of a passing thunderstorm, I can understand that. Two hours for deicing? Sure. But at three hours you are probably getting into conditions where you don't want to be in the air anyway. Either there is some massive blizzard or the plane is broken or something is completely amiss. At that point the system is breaking down and you probably don't want any more planes in the air. That is how I respond to airline industry insiders who claim this new policy - there's the word - will do nothing but cause more delays and canceled flights. I just told you why that is not necessarily a bad thing.
In the end this is good: people shouldn't be on planes that aren't moving for that long, especially when they are paying the kinds of prices that they are paying. I just very sad that it had to come to The President and Secretary of Transportation sticking their heads out the window and saying something. It really should have just been something that was done all along. I actually think that it would have been a master stroke of public relations for some airline to have enacted this on their own somewhere along the way. That is even more genius than bags fly free. But then again, what do I know. I am not a top airline executive. And I didn't just get smacked down by man.

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