18 February 2010

DOT finds a way to make air travel even more annoying

Reason: Hit & Run | Katherine Mangu-Ward | Your Flight to Cancun is Canceled. You're Welcome.

[...] In December, the government announced that it would soon begin enforcing new rules that fine airlines per passengers for any tarmac delay that lasts more than three hours. The fines go into effect on April 29, meaning that a delayed 747 jammed full of people headed to their summer vacations could cost the airline more than $13 million.

But wait! If a flight is canceled, then the fine is void. Too bad no one can see the future to know what will happen next. Just kidding. We know exactly what will happen next.

So let's just go ahead and make this an official announcement: Starting in April, every flight that is delayed more than three hours in the United States of America is canceled. The flight that was delayed for the rainstorm that shows signs of clearing at 2 hours and 55 minutes? Canceled. The flight delayed for a repair that will take 3 hours and 4 minutes? Canceled.

And, of course, should an airline violate the delay rules and be forced to pay the fine, the cash won't go the passengers. But the passengers sleeping on the floor of the airport will enjoy the full realization of their "fundamental right to be treated with respect," according to Department of Transportation spokeswoman Maureen Knightly. So that's nice.
WTF.  "If a flight is canceled, then the fine is void."  That is the dumbest rule I've heard in [a long period of time of your choosing].

Rules have consequences.  You can't impose new rules on a complex system and then fail to ask "and then what?"

You know what?  This is dumb enough that I'm breaking out my second facepalming bear of the day.  It's that kind of day.

PS There is no right to be respected.  There is no more right to have everyone respect you than there is to have everyone like you.  Respect is a part of someone else's state of mind.  You don't have any right to influence another person's mental state.  The end.

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