Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Collapse of American Airlines

Another reason not to fly...

(CBS/AP) American Airlines canceled more than 900 flights Thursday to fix faulty wiring in hundreds of jets, marking the third straight day of mass groundings as company executives offered profuse apologies and travel vouchers to calm angry customers.

The airline is looking at 250,000 people or more who will be bumped from their flights, reports reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

The airline says a return to normal operations depends on how quickly mechanics can inspect and fix the wiring.

As of late yesterday, a spokesman said 60 planes had been cleared to fly, but more than 200 were being worked on or hadn't been inspected yet.

American, the nation's largest carrier, has now scrubbed more than 2,400 flights since Tuesday, when federal regulators warned that nearly half its planes could violate a safety regulation designed to prevent fires.

Is there an industry in worse shape than the airlines these days? Besides the media?

If my line of work depended on reliable air travel, I'd be looking for a new line of work right now. On the one hand--you have to commend them for ensuring they are being safe and that they are fixing or inspecting what might not work properly. On the other hand, the margin of error is very thin, and there's no flexibility in air travel anymore. Fewer airlines and fewer options means no ability to absord traveler who might be stuck.

If gas really does hit $3.60 a gallon, a lot of people are just going to stay home and watch their grass grow. Not THAT grass, dangit. Would someone get me an editor, please?

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