'Tarmac Delay' Groups Push for Newer, More Expensive Airline Regulations
Tarmac delay laws have been a predictable disaster. As we explained at painful and indignant length in the leadup to the new rules, it makes no sense to incentivize airlines not to have public relations nightmares, since as companies trying to make money they already have that incentive.
Long tarmac delays happen because airplanes have to wait in line to take off, and if you return to the gate you lose your place in line and get stuck on the ground indefinitely. So pilots gamble on staying in line and riding out delays rather than returning to their gates. Creating rules that would bankrupt airlines for making those gambleswhich is what tarmac delay fines dowould only lead to more cancellations and longer delays, we said.
So obvious were these scenarios that bureacrats could only defend the rules by promising airlines that regulators would "rarely impose the maximum penalties." Pause for a second and let that sink in. When pushed on how they were passing a bunch of really counterproductive new rules, bureaucrats resorted to telling airlines to have faith that the rules wouldn't get enforced. Since that's really stupidairlines aren't going to rely on the good will of a person whose job it is to fine themcancellations and longer delays immediately spiked. And now, because the groups who push regulations are apparently filled with shrill, insufferable busy bodies who have nothing better to do than ruin travel for the rest of us, it's happening all over again.
Not satisfied with merely regulating travel, the groups who pushed the old tarmac rules are pushing Congress to implement those rules in new laws. They also want tighter and more restrictive definitions on "delays," and are demanding that airlines work with the Department of Transportation to publicize a phone line where passengers can call and complain.
Our best guess is that in addition to not caring about unintended consequences and increasing ticket costs, which is what their legislation would do (according to a study by American Aviation Institute, a Washington think tank), they also apparently think that the year is 1999. A complaint line where phone calls are taken and long-term issues are filedwhat could better embody the age of Twitter? Brilliant!
We're beginning to develop a healthy distaste for these folks. They remind us of nothing so much as the moms from the South Park movie, who exhausted themselves pushing for legislation "protecting" the public from anything that at one time inconvenienced them. Isn't there some kind of tasty food or ingredient in New York City that still needs banning? Did that proposed salt ban ever go through? How about pepper? That's still legal, right? Surely there's something out there harming someone, somehow, somewhere. How about dealing with that before increasing travel costs and cancellations? Do it for the children!
[Photo: Krisopher Wilson / US Navy / Wiki Commons]