Airlines Are So Bad They Make Secular Progressives Agree With Bill O'Reilly

Or vice versa. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a great editorial about the current airline crisis, and the bi-partisan backlash:

The fiasco managed to unite liberal California Sen. Barbara Boxer with … Bill O’Reilly.

“I’ve been stuck on the tarmac many times in my travel back and forth to California — sometimes with the weather and traffic, it’s unavoidable,” said Boxer, “but to keep passengers — which usually include infants and the elderly — on a plane for hours in the worst of conditions is unacceptable.”

Boxer and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., announced that they were drafting passenger rights legislation.

And O’Reilly? Apt to accept explanations from the White House, Fox’s mighty mouth drew a line with the airlines.

“The flight crews are the best in the world, accidents are rare. It is management that is abusing people, and the government must step in and force standards of decent behavior on these people,” O’Reilly declared.

It’s cute when they agree, isn’t it? —MEGHANN MARCO

Passengers tired of airlines’ waiting game [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
(Photo: jenkardux)

Comments

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  1. It does bring up an excellent point, considering the safety records of the major airlines and how difficult that is, it’s amazing they could make such ridiculous gaffes in the PR/human decency front.

  2. acambras says:

    I flew Continental this past weekend from Houston to LaGuardia. I, along with a whole lot of other people, got stuck in Houston for a good part of Monday because flights were delayed by bad weather at LGA.

    I tend to hate airlines in general, but I really don’t have any complaints about Continental in this particular case. They were pretty good about getting information to passengers and all the people I dealt with were nice and tried to help (and I dealt with a lot of people that day). And when we did get on a plane, it took off (vs. sitting on a tarmac for a long time). They even served dinner on the flight (increasingly rare in coach).

    Waiting out a weather delay sucked, but in this case, Continental handled the delay pretty well (IMHO). I guess maybe airlines are taking notice that passengers are sick of being treated like little more than cargo.

  3. acambras says:

    It’s probably worth adding that, having psyched myself up for a long day of air travel, I made an extra-special effort to be pleasant to airline personnel, to realize that people can’t control the weather, and to remember that the world does not revolve around me and my travel plans.

  4. gundark says:

    You know O’Reilly is independant, right? He agrees with liberals all the time. He happens to agree with conservatives more often, but this isnt exactly a rare thing.

  5. Kornkob says:

    @acambras: THAT probably had as much to do with your positive experience as their appropriate handling. I’ve watched people who were ‘prepared to be angry’ take a relatively innocous statement or action from an employee and turn it into a reason to throw a temper tantrum.

    Putting yourself in a place mentally where you aren’t primed to explode has a great deal to do with your perceptions, I think.

  6. Pelagius says:

    Salon’s “Ask the Pilot” did an apologia for extended delays last Thursday and was promptly ripped a new one by his readership. He makes an interesting point about “legislating customer service” and the vagaries of flight planning. It isn’t only “airline management” that needs to change, but the FAA.
    It probably wouldn’t hurt if the government stopped subsidize failing airlines, either.

  7. crayonshinobi says:

    The reason our politicians are so slow to legislate things like this is because they don’t use commercial airlines.

    Cram Pelosi into a coach seat on a commercial flight instead of her private jet, and I’d bet you’d see legislation demanding improvements to the airline industry instantly.

  8. kmc says:

    I’ve found, though, that sometimes just being nice isn’t enough. That’s when I get frustrated. For example, my husband and I were on Delta flight 5569 on Sunday night. Snow caused delays. We waited for 1.5 hours in the terminal (not a big deal) and then 2.5 hours in the plane (kind of a big deal) ostensibly waiting for our turn to be de-iced. Around midnight, the pilot announced that we had to get off the plane because the crew was on the clock for too long. Note that he did not mention weather as an issue. The flight attendant, who was helpful and friendly, said he was 99% sure that we would at least get vouchers for food and lodging because it was a crew issue, not a weather issue. When we all turned up at the Delta desk, the representative said that the flight didn’t leave because of the weather, so we got bupkis, except for bad attitude. We finally arrived at our destination late Monday night, only to find that no one knew where our bags were. We are out more than $500 (hotel, transportation, meals, missed work) due to Delta’s lies. Not to be dramatic, but the entire process was dehumanizing, largely because of the customer service representatives and their antagonistic behavior. What does it take for CSRs to treat people like fellow human beings?

  9. cabinaero says:

    @crayonshinobi – That’s simply not the case. Not all of the US Congress travels on private aircraft. On several occassions I’ve sat across the aisle from Senators and Representatives.

    Pelosi gets a US govt. aircraft because she’s in the line of succession.

  10. muddgirl says:

    Furthermore, Pelosi has repeatedly stated that her first priority is non-stop flights from Washington to her home district (non-stop is much safer, security-wise). If a military (not private!) aircraft was not available, she has indicated that she would fly on a commercial non-stop flight.

    I’ve experienced long delays (10 hours was my worst one) before, and I agree that acambra’s attitude is definitely the best way to go. I smile at the gate agents, wait my turn patiently, and understand that they probably know little more about the situation than we do.

  11. zolielo says:

    muddgirl do you have a personal blog?

    Anyway with Pelosi she could always fly to Travis AFB is about an hour out from SF. I am sure that it would be a long multi stop trip however it would be relatively safe and tax payer friendly.

    The longest that I have experienced in terms of delays was about 20 hours…

  12. Skeptic says:

    gundark writes:

    You know O’Reilly is independant, right? He agrees with liberals all the time. He happens to agree with conservatives more often, but this isnt exactly a rare thing.

    O’Reilly is only nominally an independent and he certainly does not agree with liberals “all the time.” He was a registered Republican until 2000. If he really was an “independent” he wouldn’t be allowed on Fox News. (Colmes is only allowed in to be the Washington Generals to Hannity’s Harlem Globetrotter’s.)

  13. specialed5000 says:

    @kmc:

    It sounds like that was a pretty miserable experience, but it also sounds like the root cause of the delay was the weather, and in the case of weather related delay it is pretty much a universal policy of all airlines not to provide lodging and food vouchers. The crew having to get off the clock wasn’t so that Delta could avoid paying overtime or anything like that, but rather because there are very strict federal rules about how long a crew can be on duty and how much rest time they must have. A violation of even just a few minutes could cause a pilot to lose his or her license. If not for the 4 hours of weather related delay, the crew could have made the flight with a couple of hours to spare.
    Having said that, the flight attendant should have known that management would have considered the delay weather related, and should never have said that lodging and vouchers would be provided. If several passengers verified to a Delta employee that the flight attendant said that, they should have provided them anyway.
    When it comes to de-icing, as annoying as it is, I never mind waiting when they say that is the reason. I always think of the flight in the early 80s that was taking off from National Airport in DC. They had been de-iced, waited in line to take off for a while and accumulated more snow and ice, then decided not to go back for additional de-icing because it would have meant going to the back of the line again. They crashed into the Potomac River just after takeoff. Ever since that incident, all airlines and pilots take de-icing much more seriously, are very conservative and cautious, will wait to de-ice until just before they have a confirmed wheels up time, etc, and as a result there are almost never any accidents at all any more related to winter weather. I sincerely hope that no airline or pilot would use a serious safety issue like de-icing as an excuse for a delay, although it is possible that it took longer than it should have due to cutbacks on ground crews.
    Boy this was long for my first comment. Sorry about that, but I hope that this was helpful info.

  14. con40dmitri says:

    Yea, it is rare to find O’Reilly agreeing with the libs. His shows are so far-right, it’s just brainwashing.

  15. con40dmitri says:

    Wow, it seems very hard to actually begin to post on this website…Are there certain tricks to it???

  16. acambras says:

    @kmc:

    I wasn’t trying to be holier-than-thou or anything. If I’d gone through what you went through Sunday night, I would have been right there with you wanting to strangle some Delta folks. Actually, I had a very similar experience with Delta a few years ago and it was awful. The difference is that my complaint letter back then was answered by a nice form letter and a Delta voucher for $200 off a flight in the next year. Now most airlines don’t give you shit (because they don’t give a shit).

    During my lengthy sojourn in the Houston airport on Monday, I just was thankful that I was in the airport rather than out on the tarmac for 6 hours. And I consider myself lucky that the Continental reps were friendly and helpful (to the extent that they could be).

    Most of my experiences with Delta have been pretty loathsome. Now that I no longer live in the Southeast (where Delta practically has a monopoly), I avoid them whenever possible. I realize this is of little comfort to you after your Sunday experience, but trust me — I feel your pain.