Bush Announces Plan To Ease Holiday Air Travel Delays

President Bush today proposed several measures intended to reduce traffic issues during the busy holiday season as well as shore up some of the most persistent air travel problems consumers face throughout the year. The most significant proposal would open up a “Thanksgiving express lane” through military airspace, and like the other proposed rules, would require the approval of Congress, says the NYT.

Bush also proposed penalizing airlines for scheduling flights that are more than 15 minutes late 70% or more of the time, calling the practice “unfair and deceptive.” Another rule would increase the compensation airlines are required to provide to passengers who are bumped due to overbooking.

Tarmac delays got addressed as well, with Bush suggesting a rule requiring airlines to “incorporate legally binding contingency plans for tarmac delays.” The plans would include steps like guaranteeing food, water, bathrooms and medical attention, says the NYT.

Bush Sets Plan to Ease Holiday Air Delays [
Military air space to be holiday ‘express lane’ [CNN]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mills says:

    Is it just me, or does this seem a lot weaker than the proposals for a Passenger’s Bill of Rights?

  2. sled_dog says:

    Airplanes in restricted airspace? Isn’t that what happened on 9/11?

  3. kenposan says:

    Shouldn’t he be, oh, I dunno, focusing on, um, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and all those other fun Middle Eastern countries?

    Oh wait, he got confused by Turkey and Turkey day…

  4. inelegy says:

    Oh good. The feds are now involved. Guess that means that the problem is now solved and planes will arrive on time.

    Like the US Mail.

    And AmTrak.

    I already love this new utopia.

  5. Skiffer says:

    Here’s an idea to ease air travel delays…

    Get rid of the TSA!!

  6. jamesdenver says:

    I just posted this on my blog too. It’s absolute nonsense. It’s not only stupid, but hilariously innacurate to think a few “new routes” through the clear open sky will have an impact on the mind numbing miserable experience that happens at the AIRPORT ENVIRONMENT level.

    I can confidentally state, even though I’m only a small time private pilot, that this will have absolutely NO bearing on airport congestion whatsoever. The problem isn’t lack of space in the sky or the availability of routes. It all comes down to the airport environment being TOO crowded, and having TOO MANY flights scheduled.

    Consider the air travel horror stories lately: Eight hours on the ground in New York. Feces rolling down the aisles on Continental. Northwest cancels half their daily flights. Canceled flights Do these anecdotes sound like they have ANYTHING to do with air traffic control? Nobody hates an airline when they’re actually moving through the sky.

    We should invest the money in people, resources (such as ground radar,) and improvements in the LOCAL airport environments at our largest hubs. The TOWER is where air traffic controllers are overworked, overtaxed, and because of this have increased chances of errors. Granted I haven’t sat next to him or her, but I’d bet the controller sitting in a dark room in Denver Center or Salt Lake Center watching planes meander over the big square states has a far less stressful position than approach control into Chicago.

    As a commentor on the CNN story stated: This is just window dressing.

    james [www.futuregringo.com]

  7. jamesdenver says:

    Allow me to be more succint:

    If airlines still have 25 planes scheduled to arrive at 5pm, or an airport is operating beyond their capacity – cramming them in and stacking them up over the hub won’t LAND them any faster.

  8. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @jamesdenver: It’s just a typical political band aid over a amputated limb. It’s just to get supposed brownie points from the mouth breathers who are dumb enough to belive Bush or any politician actually cares about them.

  9. ObtuseGoose says:

    President Bush, you’re my hero.

    *rolls eyes*

  10. jamesdenver says:

    Definitely Nemesis. But how anyone can be sold on this is baffling, even if they’re not an aviation and airplane geek like myself.

    His “solution” is no different than building eight lanes on the rural interstates, but keeping one lane open through heavy contruction approaching the big cities at rush hour.

    I’m sure I can pull some more analogies out of my ass if required.

  11. JustAGuy2 says:

    Absolutely, it’s an airport issue. The first thing we need is slot limitation at our most congested airports (i.e. Newark and JFK, for starters). The second thing we need is to set landing fees on a per-flight basis (i.e landing at 5PM on Friday will cost $x, whether it’s a 747 or a 35 seat RJ), and to set the levels of these fees through an auction – want 20 slots at 5-6PM on Friday into EWR? Outbid everybody else.

  12. take your blogspam elsewhere gringo!

  13. yg17 says:

    “Bush Announces Plan” should be enough to make anyone run away and head for the hills.

    Seriously, this man hasn’t had a successful plan since his plan to dodge the draft

  14. bilge says:

    Reduce frequencies. I want to see more widebody jets on domestic routes.

  15. timmus says:

    “The plans would include steps like guaranteeing food, water, bathrooms and medical attention.”

    It’s really revealing about American culture that it takes a Presidential directive to guarantee such basic human dignities. Screw you, airlines — no thanks.

  16. Frankieblackjack says:

    What a way to prioritize. Leave that whole middle east mess and $100 barrel oil at the bottom of the list.

    You’re doin’ a heckuva job Georgie.

  17. ironchef says:

    Mission accomplished, GW.

    I’m surprised he didn’t announce that on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln wearing his faux flight suit.

  18. BK88 says:

    @sled_dog: NO.

    @jamesdenver: Right on. And to add one more
    point, the controllers are working with IMPOSED WORK RULES and not a
    contract. FAA has cut pay and staffing for controllers. Many facilities
    are making controllers work 6 days a week with 10 hour days. ATC is
    stressful enough, but for 60 hours a week?

    And controllers at Denver (ZDV) and Salt Lake Center (ZSE) do have a
    bunch a traffic too, just more of it is enroute, but with more
    complicated airspace.

  19. BK88 says:


  20. Bladefist says:

    well you guys successfully turned this place into digg. The guy is trying to help you get to see your families by keeping an eye on the crooks in the airline industry. Give him a break. “Shouldnt you be worrying about Iran/Iraq, blah blah im stupid” – I doubt bush sat down and wrote this all out. I’m sure someone in his cabinet did. So relax, we’ll be okay.

  21. Kanti_V2 says:

    Now the question is, what is his angle. It’s not like he cares about image anymore, he’s the worst lame duck president in history, so you know there has to be a financial angle to this.

    And @inelegy: Leave off with that libertarian crap. Big government isn’t the problem, BAD government is the problem. All those ‘big government’ talking points came from Reagan-ites trying to convince the country that government was bad, so we should hand over our country and common wealth to a bunch of greedy private corporations who would have more power than the institutions of democracy. Same goes for the post office, there’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just a bunch of lazy industrialists who see the chance to make an easy buck off an infrastructure they didn’t create. Anything they would create in it’s place would be worse, and cost us more.

  22. ironchef says:

    well said.

  23. jamesdenver says:


    Blade it’s not helping. In fact the main objective is just opening airspace to straighten out what might be a MINOR dog leg for en route traffic.

    This isn’t redesigning complex approach and departure procedures. It’s not spacing rebuilding runways at tight airports to facilitate simoutaneous landings in poor weather. It’s not improving ground rader to help with near misses, (you’re much more in danger on runway or taxiway than in the air) It’s not creating tight control or daypart pricing over taking-off and landing slots (as an above poster mentioned)

    It’s simply not doing ANYTHING! Which is why it’s so absurd that a non-“solution” gets front page coverage!

    The only things that COULD help out were not even done. They just got a passing mention:

    “””Further, officials said the FAA would take other steps to increase efficiency such as rerouting airspace, using technology to fill unused space in the air and on the ground, and using more precise routes for takeoffs and landings.”””

    “Would take steps”? What does that mean?

    I’m certainly not the highest expert on aviation – but I recognize BS. Airline pilots, ATC folks, and airport ops managers please chime in


  24. Akamaru says:


    Oh boy, that was classic. I had to login to give you props for the joke.

  25. Bay State Darren says:

    My first usually instinct is to be extremely wary of anything that this president wants or says, and this practice actually proves pretty reliable. This plan actually sounds good, tainted only by its source. But hey, even this trainwreck of an administration apparently has to do something non-evil once in a while under the delusion that people might be able like him. So even if it’s a success [i.e. broken clocks being right for two minutes a day], it’s still just a distraction attempt IMHO.
    Only 431 days left!

  26. KJones says:

    Never has the line, “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help!” been so terrifying, especially when coming from a terrorist like George Putz.

  27. mconfoy says:

    yea, you have to wonder what game he is up to. does this help republicans in congress get elected? doubtful. he’s worried about his legacy? he is, but he can’t believe this will help.

  28. Jesse in Japan says:

    That’s nice and all, but isn’t the problem more a matter of how many planes can take off and land at airports in any given amount of time?

  29. Ariah says:

    Geez, guys. I know Bush is unpopular, but how can you get angry about something like this? The man is offering to improve something, and everyone is either saying the improvement is insufficient (at least it’s a start), pretending he’s ignoring other priorities, or implying some sinister motive is involved.

    You guys remind me Limbaugh during the Clinton era.

  30. Bladefist says:

    @jamesdenver: Thats fine. Saying he isnt helping in the right way is fine. I was talking about the people who are just bashing and bashing him for stuff that doesn’t even pertain to this article. And those people are mildly retarded.

  31. savvy999 says:

    Here’s an idea: Why not open up military airports to civilian traffic? Especially recent ones that have been BRAC’d. Based on what I’m hearing from people in this thread, that may actually have an effect.

    Leave one lane open for the fighter jets to scramble in case the Germans bomb us again, but open the rest up to the smaller civilian craft. 787s and such can stay at the hubs.

  32. jamesdenver says:


    1. Those who live near the bases won’t allow it. NIMBY. I probably wouldn’t want it either. Case in reference El Toro in Socal.

    2. Those on large aircraft need to transfer to small aircraft and vice verse. No airline wants their ops split between two airports. Case in reference Montreal’s Mirabel.

    But somehow is works in Buenos Aires though between Ezeiza and Jorge Newberry. Go figure.

  33. hi says:

    Why don’t we import our airlines from China and use kids to fly the planes. Lower costs for everyone, and kids love flying planes!

  34. Kaix says:

    As previous posters have stated, this accomplishes absolutely nothing. The problem is with airport capacity; the airlines are scheduling more flights into these airports than they can handle. It really all goes to hell when weather moves in and the airport acceptance rate drops.. now you’ve got all of these scheduled flights competing for even fewer slots. Thus, we have delays and cancellations. Anyone traveling during Thanksgiving better hope the weather cooperates, because this new “expressway” is not going to help.