11 Responses

  1. Carl
    Carl 10 March 2011 at 8:53 am |

    Here’s a way to make a dramatic chart. On the same chart show, by month, the net reduction in 3-hour tarmac delays, and the net increase in flight cancellations. For example in January, 19 3-hour delays were eliminated, and the increase in flight cancelations was 6,301. In December 31 3-hour delays were eliminated and flight cancelations increased by 4,962. And maybe it is worth doing a single chart that lists the sum for the 9-month period.

  2. SCL
    SCL 10 March 2011 at 10:17 am |

    This is a completely fallacious analysis driven by political ideology rather than statistics.

    This past winter saw record breaking storms with record breaking frequency. Not adjusting for that is no different from not adjusting for the Icelandic volcano eruptions.

    Tsk tsk.

  3. Carl
    Carl 10 March 2011 at 11:47 am |

    Then exclude Dec & Jan and look at May – November. There are 6000 more cancellations in those 7 months, with fewer scheduled flights, to result in a bit over 400 less 3-hour tarmac delays. So a net increase of about 15 canceled flights for every 3-hour delay avoided.

  4. anat0l
    anat0l 10 March 2011 at 5:39 pm |

    I think what really matters is what passengers themselves think. Stuff the impact on airlines (for now)…

    We as people who are suitably seasoned at air travel and embrace it have our own views, but what of the supposed masses of people who seemed to be the impetus to forcing the creation of the rule in the first place? Does anyone know that more cancellations are taking place? Has anyone questioned why more cancellations are happening? (It may not be due to this new rule, but there’s equally no evidence saying that it cannot be one and/or the primary reason).

    It doesn’t help when someone from flyersrights.org claims that “any sane person would rather experience a cancelled flight compared to being stuck on a tube for seven hours with no food, water or toilets”. I suppose if you put it that way – a plane on the tarmac going no where has a tendency to resemble a Russian gulag – then perhaps no sane person would, but more seriously I’d really like to contest whether such a claim was verified with….”sane”….people.

    Perhaps the next step is to institute something like the EU Regulations for irregular operations, which covers cancellations and delays (although there doesn’t appear to be a clear cut explanation of what happens if a flight within the EU gets stuck on the tarmac for over 3 hours – is that treated as delay or a delay only applies if the flight hasn’t “departed”). That would seemingly take the same approach that this 3-hour rule did in the first place: attempt to solve a problem by not contributing to the solution but instead adding considerable pressure on those who have the problem via excessive monetary damages (the latter half of that solution technique is to claim that said threats and pressure helped drive down the problem when – yet again – said people who applied the pressure actually did nothing to contribute towards solving it). Not to mention that airlines will really see red if EU like regulations with compensation schedule is instituted for North American / USA travel (and/or inter- those regions)…..

  5. Gizmosdad
    Gizmosdad 12 March 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    On a multi-leg flight, a 3 hour delay (or 2 hour or even 1 hour) is the equivalent of cancelling the flight to begin with – if you can’t make your connecting flight, there’s no point in flying half-way.. so I don’t see the difference. I’d rather have my flight cancelled up front, so that I can replan ASAP. Also, when is the last time that you experienced a significant delay, and were told upfront that “it will take about 3 hours” ? I expect NEVER. We are always told “another 20 minutes” and 20 minutes creep into hours. Again, I’d rather be told upfront, rather than lied to time and time again.

  6. Kate Hanni
    Kate Hanni 13 March 2011 at 9:11 am |

    Although it’s fruitless to respond to such a biased article, I find it fascinating that the author did not include last February’s cancellations (the rule was not in effect) which were extremely high. Higher than almost any February since cancellation data became available. But no one cares about that month because the rule was NOT in effect….but if it were in effect it surely would have been blamed for the “snowmaggedan” event which crippled the east coast.

    Airlines don’t cancel flights because of the rule, they cancel flights because they cannot get them off of the ground.

    The primary gaping loophole in the rule is that tarmac time does not begin until the door is shut, the brake is released, the blocks are removed and the plane is pushed back from the gate. So basically you have several airlines loading up planes and sitting at the gate for hours (because the rule and/or fines will not impact them). The ancillary power is off, air conditioning is off, and no food or water is served. Tarmac time does not begin until they push back so we have many reports of planes sitting for well over 5 hours total, but the reported tarmac time is only that time spent on the apron or in the penalty box….and guess what? Most of the flights that end up sitting for a protracted period of time DON’T take off anyway. They end up cancelled. So adding insult to injury.

    Which begs the question, outside of a need for throughput; why are they putting you inside the plane when you can rest comfortably and safely and freely in the terminal?

    If you exclude particular data then your results cannot be trusted. If you look at the 15 year averages for flight cancellations, even including the December blizzards in New York, 2010 was the second lowest year for flight cancellations….

    But again, if the author of this article were interested in the truth they would not have excluded the first four months of 2010 and they would have included the last 15 years data as a realistic model for comparison.

    The GAO is coming out with a report in June that will clarify the reality of flight cancellations.

  7. Tracey
    Tracey 27 April 2011 at 8:16 am |

    This arguments in this article are seriously flawed. Weather this past year was some of the worst on record. Of course many more flights would be cancelled. As someone who has been stuck on the tarmac more than once, I want off that plane. Three hours is far too long even to the passengers.

  8. Fewer 3-hour delays, higher cancellation rates – GAO report - The Wandering Aramean

    […] More evidence the 3-hour tarmac rule is bad for consumers […]

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