With the electronic toys and gadgets on the market for kids these days, parents have a veritable cornucopia of options should the child ever require some sort of punishment. Take away their iPod, their Facebook access, their video games, cameras, etc, the list is almost endless. The NFL punishes its players, coaches, and owners by fining the ever-loving be-jeezus out of them. Just recently, the owner of the Tennessee Titans was fined $250,000 for sending a fellow owner (of the opposing team) a crude hand gesture. I wonder what his reaction was, “What? A quarter of a million dollars for flipping the bird? They can do that? They can’t do that! Can they really do that?”
I’m sure the CEOs of Mesaba, Continental, and ExpressJet felt equally stunned when the Federal government set a new precedent by fining them $175,000 for stranding a plane full of passengers overnight on the tarmac in
In what will most certainly be a landmark decision, our Federal Government fined Continental and Express Jet $50,000 each for their role in the debacle, and another $75,000 to Mesaba. This opens the door for future fines against airlines who mis-manage their policies and practices and who leave passengers stuck with wailing babies and smelly toilets, only 50 yards from fresh facilities and freedom. So rejoice and be glad, fellow passengers!
The cutest part of this story is the reaction from Mesaba. There’s irony here and it’s thick! You have to understand that, while Mesaba garnished the lion’s share of the fine, they were only following TSA procedures in regard to terminal safety and security. Can you imagine? This is akin to you refusing to open the door to let your brother into the house because your mom has a rule that you’re not allowed to open the door after midnight. It’s a good rule, and you followed it truly enough, but are you really surprised when your mom takes your game-boy for stranding your brother? Mesaba spokesperson John Spanjers said, “We feel as though we operated in good faith, however, customer service is paramount and we are re-evaluating our policies and procedures for the courtesy handling of other airlines’ flights to do our part in mitigating this type of delay.” Really? You had to get fined the average business traveler’s annual salary to figure that out? Shame.
This whole event makes me even sadder for the passengers who spent the night in an airplane with no remuneration whatsoever. Honestly, we had to fine them in order for them to even consider some basic human hospitality? I hope for my sake that if something similar happens in the future, there will we at least one employee with enough common sense to extend himself a little bit and show some compassion. Stay tuned, now that the “fine gates” have been opened, the rules will finally change.
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.