My mother and I survived a train wreck once. We were in
For me, the toughest part of the entire journey was the waiting and hearing nothing from anyone “in the know.” If you haven’t experience this feeling, you’re lucky. It can turn mild mannered people with a very calm demeanor into angry, screaming lunatics. It can take an ill tempered baby who’s prone to crying anyway, and send him into a frenzy so insane that Lucifer himself would hesitate before entering the fray. My experience on the train was nothing compared to getting stuck on the tarmac for hours.
Give a rational person the knowledge that the plane he’s sitting on can take him to his destination in three hours. Now, sit him on that same plane next to a window where he can see his car in a parking garage. Now, deprive that individual of food, water and lavatory use. Take his cell phone away. Then, just for kicks, shove that person into an uncomfortable chair and forbid him from standing up. Now park him in a huge parking lot and leave him there, without communication, for five hours. Think he’d get a little angry? You have no idea.
Passenger’s Rights organizations have formed and they’re staffed by people willing to work for free, as long as they have a bit of revenge in their sites. What they’re working on is a bill that might just turn into a law that requires airlines to give their passengers an “out.” They want to get off of the plane in those crazy situations where otherwise, people would be trapped for hours without relief. Who can blame them? They’re getting closer too, Congress has gotten their message. Just a few short days ago, a senate committee voted to require airlines to let passengers get off planes that are delayed for more than three hours.
Be careful what you wish for. Look at the numbers for a second. According to USA Today, the airline with the most such incidents (Express Jet) only experienced a delay of more than three hours 5 times for every 10,000 flights so it doesn’t happen that often. Furthermore, it’s easy for me to see how letting the passengers get off the plane could make it even worse! Imagine 200 people getting off the plane then splitting, like the blue angels, into 200 different directions. You’ve already waited three hours, and if the weather clears or the delay finally abates, it will take time to wrangle everyone back together to try it again. I’d wager that the ultimate delay time would be significantly longer than if we’d just waited in the first place.
If you have a strong opinion about this one way or the other, it’s time to write your Congressional Representative. This bill is in congress right now, waiting to become law…
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.