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Why Do Airlines Treat People Like Cattle?

 
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gfloyd



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 4861
Location: Here, There, Everywhere.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:35 pm    Post subject: Why Do Airlines Treat People Like Cattle? Reply with quote

Here is a section of a report taken from the New York Post:

========================================
Hundreds of JetBlue passengers at Kennedy Airport yesterday spent the most romantic day of the year trapped on at least seven planes stuck on the ground - some for more than 10 hours.

JetBlue blamed the incredible Valentine's Day delays on the weather. Empty jets were frozen to the ground, blocking the gates to inbound flights. Departing flights that did escape were unable to get airborne because conditions suddenly changed - and their gates had been filled by other airplanes.

Stuck passengers, in many cases, were tantalizingly close to the terminal, which they viewed longingly through the plane windows.

Departing flights to Aruba, Phoenix and Cancun sat on the runway alongside newly arrived planes from Houston, Austin, Fort Myers, Fla., and Nashville for most of the day - as stir-crazy passengers sustained themselves on salty snacks handed out by airline staffers.

"They had nothing but pretzels and peanuts to give people, and soft drinks," said John Farrell, 48, of Brooklyn, who was on a Fort Myers flight that landed at 10 a.m. but didn't unload until 6:50 p.m.

"They actually had liquor as well, but they wouldn't dispense it. They said it was against regulations."

He said one woman on his flight broke down about three hours into the wait, had a panic attack and locked herself in a bathroom for more than an hour.

"She was just sobbing. She was inconsolable," said Farrell, a real-estate executive who lost a day's work as flight attendants joked about the overtime they'd make, he said.

"You gotta realize the frustration - you can look out the window and you can see, there's the gate, if you let us off the plane we can walk there," said Farrell.

Other passengers complained of long lines to smelly bathrooms, TVs that stopped working after a few hours and, of all things, heat.

"We had no A/C, they had to open the door every 20 minutes just so we could get fresh air," said Sean Corrinet, 29, who was on the Cancun flight. "People took off their coats. We were sitting in our T-shirts."

================================

Is there something about airlines that makes them feel that this kind of imprisonment is acceptable?

If you were in a plane for 10 hours just yards from the airport terminal, would you try to break out of the plane?
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JanewayDar



Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Posts: 60
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because people are dumb enough to pay stupid prices for that kinda service. Won't fly JetBlue would rather fly Continental.

Continental went out of their way to help on Tuesday after the weather threatened to disrupt my Moms flight to Newark NJ. They put her on a earlier flight and made sure that she was met and escorted to the correct gate at Newark for her flight to Europe.

Needless to say she was really pleased with the level of service that this airline always provides.

JD
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gfloyd



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jet Blue is not that cheap and normally have reasonable service. They are more EasyJet than Ryanair to put it into a European context.
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Cherskiy



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 3699
Location: near Amble, Northumberland

PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and yes, are the short answers. IIRC, JetBlue is a low-cost airline, so they'll have had few contingency measures to deal with aircraft shortages or 'tech problems. Most of these low-cost airlines run to extremely short turnarounds and tight scheduling - and when things go pear-shaped, they have little or no safety net and the situation goes to hell very quickly, the passengers often having little or no recourse.

Having said that, the situation you're describing above seems to have been a special case - I can't speak for the airport involved but they've obviously had a major problem in having more aircraft than airbridges. Pax just don't walk out to aircraft at Western airports anymore - although they still do at Russian airports - so chances are it was a health and safety issue that prevented them leaving the aircraft when it wasn't attached to an airbridge.

Chances are there was also some problem preventing the airport using a set of airstairs (if the airport actually had any left!) - its a long way down from a Boeing 737's doorway to the ground without stairs (I nearly twisted an ankle once jumping down from the doorway of an Aeroflot Il-18 when we couldn't arrange stairs at a remote airport in Siberia). If the aircraft already parked at the airbridges were stuck, then there was no chance of moving them to accommodate the other hapless jets.

All airlines and airports work to very tight schedules, in theory, at least. JFK is a busy airport and the airbridges will be more or less filled as soon as they become vacant, pretty much like Heathrow. Problems with the aircraft or with slot times can play havoc with these tight schedules. In my experience, airlines/aircrew will try to keep pax onboard as long as possible in the event of a problem, in case it is rectified or solves itself, so the crew can then meet their slot obligation or get the quickest one available from local ATC. The last thing the airport wants to do is disembark the pax, they go milling about and are incredibly difficult to round up again quickly once the pilot decides he or she can go!

(I once spent three hours parked next to a gate at Boston/Logan on a Northwest Airlines A.320 waiting to leave for Miami: it went 'tech on start-up so we had to wait onboard until a spare aircraft became available.)

Still, ten hours in an aluminium tube is rather excessive. I suspect there'll be some lawsuits pending in the coming months.....
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