23.5.04

LOSING PATIENCE ON THE TARMAC. The city you don't want to leave has an airport that can take you anywhere, provided you have time to spare. Lynne at Knowledge Problem discovers that the air traffic controllers, whilst public employees, are hardly public servants.
Another Friday night, another ground hold trying to fly home to O’Hare. This time we sat on the ground in Austin, Texas for an hour and a half. The pilot was really frank; he said that we were two minutes from liftoff and everything was fine, and then they said they would hold us for an hour and 20 minutes. I had called home earlier so I knew that there was no weather/radar reason, and other passengers around me calling people corroborated that information. The pilot later said over the speaker that he knew of no weather events going into O’Hare.

That means it was an air traffic control hold. It’s bad enough for me to get home to my family an hour and a half late, but the worst thing is that I’m surrounded by many fellow passengers who were all supposed to be making connections through O’Hare to someplace else. Now we won’t arrive in O’Hare until after 10, well after many of the last flights have departed. They’ll be stranded and have to spend the night in O’Hare. That is, of course, unless there are other planes full of people whose lives and priorities have been disregarded as much as ours have.

The FAA’s disregard of its constituents is unconscionable and utterly reprehensible. I cannot believe, with all of the soul searching and introspection that federal officials are supposed to have been doing in the past two and a half years, that the FAA and the Department of Transportation can still get away with this appalling indifference to the harms that their bureaucratic policies impose on so many people. The reply I would expect from them, that we may be home late or tomorrow but at least we get home all in one piece, is a pathetic excuse for an unwillingness to engage in some forward-looking thinking and openness to new (or not so new) ideas.
Sometimes it is experience, not ideology, that leads people to call for a rollback of State functions.

No comments: