Self-deprecation is worth its weight in smoldering phoenix-ashes and baby unicorn tears.
or; why I oppose the government meddling in this at all, and pray that the petition fails miserably.
Published on March 27, 2007 By SanChonino In Travel
Yesterday I had to get a haircut. (Basically, my boss/father told me that I get a haircut this week or I look for a new job next week . . . not a tough decision. ) As I sat in the chair in the salon and the cosmetologist molested my head for half an hour, the Rachel Ray show was on. (Yes, I know, she's my sworn nemesis, but what was I gonna do? I gotta keep tabs on the enemy, after all . . .) She had one Kate Hanni on her show, who was trapped on an airplane for 9 1/2 hours without being able to leave. In consequence, she began an online petition to create a Passenger's Bill of Rights (link to that document here. It's about halfway down in the right column) to send to DC, intent on making it a law that these stipulations govern every flight.

Now, none of these stipulations are bad, and none of them seem necessarily extreme. Some of the things that this coalition is fighting for:

Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.


Now, like I said, none of those things seem bad, and I'd like if they were ensured to me as a traveler. I, for my part, have never had a problem (except for with rough handling of my baggage, which has resulted in the lost wheel or two) with any of these. I've never been stuck on the tarmacadam for three hours, I've never actually missed or been bumped from a flight. But I know it's happened to many.

That's why airlines like JetBlue have actually created their own personal, company-wide Passenger's Bill of Rights, for which I commend them. It's a brave thing to admit that your company was in error, and JetBlue has shown their true colors with their current "scandal" - and those colors have been impressive. Yet other airlines have yet to enact policies like this.

My problem with a Passengers Bill of Rights, however, is this: The minute the government sets a minimum that must be met, that's all that will ever be met. Service will not excel; it will, in fact, be a detriment to the entire flying experience. It's the same reason socialized medicine won't work - when you set a minimum standard, that's all that will ever be met, because more than that is unnecessary.

Thus, as I said, I applaud JetBlue for their efforts, and hope more airlines follow suit. But I seriously hope that the government doesn't step in to regulate these things, as we'll only be shooting ourselves in the feet.

Comments
on Mar 27, 2007

We agree on the government, but not totally the reason why.  Sure the minimum will become the maximum (until they change the minimum again), but worse is the fact that it will beget a bureaucracy that is inert and ham handed.  It will make "Zero Tolerance" look intelligent by design.

Jet Blue has a problem.  It is addressing the problem.  If it succeeds, it will be a wake up call for all Airlines to address it in order to stay competitive - and that is the true answer.  Each airline is more capable of policing its profit source than a faceless bureaucrat in DC.

on Mar 27, 2007
Jet Blue has a problem. It is addressing the problem. If it succeeds, it will be a wake up call for all Airlines to address it in order to stay competitive - and that is the true answer.


I agree that this will be a wake-up call. Yet I maintain that JetBlue is one of the best airlines out there - they have consistently previded better service than all the competition. But one mistake on their part, and they're changing. I hope the others will follow suit.
on Mar 27, 2007
I agree that this will be a wake-up call. Yet I maintain that JetBlue is one of the best airlines out there - they have consistently previded better service than all the competition. But one mistake on their part, and they're changing. I hope the others will follow suit.


Jet Blue has a problem. It is addressing the problem. If it succeeds, it will be a wake up call for all Airlines to address it in order to stay competitive - and that is the true answer. Each airline is more capable of policing its profit source than a faceless bureaucrat in DC.


I agree with both points! Having flown Jet Blue before, they're great! Others, well, like Delta, so-so, Even on International flight with Delta is so-so, while other Airlines are better.

I think the airlines doing it themselves will be better than the government coming in and telling them what to do.
on Mar 27, 2007
PS - it's like with the Hospital Bill of Rights, (aka, patients bill of rights) there are clauses in there that screw the pateints rights. For example, there are some hospitals that will put a lein on your home if you don't pay the bill when it's due! I didn't know that! I heard this on one of those television report the other day where this man and his wife were having a situation with the hosptial in their city, I forgot which state, (Seattle?) and he paid some of the bill, but couldn't pay it all off at once and they've put a lien on his house. So, yes, the airlines will find someway of screwing the public somehow because of our demands!
on Mar 27, 2007
- when you set a minimum standard, that's all that will ever be met, because more than that is unnecessary.


yeah it used to gripe me to make a 71 on a paper in school 'cause it meant I wasted one point of effort...   
on Mar 27, 2007
yeah it used to gripe me to make a 71 on a paper in school 'cause it meant I wasted one point of effort...


You and your facetiousness . . .
on Mar 28, 2007
I heard this on one of those television report the other day where this man and his wife were having a situation with the hosptial in their city, I forgot which state, (Seattle?) and he paid some of the bill, but couldn't pay it all off at once and they've put a lien on his house.


They can only do that if you sign a paper saying they can. Hospitals, like Credit Cards, are considered unsecured debt, and if you go Chapter 13, they are out of luck. That one comes under - make sure you read before you sign.
on Mar 28, 2007
You and your facetiousness . .


Ha! Once you meet the minimum standard it all pays the same don't cha know? I remember shooting for an A in college chemistry class one time and once you get past the desired minimum, i.e the 90 percentile, then what's the point in making a hunnerd?    
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