Monday, September 10, 2007

Let The Airlines Go Begging

Things seem to be going well for Amtrak these days. Train ridership is up all around, as recent press notes, in part because high gas prices are motivating people to hop on board. However, let us not forget that a horribly managed US industry is also driving people onto the trains this summer. Google news search “airline delays” and you can get the idea fairly quickly…

Fixing the Air Traffic Mess
U.S. News & World Report, DC - 23 hours ago
By Chris Wilson The first half of 2007 was the worst year on record for airline delays—21 percent of all departing flights were late—and the news in July ...

US airline delays top 1 million so far in 2007, UK - Sep 4, 2007
By John Crawley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US airline delays for 2007 surpassed the 1 million mark in July, the same month major carriers scheduled a record ...

Airlines try to beat delays, MA - 5 hours ago
Several US carriers are making some big changes to cut passenger delays. According to The Wall Street Journal, a number of the major airlines have realized ...

US airline delays worst ever in July
Arizona Republic, AZ - Sep 4, 2007
US airlines had the worst July for flight delays on record, as only 69.8 percent of flights arrived on time amid bad weather and a surge in traffic. ...

Airlines get a glimpse of future
Charlotte Observer, NC - 7 hours ago
In this most miserable year ever for airline passengers -- a year of record flight delays and baggage mishandling -- hope is near. One solution: an airport ...
Industry officials explore ways to speed air travel Kansas City Star
all 5 news articles »

Personally I like the Charlotte take, “In this most miserable year ever for airline passengers...”

For some reason, airlines seem to escape most of the “mismanagement” brand which is always attributed to Amtrak. The federal government has historically spent a lot of money keeping these poorly managed businesses afloat. With a better option out there for regional travelers, how about after this summer the next time a bankrupt US carrier comes asking the government for a bailout, we say no and hand the money to Amtrak.


Blogger Jennifer said...

I like that idea, except I've never been on an Amtrak that wasn't delayed by some freight train. ("Preference" instead of "priority" and all.) Hence, I'm not easily convinced that airline delays and Amtrak ridership are directly connected.

(I'm not defending airlines; I'd much rather be stuck at Union Station than at O'Hare or even Midway.)

5:23 PM  
Blogger rj said...

The passengers don't want to pay the cost of airline fares already.
Maybe they should ride the train and ease the already overcrowded planed. Maybe they could use hay bales in a freight car for the really cheap seats!! I can surely tell you they won't pay for the TGV service like Europe does.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Shawn Fitzgibbons said...

Train delays aren't quite as big of a problem on the east coast. In any case, its the whole terrible package airlines offer - lateness, security delays, no leg room, etc - which are probably driving them away.

And as for the cost, the Acela service in the NE is not cheap, but certainly thousands of business travellers use it. It has cut in to Delta and USAir's shuttle service for sure.

2:01 PM  

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