Lawmakers say delays won’t fly

Jeremy Hobson Sep 26, 2007


Lisa Napoli: Today, a hearing on Capitol Hill about something that addles a lot of us: customer service and the airlines.

It’s a follow-up to a report issued Tuesday by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general, who found cancellations and delays are at near-record highs. From D.C., here’s Jeremy Hobson.

Jeremy Hobson: The inspector general’s report says so far this year, almost 28 percent of flights have been delayed or cancelled, with average delays of almost an hour.

And then, there are the stories about people stuck on planes for 10 hours, like Jet Blue’s Valentines Day storm debacle at JFK.

But Seth Kaplan at Airline Weekly says lawmakers should be careful not to overreact to horror stories.

Seth Kaplan: They’re not usually things that legislation can address. I mean, I was at JFK in February during that whole mess there, and if it were as simple as letting people off the planes after a few hours, I’m quite sure Jet Blue would have done that.

Kaplan says market forces usually work pretty well and that people will avoid airlines they’ve had trouble with.

But he thinks Congress is taking a step in the right direction with a plan to boost funding for the nation’s radar system. Upgrading that system is seen as one way to reduce delays.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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