Privatising profits, socialising losses: Airlines and banks

Banks privatise the gains they make and in times of crisis initially socialise their losses (amongst the private providers – so that larger more solvent banks mop up after smaller less solvent ones), and failing that us customers get the bill as taxpayers. Back in the days before airline de-regulation in the US as the recent Slate Story makes clear, a similar kind of obligation applied where, if an airline couldn’t get you somewhere, it had an obligation to to do their best with a competitor.  Deregulation put paid to that – though presumably it sometimes happens according to private arrangements between the airlines. Australia’s airline market is less cut-throat both between airlines and between airlines and customers than the US and it’s not that bad, but it’s not that good either.  I’m all for the basic work deregulation has done, but I suspect a bit of gentle leaning (and perhaps even slightly more sturdy leaning on) the airlines to work together as much as possible where passengers will otherwise be hugely inconvenienced would be what we all like here at Troppo – a Good Thing.

The article is below the fold.

What Rights Do Delayed Airline Passengers Have?

The holidays haven’t been very happy for the thousands of travelers stranded in airports in theNortheastern U.S. and Europe. With delays stretching into days, passengers reasonably start to wonder whether there’s anything they can do about it. But the answer is no. SmartTraveler’s Ed Perkins explains that when it comes to passenger rights during extreme delays, fliers have “essentially none.” If an airline bumps you from a flight that is taking off because they’ve overbooked the flight, they’re required to compensate you. But if a flight is delayed or canceled entirely, they have no obligations other than what’s included in the “contract of carriage,” a document posted on every airline’s Web site (and ignored by every traveler, until the snow starts). All airlines’ contracts say that in the event of a cancellation, they’ll refund your money or put you on a later flight. But not all of them will put you on a competitor’s flight. Perkins explains that before deregulation, carriers were required to transfer passengers to other airlines in the event of extreme delays, but now each airline sets its own policy. Alaska, Continental, JetBlue, United, and US Airways will transfer passengers in most situations, and Delta will transfer passengers at its “sole discretion,” but American and Southwestwon’t even think about it. (Of course, transfer policies don’t do much good if all the flights are booked anyway.) The one meager consolation for flight-fatigued passengers is that airlines are no longer permitted to keep delayed planes on the tarmac for more than three hours.

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Marks
Marks
11 years ago

Actually, that three hour rule in the US is no help at all. If it looks like the plane will be delayed for more than three hours, all they have to do is cancel the flight…and you are worse off than if you were at least in the queue heading for the runway.

conrad
conrad
11 years ago

As I learnt from the news yesterday, the 3 hour rule is only for domestic flights. They can keep you as long as they want on international ones, presumably because their customs officials won’t work at odd hours in emergencies.

Marks
Marks
11 years ago

A couple of words from the cranky flier on the three hour rule.

“That tarmac delay rule that everyone loves so much did nothing but encourage airlines to cancel flights. You’ll notice that domestic airlines seem to not have had any 3 hour delays but instead they had mass cancels unlike what might have happened before the rule. Foreign airlines, which do not fall under the rule today, sent airplanes and had them sit on the ground for hours and hours before they could get people off.”

Full article in the link below:

http://crankyflier.com/2011/01/03/winter-storm-pain-is-inevitable-and-cant-be-avoided/