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Monday, December 28, 2009

Airlines may not like the DOT's new 3-hour limit on ground delays, but airports do


So the airports like the three-hour limit, but the airlines do not.

What we have here are two different business and customer service models responding to the same issue.

Airports worry that you'll let a bad experience motivate you to use another airport, and that fear is often well-founded. Fliers in Greesnboro can choose among three international airports if driving a couple of hours is not a problem.

Fliers in Raleigh can scoot over to Greensboro if the 90 minute drive doesn't present a challenge, and they'll get their bags faster in the process.

If you go to the other airport, the local airport not only loses the body count at the gate, but it also loses the purchase of that burger and drink, not to mention that bottle of water, and those things add up for the consortium of businesses that makes up an airport.

On the other side, the airlines have to deal with late flights, missed flights, overbooked flights, cancelled flights, and all other sorts of metrics that have little or nothing to do with the satisfaction of fliers. In fact, a flier's satisfaction, while expressed as important by flight crews when they thank you for choosing XYZ Air, is generally unimportant to the airlines in the context of government metrics of satisfactory performance.

Besides, there might not be a gate available for use, or if a gate is taken, what does the ground crew do when the scheduled plane arrives with your planein the way?

And how do we get everyone back together at whatever gate we wind up using when it's time to go? Unloading that plane will easily add an hour to the schedule, all they while leaving the plane unable to takeoff if ATC unexpectedly releases the plane for takeoff.

You as a flier are about the least important part of this equation even if you are paying for the pleasure.

-- text tapped from a virtual keyboard.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

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