Indicator Light Sends Dallas-Bound Flight Back to Sacramento | us news

Indicator Light Sends Dallas-Bound Flight Back to Sacramento

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

American Airlines Flight Experiences “Issue,” Lands At DFW.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1LLwanx) the departure of American Airlines Flight 281 was initially delayed by about an hour and 45 minutes on Sunday.What was supposed to be a 14-hour flight from Texas to South Korea was turning into a hellish 40 hours of travel from Sunday to Tuesday — including a medical-emergency diversion to Salt Lake City.Two of the world’s largest airlines have ended a financial agreement that allows them to transfer passengers onto each other’s flights during emergencies, such as storms or hurricanes.When American Airlines, one of the few airlines that control most of America’s air transportation system, went down for several hours last Thursday, how many business meetings were missed by passengers whose flights were delayed or canceled?

— An American Airlines plane with 141 passengers on board has returned to Sacramento International Airport after an apparent problem with a fuel line. American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein says the flight was above Wyoming when a medical emergency forced a landing in Salt Lake City, where the plane spent 3 1/2 hours on the ground. Delta Airlines and American Airlines last week announced the end to their “interline agreement,” a contract to pay each other an agreed-upon price for carrying each other’s passengers under special circumstances.

The airline says in an email that the MD-80 took off from Sacramento on Tuesday morning and was headed to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport when an indicator light in the cockpit reported a possible mechanical issue. Such agreements exist between most major carriers so that airlines can put stranded passengers on a competitor’s flight and get reimbursed for the cost. “At that rate, the industry agreement was no longer mutually beneficial,” said Eric Phillips, Delta’s senior vice president for revenue management. Still, airline spokesman Casey Norton said the disagreement shouldn’t have a major effect on fliers because American still has interline agreements with other competitors. If the airline cut maintenance costs in such a way that it led to the computer outage, then the airline just externalized that cost to its passengers and the economy at large. By the time it departed, the crew could not finish the flight to Korea under work-time limitation rules set by the Federal Aviation Administration, Feinstein said.

And this problem actually took place before the real challenges the company faces when it tries to complete the ultimate merging of the American Airlines and US Airways computer systems into one master system later this year. According to CNBC, when the American-US Airways merger is complete, the Big Four: Southwest, United, American and Delta, will control 87 percent of commercial traffic, nine out of 10 flights.

When they are struggling, especially over things that are beyond their control such as 9/11, they come to Congress and ask for help, because obviously the nation cannot function without them. But we should remember that the megamerger airlines are operating under special grants of immunity from the laws of the United States that prohibit the monopolization of industries.

When there are few competitors, just a few companies that divvy up the market in a gentlemanly manner, there is little real competition and little free market discipline to encourage anyone to maintain a high level of service. But the airlines managed to convince Congress that they would be “more competitive” if they could be allowed to merge and merge and merge until the entire industry was consolidated into a handful of carriers. It can be confirmed by looking at how they all march in lockstep toward cutting costs and offering ever fewer services and an increasingly bare bones product.

When the airline executives tell Congress they will be more competitive, they mean that they will be larger and able to control a larger portion of the market, have larger fleets, and compete with the other mega airlines in terms of size and power.

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