After months of travel delays, rush-hour style congestion on runways, and thousands of frustrated travelers, President Bush has had enough. "Endless hours sitting in an airplane on a runway with no communication between a pilot and the airport is just not right," says the president.
No sir, it isn't.
Bush now promises to take steps to improve the air traffic congestions and long delays that have kept passengers grounded. This newfound problem solving follows on the heels of the House approving a new passenger bill of rights.
The president recently met with Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and acting Federal Aviation Administrator Bobby Sturgell in the Oval Office. Bush is urging congress to look at legislation to modernize the FAA, and wants Peters to devise new ways to ensure passengers are treated humanely.
Peters has now asked airlines to discuss new ways to improve scheduling conflicts at New York's JFK airport. The airport can usually handle 44 departures between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., but commercial airlines have been scheduling 57. If the issues remain unsolved, the department will file a schedule reduction order. The agency's complaint system is also undergoing changes, and will offer greater compensation to stranded passengers.
It seems Peters is now on the warpath with the president's consent. She may even go as far as forcing airlines to pay more to fly during peak times. This strategy could potentially raise fares for commercial passengers—which means we may not get stuck on the runway, but there may be a heavy price to pay for actual customer service.