Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Flying the painful skies

When I started this travel blog, I figured I'd write about the airlines from time to time by reporting air fare deals, sharing advice on redeeming frequent flier miles, venting the occasional complaint. But lately, it seems like half my postings are about the airlines.

Let's face it: this isn't their year. I'm not sure how long it's been since it was "their year," but the airlines seem to be having an extra hard time of it lately. Fallout from the airplane inspection fiasco has caused more than 1,500 flights to be grounded this week—many with virtually no notice. On last night's news, I saw many travelers who'd already passed through security and made it to their gate, only to find out their flight had been grounded.

Customers of American Airlines are feeling the worst of the pain. Today, the airline grounded nearly half of its flights, leaving as many as 140,000 passengers stranded! My parents flew home last Saturday on American... just in time, apparently. (And I suppose they're lucky they made it home in one piece.)

I can't say I feel the slightest sympathy for the airlines. If they skimped on safety inspections like they have been with their service, then they deserve to suffer a lot more than simply getting flights grounded. Southwest Airlines' $10 million fine is a good start; a criminal investigation would be a great next step.

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