Airports and airlines are getting some bad publicity and we really think that some of it is unfair. For instance, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), overhead fire sprinklers went off recently, dousing passengers and a baggage claim area. This prompted howls of outrage, but we think people should realise how hot it was in LA that day and understand that the airport was just trying to cool them off.
Other airports do similar things to help their passengers: at Washington’s Dulles International, for instance, one of the midfield terminals actually heats the water in the drinking fountains, so that no one will get cold, and at Newark’s Liberty International Airport, they are so concerned about passengers’ health that they heat one of the terminals. Year round!
People don’t always understand these things, just as they don’t always understand their role in the process. Take the case of extended tarmac delays. These have been in the news since late last year when American stranded a planeload on the Austin, Texas, runway, followed by JetBlue’s massive meltdowns in February and March. The complaints focus on such picky inconveniences such as no food or water and overflowing lavatories. People just don’t understand. Perhaps they would if they could just see this note from a women identifying herself as a flight attendant, a women who just wanted to suggest that passengers not eat or drink while they’re sitting on the tarmac “because then this lavatory issue comes up. Nobody’s going to be hurt by not eating or drinking for a few hours. They should take sips of the water the flight attendants offer and do their part. It’s the passenger’s duty to be practical. Why eat and drink and worry about having to go to the bathroom”?
We want to thank the New York Times for posting the note, which was received by Kate Hanni, the California real estate agent who was a victim in the Austin abhorrence and who has started a website to gather complaints and lobby for a stranded-passenger bill of rights.
Take that for what’s worth, but we here at AB would appreciate your help in explaining another incident in the news: Continental Airlines, a generally well-thought of carrier, got some very bad press the other day when one of its North Atlantic flights had to make an unscheduled stop in Ireland because the toilets had overflowed and raw sewage was actually on running down the aisles. The airline didn’t try to talk it away, and apologised, but we do wonder if the carrier wasn’t just trying to show that the phrase “*%#@y airline flight” could have a literal meaning?