Oh, Canada!

My flight to Montreal this morning was canceled due to crew availability.

This makes it the third flight on three different airlines in as many weeks for me that were canceled due to this interesting phenomenon: the weather is good, the plane seems to be working, but we remain on the ground because no one is aboard to officially serve me coffee.

Considering the complexity of overall airline operations, one would think that having crew available for the flight should be the least of an airline’s challenges. It’s even more dubious when such flights are canceled at airline hubs like O’Hare for United, and National airport for US Airways, where the airline has plenty of staff in residence.

In this case, the flight attendant on board my Air Canada Jazz flight — a CRJ200 — passed out just as we started to board. I do hope that she is okay, and wish the best for her speedy recovery. But it is telling how often the excuse of crew availability is abused that the airline felt it necessary to virtually parade the paramedics passed us as if to announce: "indeed, she is sick. We’re not lying — this time." I got the impression that — if federal laws permitted — as the poor woman’s gurney rolled past, the gate attendant would have tried proving that she really, truly was unconscious by applying fake karate chops at her head.

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