Thursday, April 20, 2017

#110 / Just Following Up

The New York Times followed up on its earlier coverage of the United Airlines fiasco by analyzing just how new technologies have helped the airlines, but have failed to help passengers. Farhad Manjoo, writing in The Times, called what happened to Dr. Dao, on United Airlines Flight 3411 out of Chicago, "brutish capitalism." 

The point of The Times' article on April 13th, linked above, was to explore whether or not "technology" might provide a solution of some kind. You might think it could. Conclusion by The Times? Not really!

What was most striking to me in the Manjoo article, which is well worth reading, was the utter failure of the article to suggest the solution that I suggested yesterday: namely, governmental regulations setting out a set of fair rules for both passengers and the airlines, which would be the same everywhere, and for all airlines, so everyone would know what they might expect when they board a plane with a paid-for ticket. 

Manjoo does say that "regulatory failure" is one of the "many reasons for the sorry state of commercial aviation in America." My reaction to this acute observation? Duh! 

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, signed into  law by President Jimmy Carter, has brought us to this pass, but please note, nothing prevents us from "re-regulating" the airlines. If the airlines can "re-accommodate" their passengers at the whim of the airlines (this being the phrase used by the United Airlines CEO to describe what United did to passenger Dao), we should feel absolutely alright about "re-regulating" them.

I'd advise it!

Democracy beats out technology every time, if what we care about is building a world that conforms to what WE want.

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