American Airlines Cancels 1,000 Flights. Again.

For the second time in as many days, American Airlines has left more than 100,000 passengers stranded.

American Airlines Cancels 1,000 Flights.  Again. Airline passengers wait on line at the American Airlines Terminal at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday, April 9, 2008. American Airlines canceled 850 flights Wednesday, more than one-third of its schedule, as it spent a second straight day inspecting the wiring on some of its jets.
(AP Photo/Frances Roberts) American Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights Wednesday, more than one-third of its schedule, as it spent a second straight day inspecting the wiring on some of its jets — the same issue that caused it to scrub hundreds of flights two weeks ago. The nation’s biggest airline had already canceled 460 flights on Tuesday, stranding thousands of travelers. Federal inspectors found problems with wiring work done two weeks ago, although the airline says passenger safety was never jeopardized.

Airline officials said the flights would have averaged more than 100 passengers, meaning that more than 100,000 travelers could have been left scrambling to book new flights.

Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American, said the cancellations could continue beyond Wednesday as the airline works on its fleet of 300 MD-80 jets. By Wednesday morning, only 30 of the planes were back in service.

It hasn’t been clear from the reporting on this how much of these cancellations are the fault of incompetent and/or shady practices on the part of the airline and how much of it is stupidity and inflexibility on the part of the FAA. My hunch is that there’s plenty of blame to go around.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    It’s stories like this that make me so glad I rarely have to travel for business these days. A few years ago I was traveling at a rate of over 100,000 actual miles per year(not bonus miles added on to actual miles). When I do travel now I realize that the airlines are becoming as out of touch with their clients as the MSM. Unfortunately, the barriers to entry for competition is a lot greater than just starting a blog.

  2. mike says:

    the airlines have no incentive to reform – a virtual monopoly with the gov’t there to bail them out financially – meanwhile, the execs continue making their bloated salaries and bonuses. flying is now a necessary evil.

  3. Triumph says:

    When I do travel now I realize that the airlines are becoming as out of touch with their clients as the MSM.

    Amen. The main problem is the liberal Flight Attendant’s and Pilot’s Unions unreasonably ratchet up the costs and puts in place all of these perks that make it impossible for the airlines to make money.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    The vaunted power an efficency of private enterprise!

    Oh. Wait.

  5. Davebo says:

    Having dealt with my fair share of FAA principal maintenance inspectors I can tell you that they are indeed rather rigid.

    The news of Southwest skirting the rules and the FAA looking the other way has no doubt added to their rigidity (Remember, the FAA is reactive, not proactive, see SSID program after the Hawaiian airlines 737 with a sunroof incident.

    But in the end, the airline writes it’s maintenance program and the FAA just approves it. AD’s generally allow a reasonable amount of time for compliance and the airlines get input if they feel an AD will unreasonably affect operations.

    In the end, this is probably 95% on American.

  6. sam says:

    Then there’s Jon Stewart’s line:

    If a passenger blows up an airplane, it’s a failure of the war on terror; if the plane blows up by itself, that’s the market self-correcting.