American Airlines Travel Woes

American Airlines has so far canceled nearly 3,000 flights this week due to wiring inspections, stranding a quarter of a million passengers.

When it comes to flying, safety is paramount, but it seems that the wiring problem isn't critical. So naturally, some people are asking why the mass grounding:

But were wiring concerns serious enough to warrant such massive cancellations? Should the airlines have inconvenienced so many people at once? Was the flying public's safety actually at risk? [...]

American is reinspecting its planes after securing the wire bundles a quarter of an inch too far apart. Delta found it had an issue with the protective sleeving it was supposed to have wrapped around a certain part of the wire bundles. [...]

John Eakin, aviation safety consultant and president of Air Data Research in Helotes, Texas, spent this week looking over the reports issued in the years before 2006 that prompted the FAA to issue the requirement in the first place.

The reports were not serious enough a problem to prompt this week's mass cancellations, Eakin said.

"What I see is just routine stuff," said Eakin, who has worked as a pilot and mechanic for 40 years. "I don't have any sense that there was any imminent danger of the airplane falling out of the sky, if you will. That's not to say that it couldn't. Obviously, someone along the way has determined that this has the potential to cause serious damage."

"I would think that if it was likely to cause a problem, they wouldn't have taken six or seven or eight years to do the paperwork," Eakin said.

If you're one of the passengers inconvenienced, I feel your pain. I used to travel by air a great deal (internationally and domestically), and I've never had much problem - until I traveled with American Airlines (why? I'll tell you in the comment).

Link (Photo: FlyGuy92586 [Flickr])

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The main problem with the airlines is that we don't let these great international carriers come in and compete with US companies domestically, Singapore Airlines, Aer Lingus, Aer France, these are all great airlines, but that can't take you from NYC to Chicago. Why? Let them come in and compete. If we are going to have a free trade system, let them compete, otherwise, the Government needs to take over the airlines.
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Air France was great. Southwest has been pretty good to me, and I had a great flight on Jet Blue. Delta is a bit of a hit or miss.
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