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[Volcano] Should the Airlines Pay Compensation?

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Posts

  • fleggettfleggett Registered User
    edited April 2010
    I've been given a free room for a flight that was delayed due to bad weather...
    So have I. I've also volunteered to be bumped in exchange for a free continental round-trip ticket. But that was several years ago, apparently back when the industry wasn't looking to fleece its customers. Nowadays, it seems they're getting absolutely mercenary with their fees to make up for supposedly low ticket prices. Who could've imagined an airline would someday make their customers pay to use the toilet? Or to bring aboard carry-on luggage? When has it become acceptable to charge for what used to be common courtesies? The race to make money is ruining the "customer friendly" perception the airlines used to enjoy.

    (I realize this is getting beyond the scope of this thread and you weren't being argumentative. I'm just venting a little.)
    but this is an ENTIRE CONTINENT worth of cancellations... and considering they hemorrhage money when planes are on the ground anyways, I'm pretty sure any sort of mass-compensation would ruin many airlines.
    Which is why I said short of bankrupting them. And you know they're going to make up for the shortfall when the ash has settled, anyway (no pun intended). An airline MIGHT get away with sticking it to the odd passenger here and there, but not to this degree, with numbers this unprecedented.
    I suppose governments should plan ahead for this sort of thing; set up funds for emergency shelter and food in case of a large, odd natural event like a volcanic eruption. Unless of course you're John McCain and you think volcano monitoring is silly.
    Well, I don't know if I'd level any fingers at anyone over this. I mean, this really is something of a freak occurrence. Kinda akin to it raining frogs. Now that it has happened, though, steps should be put into place to assist stranded travelers. Profits shouldn't be the primary motivating factor in getting people sheltered and fed in a crisis like this.

  • ronzoronzo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Doc wrote: »
    CidonaBoy wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    Tastyfish wrote: »
    If they had flown and crashed, what would the payout be and who would have done it?

    This is what I don't get.

    So you're losing $200 million a day? How is that at all relevant? If the EU lets you fly, there are two scenarios that play out:

    A. You make your flights but with almost guaranteed engine damage, costing millions to repair.

    I don't know much about planes, but some airlines like Aer Arann use planes with propellers (Link).

    Wasn't the problem with the ash that it was at the altitudes that jet engines are used at? Or would it have affected planes like these also that can operate at low altitudes? I recall seeing the director of Aer Arann on TV saying his fleet would not have had any issues flying, though admittedly this could have been all talk knowing they would never be allowed fly.

    Volcanic ash can also scratch cockpit windows opaque.

    and if it was a turbo prop plane, it would run into the same issues as a turbojet plane would

  • Commander 598Commander 598 Registered User
    edited April 2010
    If the airlines go under we might see new [old] methods of travel become more popular...

  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    If the airlines go under we might see new [old] methods of travel become more popular...

    When this originally came up on The Diane Rehm Show (which was what motivated me to make a thread for it, not gonna lie), one of their Twitter commenters said, basically, that this is why we need to space out our travel demands on more than just air travel.

  • fleggettfleggett Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    When this originally came up on The Diane Rehm Show (which was what motivated me to make a thread for it, not gonna lie), one of their Twitter commenters said, basically, that this is why we need to space out our travel demands on more than just air travel.
    The problem is that the other methods are agonizingly slow versus air travel. And many/almost all people use their accumulated leave time in order to make these trips. This is compounded by the fact that people in the U.S. don't get nearly the same amount of leave as those in the EU.

  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    fleggett wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    When this originally came up on The Diane Rehm Show (which was what motivated me to make a thread for it, not gonna lie), one of their Twitter commenters said, basically, that this is why we need to space out our travel demands on more than just air travel.
    The problem is that the other methods are agonizingly slow versus air travel. And many/almost all people use their accumulated leave time in order to make these trips. This is compounded by the fact that people in the U.S. don't get nearly the same amount of leave as those in the EU.

    Fair considerations. It wouldn't hurt to have the option to take either a plane or a high-speed rail line from NYC to LA, though. The Chinese are already onto this.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    fleggett wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    When this originally came up on The Diane Rehm Show (which was what motivated me to make a thread for it, not gonna lie), one of their Twitter commenters said, basically, that this is why we need to space out our travel demands on more than just air travel.
    The problem is that the other methods are agonizingly slow versus air travel. And many/almost all people use their accumulated leave time in order to make these trips. This is compounded by the fact that people in the U.S. don't get nearly the same amount of leave as those in the EU.

    Fair considerations. It wouldn't hurt to have the option to take either a plane or a high-speed rail line from NYC to LA, though. The Chinese are already onto this.

    I've always assumed for, I now realize, no particular reason that people in the EU used trains a lot to get around when they had to travel relatively large distances.

    I don't know about other parts of the world, but in the US if you have to go somewhere more than a few hours drive away it's pretty much airplane or nothing. Our rail system sucks horribly. I've looked into going by train and it's usually in the same ballpark, expense wise, as flying but actually slower than driving (other than having to stop to sleep and such). If there were a high-speed rail option that would get me from point to point at a reasonable pace (say, at least 150% of the speed of driving) and a reasonable price I would never fly within the US again.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    fleggett wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    When this originally came up on The Diane Rehm Show (which was what motivated me to make a thread for it, not gonna lie), one of their Twitter commenters said, basically, that this is why we need to space out our travel demands on more than just air travel.
    The problem is that the other methods are agonizingly slow versus air travel. And many/almost all people use their accumulated leave time in order to make these trips. This is compounded by the fact that people in the U.S. don't get nearly the same amount of leave as those in the EU.

    Fair considerations. It wouldn't hurt to have the option to take either a plane or a high-speed rail line from NYC to LA, though. The Chinese are already onto this.

    A rail line from NYC to LA would just be silly, the infrastructure to do it would be monumental and the time it would take to go LA to NYC, even non-stop (which would be economically unfeasible) would make it a non-starter. Over that kind of distance a plane whoops a train hands down.

    Now over 250-500 miles a high-speed train shits on an airplane - from a great height, so to speak.

    I have a thoughtful and infrequently updated blog about games http://whatithinkaboutwhenithinkaboutgames.wordpress.com/

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  • Commander 598Commander 598 Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Just looking at prices I think I could get to LA from here for about half the price (minimum) of a plane via Amtrak. The trip might take two days but it looks like a much better experience compared to what I've heard about air travel.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Just looking at prices I think I could get to LA from here for about half the price (minimum) of a plane via Amtrak. The trip might take two days but it looks like a much better experience compared to what I've heard about air travel.

    Almost all of the complaints about air travel are about delays, which are rendered irrelevant when the competition takes twenty times as long to get you there.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    fleggett wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    When this originally came up on The Diane Rehm Show (which was what motivated me to make a thread for it, not gonna lie), one of their Twitter commenters said, basically, that this is why we need to space out our travel demands on more than just air travel.
    The problem is that the other methods are agonizingly slow versus air travel. And many/almost all people use their accumulated leave time in order to make these trips. This is compounded by the fact that people in the U.S. don't get nearly the same amount of leave as those in the EU.

    Fair considerations. It wouldn't hurt to have the option to take either a plane or a high-speed rail line from NYC to LA, though. The Chinese are already onto this.

    A rail line from NYC to LA would just be silly, the infrastructure to do it would be monumental and the time it would take to go LA to NYC, even non-stop (which would be economically unfeasible) would make it a non-starter. Over that kind of distance a plane whoops a train hands down.

    Now over 250-500 miles a high-speed train shits on an airplane - from a great height, so to speak.

    It's not that silly, you'd be talking 13-14 hours-ish assuming the line was modern high speed rail (basing this on the fact that the new Chinese high speed rail averages 190mph and LA and NYC are 2500 miles apart). There are (non-high speed) rail services that take that kind of time between European capitals (though they're often sleepers if they're non-stop).

    If such a line existed you'd probably see people using it between intermediate stops, though.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Sucks for the airlines but correct me if I'm wrong here, IANAL, but if you make a contract with someone, and then break the contract causing them to incur extra financial expenses, aren't you liable for those expenses. If I contract someone to do lawn maintenance at my second house, and they don't do it, can't I sue them for all the 'neglect of property' tickets I get from the city. Or if they let my grass die, I can sue them to re-sod it. If the airlines flew low enough to avoid anything over Europe, they could probably detour around this shit, looping over Africa.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Or route passengers on flights that go the other way (even if they have to travel 4 hours by train first).

  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Just looking at prices I think I could get to LA from here for about half the price (minimum) of a plane via Amtrak. The trip might take two days but it looks like a much better experience compared to what I've heard about air travel.

    Actually the experience is pretty shitty, most seats on a train are exactly like airline seats (economy class seats, no legroom, etc.). This isn't shocking since they want to pack in as many passengers per volume for the exact same reasons heh. Oh, except you're in that terrible condition for 2 days instead of 2 hours.

    You can pay for better, proper compartments with seats that unfold into beds and so on, but then you're paying several times the cost of a flight.

    I did a train from NYC to Las Vegas once just to see what it was like, and I really wasn't impressed. Flying back was orders of magnitude better.

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Sucks for the airlines but correct me if I'm wrong here, IANAL, but if you make a contract with someone, and then break the contract causing them to incur extra financial expenses, aren't you liable for those expenses. If I contract someone to do lawn maintenance at my second house, and they don't do it, can't I sue them for all the 'neglect of property' tickets I get from the city. Or if they let my grass die, I can sue them to re-sod it. If the airlines flew low enough to avoid anything over Europe, they could probably detour around this shit, looping over Africa.

    No. Because you could have gone out and hired a second person, rather than sitting around like a dumbass watching your grass die.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Sucks for the airlines but correct me if I'm wrong here, IANAL, but if you make a contract with someone, and then break the contract causing them to incur extra financial expenses, aren't you liable for those expenses. If I contract someone to do lawn maintenance at my second house, and they don't do it, can't I sue them for all the 'neglect of property' tickets I get from the city. Or if they let my grass die, I can sue them to re-sod it. If the airlines flew low enough to avoid anything over Europe, they could probably detour around this shit, looping over Africa.

    No. Because you could have gone out and hired a second person, rather than sitting around like a dumbass watching your grass die.

    By second house I meant a seasonal place, like old people who spend 1/2 the year in Phoenix, and half the year somewhere else. If the contract says "care for my grass from X date till Y date" and I come back at Y and its all dead, its their ass no?

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Sucks for the airlines but correct me if I'm wrong here, IANAL, but if you make a contract with someone, and then break the contract causing them to incur extra financial expenses, aren't you liable for those expenses. If I contract someone to do lawn maintenance at my second house, and they don't do it, can't I sue them for all the 'neglect of property' tickets I get from the city. Or if they let my grass die, I can sue them to re-sod it. If the airlines flew low enough to avoid anything over Europe, they could probably detour around this shit, looping over Africa.

    No. Because you could have gone out and hired a second person, rather than sitting around like a dumbass watching your grass die.

    By second house I meant a seasonal place, like old people who spend 1/2 the year in Phoenix, and half the year somewhere else. If the contract says "care for my grass from X date till Y date" and I come back at Y and its all dead, its their ass no?

    Except in this case, the contract you enter into with the airline when you buy a ticket likely covers their asses really, really well.

  • darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    ronzo wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    CidonaBoy wrote: »
    Wasn't the problem with the ash that it was at the altitudes that jet engines are used at? Or would it have affected planes like these also that can operate at low altitudes? I recall seeing the director of Aer Arann on TV saying his fleet would not have had any issues flying, though admittedly this could have been all talk knowing they would never be allowed fly.

    Volcanic ash can also scratch cockpit windows opaque.

    and if it was a turbo prop plane, it would run into the same issues as a turbojet plane would

    Any air-breathing engine is going to have problems with volcanic ash in the air. In fact, anything that involves friction (say, electric-powered flight) is going to be used really hashly in this condition. Volcanic ash is extremely fine, gets into places you'd think impossible (e.g. sealed bearings), and it's highly abrasive. It does damage and can lead to catastrophic failure a lot faster than you might imagine.

    They grounded air travel not because they're big meanies, it's because it's staggeringly dangerous and not doing so is exactly the sort of corner-cutting that will put a huge air crash right on the front page. I don't think most pilots would want to fly in these conditions, but if the airlines were permitted to fly at all profit and corporate greed might certainly force pilots into situations where they have to or face losing their jobs.

    I sympathize with all the stranded travellers, and I imagine the airlines will honor their tickets... eventually. I'm not sure why the poor treatment of the stranded travellers comes as any surprise to anyone. Most of us have been victims of shorter delays and faced similar, if not worse, treatment. Even if the airline's compassion scaled in proportion to the level of the disaster, zero compassion times 100 is still zero.

    What do to, and who has to pay for it in the meantime is probably pretty well covered by EU regulation. The airlines trying to make their own policies will get pushed back into line. However, what's fair and equitable in a situation such as this is less clear.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The airlines that are really kicking off about the obligations to look after their passengers are the budget airlines.

    O'Leary, in particular, has been going on about people who paid 9 euro fares and have claimed hundreds of euros in hotel and food costs.

  • The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    japan wrote: »
    The airlines that are really kicking off about the obligations to look after their passengers are the budget airlines.

    O'Leary, in particular, has been going on about people who paid 9 euro fares and have claimed hundreds of euros in hotel and food costs.

    My heart weeps, weeps for RyanAir and O'Leary's continued attempts to dehumanise his passengers further.

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    japan wrote: »
    The airlines that are really kicking off about the obligations to look after their passengers are the budget airlines.

    O'Leary, in particular, has been going on about people who paid 9 euro fares and have claimed hundreds of euros in hotel and food costs.

    My heart weeps, weeps for RyanAir and O'Leary's continued attempts to dehumanise his passengers further.

    Quite.

    I just think it's interesting that the established operators seem to have pretty much taken the whole thing in their stride and the newly established/budget airlines are the ones throwing their toys out of the pram. O'Leary has been going on about how he thinks the rules are nonsensical and there should be limits on the responsibilities of airlines, but that doesn't change the fact that, as someone operating in the airline industry, he really should know what the rules are and be prepared for their implications.

    The time to be having that argument is definitively not while they have hundreds (if not thousands) of passengers stranded abroad.

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