• U.S.

AIRLINES: Up, Up And Awry

1 minute read

A coup for airline passengers! That was the initial reaction in mid-October when the Department of Transportation issued its first monthly ranking of airline performance. At last, here was a way to select a carrier based on a report card for punctuality, baggage handling and overbooking. Alas, the rankings are turning out in many cases to be misleading and unfair. A primary reason, say critics, was that the Government was too vague in telling airlines how to tabulate their data, so that the carriers used widely differing criteria in deciding what to report.

In the category of “mishandled” baggage, the Government has failed to specify whether this means luggage that is damaged, late in arriving, just plain lost or any of the above. At least one airline, United, even reported as part of that category lost-and-found items that absentminded passengers left behind in boarding areas. In the case of on-time performance, airlines were not required to report delays caused by mechanical difficulties.

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