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Bad incentives for airlines

When storms cross the Midwest, American air travel falls apart. When storms cover any territory, it doesn’t do well. It used to do better. What changed?

The FAA changed its regulations on when airlines are responsible for a delay. Today weather doesn’t cause any airline responsibility; anything else is the airline’s fault, or at least the airline’s to pay for. If mechanical failures cancel a flight, the airline buys you a hotel room or a seat on a different flight. If weather can be blamed in any way, they’re off the hook. This sets up incentives for them to move as much suck as possible to those passengers already inconvenienced due to weather.

They already have your money and don’t have to give you much of anything. Reroute you, swap crews out, cancel the in-flight beverage service or replace it with Mr. Pibb, there’s nothing you can do.