'The seventh ring of hell' | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, April 12, 2008

'The seventh ring of hell'

Posted By on Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 7:56 AM

The quote describes air travel and I can relate, having been on the last delayed airline flight out of O'Hare Thursday night (1:10 a.m. Friday, actually and, yes, I know, it could have been worse. It could have been cancelled entirely).

The quote comes from an LA Times column that suggests circumstances finally might favor federal legislation for an air traveler's "bill of rights." Courts have struck down state efforts to force minimal services for stranded air travelers, saying it's the sole province of the federal government.

Channeling Richard Allin again, I remember when air travel was an occasion for dressing up, the service was attentive and planes were comfortable. Planes are today's buses -- and often worse.

I'm able to say the American air traveler's experience isn't universal. A code-share arrangement on my Asian trip put me on Cathay Pacific for a four-hour flight between Hong Kong and Tokyo. The service was friendly and efficient, both at check-in and on-board. The food -- if unusual for western tastes -- was wonderful. The contrast with American Airlines and couldn't have been sharper.

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