Wednesday, March 02, 2005

On The Mark -- On-Time Arrival -- My Money or Your Life

About two weeks ago the European Union started requiring European-based airline carriers to compensate passengers whose flights were delayed. Three days after this new rule went into effect a British Airways jetliner lifted off at Los Angeles International Airport and the pilot quickly discovered that one of the plane's four engines was not functioning. He decided against making an emergency landing and to fly the entire non-stop route to London on three engines. He wound up landing in Manchester, England because he burned more fuel than anticipated due to headwinds and other environmental factors.

A British Airways spokesperson said the decision to "carry on" had nothing to do with the new requirement. Yeah, right. A former TWA pilot said, "It's not impossible for him to make it, but he'd be a fool to try it. That decision just doesn't make any sense." A former United Airlines pilot said, "I think he really stretched his luck to try to make the whole trip on three engines."

A fool, indeed. What if another engine would have malfunctioned while over the Atlantic Ocean?

Soon we'll find out that British Airways pilots receive bonuses based on their on-time arrivals and departures. I have no doubt about it.


Chandira said...

Holy Shit.. THAT is scary. I hate flying anyway, and will be using BA to fly home next.. DAMN I wish I hand't read that.. lol

On The Mark said...

I've had a few close calls, including having a ticket on the doomed Delta 191 that crashed in Dallas in the '80s. I changed my mind at the least minute and decided to take a vacation instead of returning from a business trip. I lost several friends/colleagues in that crash.

G said...

it is not unusual for pilots to do this, it is known as 'get-there-itis'

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

Ed Morrisey has a close-second-hand report:

On The Mark said...

G & Chris: Thank you very much for the links. I found them both fascinating. I actually have get-there-itis when it comes to long car trips. I don't want to leave the driver's seat or stop. Based on the link Chris provided, it looks like I wrongfully pointed fingers at the pilots when they should have been pointed at BA only.