Airlines' Bait-and-Switch Scheduling

by David Driesen | June 02, 2016

During the last few years, airlines have increased their reliance on "bait-and-switch" scheduling. They induce travelers to choose their airline based on advertised routes and schedules. They know that especially good routes are valuable and generally charge more for a good route than a bad one. Long after travelers have taken the bait, often paying more than the lowest available price to avoid delay-prone airports, long layovers, and multiple stops, the airlines simply switch around the schedule. While many of these changes can be minor, changing departure and arrival times by 10 or 20 minutes, increasingly airlines feel no compunction at all about completely tearing up the deal they made, adding stops, drastically increasing layover times, and routing the hapless traveler through a different city than she would have selected when she had a choice. They often make these changes just a few weeks in advance, when alternative flights are either not available at all or fiendishly expensive. These last-minute changes can destroy customers' travel plans, causing travelers to miss scheduled meetings, forcing expenditures for extra nights in hotels, and fouling up rental car arrangements. 

Used car dealers used to do this sort of thing all of the time. They would advertise a desirable make or model (the bait) and then tell the customer who arrived to buy the advertised car that it was no longer available, offering a less desirable model or a higher priced one instead (the ...

Spurred on by Industry, OIRA Weakens Rule to Prevent Fatigue-Related Aviation Catastrophes

by James Goodwin | May 30, 2012
Last December, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized a new aviation safety rule designed to prevent excessive pilot fatigue, a problem that had contributed to at least one high-profile airline disaster—the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo, New York, in February of 2009, which killed 50 and injured four—as well as to a disturbing series of mishaps and “near misses.” It turns out that the rule took a mid-flight detour on its journey from proposal to final form, and ...

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