Awful Restraint

So, we had another plane full of passengers stuck on a runway in a storm. This time it was for eight hours on JetBlue at JFK. This has to stop happening.

According to CNN, the passengers are getting apologies, full refunds, plus round-trip tickets. That’s not good enough.

When American citizens contract with corporations to transport them somewhere, things can go wrong. Weather, mechanical failures, strikes, what have you. Passengers need to accept that and airlines need to compensate their customers when things don’t work out.

But  a corporation has no right to hold a customer against his or her will unless that customer presents a danger or has committed a crime. And in that case, the corporation has to turn the customer over to the government for all the due process stuff we take so seriously. This is, after all, a free society. 

Whether it’s an inconvenience to the airline or not, passengers should be taken back to the terminal within a reasonable amount of time so they can exercise their fundamental freedom to leave or wait for the flight to be reschedule.

JetBlue blamed the weather, which was terrible. But I blame JetBlue – and all the other airlines that have done this to their passengers and their own crews.

There is a movement afoot to rein the airlines in on this, with a passengers bill of rights. I’m for that. In this case, there really ought to be a law.

P.S. It gets worse: eleven hours on the runway.


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