Problems In Commercial Travel Starting To Snowball

from the delay-delay-delay dept

A recent computer failure led to massive delays and disruptions at airports across the East Coast, confirming fears that this summer could prove hellish for travelers. Computer problems at the airlines seem to be growing in frequency, but as the New York Times points out, there are a number of factors contributing to the industry's woes. Simply put, the nation's air infrastructure is under a lot of strain right now. A recent explosion in the use of private and chartered jets is only making matters worse, as smaller planes compete with major carriers for space at airports and use of the air-traffic control system. It would seem, then, that there's a negatively-reinforcing loop here. Problems with commercial travel push people towards private jets, the growth of which creates more headaches for major carriers, and so on. This cycle looks set to move even faster as new innovations come to the private jet industry, making it even more affordable and efficient. In light of this, airline travel probably won't get much better until there's a significant expansion in infrastructure (which could take years), or there's a recession that reduces how much people travel.


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  1.  
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    Charles Griswold, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 5:33pm

    Another Alternative

    In light of this, airline travel probably won't get much better until there's a significant expansion in infrastructure (which could take years), or there's a recession that reduces how much people travel.
    A third alternative is some kind of technology innovation that makes airports more efficient. The Capstone Project looks like a distinct possibility. Unfortunately, it's facing some . . . inertia within the aviation community.

     

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  2.  
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    EZ, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:02pm

    Other option is

    We need to increase the capability of our ground transportation to lessen the air transportation. There is no excuse for the poor rail system the US currently employs. We should have many more bullet and maglev trains. The failure starts from the ground up...

     

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  3.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:06pm

    US rail

    THe rail network in the USA cannot compet with air for speed except in the short-distance market, such as along the east coast and in oterh densely populated areas. over long dsitances, it cannot be anywhere near as fast as air travel, and so only hass ot be able to compete with driving. In Europe, where high speed trains are more common, journeys are far shorter. for example, to travel between London and Manchester by air is a saving of at bet 20 minuites or so over traveling by train, and owing to the considerably greater expense and the limits on luggage this makes the train far mroe attractive. It all comes down to the distance being travelled wether the train can compter on speed over airlines.

     

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  4.  
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    Overcast, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:36pm

    I'm glad I like to drive...

    With all the hassles, delays, and such - well, the last time I had to travel, I chose to drive instead. Got a nice rental and in the end - I made it there about an hour later than I would have flying - without the hassles and I already had a car when I got there.

     

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  5.  
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    Charles Griswold, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Other option is

    We should have many more bullet and maglev trains.
    I agree about the need for high-speed rail transport. Maglev trains, however, just aren't practical for cross-country use in the States. The tracks are way too expensive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    unknown, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 9:13pm

    Airline Propaganda

    I am an air traffic controller by trade and and also a pilot. First of all out of the top 10 busiest airports 4% of all traffic is GA(private and charter aircraft). 40% of all delays are from weather, not traffic. You may say well it was nice where i left so how can it be weather. Airlines use hub and spoke systems meaning that your aircraft may have been delayed leaving a hub were weather was not good. Backups in one location have a ripple effect throught the entire system. It is true that new aircraft are being built and more will take to the skies. These aircraft however can depart from smaller airports, they are used to avoid the large carrier airports. Also they were designed to either fly above fl400 or below fl300 leaving those flight levels for the airlines. The ATC system as a whole needs to be revamped, the computers are ancient and hand written strips are still used to pass along flight info. The new aircraft have more computing power in their coffee makers than most of the ATC computers.

     

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  7.  
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    Pilot, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 12:07am

    Re: Airline Propaganda

    You are absolutly correct, mr ATC.

     

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  8.  
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    Deirdre, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 8:34am

    Re: Airline Propaganda

    Of the portion that makes up general aviation use at larger airports, much of that already arrives and departs on shorter parallel runways that the larger airline planes can't use anyway.

    As an ex-pilot who routinely visited FAA tower facilities to learn what it was like from the controllers' side, I'm also pretty dismayed that this article just accepts what is at least a 30-year old falsehood; that small planes are clogging the air traffic system.

     

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  9.  
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    ConceptJunkie (profile), Jun 13th, 2007 @ 9:31am

    Re: Other option is

    Does the U.S. even have _any_ bullet or maglev trains? I know we don't have the latter, and I thought only places like France and Japan had actual "bullet trains", i.e., passenger trains that travel over 150MPH.

     

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  10.  
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    Max, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    Re: Other option is

    No excuse? How about it's not profitable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    andy, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 11:52am

    another refute

    not exactly from an unbiased source, but boeing is predicting the infrastructure expansion you speak of:

    http://www.freshnews.com/news/defense-west/article_38480.html

    ... to the tune of $2.8 trillion (t... trillion) over the next 20 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    SimonTek, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 1:00am

    bullet trains

    amtrak acela

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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