Airlines promise fewer delays, but ...

The airlines say this time they’ve gotten their technology acts in order and the flying public can expect fewer horror shows this holiday season. A dubious contention, to say the least, but it also begs an obvious question:

From this morning’s New York Times:

The technology improvements at American are, in one sense, encouraging. Pen and paper have been replaced by computer programs that display flight information in ways that are supposed to help prevent long waits on tarmacs and other service disruptions that most infuriate passengers. Top managers also now automatically receive text messages when things begin to go awry.

Similar improvements have been made at JetBlue and at United Airlines. Other big carriers either have similar software or are in the process of acquiring it, they said.

But, in another sense, the improvements are troubling because they reveal the industry’s relatively primitive approach to dealing with service disruptions.

“What took so long?” said Mark Mogel, a retired software engineer who was stranded for five hours on an American flight in 2001, and then recently joined with others who had been stranded to lobby Congress for a limit on tarmac waits.

Fortunately, the Buzzblog family will be driving to Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving.

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