Monday Insight – September 4, 2023

American Tarmac Fine:
It’s More About DOT
Credibility Than An Airline

The news is out.

“American Airlines Fined $4.1 Million For Tarmac Delays.”

It’s a story that has been accepted as if it just arrived from Mount Sinai, apparently. Not to be questioned. Virtually no one in the media – including the aviation media – bothered.

Stale, Engineered Data. They had the responsibility to do so, but didn’t dare or didn’t know better.

This Buttigieg stunt is not from current data, and it doesn’t include incidents (if any) in the last two years. The airline has already shelled out $2 million for these events, and now, the DOT comes back with a political side show.

A lot of questions should be posed to Mayor Pete, whenever, of course, he is deemed by the media to have descended from the Mountain and is open for polite softball inquiries.

People’s Daily In Beijing Would Hire These Media Types In A Heatbeat. What is shocking is that this has been an unquestioned major headline repeated confidently in every form of aviation media, from national networks to the gadfly Walter Mitty aviation websites.

Like good obedient followers, they just report what they’ve been fed.


Just Repeat. Don’t Question The Source. The numbers are shocking, according to the parrot stories. A total of 43 instances is what the DOT claims and is righteously repeated with ghastly shock in every channel.

This Is About DOT Credibility, Not A Specific Airline. Okay. American Airlines are big boys and girls and they can defend themselves as they see fit. There almost certainly have been failures there. But…

… not questioned or barely mentioned – from the Wall Street Journal down to the hobbyist websites – is the data itself as reported. Funny, these are events from 2018 to 2021. What about the last two years?

The message here is that recent data don’t fit Buttigieg’s agenda.

Read it again. These are not current data, but events “researched” by the DOT and just now reported. Most of the media hasn’t even commented on that key foundational flaw in this mess – delays from four or five years ago, now just “discovered.” And the latest being maybe two years ago.

It’s a great lead-in for Buttigieg to showcase how he’s protecting the public. Clumsy, but he was confident that the toadies in the media would not call him on it. And he was right.

I don’t know (or care) how the general gaggle in the aviation media swallow this, but any scintilla of journalistic professionalism would dictate that Buttigieg and his staff need to answer some questions on this.

What about American’s performance over the last two years? And other carriers, comparatively? The fact that Buttigieg only focused on old records, and focused on events at just one airline – which are not completely substantiated regarding issues of weather – destroys the entire credibility of the “report.”  And his, too.

It is cheap pandering. What’s more disgraceful is the silence and obedient reporting of the Word From Pete issued by just about every supposedly qualified media source.

Shame we don’t have real investigative reporting. Might think there are red flags here regarding political agendas – just now conjuring up operational events almost five years old.

Nah. It’s easier to parrot than to question.

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