CNN: Fear of Flight Delays Unfounded

     Even though the media have been saying flight delays were so bad this year, it turns out they are better than last year.

    CNN’s November 6 “American Morning” anchor Kiran Chetry introduced a report on improved flight delays by giving it to the airlines one more time saying, “airlines might not be doing as badly as it feels they’re doing.”

     The report revealed that the nation’s 31 largest airports are actually down 8 percent over last year.

     “Steer clear of New York where flight delays are up 23 percent,” reporter Alina Cho said. “Even Chicago’s O’Hare and Atlanta’s Hartsfield airports, two of the world’s busiest, posted improvements.”

     Cho added that one solution to fix, “those epidemic delays at JFK” that has been tossed around would be, “charging airlines fees for taking off during peak travel times,” and, “putting caps on the number of flights that can take off during those times.”

     The media have been making it “feel” like airlines have been underperforming for quite some time.

          As the Business & Media Institute pointed out on August 29, while the networks were quick to blame airlines and CEOs for flight delays, the media were not as willing to blame the government-run air traffic system – a common theme that ran through 2007.

     “And new airline industry numbers out today show that while millions of passengers suffer through record delays, cancellations and lost baggage – airline profits have been soaring,” ABC “World News” anchor Charles Gibson said September 17.

     NBC Correspondent Tom Costello compared two Dallas-based airlines on the “Nightly News” August 20, but ignored company differences like how popular the airports, flight plans and destinations were.

     “So far this summer, reports American Airlines has had the lowest on-time arrival rate at 65 percent. But yet another Dallas-based carrier, Southwest, has had the highest on-time rate at 78 percent,” said Costello.

     CBS’s August 12 story hit hard at airline performance after more than 20,000 passengers at Los Angeles International Airport were stranded due to a U.S. Customs computer glitch. Reporter Randall Pinkston used that nightmare to charge that the airlines should be providing better service to passengers – citing Northwest Airlines’ $2 billion profit.