COMMENTS: A Bureaucrat’s Revenge

NBC's Tom Costello made use of his network's affiliates to dramatize the chaos in the terminals at American Airlines' hubs as 150,000 passengers were unable to fly because its entire fleet of 300 MD-80 jetliners, responsible for 65% of its domestic flights, had to inspected once more. Anna Davlantes of Channel 5 in Chicago prowled the hallways at O'Hare while Scott Friedman of Channel 5 in Texas followed up at Dallas/Fort Worth. Costello pointed out that the problem was that the spacing of the ties that bundled wires together in wheel wells was too far apart. He smelled a bureaucrat's revenge at humiliation: "The FAA's new scrutiny comes after it was embarrassed and ridiculed for allowing serious lapses at Southwest Airlines." On CBS, Nancy Cordes quoted American as claiming that the violation was merely technical but then countered with the FAA's directive, finding that any short could cause a fuel tank to explode. ABC's Lisa Stark (embargoed link) looked at the quality of American's customer service. The airline's Website instructed passengers to call its hotline. Guess what the hotline said: "All of our representatives are busy at this time. If you need to speak to someone, please try your call later."


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