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Today's "The Middle Seat" Column really worth reading re: air travel

Many of you are already familiar with Scott McCartney's "The Middle Seat" column.
Yesterday's (edited to correct date) article (which is in The Wall Street Journal, and I do not know if it also appears elsewhere) is definitely interesting reading about "why airlines can't stop rewriting the rules for fliers." Lots of interesting info, including the sentence that made my jaw drop:

"In April, Frontier updated its policy to add flights that return to the gate among the circumstances where passengers with a medical condition or disorderly conduct will have to reimburse the airline for costs incurred, including the cost to accommodate other passengers."

Okay with disorderly conduct...that is a matter of self-control, which passengers should follow when flying, so yep, let them pay whatever to make right for other passengers. BUT, a medical condition: So, grandma has a sudden heart issue............what? She now will have to pay for the costs to handle missed connections or delays for fellow passengers? Huh? I sort of think there is not a trip insurance policy that would cover that, which could amount to A LOT.

The above is just ONE of many tidbits in the column. Worth visiting your library, if you do not subscribe. You MIGHT be able to Google his column and access it on line.

My household is not currently in the traveling mode and are thankful we made it a priority to do all the traveling we did when we did it, but someday, yes, we want to travel again when we feel it is safe. In the meantime, we are reading/watching.

Posted by
6061 posts

FYI, this was in the Thursday, Oct 7 paper edition I got yesterday. Maybe online today?

Yeah, there's a lot going on as the airlines struggle to stay in business, and not much oversight. We expect things to be "fair" but business is business. Now I know to write "Do Not Resuscitate" on my mask to avoid costly bills.

Posted by
1886 posts

Stan, you are sooo correct...sorry, I will edit my post to put the correct date. I was skimming quickly thru a few days of WSJs, and that section from yesterday got mixed in with today's paper. My spouse reads them first.
Cute humor re: the message for your mask ;o

Posted by
12594 posts

Holy Hannah, Maggie! I'm right with you two on the disorderly conduct part but a medical crisis? I wonder if that possibility could be covered by travel medical policies?

Posted by
2316 posts

I'm guessing that there will be selective enforcement of that rule. If the airline believes someone is having a true medical emergency, I doubt they would expect the sick passenger to handle the costs incurred to accommodate the other passengers.

Posted by
577 posts

I think Estimated Prophet has it right. The medical condition language would allow the airline to charge if they conclude the medical condition was somehow knowable before the flight. But they don't "have to" charge if it's deemed a true emergency.

Posted by
5657 posts

I was on a flight that returned to the gate for a medical emergency. While being evaluated by the paramedics, the passenger/patient advised the paramedics that she was feeling fine and wanted to resume her travel. A paramedic told her that she inconvenienced a lot of other passengers once, and they were taking her off so that she wouldn't do it again. Don't get on the plane if you are not feeling well.

Posted by
102 posts

I think Estimated Prophet has it right. The medical condition language would allow the airline to charge if they conclude the medical condition was somehow knowable before the flight. But they don't "have to" charge if it's deemed a true emergency.

Agree 100 percent with this take.

Airlines are adding this policy to deal with all of the unruly fliers these days, and they want it to have some real teeth and financial pain for those fools who disrupt the flight.

Posted by
19170 posts

The language may be intended to strengthen the airline's position in the event a misbehaving passenger claims a mental-health disorder led him to do whatever caused a flight delay.

I've been thinking about the intentional misbehavior (much of it recently caused by anti-maskers) that's now happening all too frequently and whether the offenders could be forced to pay the expenses of the airline and other passengers. I'm all for that. I was also happy to see a reference earlier this week to the possibility of merging the various airlines' no-fly lists. That seems an excellent idea, too.

Posted by
880 posts

It's funny. I never have seen someone refuse to wear a seatbelt. I have never seen someone refuse to put their tray table up. People don't smoke on planes. Ask them to wear a mask and suddenly the constitution becomes an issue.

If a person is not wearing a mask before take off they should be taken off the plane and hit with the fine. If they don't wear it during the flight they should be warned once, their picture taken if they disregard again and arrested upon landing and hit with the $250 fine. No reason to have all this hoopla while a plane is in the air. I think airline personnel and travelers get too emotional and cause far too many of these incidents to escalate. Unfortunately, courtesy has left the building for some people.

Posted by
5078 posts

I wonder whether an airline’s insurance coverage would influence provisionally charging customers for medical interruptions to flights? I agree with those who suspect the enforcement might depend on the circumstances, and the passenger. For disruptive passengers, is there a list of specific objectionable behaviors, or is that subjective? Violent physical attacks on flight attendants are obvious intolerable behavior, but is there something that a well-behaving, unsuspecting passenger could do (or be charged with doing) that could ruin things?