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What Makes Lawmakers Think Airlines Will Refund Lodging and Food? – TravelPulse

Opinions Home | Editor's Notebook
Rich Thomaselli | November 25, 2022 12:00 PM ET
Sometimes I wonder if our lawmakers literally sit around and brainstorm – an oxymoronic use of the word when it comes to politicians, I know – what entity they will go after next.
I wonder if they sometimes just sit around and say, “Hmmm. We already took Big Tobacco to task. Banking. We (sort of) went after pharmaceuticals…Wait! I know! The airlines! Everyone hates the airlines these days. Flights getting delayed left and right. It’s perfect for us!’
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That’s not so farfetched. After all, politicians are only has good as their last election. Or the next election, depending on how you look at it. And what’s the one thing that brings political parties together? Mutual discord. Find something or someone, that everyone dislikes and you’ve found the gold.
Now, a group of Democratic Senators that has been known to be something of a cabal against the airlines, is at it again. They want carriers to cover ancillary costs associated with delays and cancellations. Things like lodging and food. So they have written a letter to the Department of Transportation asking them to consider these things when finalizing rules about refunds in the event of a lengthy delay or cancellation.
Laughable.
This plays right into the theory of planning for the next election.
It makes me think about those stories you hear of people getting a letter years, somethings decades, after the fact. Are we taking the U.S. Postal Service to task? Probably not. We usually laugh right along with news anchors who tease the story of “a letter arriving in the mailbox of a woman in Podunk USA that was mailed 35 years ago.” And everybody gets a big chuckle.
“Haha. LOL.”
I’m not saying it’s right. It’s not. But to expect every flight to be on time, to think that everything runs like clockwork, is ludicrous. Travel is not a given. There are some inherent risks. And some of those risks are on the travelers.
Tell me, do you make the state pay for a flat tire when you are traveling by car just because you were driving on one of their roads? I think not.
I fully understand that this is a different era. We no longer live in the wide-eyed 1950s were getting on an airplane was a glamorous notion. I get it. But while travel has evolved, and will continue to evolve, it’s not a given. It’s still a privilege. It’s a means to an end. It’s a service that you pay for and, yes, there are some expectations with that just as you expect to receive quality food and decent service when you go out and pay for a meal.
But to expect the airlines to also pick up the cost of your hotel stay or your meals is equally insane.
Then again, it is an election year or at least we are coming up on one in 2024. Best to start making noise now, right?
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Rich Thomaselli
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