Apr. 12th, 2017

walkitout: (Default)
I went to Roche Bros today to get cabbage (I got a few other things while out). It was really quiet. I also stopped at the bank for cash. Then I got T. at school. We went to Starbucks then gymnastics. I paid for the t shirt A. got last Friday at the kids night out event but which I had not paid for. Then the rain started. It was nice this morning when M. and I went for a walk, but it really started pouring after gymnastics.

I made cole slaw and had that and the squash soup for lunch. I did some laundry (I'm working through the kids comforters as part of spring cleaning) and cleaned some of the upstairs bathrooms. The import finished up! I wasn't really expecting it to be done until maybe Friday, so this was a pleasant surprise. DW does a great job of setting expectations appropriately. ETA: My error -- the entries are done, but the comments are still in the queue.

Play date coming up, and T. has an eye appointment. Looks like a good afternoon to stay indoors.

ETA: Looks like the replacement/additional glasses we ordered T. online did not get made right. Eye doctor says that needs to be corrected, and apparently we are going to be trying vision therapy for him over the next few months.
walkitout: (Default)
I've already posted about how I _think_ this should be solved in the long run. If you are going to bottom feed and monetize, go all the way. But that's not where I am going right now. Right now, I'm poking at the relevant law on getting on a plane and how the airline can then get you back off it before arriving at your destination.

We all know the rules about how they can _stop_ you from boarding. FAA regulations give airlines quite a lot of latitude. They basically say this:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/250.2a

"In the event of an oversold flight, every carrier shall ensure that the smallest practicable number of persons holding confirmed reserved space on that flight are denied boarding involuntarily."

Then there's all that stuff about compensation.

Nothing is really said about then telling a boarded passenger, oh, sorry, you have to get back off. At least, not on the part of FAA. And the FAA doesn't do a fabulous job of defining "oversold". It is supposed to mean there are more ticketed, confirmed passengers than safe places to put them. In practice, however, airlines will sometimes pre-emptively take passenger seats for "must rides", and say they have oversold what would not have been oversold if the "must rides" didn't exist. I'll come back to "must rides" in a minute.

In any event, in the scandalous event, all sides agree (altho the media has been a bit slow on the uptake) that this was _not_ an overbooked, oversold, over whatever flight. Also, they had already boarded all the ticketed, confirmed passengers when they then decided they had "must rides".

So that FAA rule above doesn't apply. What might apply is the part of the Contract of Carriage labeled "Refusal of Transport". That's where they can kick you off the plane for being barefoot or smelling bad or whatever. But there is nothing in United's Refusal of Transport that obviously applies to the situation, and the only "generic" clause relates to safety and no one is saying the victim here was being unsafe.

Thus: United violated their own Contract of Carriage. The small print used to _justify_ their heinous behavior actually _condemns_ their heinous behavior. Surprise! Reading the small print is rewarding. Who knew!?!

Another justification being tossed around online is that there is some sort of regulation from the DOT or the FAA or some other body that says "must rides" must ride. Basically, if the airline, in its scheduling wisdom, concludes they must put some employee bodies on a flight to move them to some other location to work a shift there, the airline gets to boot paying, confirmed customers to do so.

This is Not True. Airlines are exploiting the vagueness of the above mentioned FAA regulation about refusing boarding. But you can't bounce a ticketed, confirmed customer from his (her, their) seat(s) for a "must ride". And you _certainly_ can't then claim the guv-mint made you do it. That's an airline policy likely in violation of FAA regs (because they are NOT minimizing the impact ON THE PRESENT FLIGHT) when they do it and justify doing it because of the impact on later flight schedules. The FAA reg is pretty clear.

Here, let me repeat it:

"In the event of an oversold flight, every carrier shall ensure that the smallest practicable number of persons holding confirmed reserved space on that flight are denied boarding involuntarily."

FAA says you do not get to use the impact on a later flight as a reason to screw over ticketed, confirmed people on THIS FLIGHT. OPPOSITE OF TRUE. The FAA rule here is a clear instance of:

A LACK OF PLANNING ON THE AIRLINES PART DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY FOR THE CUSTOMERS.

I know there is an entire genre of posts of people doing ridiculous shit and getting kicked off planes for it, complaining and then everyone points out what they did wrong and why they got kicked off. This particular set of events is proof that we should all be REAL CAREFUL before participating in defending the indefensible. Because this sucker is completely indefensible in a way that I haven't seen since, oh, I don't know. Enron? Probably? And lest you forget, Lay died after he was convicted but before sentencing (conviction vacated after he died) -- and Skilling is still in prison. Fastow also served time, but he's been out a few years. There isn't a lot in common between the two scandals -- other than the breathtaking scale and stinkiness of them.

ETA: Or VW. It has that same rolling quality of, but wait, there's more! Confusion throughout the industry and its heaviest users of what the rules really are is a terrible sign, especially when people then try to game those rules.

ETAYA:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/crisis-experts-to-united-this-too-shall-pass/2017/04/11/3550be86-1ec9-11e7-a0a7-8b2a45e3dc84_story.html

This is really entertaining.

"“This will be just a short kind of hit,” said Lakshman Krishnamurthi, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “Volkswagen had the diesel problem, and their sales are fine. Toyota had a problem years ago, and nothing really happened to their sales.”"

Really? That's not how I remembered it. VW stock took an immediate hit and still hasn't fully recovered. Their market share similarly. Suppliers who are known to be revenue dependent on VW took a hit to their stock prices as well. If by "fine" you mean knock double digit percentage off market cap, sales, what have you and STILL be working through the litigation and fine process, then, sure, VW is "Fine". They haven't recovered to where they were before that scandal, tho.

Toyota is a trickier thing to analyze, because the accelerator scandal went on for so damn long (their final fine in the US didn't happen until 2014, IIRC). Their sales took a multi-year hit and their profitability for at least a year was pretty much wiped out by that fine.

If VW and Toyota are examples of "short kind of hit", well, this could take a while and wind up costing United money in court, ticket sales, market penetration, ability to enter new markets, etc.

While VW worldwide sales have recovered to a new all time high, there are indictments, at least one guy was being held without bail because of concern he would flee to Germany and we wouldn't get him back -- and senior VW guys are being warned not to travel to the US. Is this _really_ a great definition of a "short kind of hit"?

ETA Still More: http://www.beloitdailynews.com/article/20170412/AP/304129712

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