No, the Times didn't report this directly, but I think Amtrak may have gotten more than what they paid for when they bought some ad space in the "A" section of the LA Times.
I read the LA Times article on what's been going on with American Airlines this morning. I got a little laugh in when I first noticed what I saw this morning in the LA Times newspaper on page A15, and quite a few people thought this was funny too. No, we were not laughing about the bad news about American Airlines which made the front headlines (and the fact that thousands of canceled flights affecting 100,000 people), but what we saw directly under the article and the irony:
That's right, an Amtrak ad was placed right under the agony and stressfilled article of what's been happening at the nation's airports. Here's what really made the irony good and hot: two pictures of two travelers: Two having trouble at an airport counter; two enjoying dinner in an Amtrak dining room car watching the sunset and scenery roll by.
The ad reads, "Trains CONNECT MORE than Cities; LOS ANGELES (LAUS) to Grand Canyon $86, Chicago $143, San Francisco $60, Sacramento $56, Seattle $92, Albuquerque $62". Although cross country trips probably still won't compete with the airlines, shorter trips (eg. LAUS-SF-Portland) are starting to look better than dealing with the airport.
The FAA and the airlines are both to blame for massive cancellations. Both must do their jobs better.
LA Times Opinion - April 11, 2008
Planning to travel cross-country? You might want to consider Amtrak.
The astonishing decision by American Airlines to cancel nearly 2,500 flights from Sunday to Thursday was just the latest result of an airline regulation scandal that started last month. United, Southwest, Delta, Alaska and other big carriers have all scrubbed flights in recent weeks because of maintenance issues, and stepped-up inspections by the Federal Aviation Administration will probably continue to wreak havoc on flight schedules for some time.
Fliers are understandably furious, though they're not sure whether to direct their anger at the FAA or the airlines. Both are ultimately to blame.
The mess started after FAA whistle-blowers pointed out an overly cozy relationship between the supervisor of an FAA office in Texas and officials with Southwest Airlines. Southwest allegedly was allowed to fly dozens of planes that didn't comply with FAA safety regulations, including some that hadn't been inspected for cracks that could potentially tear a plane apart mid-flight. The political fallout has been intense -- top FAA officials were grilled Thursday by a Senate subcommittee -- and the agency's response has been a tough crackdown on all U.S. airlines. Carriers in any way out of compliance with mechanical specifications are being forced to pull planes out of service.
Airline defenders argue that the carriers are the victims of a political controversy that has little to do with safety. They rightly point out that it is very much in the airlines' interest to keep their planes as safe as humanly possible, because crashes are financially devastating. Moreover, the airlines seem to be doing a pretty good job. U.S. carriers have an enviable safety record, and maintenance-related crashes are extremely rare -- testament to the airlines, the FAA or both.
And yet the Southwest example demonstrates that airlines can and sometimes do slip up, whether intentionally or not. In the case of American Airlines, the carrier claimed last month that it had fixed wiring problems in aircraft wheel wells, but later inspections showed that the wiring still didn't meet FAA standards. It may well be that the FAA raised a fuss over technicalities it might once have let slide, but that doesn't let American off the hook for not doing the job right the first time.
FAA airworthiness directives exist for sound safety reasons. So even though passengers are being rattled by the current turbulence, a vigilant inspection program will improve their odds of landing safely.
Post by James Fujita on Apr 19, 2008 10:40:07 GMT -8
I love passenger trains — my heavily-used "guest rewards select member" card from Amtrak will attest to that — but there are honestly very, very few routes throughout the United States where trains can compete with the airlines.
the Northeast Corridor is one, the Pacific Surfliner is another, and there are probably some routes in the Chicago area that might qualify if the midwest states would beef up their service the way that California has essentially taken over passenger rail service here.
Amtrak competes most effectively against cars and buses — or it would, if they had the funds. as things currently stand, America has let ALL of our infrastructure go to pot: from highway bridges to airline safety to passenger rail.
it may seem unfair when passenger trains have gotten the short end of the stick, but it is clear that fixing our transportation system will have to include fixing our air travel as well.