Glad I'm not traveling

Early Spring is when the rubber hits the road as far as my work is concerned.  You can test all you want on canned data, but it is when things actually start happening in real-time that many subtle problems crop up.  So, these are the weeks when I make sure that I'm not traveling anywhere.

Am I glad that I'm not traveling?  Consider: 

London Heathrow opened a new terminal for British Airways flights. The baggage system was so badly broken that hundreds of flights were canceled and many passengers missed their connections.  Guess who's connecting to British Airways through Heathrow next month?  I hope things will have been ironed out by then.

American Airlines has been canceling hundreds of flights as they scrambled to check all their planes for loose bundles of wires. And American is the airline that I usually fly.  I hope that all this will be settled by mid-May when I'll be back on a plane again.

The American Airlines fiasco illustrates something about our philosophy of government though.  As the "government is evil" mantra caught on, many regulations were dismantled or defanged.  Thus, the depression-era rules that prevented investment banks from getting into banking were waived, but the regulation of banks was not extended to investment houses and hedge funds. And that brought us the subprime crisis. Ironically, investment houses (the institutions, not the managers) have probably lost more money because of this than if congress had not repealed those rules. Similarly, as the FAA became more and more "customer" friendly, airlines started to cut corners on safety. The Southwest airlines fiasco a few weeks ago prompted the FAA to get serious.  Don't you think American Airlines would have been better off with a consistent, and strict, regime at the FAA than this lurch between being toothless and being anal?

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