Tarmac tax

All right, here we go. Our sanctimonious government is at it again. It seems the transportation secretary wants to "send a message" to the airline industry by fining them $27,000 per passenger if any flight is detained on the tarmac for more than three hours. Wow, that sounds like a fair deal for the folks, right? Oh, I forgot to mention that the money doesn't go to the people who were inconvenienced -- the people who bought the tickets and had a destination to get to. No, it goes to the Feds. That amounts to about 1 million dollars for your average jumbo jet. And the government gets it. Will someone please explain to me how this is in any way a benefit to the folks? It is pretty much nothing more than a "tarmac tax."

The government has been very creative in finding new ways to pilfer money to pay for our horrendous national debt and all the entitlement programs that it champions. Somehow we are supposed to feel grateful and proud for having a government that sticks up for us. All the airlines have to do is increase their fares a bit to compensate for the occasional violation of the "passengers bill of rights," and it's business as usual.

In defense of the airliners, there are times when weather and such are to blame for delays. It is not like they don't want to be in the air, that's where they make their money, not on the runway.

What the Feds should do, if they truly were looking out for us , is mandate that if any unacceptable delays take place, such as the three-hour tarmac strandings, each passenger will be given a round trip voucher, with the airline of their choice, unrestricted, to be used at the passenger's convenience, and perhaps transportation to and from selected airports. Something like that would actually placate the flyers' rage, stimulate further commerce by enticing people to travel more and allowing the flyer to now choose a different airline that may provide more dependable service.

A penalty like that may be a wake-up call to the industry. They certainly don't want to lose regular travelers to a rival carrier, and they may clean up their act to prevent it. But once again, as is seen so often as of late, the government wants to display a message to us folks that they are our saviour and they will handle everything. From where I sit, they're not doing so hot.

Joe Miro