Pete Buttigieg learned real fast that running the nation’s transportation network is a lot more complicated than running a city. Fed up with taking all the heat for a snapped supply chain, Pete threw a hissy fit and lashed out at the airline industry over canceled flights. The very next day, an airline canceled his flight. He had to drive all the way from Washington to New York and he’s furious about it.
Buttigieg paying close attention
There isn’t a single thing that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg can do to produce more qualified pilots, fully vaccinated ones at that. He can’t do anything, so he makes a big deal to the press that he’s watching real close from the sidelines, not slacking off or anything. Getting stranded “is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering.”
Easing up on the crippling progressive policies would help but the airlines are simply going to have to find another solution, on their own. Now. Or else. The only problem is that there is no answer to the question, “or else what?”
Buttigieg assembled the news crews on Saturday, June 18, to promise them “he is pushing the airlines to stress-test their summer schedules to ensure they can operate all their planned flights with the employees they have, and to add customer-service workers.”
Compliance with his demands is expected to produce the exact opposite of what everybody wants. More canceled flights. Obeying the secretary’s ill conceived whims “could put pressure on airlines to make additional cuts in their summer schedules.”
Well, in that case, Buttigieg counters, “his department could take enforcement actions against airlines that fail to live up to consumer-protection standards.” Putting them out of business won’t help business travelers a whole lot.
He has a sinking feeling he might have backed himself into a corner so he eased up a little, noting, “he wants to see whether there are major flight disruptions over the July Fourth holiday weekend and the rest of the summer.” Industry watchers note that while the enforcement actions he’s talking about can produce fines, “they tend to be small.”
Airline execs have a plan
Buttigieg recognizes that airline executives came up with a plan to mitigate the damage caused by administration policies. They also warned him it’s only a box of band-aid solutions. He snarls “now we’re going to see how those steps measure up.”
He acts like they’re out to fail intentionally when they’re really fighting to stay in the air. It would be a big help if he would stop putting rocks in their shoes. On Friday, more than 2.4 million people managed to make it past security checkpoints.
One thing that Secretary Buttigieg can’t seem to get his head wrapped around is the weather. He thinks the airlines control it along with the pilot schedules. Industry executives tried their best to explain to him that “weather is always a wild card when it comes to flying in summer.”
They also tried to explain they had to cancel his flight along with the rest because of “staffing shortages.” Not all the qualified crew members were comfortable injecting the Kool Aid, so now they can’t fly. Let’s Go Brandon.
Airlines swear they are “scrambling to hire pilots and other workers to replace employees whom they encouraged to quit after the pandemic hit.” That, they note, takes time.
“It takes months to hire and train a pilot to meet federal safety standards, but the Transportation Department sees no reason the airlines cannot immediately add customer-service representatives to help passengers rebook if their flight is canceled.” Pete Buttigieg doesn’t understand that if they don’t have a pilot or crew, there is no flight to rebook on.