Andy And The Airlines

Andy Rooney Tackles The Issue Of Chronically Delayed Flights

This segment was first broadcast on April 20, 2008.

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

I'd like to mount a campaign to encourage people not to go anywhere. Travel has become so expensive and unpleasant that it's hard to understand why people don't stay home.

Why are we crowding our highways and airports to get someplace else? Newspapers and magazines are filled with ads trying to get us to travel. They want us to go somewhere - anywhere but home.

Here are a few sample air fares: New York to Los Angeles will cost you $882. If you'd also like room to put your feet somewhere, first class costs $2,473.

The fare for a flight from New York to Chicago is $114 - unless you're in a hurry and want to go the next day, in which case it'll cost you $349.

People look forward to going away but there is nothing enjoyable about going to an airport, waiting for a flight and then squeezing into a seat half as big as you are. Then you wait another half an hour on the runway in order to arrive at your destination 45 minutes after the scheduled time - if you're lucky.

Why don't airlines smarten up? They're almost always late according to their own schedules. If they can't get their on time, they should change their schedules. They could add an hour or so to all their scheduled flight times and we'd all feel good about getting there 15 minutes early instead of an hour late.

Out on the runway, they don't ever tell us what the hell we're waiting for. We sit there worrying about what's wrong with the engine, or maybe we think the co-pilot noticed a small crack in one of the wings. Only the pilot knows why you aren't taking off and of course he won't tell. It may just be that he and the co-pilot are having lunch.

I like to get up and walk around when I fly but they've made the aisles narrower to get more seats in so they don't want you to move around anymore. And there isn't room for two people to pass anyway and the flight attendants aren't as thin as they used to be, either.

So my idea is this: let's make a statement to the airlines just to get their attention. We'll pick a week next year and we'll all agree not to go anywhere for seven days. At the end of the week, we'll check to see what the airlines' on time performance was.

Written By Andy Rooney
Written By Andy Rooney