As you know, I've been urging Americans to live their lives and not run and hide. I flew to St. Louis on TWA American a few days after the attack and the flights were great.
Yesterday, I flew to Dallas and today I came home. Those flights were a good news-bad news situation. Kennedy airport in New York was chaos. I haven't seen so much disorganization since I flew into Saigon's Tan Son Nhut Airport in Vietnam.
American Airlines did not have enough counter personnel, and the lines to get through security cost customers hours in waiting time. The problem was that American did not have visible supervisor personnel on the floor on a busy Sunday evening, and the airline did not have any extra security people. Can you believe it?
I watched for about an hour as screeners patted down 80-year-old women — "Get those hands up, lady" — and generally worked about as slowly as a human being could possibly work. It was ridiculous. If this keeps up, the public will simply not fly and the economy will then collapse as the tourism and service industries will wither.
The situation at Dallas, Ft. Worth airport this morning was very different. There, supervisors were all over the place and the security personnel worked quickly and efficiently. The security line moved briskly, and there were plenty of ticket agents. There was absolutely no problem at DFW at American Airlines. So that tells me that American and every other airline can control things if they want to.
A Factor producer flew in today from Atlanta on Delta; he had no problem. But we are getting reports that Denver and Pittsburgh are having major difficulties getting people to the planes.
The feds are giving the airlines $15 billion taxpayer dollars, so the airlines owe it to us, the taxpayers, to be efficient. The airlines must do their part to help Americans and the economy. The folks at American listened to what I told them. The boss at JFK, Bill Morton, is a smart guy, and I think he'll fix things.
The chairman of American, Don Carty, is actually foregoing his salary for the rest of the year.
By the way, the passengers at both JFK and DFW were unbelievably patient and well-behaved. I mean, New York is the complaint capital of the world, but people did not raise a ruckus even though they had to wait for hours. It was amazing.
Talking Points believes we are all in this fight against terrorism together and discipline will get us through it. Americans should fly, and the airlines, despite the cutbacks, should make that experience as safe and efficient as efficient as possible. Till the Feds take over security, the airlines have to bite the economic bullet. They have to beef up the screeners, compelling them to work smart. Anything less will be unpatriotic.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Gary Condit — remember him? — is now likely to run for reelection, according to The New York Post. Because of the war, Condit has been able to go about his business, and now he thinks he can beat the public relations rap. But if the good people of Central Valley in California reelect this barbarian, it would be beyond ridiculous.
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