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Americans and the Airlines

Critical mass has now been reached. Yesterday the country's airline system melted down in the face of bad weather on the East Coast.

Thousands of passengers on JetBlue and other airlines were held hostage on runways for up to 10 hours. It was truly a horrific situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were locked in this tunnel, herded like cattle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To sit on a plane that long, to be pulled into a gate for nine hours was horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was hot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no air. They kept having to open the actual plane doors so we could breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got on the plane at 8:00 hoping to be in Aruba by 1:00 and we're still -- I'm talking to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disorganized. No one knows anything. Maybe one person who cares.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were stuck on there with like 140 people. We had -- there were like at least 40 kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boarded the plane around 8:00. We taxied out. And that was about that. We were basically left there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now there's no excuse for this kind of incompetence by the airline companies. Bad weather is always with us. Other countries around the world have worse weather. But there is a pattern of behavior that abuses airline customers in America. We all know it. And it must stop.

If the government will not step in, then class action litigation must begin. Like oil and gas, Americans often have to use the airlines. They must fly, just like we must have fuel. Over the years the performance of the airlines has dropped dramatically. They've cut employees and salaries, cut services and even cut civility.

When they go bankrupt, as they often do, we taxpayers pick up the tabs, as the airlines skip out on debts and reorganize to come back, even worse than before. It's not the fault of the individual airline worker who is often under siege. There aren't nearly enough people working to handle the crowds.

The flight crews are the best in the world, accidents are rare. It is the management that is abusing people. And the government must step in and force standards of decent behavior on these airline companies.

It should be against the law to keep anyone on a non-flying plane for more than two hours. That is cruel and unusual punishment, especially when children are involved. All of us who fly have horror stories but enough's enough. No excuses any more.

The system's broken and if the federal government will not demand performance then we the people must by suing the airline companies until they can't see. No more airline abuse, period.

And that's "The Memo."

Most Ridiculous Item

Two items for you: First, it's hard to believe The Kansas City Star is such a liberal newspaper out there in the heartland with the regular folks. One of their writers, Daryl Levings, actually ran an item sympathetic to one of the Christian-haters hired by John Edwards. Simply amazing.

On another far left front, respected military analyst Colonel Kenneth Allard has severed his relationship with NBC News after 10 years. Allard writes, quote, "Has anyone else noticed the NBC network's precipitous retreat from journalistic and ethical standards? Not only were no apologies given and no pink slips issued for William Arkin's outburst, but Keith Olbermann went out of his way to defend this 'valid criticism' of our military."

Now, that "valid criticism" he was referring to is calling the U.S. forces "mercenaries." Colonel Allard is a no-spin guy, and his actions are anything but ridiculous. Let the buyer beware.

—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly