Of All the Lousy Ways to Make a Buck

Folks are a bit up in arms because « British Airways flew a 747 on two long trips with just three operating engines » [gasp]:

‘A British Airways jet that continued on an 11-hour flight from Los Angeles to London after one of its four engines lost power also flew on three engines on a later flight from Singapore to London, the airline said Friday. The Boeing 747 left Singapore on February 25 and landed at London’s Heathrow Airport the next day, arriving only 15 minutes behind schedule, BA spokesman Jay Marritt said. Three hours into the 14-hour flight, an oil pressure indicator showed there was a problem with one of the engines, which the captain shut down as a precaution, Marritt said. It was the captain’s decision to continue with Flight 18, which was carrying 356 passengers, he added. “It’s still very safe to fly a 747 on three engines,” Marritt said. “It is certified to do so.”


Well, it’s certified to finish a flight on less than four engines if it’s in the middle of nowhere with no landing strip in sight (as opposed to, say, a few miles from KLAX), but sure, we could quibble over that small detail.

Those evil gentlemen in the so-called liberal media are trying to draw a connection between these two incidents and a new comma-nistic, anti-bidness European Union regulation dictating fair compensation for inconvenienced passengers:

‘The decision not to return that flight after the engine lost power raised concerns about a new European Union law which requires European carriers to reimburse passengers for substantial delays. U.S. officials said they have no evidence the airline’s decision to continue on was influenced by the regulation. “We would never compromise the safety of our passengers,” said British Airways spokeswoman Diane Fung on Monday. “The plane is certified to fly on three engines. It is perfectly safe to do so. The pilots are trained for such situations.’

Right. You flew a 747 from KLAX to KLHR and again from KSIN to KLHR on three engines because it’s such a bitchin’ fine airplane (and hey, not operating that fourth engine saves expensive fuel!) and not because you’d have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars in compensation to 100+ inconvencied passengers.


Well, I’m an unrepentent old socialist; I love the new regulation. It would have been wonderful if it had existed back in April of 2000 when I was stuck for nine hours in the Venice, Italy, airport by Air France and just got a voucher for a $4.50 slice of cold pizza for lunch. The worst pizza I’ve ever eaten was in Italy. But I digress.

This one bears more watching.