American cancels hundreds more flights

April 12, 2008 12:19:35 AM PDT
American Airlines says it will cancel hundreds more flights this weekend. It's because the FAA ordered the airline to inspect the wiring on its fleet of MD-80's, but some industry analysts believe the government is over-reacting and the flying public is paying the price.

For thousands of American airlines passengers, patience is a virtue.

"I'm really tired and frustrated," said Deborah Edwards, a passenger.

The airline announced the cancelation of 250 more MD-80 flights this weekend. Bringing the number since Tuesday to nearly 3,300.

It's all to make sure the carrier is following proper FAA standards when it comes to wrapping electrical wires.

"What we apparently have here is a gross over reaction by the FAA deciding they're going to enforce the letter of the law and the public be damned," said John Nance, ABC News Aviation Analyst.

Nance, says the wire clamps should be exactly four inches apart, but an extra quarter of an inch, which is the discrepancy found in some planes, won't cause the wires to suddenly fail or become safety hazards.

"There is no tolerance now," said ABC7 Aviation Consultant Ron Wilson.

Wilson sees the FAA's crack down, as a reaction to the criticism the Feds faced for being too lenient with the airlines.

Now, inspectors are out, measuring angles and distance, making sure everything is by the book. It's work the FAA ordered American to upgrade, 18 months ago.

"They had 18 months in the routine of inspections and airplanes going in for routine overnight work so all of this could've been done without disruption to passenger travel," said Wilson.

"That's the real frustrating part because we know they knew they had to do it but it's the same thing that people only do things only when they have to," said Marty Diesman, a passenger.

What Diesman has to do now, is find a way from SFO to Sacramento, his original destination which was cancelled.

American will either re-book him on a later flight or transfer him to another carrier. He hopes to make it home to Clear Lake sometime Saturday morning.


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