(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
If you're planning to jet off somewhere for summer vacation, you may want to reconsider your mode of transportation.
That's because this week's massive flight cancellations by American Airlines are likely to spread to other airlines as federal regulators step up their enforcement of maintenance and safety regulations.
American says it's canceled more than 900 flights today. This is the third day in a row of cancellations, which now total close to 2,500. The airline says it expects all its planes to be inspected and ready for flight by Saturday. This has left more than 140,000 passengers stranded. The company's CEO is apologizing to passengers and says he accepts "full responsibility" for failing to meet FAA standards. Meanwhile, Midwest airlines also grounded 13 "MD-80" planes today.
These inspections were ordered to look for potential wiring hazards in wheel wells and other possible faults – things that could cause fires or trouble with the landing gear. In recent weeks, Delta, Southwest and United Airlines have also canceled flights in order to perform safety checks.
One expert says flight delays and cancellations could soon get worse, especially for airlines with older fleets and may last all the way into June. It's estimated that about 35% of the U.S. fleet is more than 25 years old.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration insists it is just doing its job of enforcing the regulations. But today senators blasted the FAA for "becoming too close to the industry it regulates”, saying it had been neglecting its safety operations.
A lot of these safety issues came to light when it was revealed that Southwest airlines was flying planes even after cracks were discovered in a jet's fuselage.
Here’s my question to you: When making travel plans this summer, are you less likely to fly?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Wendy from New Hampshire writes:
I can get in my car without taking off my shoes or passing through a metal detector. I can travel by car and have plenty of leg room. I can choose my meals, my bathrooms, heck even my route. I can even carry shampoo, nail clippers, scissors for my knitting. I refuse to be treated like a petty criminal or a major threat to safety, all for the privilege of hurtling through the air (eventually) in a flying cattle car.
Peterv from Fairview, Texas writes:
Jack, People who want to fly and have made plans to fly will fly. Some may be inconvenienced, but the world does not stop because of glitches in air travel. It just gets delayed a bit. The problem may very well be resolved by then and people don't usually make plans for a vacation on the spur of the moment.
Harold from Alaska writes:
Unfortunately, residents of our state, and Hawaii, have no practical alternative to the airlines.
Colleen from Charlotte, N.C. writes:
I'm sick of flying and traveling. I find myself staying home more often and like it that way. Our family of four will drive to Michigan from N.C. this summer prompted by a family wedding. Not only is flying not cost-effective, but you are not even sure if you will make it. The 16 hours of driving will be more pleasant than the potential for 2 days in airports.
I have reservations to go on a trip in July. I am already trying to mentally prepare myself for the joy of waiting in the long security lines in Atlanta with a ten year old! Woo hoo! That being said, I'd rather airlines take the time to make sure maintenance is accurate and there are no mechanical issues.
Kim from Dodge City, Kansas writes:
Not unless I absolutely cannot avoid it. Just pile the safety concerns on top of the rude treatment, declining service and high prices. But the airline industry should not worry too much. Pretty soon China will own all our air carriers and we know what they do to people who complain. So buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.