But what about the delays, you ask? Delays suck. And they occur on almost 20 percent of flights. But as a person who, whatever his other flaws, is extremely punctual, I’m here to tell you that you’re often late too…
Of course when you’re late, you have an excuse. Your earlier meeting started late. You were stuck in traffic. The baby was sick. Airlines have these problems too! It gets unexpectedly icy. Key personnel get sick or delayed in traffic. The difference between you and the airline is that the airline has to report its on-time statistics to the government while you get to just make excuses.
Matthew Yglesias defends domestic air travel, arguing that it’s safer and cheaper than ever before, so we should stop complaining so much about it. Personally, I don’t have too much to complain about, though who you fly with makes a big difference—people love to complain about American Airlines, and love to love Virgin America (the airline I fly with the most regularly, which topped the rankings of the best U.S. airlines in a recent report). This doesn’t stop delays from sucking though. Nobody likes being stranded at the airport.