Why Airlines Cancel Flights and Hotels Don’t Give Out Toothpaste


I’m at the Hilton at Logan airport right now because United canceled flight UA1699.

The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 5:46pm, but then was delayed to 8:40pm. Then 9:45. Then 11:15, and at 11:15pm the flight was canceled.

Disregarding union regulations on working hours, an airline would rather cancel a delayed flight than let it run late.

Airline ratings agencies rank airlines based on on-time performance, not cancellations. If United cancels all of its delayed flights, then it always runs on time.

If you measure a limited set of data, you’ll optimize for limited dimensions. Choosing the wrong things to measure is worse than not measuring anything at all.

My hotel room bathroom offers a fine selection of Peter Thomas Roth hair- and skincare products, and even a water softener for a pleasant shower, but no hotel in the US provides toothpaste in the bathroom because hotels receive stars for providing two kinds of soap, shampoo, an additional bottled item, a hair dryer, a sewing kit, and a shower cap. But not toothpaste.

Anyway, it’s been a rough night. I got the last room at the Hilton. The girl behind me was crying hysterically because she had been waiting at the airport for our flight since 4pm. I briefly considered offering to share my room with her, but then I’m not that nice.

It’s better this way, because I don’t feel like wearing pants right now.

I had some heavy bags to carry. Travel tip: smarte cartes cost $5, but wheelchairs are free, and I am going straight to hell.
I had some heavy bags to carry. Travel tip: smarte cartes cost $5, but wheelchairs are free.

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