Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bastard of the Day

I have an unusual choice today, Consumer Reports. Normally I wholeheartedly support the efforts of this venerable, not-for-profit publication and its parent, Consumers Union. They are a rare organization that isn't in bed with corporate America, presenting product evaluations unbiased by advertising dollars.

But this week Consumer Reports has put me in a quandary. On Friday morning, my wife is flying to Dallas to visit her aunt and uncle. The March 2007 issue of Consumer Reports arrived Monday, and it includes an article titled "An accident waiting to happen? Outsourcing raises air-safety concerns."


The gist of the story is that outsourced maintenance has less oversight (fewer licensed mechanics, weaker employee screening, etc.), plus the Federal Aviation Administration is doing fewer visual inspections of aircraft. So, do I share this article with my wife? If I do, it's liable to make her nervous or worse, and there isn't anything she can do about it (aside from cancelling her trip). But if I don't tell her, then what if a wing falls off or something? I'd have to live with the possibility that she might not have been on that plane if I had passed along the scary story from Consumer Reports. Great timing, you bastards.

UPDATE 02/01/2007 - Although I booked the flight through Southwest, the flight is actually on ATA. Consumer Reports lists ATA as the airline with the least outsourced maintenance (only 18% compared to 46-92% for other airlines), so I'm not going to worry about it.

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