How about really long delays -- those memorable trapped-on-the-tarmac incidents? Those are rarer, but they still happen, and more often than you'd think. I took a look at government statistics from the past several months; here are the number of flights that were delayed on the tarmac longer than four hours:
Sept. 2009 - 1 flight
Aug. 2009 - 6 flights
July 2009 - 29 flights
June 2009 - 42 flights
May 2009 - 8 flights
April 2009 - 5 flights
I guess it's not really so terrible when you consider that, on average, there are about 28,000 commercial flights in the skies over the U.S. each day -- but if you're trapped on one of these tarmac hell planes, who cares how rare it is?
It's like the passengers who thought they were taking a direct flight from Houston to Minneapolis; their odds of winding up in the airspace over Wisconsin were pretty low – unless, of course, their pilots were fooling around with personal laptops (I'll bet that won't happen again).
But back to "trapped" passengers: it seems the Department of Transportation has got your back: it recently levied record breaking fines totalling $175,000 over an incident where passengers were stuck overnight on a plane for a nearly six hours. Sadly, the money won't be divvied up among the passengers (or the DOT for that matter) -- it will go directly into the U.S. Treasury.
Say, didn't I mention something about supermodels?
Indeed I did, and your chances of dating one, according to the Book of Odds are about 1 in 178,110. However, those odds improve if you live in New York or Los Angeles, make a lot of money, and are very handsome. It also helps if you're a quarterback who happens to have a few of those Super Bowl championship rings.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.