Monday, October 05, 2009

If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care

From National Journal:

"Great, thank you, I'll be happy to make that booking for you. That's one flight from Washington Dulles to Chicago O'Hare on October 26. Will there be anything else?"

"Wait, hold on. Chicago? I'm going to Eugene. It's in Oregon."

"Yes, sir. The Eugene portion of your trip will be handled by a western specialist. We'll be glad to bring you back from Chicago to Washington, though."

"You mean I have to call another carrier and go through all this again? Why don't you just book the whole trip?"

"Sorry, sir, but you do need to make your own travel appointments. We would be happy to refer you to some qualified carriers. May I have your fax number, please? Before I can confirm the booking, we'll need you to fill out your travel history and send that back to us."

"Cynthia, I have filled out my travel history half a dozen times already this year. I've told six different airlines that I flew to Detroit twice and Houston once. Every time I fly, I answer the same battery of questions. At least a dozen airlines have my travel history. Why don't you get it from them?"

"We have no way we could do that. We do not have access to other companies' records, and our personnel have our own system for collecting travel history."

"But 95 percent of these questions are always the same. Don't you know that every time I fill out one of these duplicative forms I increase the chance of error? Wouldn't it make more sense to hold my travel information centrally, so that everyone could see the same thing?"

"Sorry, sir, we have no capability for that, and we do need to have your travel history at least two weeks before you fly."

"I don't suppose I could fill out these forms online?"

"No, sir. The forms are only about 30 pages, though. Did you have that fax number, please?"

"I don't have a fax machine. No one faxes anymore. Just e-mail me the forms."

Read the whole thing here.

1 comment:

Shaun said...

If we reverse the comparison I would imagine a situation where ER security pats someone down to check for more weapons as they bleed out from a stab wound. The thinking on this would be "If they weren't a dangerous person with weapons then why did they get stabbed?"

We would have to check every patient for weapons before triage. Special security officers must then be added to ambulances. We only want REAL sick people in hospitals.

Then again, if someone is sneaking in I'm sure the hospital security people in this kind of situation would be able to give them some real injuries to work with...