"We're sorry for the slight delay," was a gate area death knell sounded all too frequently over the years. One which was inevitably followed by a plethora of somewhat plausible, but often feckless statements like:
- The airport (though not necessarily the one you're at) is under delay or closed due to weather
- Your incoming aircraft has been delayed
- We're experiencing a mechanical problem with your aircraft
When a lack of additional information (accurate or not) began to fray nerves and raise tempers, bringing the palpable level of tension at the gate to a level that would normally snap a bowstring, equally distressing information was dribbled out in tone that now seemed not only less compassionate, but wholly unrepentant:
- We've discover the problem with the aircraft, but are now waiting on a part
- The weather's opening up at the airport, but incoming flights await their own ATC (Air Traffic Control) release
- The incoming aircraft finally departed, but our airport is now below minimums and you flight will be circling the airport when and if it gets here
- The aircraft has been repaired, but will need to await on refueling/de-icing before we can even hope to board
- The aircraft you're waiting for has finally arrived, but instead of here at A-4, it will now be departing out of G-22
- Our aircraft is now ready to depart, but unfortunately the delay incurred means that the original crew is now being placed on forced rest and we must await the arrival of a new crew before we can begin to board
- We're awaiting final paperwork, but if it doesn't reach us in the next five minutes, we'll miss the only departure window currently available and will have to wait for the next one
The information that has been released to date is so full of obvious evasion and equivocation as to be next to useless (though most seem so happy to get it that no one seems to mind). Any 'facts' or 'numbers' handed out carry more caveats than the sales contract warranty coverage used at 'Fly By Night Motors'. The closest we come to anything resembling 'facts' as opposed to government issued 'truth' is when Secretary Sebelius or the President announce a waiver or delay in implementation; which at least tells us that that some part of the law either doesn't work properly yet, greatly offends a powerful special interest group, or would produce politically detrimental press coverage before the 2014 election.
Unfortunately, the strategy that the government has learned from the airlines has proved far too successful these days with a largely uninformed public. Constantly lied to and recognizing that we've long since lost control of this situation (and the future), most now placidly await the next tidbit of disinformation with the same vague expression that the have with the next divorce announcement or plastic surgery attempt going on in the Kardashian family. Fed up with months of inactivity, many get so caught up in seeing any movement of the queue that they forget to look down and notice that it's pushing them ever closer to the cliff's edge. So desperate are they to get even bad news, that they gladly swallow the rosy interpretations and 'glass half-full assurances' delivered with them, and refuse to look beyond the sophistry and deception contained in the absurd pronouncements being made.
The only thing missing of course, is government adopting airline language itself (and maybe a version of that's next):
"We're sorry for the slight delay in the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act due to circumstances that should have been well within our control, but which we mostly believe are none of your damn business. We're sorry for the inconvenience, but since there's nothing you can really do about it now ... not so much. We expect no change in the situation soon and little more than bad news to pass on to you; so sit back, relax your crack, and we'll get around telling you what we want you to hear when we damn well feel like it."