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Quick Hits: American Scarelines

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines

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American Airlines (AMR) canceled nearly half its flights on Wednesday for re-inspection of the carrier's popular MD-80 jets. The company plans to reimburse stranded travelers for food, lodging and ground transportation expenses, none of which will help American's already paltry bottom line.

Airlines are canceling flights at an alarming rate. In the last two weeks alone, Southwest (LUV), Delta (DAL), United (UAL) and Continental (CAL) have been forced to ground planes on safety concerns. At first we suspected this was just some elaborate cost cutting scheme, but as more carriers started keeping planes in the hangar, it became obvious the Federal Aviation Administration was all of a sudden beginning to take its job seriously.

Bankruptcies have also become a nearly daily occurrence in the aviation business. First Aloha Airlines went under, then ATA folded. Discount carrier Skybus was the most recent flyer to surrender its wings.

As bad as it's been for airlines, it's been even worse for passengers. Minyanville would like to suggest a list of things to do to keep yourself occupied during long stretches at the airport (and believe us, they will be long):

  • Engage your inner OCD and rearrange lost baggage by color, size and passenger name

  • Run up the down escalators and down the up ones. Don't let the security guards get in your way

  • Feign outrage at the staggering prices for candy at Husdon News. Storm off without paying. Repeat

  • Overstay your welcome in the massage chair at Brookstone

For more on the airline industry, check out Hoofy & Boo's always astute report.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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