The DoT-mandated 3-hour rule went into effect in April 2010. It has been nearly a year and the results are rather interesting. The Feds are particularly proud, for example, that the number of 3+ hour delays for aircraft has dropped to essentially nil. And I suppose that's all well and good. What they aren't so keen to brag about, however, is the number of canceled flights during that same period of time. Even excluding December 2010/January 2011 - where the number of cancellations was dramatically higher but which can also be blamed on more severe weather than the prior year - the number of flights that was canceled increased. And those numbers increased in the face of fewer total flights operating. Not good. Here are the numbers: OK, so we all have heard the adage "Correlation does not equal causation" but at some point the two sets of statistics have to be compared, right? After all, when the feds are essentially providing cover to the airlines to cancel the flights - no airline wants a $3MM fine, particularly when profit margins are razor thin or nonexistent - why wouldn't you take every opportunity to avoid that potential liability? At some point this topic has to be revisited to determine if the overall net impact to the consumer is really as good as various groups are claiming. With record high load factors every canceled flight means even more passengers likely displaced for well more than 3 hours. Is that really in consumers' best interests? Read more here.