Using data to understand your processes and improve them is very useful.
But using data often results in unintended consequences. If you don’t have a good understanding on the pressures collecting data will bring to bear on the system you can create pressure for results that damage the delivery of value to customers.
In this example there are requirements to take action if certain conditions are present. In this case, if the airplane is pushed back from the gate for more than 3 hours without taking off passengers must be given the opportunity to get off.
The Tarmac Delay Rule in 2010 has led to a jump in the rate of flight cancellations
It doesn’t seem the conditions imposed are unreasonable to me. But the expectation was for airlines to make sensible adjustments and not force customers to wait so long in the airplane sitting on the ground. The system could be improved by having more gates in operation, not pushing loading planes if you knew plane wasn’t going to leave for more than 30 minutes, etc.. But when customer value is taken very lightly (as USA airlines do) it isn’t surprising the USA airlines would take a very customer unfriendly method to avoid the issue that was the source of the new rules.
Distorting the system or distorting the data are often the result, instead of the process improvement that is desired and expected.
Related: Bad Weather is Part of the Transportation System – Poor Customer Service at USA Airlines – Data is Important and You Must Confirm What the Data Actually Says – United Breaks Guitars – Respect for Employees at Southwest Airlines