GMAT : Analysis of An Argument

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An Argument


66. The following appeared in an article in a travel magazine.

After the airline industry began requiring airlines to report their on-time rates, Speedee Airline achieved the number one on-time, with over 89 percent of its flights arriving on time each month. And now Speedee is offering more flights to more destinations than ever before. Clearly, Speedee is the best choice for today's business traveller.


Question


Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.


Analysis


A travel magazine article claims that Speedee Airlines is the best choice for today's business traveller. To support this claim, the author points out that Speedee was ranked first in terms of on-time arrival rate since the airline industry began requiring airlines to report their on-time rates.

The claim is also based on the assertion that Speedee now offers more flights to more destinations than ever before.

This argument suffers from several critical flaws.

First of all, the claim relies on a couple of unwarranted assumptions. One assumption is that on-time rates, number of flights and destination choices are the only features of airline service that determine how a particular airline would rank overall for a business traveller. The author of this article ignores other factors such as fare prices and discounts, safety record, baggage-handling and in- flight amenities.

Another assumption is that Speedee's overall on-time record affects business and non-business travellers equally. However, this is not necessarily the case. Speedee may have a poorer record for commuter flights which are popular among business travellers than for other flights. If so, the conclusion that Speedee is the best choice for the business traveller would be seriously undermined.

Secondly, the author's claim that Speedee now offers more flights to more destinations than ever before is too vague to be meaningful. We are not informed how many flights or how many destinations were previously offered or how many more are offered now. Moreover, the article makes no comparison with other airlines regarding these features. Without these comparisons, this claim is unconvincing as a reason for choosing Speedee over another airline.

Thirdly, the article fails to indicate how long ago the industry began requiring airlines to report on-time rates. If the requirement was imposed recently, then the brief reporting period may be insufficient to show that the airlines’ relative on-time performance will continue in the future. Moreover, the article fails to provide evidence that all airlines, regardless of on-time record, actually reported or that the reports are accurate.

In conclusion, the article's claim that Speedee is the best choice for the business traveller is unsubstantiated and may be too hasty. To better evaluate the article's claim, we need more information about Speedee's other features that contribute to its overall appeal about its on-time record for commuter flights specifically and about the integrity and length of the reporting upon which the ranking was based.

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