Travel agent: Although most low–fare airlines have had few, if any, accidents, very few such airlines have been in e...

Samir on August 21 at 01:28AM

Question 18

I have read the previous discussions on this problem, and I think I understand it better than before but still have some confusion. Can someone please explain this problem and why the 4 incorrect answer choices are wrong?

1 Reply

Shunhe on January 2 at 02:11AM

Hi @Samir-Ghani,

So we're tasked here with finding a problem with the argument as presented. Let's first reconstruct the argument.

Premise 1: Low-fare airlines have few accidents, but not long histories.
Premise 2: Major airlines have long-standing records that reliably indicate their degree of safety.
Conclusion: Passengers are safer on a major airline.

Now before we go to the answer choices, let's spend a few seconds thinking about what potential weaknesses of the argument are. One that stands out to me is the wording in the second premise, where it says that the records of major airlines reliably indicate their degree of safety, but doesn't mention how safe this degree of safety is. What if a major airline has a record that reliably says it's horribly unsafe, and that half of its planes have been going down for the past 40 years? Then the conclusion wouldn't necessarily follow from the two premises. Going down and looking to see if any of the answer choices presents this as an option, we see that (C) basically states this issue, and so we can be pretty sure (C) is the right answer. But we should check the other answer choices and see why they aren't as good as (C).

(A) is wrong because this possibility doesn't need to be addressed. If major airlines did have the same total number of accidents, then the argument would be bolstered, since major airlines have more overall flights (having operated a longer period of time) and thus a lower accident rate.

(B) is wrong because we can't infer that the major airlines' safety records are also from too brief a period, especially when the stimulus describes them as long-standing.

(D) is wrong because the argument doesn't take this for granted. We aren't told about how reliable the airlines are in documenting their safety.

(E) is wrong because the argument doesn't fail to address this possibility adequately. The argument is not denying that airlines with long-standing records have accidents.

Hope this helps, and if you were caught up by one of the answer choices, let me know and we can walk through it more thoroughly.