Why is it incumbent upon the paying passenger to fix the problems of airline scheduling? It should be incumbent upon the airline to assure that it has the staff or crew available to meet its needs.
It all comes down to scheduling. There should be a position in either each airline — or each airport — with the sole function of scheduling crews to be in the city they are flying from. I’m sure that job exists because someone is currently scheduling crews. They just need to refine their scheduling better.
There are two easy solutions:
1) All passengers must check in 15 minutes prior to departure. Those who are late could lose their seats to booked passengers checking in on time.
2) Seems to be an airline scheduling problem. If a crew in city B has to be in be in city A, why wasn’t another crew in city A used?
Hospitals have physicians and staff on call for emergencies. Why not airlines? The airlines might not like the expense of paying an on-call rate to employees, but it beats the lawsuit expenses they will incur and the PR nightmare of cancellations or late departures that will take place for flights without crews or those delayed waiting for crews.