Posts with the tag ‘airports’

Government Helps Airlines Shift Security Costs to Passengers

February 16, 2015

Airlines got a $373 million dollar gift from the government when it eliminated the Aviation Security Infrastructure Fee last year. What with the slide in fuel prices, these 37 U.S. and 71 foreign airlines have to be feeling pretty flush right now. The fee, called ASIF was imposed after 9-11 so that airlines would contribute to the government takeover of airport security – which up until the terror attacks was the airlines’ responsibility. In exchange for getting out from under the ASIF fee, I am told, airlines agreed to drop their opposition to doubling the security fee that air travelers pay.   For each one… Read More…

Agonizing and Awe-Inspiring; Another Year in Aviation Flies By

December 31, 2014

Bookending the aviation news for the year 2014 is the Dreamliner battery; the sizzling lithium ion-flavored power source that I suggested in January was already being reviewed by the eggheads and pocket protector-wearing engineers at Boeing. The end of the year arrives and the Japan Transport Safety Board is asking for the same thing.  I’m not bragging about being prescient here because any reasonable person can see that the risks outweigh the benefits of using this high-density battery chemistry. It’s the recipe used more than a decade ago for laptops and handheld devices that started to spontaneously combust prompting the world’s largest industrial recall.  In a report… Read More…

Does Black Friday Sale on Lasers Threaten Air Travel?

December 16, 2014

This post has been updated to include comment from the U.S. FDA and from Patrick Murphy of  One of the largest sellers of high powered laser pointers has done an about face, discontinuing sales of devices that are styled to look like Star Wars light saber toys but are strong enough to blind in seconds. Wicked Lasers issued a press release explaining its decision and attributed it to the sale of the company to a “government-backed optoelectronics manufacturer” in China.  Wicked Laser got cross-wise with the Food and Drug Administration several years ago because it did not comply with all of the rules governing the… Read More…

Cattle to Coddle Class; Tips from JetBlue, Turkish and Others

November 28, 2014

My friend enjoyed first class treatment on Thai I don’t often sit outside of the economy cabin when I fly and neither do most of my friends. So when I or someone I know gets an upgraded experience it is fun to compare what the various airlines consider a lux experience. An acquaintance told me that he cashed in all his mileage points for a first class seat from somewhere in Asia to San Francisco. His journey required him to fly one leg on Thai Airways and change in Bangkok to United. He could not stop raving about his experience on Thai; how comfortable was… Read More…

Malaysian Artist’s Mixed Media View of Aviation

November 18, 2014

Masnoor in his studio in April 2014 One night in Spain, I took a walk down to the edge of the Mediterranean where a brilliant white moon seemed to turn the water into a sea of graphite. I had no camera and so I challenged myself to recreate the scene with words. In his 2012 trip across the Atlantic in a Pilatus PC 12, Malaysian painter Masnoor Ramli Mahmud was asked to do the opposite, tell the story of trans-oceanic flight in pictures.  The result is the one-man show, PATHFINDER#PC12, which will open in Kuala Lumpur on November 27th. Riza Johari while at ABC News… Read More…

Pilots Didn’t Want to Fly With Capt. Who Crash-Landed SW Flight 345

November 12, 2014

Flight 345 on the runway NTSB photo The Southwest Airlines captain who flew a Boeing 737 into the runway nose first at LaGuardia Airport last summer had been on the receiving end of multiple complaints by first officers at the airline who did not want to fly with her, according to an employee at the airline who asked not to be identified. The process, called a bid avoidance, is not unique to Southwest. Delta Air Lines, United and others also give their pilots a way to opt out of sharing the cockpit with captains they find difficult to work with. Brandy King, a spokeswoman for… Read More…

Boeing, FAA Don’t Understand 787 Battery Shortcomings, Japanese Say

September 26, 2014

Far from dismissing three safety events on Japanese Boeing 787 Dreamliners as mysteries that will go forever unresolved, the nation’s safety authority has issued a series of recommendations to Boeing, and the Federal Aviation Administration that suggest the two entities don’t fully understand the ways the volatile lithium ion batteries and their chargers can fail. The Japan Transport Safety Board (along with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board) has been looking into what happened on board three Japanese airliners in 2013 and 2014 to cause the revolutionary new airplane’s lithium ion batteries to fail. This resulted in smoke, fire and a lot of panic among… Read More…

State Concludes Menzies’ Lax Safety Led to Airport Worker Death

August 20, 2014

Menzies Aviation, the Scotland-based, mega airport services company and hazardous workplace recidivist has been slapped with a $77 thousand dollar fine in California after the state’s labor safety authority found it discouraged the use of safety belts on the ramp of Los Angeles International Airport. But in the case of Cesar Valenzuela, the restraint on his tow tractor wasn’t even working on the night he was thrown from the truck to his death.  The 51-year old Valenzuela, was working with cargo at the airport in February when he was found dead, his head beneath a wheel of the truck. A portion of the driver’s seat belt… Read More…

Airlines and Governments Oblivious to Warnings of MH 17 Disaster

July 20, 2014

It is missing the point to “blame” Malaysia Airlines for its decision to continue to fly over the conflict zone in the Ukraine despite the disastrous outcome of that choice. At the same time, Malaysia and the dozens of others who opted to continue using the route should be asking, what exactly are they paying their security advisors for? Airlines don’t bring hundred+ million dollar airplanes and the highly trained folks who operate them into countries without analysing the security status of the airport and the places where their flight crews will be housed. That’s why the kidnapping of two pilots for Turkish in Beirut… Read More…

A Century Later The Same Old Thrill

July 10, 2014

The first time I flew in an airplane, I was six. It was an Eastern Airlines flight from Miami to Newark, probably in a DC-8, but I can’t say for sure. I do remember that a flight attendant strung a cardboard bib in the shape of a Teddy Bear around my neck with my name and other information printed on it, and off I went. If my parents worried about me, I was unaware of it. Many years later when I bundled my own 8-year old daughter off to see her grandparents in Connecticut, I worried some, but I’d already done it myself. Try to… Read More…

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