Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pinching pennies, costing lives?

Well this article sure isn’t one you want to read on an airplane.

There’s a new book out by author (and former airline-insider) William J. Mcgee called “Attention All Passengers” that calls into question the practices of our modern airline companies, and the sometimes scary job they’re doing as part of their day-to-day business.  Yes, overbooked flights and stuff stolen out of your luggage is a hassle.  But he hammers on the outsourcing that airlines are doing – something that I’ve been harping on for years – and adds stuff that I had no idea about.

From the interview over on NPR (and the two scariest paragraphs of the whole article):

Aircraft maintenance and repairs are also frequently outsourced — in some cases to unlicensed mechanics in China, Singapore, Mexico and El Salvador.

“In my view, it’s a critical safety issue — the FAA’s lack of oversight of maintenance [in these countries],” he says. “It used to be, if an airline had a major maintenance facility, the FAA had an office, and an inspector could pop by anytime. Now, with work being done [overseas], I’ve had dozens of inspectors express their frustration that they can’t do their jobs. They’re monitoring this work on an honor system.”

All I can say is, “Holy crap!”  That, and pray a little every time I get on a plane.

FYI, the book is available as an eBook on iTunes; I just picked it up.

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Airbus factory in Alabama?

Okay, so I know I’ve ranted in the past about navigate to this web-site.com/2011/07/19/hey-american-air-how-about-you-buy-your-namesake/”>“patriotically named” airlines that don’t fly American planes.  It’s a particular pet peeve of mine.  I mean “US Airways (brought to you by a European consortium)” and “American Airlines (soon to be brought to you in part by a European consortium)” – that bugs me.  We make planes here in the United States; airlines, how about you buy them?  Alaska and Southwest has been doing rather well standardized on the Boeing 737.  Continental was all Boeing, until United grabbed them up.  But hopefully with Continental’s CEO at the helm of United, that “Buy American” attitude will continue.

But all that may change soon…  Airbus has factories in France and China, but they’re about to build a plant in Alabama, in Mobile – the town I was born in.  This is cool – but still, it’s still not an American plane.  So it bugs me, but not as much as it did before.

Don’t listen to me…  I’m bitter since my two favorite planes – the Boeing 757 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 – were put to pasture.  There’s just something about being a passenger on one of the classic birds; just on your taxi out, you can feel how much the plane wants to escape the bonds of Earth, and glide along the wind.

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My first prediction: There will be blood!

So it turns out that Delta is trying out a self-boarding process in Las Vegas and Atlanta.  I don’t know how the damn thing works, but it’s to “free up the boarding agents to deal with passengers other issues”.

Translation: We can fire more people and make more money.

This is gonna be ugly, I bet.  And as I said, there’s going to be blood – somehow, somewhere.  People are going to board out of order, take on a dozen carryons, etc, and this whole system will just gum up the works even more.

Automation is good.  Just not this kind of automation.

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More on the TSA porno body scanners

Anybody remember the video from last March about getting things through the TSA body scanners?  Well the original guy is at it again, and has video of his incident via a “freedom of information” act.

Here it is.  Support this guy!