Where My 2 Worlds Intersect

I’m not only proudly American, and proudly Union, I’m also an airline guy.  So this bit of information from Jim Hightower intersects both of my worlds.

Hightower put together an article on his website called “Fixing American Airlines”.  And I tend to agree with the man, on many, many things.  He’s spot on here, as usual.

Anyone who’s paid attention to airline news has heard about American Airlines 757s losing rows of seats – they’ve literally come loose during flights.  Scary as hell, right?  I was just on an American 757 a few weeks ago, though we didn’t notice anything different…  Anyway, American is going through their bankruptcy, and their CEO has said that not all maintenance needs to be done here – by US workers.  It can be outsourced – you know, cheaper for the airlines.

So then the seats started coming loose.  And…  Well, let’s just see how Jim put it:

In September, when the seats started coming loose, the brass callously drove company morale further down by implying that American’s maintenance crews, who are members of the Transport Workers Union, were the culprits. But TWU fired right back, pointing out that maintenance of two lines of 757s, including seats, had been outsourced to a non-union, low-wage corporation where employees don’t get expert union training or regular on-site reviews by federal safety inspectors.

HA!  Those in power want so much to slash costs – and send jobs overseas – that they will use anything to say American workers aren’t up to snuff.  But in this case, those greedy executives at American Airlines were hoisted by their own petard.

Sounds like the greedy short-sighted outsourcers at American Airlines need to be outsourced, and those that truly care about the company need to take over.  “Why?” you may ask.  Because this is something people remember – for a long time.  Don’t believe me?  The Ford Edsel came out 52 years ago, but Ford still can’t shake the link between “Fords” and the “Edsel” being a lemon – and comparisons of “X is the new Ford Edsel” still continue to this day.

American had better come clean, or they won’t make it 50 years to even be made fun of!

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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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