The Plane Truth: News Roundup

Posted in News Roundup on September 23, 2008 by Colleen84

Should Porn Be Allowed on Airplanes?

Posted in American Airlines with tags , , on September 23, 2008 by Colleen84

First it was free check-in baggage.  Then it was $3 for snacks.  Then they started offering in-flight Internet service.  NOW, American Airlines wants to filter that service to block access to porn and other “inappropriate” websites.

Apparently, both flight attendants and passengers alike have had “a lot of complaints” about such content from passengers.  As of right now, only some cross-country flights offer Internet access that passengers can pay $12.95 for.  The “vast majority” of passengers do use discretion.

“It’s a tricky door to open,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy and Information Center in Washington. “Where do you draw the line once you start policing the information your customers can access?”

In addition to American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and Delta all either already offer or plan on offering limited Internet access to travelers by early 2009.  JetBlue, which currently offers Internet, has also reported complains from attendants and passengers about “objectionable Web pages.”  Union reps say that they don’t want to become “moral policemen,” but they also don’t want attendants exposed to violent or pornographic images on laptops, either.

It IS tricky – people paying for a service should have the basis right to look at what they want, but what about violent or sexual DVDs watched on laptops?  And what about young children sitting near these people who may see graphic images?  Come on, porn lovers, you can’t just control yourselves long enough to get a room?!

What do you think?


US Airways Feels Justified in Charging for Water & Soda

Posted in US Airways with tags , , , on September 23, 2008 by Colleen84
US Airways – which is the only airline in the United States to charge for soda, coffee, tea, and water – has got this great rationalization for their behavior: flight attendants would “riot” if they returned to the old system.  Why?  Because it’s cut cabin congestion and the time flight attendants spend serving drinks.
Soooo…basically, flight attendants would have to go back to doing one of the jobs that they get paid to do?
“Logjams in the aisles, significant trash collection, lines at the restrooms — all those things are largely gone on US Airways because fewer people are buying and drinking sodas,” U.S. Airways President Scott Kirby said. “We spend less money, we generate a little revenue, and those problems are largely gone.”
Mike Flores, president of the Assn. of Flight Attendants-CWA dismisses this as just the airline’s way of justifying their practices and claimed that although charging for beverages has decreased the demand, it hasn’t actually reduced the amount of trash on board.  Flores also expressed concern that taking on responsibility for sales would take away from flight attendants’ ability to ensure cabin safety.

The Plane Truth: News Roundup

Posted in News Roundup with tags , , on September 22, 2008 by Colleen84

United Airlines Lies, Causing Family to Not See Dying Father

Posted in Customer Service Complaints, United Airlines with tags , , , on September 22, 2008 by Colleen84

Read this one all the way through.  It’s absolutely appalling and somewhat heartbreaking.  This alone should call for a national boycott of United Airlines, which would appear to be more evil than Delta.

As I watch the Olympics this week, my thoughts keep turning to Anita Cabral of Spring Valley, though she is not an Olympian, or even an athlete.

Cabral is a disgusted former customer of United Airlines, the official airline of the Beijing Games. I think of her whenever I see that United commercial with the orchestra of animated sea creatures playing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

I love the music, but I don’t feel rhapsodic when United’s logo appears. I feel blue.

The very mention of United reminds me of how the airline ruined Cabral’s dream vacation and treated her family with an arrogance that is astonishing, even for an airline.

I know. Tales of airlines screwing over their passengers are a dime a dozen. Everybody has a horror story to tell.

But not one like this.

Cabral had meticulously planned this vacation, built around a family reunion in Hawaii and a chance for her grown children to see their father, Cabral’s ex, who was in a hospice dying of cancer.

Eight people were making the trip: Cabral, her husband, her brother, her son, her daughter and her daughter’s husband and two children.

One year out, they wrote a five-figure check to reserve a five-bedroom, five-bathroom beach house. They bought their tickets from United six months early. They booked a jungle excursion, a luau, a trip in a glass-bottom boat.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and they had a big investment in it, emotionally and financially. They even had it insured.

And all that planning unraveled in just a few hours.

Continue reading

Woman Removes Bra To Get Through Security

Posted in Customer Service Complaints, JetBlue with tags , , on September 22, 2008 by Colleen84

Nancy Kates of Berkeley, California had an interesting airport experience recently.  Kates arrived at Oakland International Airport to fly JetBlue and was detained – because of her bra.  Whereas some of us can get through airport security while carrying pepper spray or the wrong boarding pass, the underwire in Kates’ bra set off the metal detector in the airport. (There really must be something about JetBlue, because the only time I’ve flown them within the last 3 years, my watch set it off and it’s never set off the detectors at Delta/Northwest, Southwest, United or US Airways.)  But Kates, described as “big busted,” was patted down by a female TSA agent.

“The woman touched my breast. I said, ‘You can’t do that,’ ” Kates said. “She said, ‘We have to pat you down.’ I said, ‘You can’t treat me as a criminal for wearing a bra.’ “

Kates was told by a supervisor that underwire in bras was a leading cause in setting off metal detectors (never had that happen here, but okay) and that she’d have to submit to a patdown or be taken off the flight.  Instead, Kates decided to remove her bra altogether.  When she walked through without setting off an alarm, TSA officials then decided to search all of her carry-on luggagage (spiteful much?)  Kates was detained a total of 40 minutes and subsequently missed her flight to Boston.  She was booked on another flight and arrived 4 hours later than planned.

“It’s actually a little funny in a way, but a sad, sad commentary on the state of our country,” Kates said. “This is bigger than just me. There are 150 million women in America, and this could happen to any of them.”

That’s very true.  Kates will be talking to her family lawyer, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Women’s Organization to see how to pursue the incident.

What do you think?  How should this all play out?


Blown Tire May Have Caused Travis Barker/DJ AM Crash

Posted in Airplane Emergencies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 22, 2008 by Colleen84

Here’s an update on the jet crash involving former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM, which killed 4 people and left the 2 badly burned:

Reports are coming out that the crew “thought a tire blew as they hurtled down the runway and struggled unsuccessfully to stop the plane.”  According to National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman, a cockpit voice recording of the Friday night crash indicates the crew tried to abort the takeoff, but then signaled the efforts were failing.

“The crew reacted to a sound that was consistent with a tire blowout,” Hersman said.  Barker and DJ AM are in critical but stable condition and expected to fully recover.

Hersman maintains that no cause of the crash has been determined and the investigation is ongoing.  Pieces of tire were recovered about 2,800 feet from where the plane started its takeoff.   The runway is 8,600 feet long. 

Aviation expert Mary Schiavo said the crew would have had just moments to abort or lift off because such a Learjet needs more than 5,000 feet of runway to get in the air. If the plane hit about 138 mph, which can happen quickly during takeoff, the crew would have run out of runway.  Said Schiavo, “If you have to abort a takeoff because of a problem with the plane, you don’t have a lot of runway left because it uses up so much just on its takeoff roll.”

Killed in the crash was pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, Calif., and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif., Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, Calif., and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles. Baker was an assistant to Barker and Still was a security guard for the musician.