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18 Jun 2011 18:04


Biz: United Airlines dodged a bullet with their system shutdown

  • 10k number of flights canceled after a December snowstorm
  • 9k number of flights canceled after a similar January storm
  • 31 number of flights canceled due to United’s data outage Friday source
  • » That doesn’t seem like many, right? Yeah, you’re right … while there were another 105 delayed flights worldwide, the fact of the matter is, it happened on a Friday night – the best possible time for a total system shutdown. While travelers were understandably angry, it was the difference between thousands of angry people and hundreds of thousands of angry people.

01 Apr 2011 10:36


Politics: Anti-union amendment added to FAA reauthorization bill; will Obama veto?

  • veto on the horizon: Remember that anti-union stuff House Republicans wanted in the FAA reauthorization bill? It survived the amendment process, and the House is now set to pass the legislation. After being merged with the already-passed Senate bill and then voted on again by both chambers, it’ll end up on the President’s desk. At that point, Obama will have to decide whether or not to bust out his veto pen. The White House issued a veto threat earlier this week, as the bill would roll back reforms that ease the ability of rail and aviation employees to unionize. While we suspect Obama may be bluffing here, given the rather milquetoast nature of the threat, we’ll only find out if the amended bill passes the Senate. And it’s never particularly wise to assume that the Senate will pass something. source

30 Mar 2011 23:56


Politics: More GOP union-busting fun, this time at the federal level

  • goal Continuing full-steam ahead with their party’s attack on worker’s unions, House Republicans will vote on legislation making it more difficult for rail and aviation workers to unionize.
  • obstacle The White House, via the Office of Management in Budget, released a statement today threatening—though not explicitly pledging—to veto any bill that contained such changes. source
  • » What’s being proposed: The provision, which comes in the form of an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill, would affect the way votes are tallied when rail or aviation workers decide whether or not to unionize. Under the proposed amendment, no-shows and abstentions would count as “no” votes (that is, votes against unionization; if anyone can explain the intellectual justification behind such a policy, we’re all ears). But not only does the bill face a possible presidential veto; there’s also doubt as to whether House leadership even has the votes to pass it. We’ll keep you posted as to how this plays out after tomorrow’s vote.

26 Dec 2010 11:01


U.S.: San Francisco airport: That pilot’s video? That was a lunchroom

  • The video shows a door with a card swipe and suggests that access is gained to the airfield area through this door. In fact, the door shown in the video provides access only to an employee lunchroom.
  • A statement from SFO’s airport • Suggesting that the anonymous pilot who taped some videos showing the airport’s lack of security was being dishonest. The airport defends its security, saying it’s “an innovator and a trendsetter in aviation security.” So, wait … question. Why would a lunch room need security? And why, rather than simply releasing a statement, doesn’t the airport shoot video proving this? Because they could be lying, too. Some people are “truthers,” others are “birthers,” but we’re “lunchers.” source

04 Dec 2010 20:59


U.S.: Ronald Reagan once stopped an air traffic controller crisis – with pink slips

  • 2010 In Spain, air traffic controllers forced the country’s military to get involved to stop a strike. The workers are upset because their average wages are getting cut – from roughly $463,000 per year to $263,000 per year.
  • 1981 In a similar strike involving air traffic controllers in the U.S., Ronald Reagan called a union’s bluff and fired nearly 12,000 striking air traffic controllers, which led to smaller staffs that did work that was just as good. source

10 Aug 2010 21:05


U.S.: Ted Stevens plane crash: Why flying in Alaska is almost necessary

  • As we’re sure you’ve heard, Ted Stevens died in a plane crash. Looking beyond the man’s history (a long-standing Alaska senator who finished his career in scandal) and the crash itself (which killed five and injured four others, including a top aerospace executive), it’s good to point out a little bit of the culture around why Ted Stevens, who was 86 years old at the time of the crash, was in a small plane in a remote region of Alaska, rather than, say, on the road. Simple answer: It’s pretty much the best option available. source

Alaska: A state built for small planes

  • 1.3 the number of pilots per 100 people in Alaska source
  • » Why? Simply put, Alaska has a very complex geography which makes it impossible to drive to the many small towns that pepper the state. So instead, they fly. In fact, there’s a whole cottage industry around flying in small aircraft, or air taxis, as the natives call them. So, as a result, it has a higher pilots-per-capita than any other state by far.

Stevens: Synonymous with planes in Alaska

  • Stevens was no stranger to planes, or plane crashes. In 1978, Stevens survived a plane crash in Anchorage that killed his first wife, Ann. It’s also worth pointing out that Ted Stevens has an entire airport named after him, the “Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.” Will they keep the name? It’s going to be a strange reminder of a man who died in a plane crash.

10 Aug 2010 00:00


Offbeat: Flight attendant with hurt feelings makes entertaining scene

Steven Slater got hit in the head with luggage. The passenger wouldn’t apologize, so he started talking crap on the PA. Then he fled down the emergency slide with two beers. source

09 May 2010 11:59


World: #(&@(&! volcano: Iceland’s ash causing more airline problems

Italy, Spain and Scotland, among others, have had to shut down their airspace as a result of Iceland’s continuing ash problems. source

27 Apr 2010 11:22


World: The final tally: Iceland’s volcanoes and the resulting financial cost

  • 10
    number of people who
    couldn’t fly for six days as a result of the clouds of volcanic ash
  • $3.3
    the amount this will cost
    the airline companies, according
    to estimates source
  • » Who foots the bill?: It’s inevitable that refunds (or worse, lawsuits) will come out of this whole situation, and EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas says that the airlines should foot the bill and keep in mind the rights of consumers, but maybe with the help of European governments to soften the massive blow. Thanks again for nothing, Iceland!

18 Apr 2010 21:15


Biz: Charles Schumer twist airlines’ arms on carry-on bag charges

  • 5 major air carriers won’t follow
    Spirit Airlines’ ill-advised lead source