21 August 2008

Tid Bits Of Info Regarding Fees The Airlines Charge For

Hello All,

This post is about some of the charges that the airlines charge you for to recover the cost lost due to poor management or high fuel cost. I was tipped of to this info by another blogger (Charles Goodwin) Thanks for the heads up Charles! You can still get around some of these charges if your proactive about your trip preparations. The more you think ahead the easier things become so be smart and enjoy your trip.

This is the website I would go to for cost comparison accumulated during your trip that you may be able to change! http://www.compareairlinefees.com/

Carry-on Luggage Fee
Beware. If your carry on luggage exceeds the allowable limits you may be subject to a charge for your 1st piece of luggage.

1st Checked Luggage Fee
Jet Blue and Delta Air Lines do not charge a fee for the first piece of luggage you check in...but many do!
Many of the major U.S. airlines are now charging $10 to $15 for a first piece of checked luggage.

Fighting for Freedom, No Need to Fight the Fees!

* Southwest Airlines has long made an exception for its active military Customers by waiving any fees for overweight, oversize, and excess baggage checked while on assignment. Southwest supported that tradition by making it a formal policy in January 2008. We realize that many Soldiers have recently faced the burden of extra fees from other carriers, and want to make it extremely clear that, once again, Southwest Airlines is different. When many airlines have added fees, our unique policy continues to allow our Employees to waive fees and charges associated with overweight, oversize, and excess baggage (more than 2 checked bags) for active duty U.S. Military Personnel or U.S. Reserve/National Guard traveling on military orders. Southwest continues to offer all Customers two checked bags free of charge.

All such bags must still fall within the maximum weight and size limitations for baggage.

Those limitations are: up to and including 100 pounds and no more than 80 inches (LxWxH).

Passengers should customize there baggage to their trip. In the summer time people travel much lighter in weight than they do in the winter time. So if you know where your going and weather is usually good day and night the unless your going to a special event IE weddings, graduations and the like where a suit or dress clothes are required you should be packing lighter than normal. (See my previous post about shipping baggage via UPS and FedEx)

2nd Checked Luggage Fee
Midwest Airlines and Southwest do not charge for your second piece of luggage..but most others do...be aware!
Many airlines charge $25 each way for a second piece of checked baggage ($50 roundtrip per extra bag). However, there are still a few standouts.

3rd Checked Luggage Fee
Southwest has low 3rd checked bag fees...but other airlines can charge a hefty fee so be prepared.
Five major airlines charge $100 for the third bag each way.

Oversize Luggage Fee
Southwest & Alaska airlines have lower oversized bag fees than most...but other airlines can charge hefty fees.
Oversized fees range from $29 to $150, depending on the airline. Two categories: 62-80 inches, 80-115 inches.

Overweight Luggage Fee
Southwest and Delta have the most reasonable overweight bag fees (up to 70lbs)...but expect to pay a lot everywhere else.
Basic bag limit is 50 lbs. Includes length, height, and width limitations (longest 62 inches). For bags 50-70 lbs fees are generally $50-80. 71-100 lbs are $100-$250. Nothing allowed over 100 lbs (must go cargo).

Know what you can carry on to keep from being delayed or having something you want to keep from being confiscated by the airline or TSA.

Remember if TSA wants to confiscate something you have at the security check point they can and they will not let you mail it to yourself, take it back to a car or return it to you.

Ex: Carry On Baggage: Midwest Airlines

Each passenger is allowed one item to be carried onboard the aircraft, provided it can be stowed beneath the seat or in an overhead compartment. Midwest Airlines may allow any of the following pieces in addition to the one-piece limitation, provided there is ample storage space:
• One standard hard or soft shell briefcase (not larger than 6"W x 15"H x 18"L)
• One handbag (pocketbook or purse)
• One umbrella
• One overcoat or wrap
• A reasonable amount of reading material
• One camera
• One infant seat (provided a ticket has been purchased for the infant)
• One infant bag when traveling with an infant
• Crutches/canes/braces or other assistive devices
• Fragile items or items of extraordinary value

Curbside Check-In Fee
American and Continental do not charge for curbside check-in...but others do airlines do so be aware.
The convenience of avoiding the check-in lines will now cost you $2 to $3. And this new fee does not include the tip.

Tip at least $1 per bag or $5 for 3 bags heavy or not. If you want your bags to go to your destination with you make sure you know the city code (3 letter identifier) for your destination. Don't assume the sky cap knows the city code for your destination...You know it!!! Watch the skycap tag your bags and watch them put it into the system to be sent down to the secure baggage area from the curbside and don't leave until it's gone so that you know that it has at least been sent into the system physically not potentially forgotten curbside and misses the flight due to the time lost up at curbside. Don't be late or rushing either, plan ahead and don't piss these employees off because they can have your bag going around the world without you. Most of them are very good at what they do but there are always bad apples and bad days!!!

Pick Premium Seat Fee
Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines do not charge you to pick a great seat ...but other airlines do charge an extra fee.
If you choose to sit in a premium seat, you will find yourself paying a $10-$20 fee. On some airlines, these include aisle or window seats in the first several rows in coach. Others charge for exit rows or certain -choice- seats.

Meals/Snack Box Fee
Continental is the best place to get a free meal these days on many flights...on other flights you will have pay.
Your mid-trip food urges are also going to cost you more when traveling. Aside from the overpriced food in airports, now a 4 oz. bag snack will cost $2 to $5.

If your going to pay for overpriced foods in the airport why don't you get what you really want? Gourmet sandwiches and Subway type sandwiches have the best "out of refrigeration" life. Don't put oils on your sandwich and order the largest sandwich you can get, like a footlong and eat 6inches at a time. if you get delayed or the flight diverts you have food at least to tie you over until you can get something else. Don't ever expect a flight to depart or arrive on time or land at the planned destination. Weather can change dramatically in a couple of hours which could effect where your flight lands and when.

Beverage Fee
United and Delta do not charge for non-alcoholic beverages...but some airlines do.
Be aware! Some airlines are now charging for water, soft drinks and coffeee.

Alcohol Fee
Southwest and American have some of the lowest fees for alcoholic drinks...but expect to pay more on other airlines.
Beverages are ranging $2 to $7, depending on the drink chosen. A few standouts are still free.

Movie Fee
JetBlue & Delta have reasonable fees to watch a movie...but movies on other airlines may be free.
A few who charge are in the range of $5. Some airlines -- like Southwest -- do not offer in-flight movies at all.

Headphones Fee
JetBlue has a low charge for headphones...other may require you bring an adaptor to you your own. Be aware.
Headphones will range from $1 to $5. These are disposable, which means you get the keep them.

Save Now!

Optional. Only charged to passengers who want the service while flying.

Satellite TV Fee
JetBlue offers free Satellite TV on every flight...but airlines may make you pay for this entertainment
Economy-class customers will access the system by paying a $6 access fee.

Satellite Radio Fee
AirTran offers free Satellite radio on most flights...but airlines may make you pay for this entertainment
No airlines have this yet.

Phone Reservation Fee
AirTran & Midwest charge the least for booking a ticket over the phone...other airlines may charge double.
"If you find a fare you like and try to pick up the phone to book it directly through the airline, your fees will vary, although booking a ticket through an airline's Web site is typically still free." If you call, fees will run you from $10 to $25.

Ticket Change Fee
Southwest and Alaska Airlines have some of the lowest fees to change your ticket...other airlines charge you a lot!
On a few discount airlines, after you have a reservation, if you buy a cheap ticket, changing it is likely to cost you in a higher fare, especially the closer you get to the fly date. The major airlines all charge a whopping $75 to $150 fee in addition to the cost of your original ticket price.

Cancellation Fee
Most airlines let you cancel a ticket within 24 hours of purchase...but some airlines may charge a fee.
Southwest has no cancellation fees. However, if your ticket is nonrefundable, then you only get a credit that can be used against a future flight one year from the date of your original, cancelled flight. The major airlines all charge $75 to $150 to change your reservation or rebook your flight.

Confirmed Stand-By Fee
American and Delta Airlines have lower same day stand-by fees...but some airlines may you buy another ticket first.
One airline offers a same-day confirmed flight change for $25 but travelers can also opt to test their luck the old-fashioned way without paying the fee. There’s no safety net though if a plane is full, which is very likely now with reduced capacity.

Required if the airline charges for it.

Upgrade Service Fee
AirTran & Northwest have reasonable upgrade policies...but charge large fees to upgrade your ticket.
Upgrades to more legroom range from $14 to $109, depending on trip distance.

Optional. Only charged if the customer desires the better seat.

Pet Transport Fee
AirTran and Spirit have the lowest fees to take Fido...but some airlines do not take pets so be aware.
Airlines charge $69 to $100 for flyers to bring Spot onboard. And some of the smaller discount airlines don't allow pets onboard at all.

Required if flying with a pet.

Unaccomp. Minor Fee
Air Canada and Frontier Airlines have some of the lowest fees for unaccompanied minors...others charge a big fee!
Discount airlines don't charge while major airlines charge $75 to $100 (nonstop and connecting), one exception ranges from $39 to $69 for a minor travelling alone.

Required if a minor travels alone on a minor ticket.

Infant On Lap Fee
Most Airlines let you take an infant on your lap for free...but sometimes you have to pay an extra fee.
Though flying within the domestic U.S. with a lap-riding child is still free on many airlines, international travelers are charged 10%t of the published adult fare or higher for a child seated on a lap.

Required on airlines with such fees, regardless of using the same seat as the parent ticketholder.

Low Fare Refund Fee
Many airlines will refund the difference if your fare goes down...but there are often restrictions and a fee for the process.
Most of the major airlines don't have a lower fare refund fee per se. Instead, if you really want a fare change, they charge you a ticket change fee that can be as much as $100 for the change, nullifying many times the difference in fare you might have gained.

Optional. Only charged when a ticketholder requests a lower fare refund on a confirmed lower fare offering.

Pillow/ Blanket Fee
Many airlines offer free pillows and blankets...some airlines have eliminated them altogether. Be aware!
One airline charges $7.00 for a pillow an on another Comfort Packs will cost $2 to $3. A few major airlines are still free when it come to pillows.

Wi-Fi/ Email Fee
Wi-Fi/ Email are becoming popular...some airlines may be giving it away.
Wireless access fees will reach as much as $10 per flight. Alaska is the only airline with the service.

FF Award Ticket Fee
Many Airlines don?t charge to convert frequent flier miles to a ticket...but many airlines charge a fee for this service!
Be aware some airlines charge a fee.

Airline Lounge Fee
Most airlines have an airport lounge for first class passengers...but many let anyone use the lounge for a fee.
Most of the big airlines have a lounge for members in their major airport stops in the U.S. Annual memberships are available and the cost can total between $300 and $400 depending on frequent flyer status. Daily passes can be bought for the one-timer passenger but with wallets tighter than normal due to the economy it might not be the best thing to do if your traveling only a couple of times during the year and it's on your dime.

15 August 2008

4 Scary Toys in Big Brother’s Toolbox

August 15, 2008 - 1:52 PM


It seems like government agencies are ready to party like it’s 1984. In its zeal to prevent another terrorism attack, the U.S. has relaxed laws that protect our privacy, making it easier for the government to keep an eye on you. The following four products could help Big Brother keep watch.
1. Wristy Business: Monitors for Airline Passengers
A senior official at the U.S. Department of Homeland security supposedly has his eye on a new accessory—an EDM security bracelet made by Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. The scary notion is that this bling will be mandatory for airline travelers to wear on their wrists (at least according to this agency letter on the Lamperd web site). A microchip in the bracelet would contain the passenger’s personal information, including: departure and destination locations and times, boarding passes, social security number, name, address, and phone numbers. More importantly, the GPS unit in it helps the government know where passengers are during their entire journey. The strangest part is that the bracelets are also equipped to restrain passengers: in the case of a hijacking, the flight staff can actually activate the bracelet to shock passengers much like a Taser. The friendly DOH is reassuring the press that law abiding citizens need not worry—personal data is only stored in the jewelry during flight and only airline staff will be able to stun wearers.
2. Cell Phone Tracking (aka That thing Morgan Freeman Refused to Do)
Remember that thing Morgan Freeman almost quit his job over in The Dark Knight? Well, it’s already happening. Albert Lazlo Barabasi has been using cell phones to track people, so that he could better understand human social habits. For a year, the Northeastern University physics professor and his colleagues’ monitored 100,000 people in a country outside of the United States, described only as “a large industrialized nation.”
The exciting news from this study? That most people stay within 20 miles of their homes. More evidence that we aren’t as spontaneous as we like to think. Ethicists balked at the research because tracking people through an item like a cell phone clearly violates U.S. citizens’ ideas of privacy. Barabasi says his research included several layers of anonymity so researchers had little idea who they were watching. He claims the upswing of this technology is that transportation could be changed to meet the real needs of people and that it might help doctor’s track contagious disease or bioterrorism outbreaks in the future. The downfalls are obvious: the tracked citizens of this industrialized country have no idea they were being watched. Worse still, Big Brother now knows he can track large groups of people for at least a year without anyone being suspicious.
3. Electronic Leashes for Dogs (and why they’re coming to humans)
Rocco the beagle’s 10-year old owner was delighted when her beloved pet was brought back home. The furry scoundrel had escaped from the backyard, and his return was due mainly to a microchip implanted in his neck. Most pet microchips use RFID and GPS technology, and are smaller than a grain of sand. They also contain huge amounts of data on them that can be accessed by scanner (i.e. where Rocco lived, his owner’s phone number, and if his shots were updated when the chip was installed).
This technology won’t just be limited to pets though. Applied Digital Systems has applied for and earned the first patent for human RFID chips, called VeriChips. The company says the VeriChips contain a person’s complete medical record and will save lives. For example, if someone’s allergic to penicillin, a doctor will just scan the person, access that information immediately and prevent a medical error. Genius. Because many of these RFID chips come with GPS capability, you too will be traceable just like Rocco. ADS reps say it has no plans to track people—unless they’re lost and families are desperately searching for their loved ones.
Amazingly, the technology is being used to track other things as as well. Food manufactures already use RFID in products, allowing grocery stores to track consumer-purchasing habits, reduce theft, and keep accurate inventory. They claim that as soon as consumers check out, the RFID becomes inactive, but many worry that the companies are tracking where their products go. In the future, expect RFID in clothes—to reduce theft, of course.
4. Online tracking: making the Internet a giant mouse trap
Internet Service Providers have been searching for ways to make extra revenue, and they haven’t always been ethical about it. Embarq, a Fortune 500 telecom company, sold its users’ personal information to other businesses. The company tested out technology created by NebuAd, without informing its subscribers. Unfortunately the plan wasn’t foolproof and the U.S. House of Representatives has been investigating whether this is a privacy violation.
NebuAd works in the ISP, recording every click, creating a consumer profile so that it can send users targeted ads. DoubleClick does the same thing, but only from select web pages. Because NebuAd works within the ISP framework it lurks in the system and sees everywhere you click your mouse. For it to work, ISPs install a sniffer box, which catalogs user behavior as it monitors communication between the user’s computer and web sites. Free Press and Public Knowledge contend that NebuAd also includes fake information at the end of a Yahoo or Google search that directs users to a NebuAd website that inserts cookies on your browser. The process supposedly improves the nefarious company’s ability to monitor everything you search on the web. NebuAd reps argue that the information they collect is anonymous and web users can opt out at any time. Unfortunately most users don’t know if their ISP is using NebuAd.

Opening statements set for today in Osteen trial (Info update)

This is an info update to my original post please look at that one too (below) for details!


Flight attendant alleges pastor's wife assaulted her in 2005

By BRIAN ROGERS Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle


Aug. 7, 2008, 11:38AM

James Nielsen Chronicle

Victoria Osteen and her husband, Joel, sit in the courtroom as they talk with her attorney, Rusty Hardin, before jury selection in the trial of an airline flight attendant's lawsuit against Victoria.

After answering questions about their religious backgrounds and opinions on televangelists Wednesday, a jury of seven men and five women was picked to hear allegations today that Lakewood Church pastor and bestselling religious author Joel Osteen's wife assaulted a Continental flight attendant.

Sharon Brown is suing Lakewood co-pastor Victoria Osteen over an alleged altercation the two had on a plane before takeoff on Dec. 19, 2005. Brown is asking for medical and counseling expenses and 10 percent of Victoria Osteen's net worth in punitive damages.

Although he is not a party in the case, Osteen stayed at his wife's side as they walked through the downtown Harris County civil courthouse and sat in court as attorneys spoke to prospective jurors.

Both are expected to testify during the trial.

During jury selection Wednesday, attorneys interviewed 130 prospective jurors for the 12 spots on the jury.

One woman identified herself as a Continental flight attendant who knows Brown. At least 16 people said they had attended at least one service at Lakewood. Some said they had watched Osteen's weekly televised sermons, while others had read at least one of the pastor's books.

Ten people said they probably would give Victoria Osteen more deference because of her reputation.

"He has gotten me through a lot of tough times. I would believe what he has to say. I have a lot of respect for him," a prospective juror said of Joel Osteen.

Others said they didn't like ministers or televangelists.

The Osteens weren't the only famous faces in the courtroom. Former Houston Rocket James Posey was also on the panel, but was not picked for the jury.

Opening statements, scheduled for this morning, are expected to paint two vastly different pictures of Osteen's confrontation with Brown, after Osteen boarded and saw liquid on the armrest of her first-class seat to Vail, Colo.

Brown's attorneys will likely invoke images of privilege and arrogance by accusing Osteen of ordering another flight attendant to clean her seat, then raising her voice and finally trying to get into the plane's cockpit to talk to the pilot.

Attorney Reginald McKamie has said Osteen assaulted Brown as she stepped between Osteen and the cockpit.

Osteen's attorney, Rusty Hardin, is likely to say that his client, who was with her husband and children, asked for napkins to clean up the mess, then had a brief verbal confrontation with Brown before returning to her seat.

Brown claims she lost her religious faith and suffers from hemorrhoids because of the anxiety and trauma of the incident.

State District Judge Patricia Hancock said the trial is scheduled to last about a week, but may end sooner.

Osteen paid a $3,000 fine from the Federal Aviation Administration for interfering with a flight crew member, a fact seized on by Brown's attorney.

"Victoria Osteen was out of control," McKamie has said.

Hardin and Lakewood Church spokesman Don Illoff, who is also Victoria Osteen's brother, have said she didn't touch Brown.

The Osteens paid the FAA fine to put the incident behind them, Hardin said.


JetBlue Detains Passenger Who Shot Video in Plane

Posted by Matt Phillips

Say Cheese.

Travel troubleshooter Christopher Elliot picked up on an interesting item in Northern Arizona’s Kingman Daily Miner last week about an altercation on a flight from New York’s Kennedy to Las Vegas’ McCarran International airport. According to the Daily Miner, chaos ensued after passenger Marilyn Parver started taping a kerfluffle between a man sitting next to a loud child and the kid’s mother:

Parver said she thought the video would be a good example to show her daughter how children’s behavior affects other people.

Parver said she did not leave her seat or even stand up in it.

“I was not interested in who was involved, I just wanted the words being said,” Parver added, “so I did not adjust the exposure and kept everyone in full shadow.”

In the less than two-minute video, an off-screen man can be heard yelling at a woman to control her child and the mother responding also in anger.

“A JetBlue employee settles the dispute very appropriately,” Parver said. “There was no violence or extreme behavior.”

Approximately 30 minutes after the dispute, Parver said she was approached by the flight crew who were asking passengers questions about the altercation. When Parver told them she had recorded the incident, they requested she accompany them to the back of the plane, Parver said.

There she showed the video to three or four crew members, Parver said.

“After viewing the video, they demanded that I delete it,” Parver said. “I asked, ‘Why?’ The head-stewardess went as far as to tell me that I had broken a law by using an electronic item during the flight.”

At that time, another flight attendant accused Parver of wanting to put it up on YouTube, a video-sharing Web site.

According to the report, Parver continued to refuse to delete the footage and the situation escalated. Parver was eventually led off the plane in handcuffs. She never posted the video online, though (Elliot reports) she does plan to go on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and air the tape.

Compared to dramatic chipmunks, animal attacks — and of course, our beloved Andy Rooney — footage of passengers playing elbow hockey over the armrest doesn’t seem like a potential YouTube sensation. But then, there are exceptions: This video of two passengers scuffling on a Hong Kong bus went went wicked viral a couple years back, turning one of the participants into a minor celebrity, known as “Bus Uncle.”

While admitting he’s no lawyer, Elliot writes that he “can’t find any rules that would prohibit a paying passenger from filming the interior of a JetBlue aircraft or of any commercial plane. Parver said she phoned JetBlue later, and that a representative told her she could tape whatever she wanted.”

I know we’ve got some flight attendants out there reading? Is it policy to shout “cut” to would-be cabin cineastes? And if so, why?

Comments left from WSJ Blog

Comment by Always amused - August 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm

The problem is that its very difficult for a passenger to know what are aviation regulations, airline policies, and the whims of the stewardesses. Aviation regulations? Well you can purchase a copy of FAR 121 and have them at your disposal for some of the regulations. The problem is that each airline’s General Operations Manual and Operations Specifications, once agreed upon by the FAA and the airline, become regulatory. And they are airline specific, so whichever FAA office holds the airline’s operating certificate, determines how that airline will comply with its operating certificate. A good example is the mandatory window shades UP for takeoff. That is an FAA requirement by the office that administers that airline’s operating certificate even though you can connect onto another airline which does NOT have that requirement. American may have their operating certificate administered in Ft Worth, but one American Connection carrier has their operating certificate in St. Louis and another in Indy. You can be sure that neither of the latter 2 offices cede any authority to the Ft Worth FAA office. So one American connection carrier will tend to lean towards lessons learned from TWAs operating certificate and one will lean towards an office that administered ATA’s certificate, and neither care what the FAA office from the main brand (American Airlines) wants or thinks. So it can be confusing for passengers as well as airline employees. But there’s no doubt that the stewardesses like to make up new rules as they go along and we are left to comply or get off the plane. Sure, you might be vindicated when you find out that putting your foot in the aisle is NOT, in fact, an faa violation, but then you are still stuck in Tallahassee because you didn’t follow their rules. I think if stewardesses are so power-hungry, the first thing they should do is start calling themselves STEWARDS/STEWARDESSES again (meaning from STEWARDSHIP - being RESPONSIBLE for something) rather than the more mindless term flight attendant. If you just want to “ATTEND” the flight with us and not have any stewardship for it, then shut up and leave the passengers alone. Don’t blame us for the fact you hate the job title that implies responsibility and prefer the one that means you are just along loafing for the ride.

Comment by I hate flying - August 14, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Hey JetBlue,

Better control your flight crews or you gonna get sued over and over again. People still are not over you holding them prisoners on planes for 5 to 8 hours with overflowing toilets. We have not forgotten that and we will not forget this.

Comment by David Snowden - August 14, 2008 at 5:02 pm

I used to fly for one of the “majors carriers” and now travel about 140,000 a year on planes for my current job. As someone who (I think) can appreciate both sides of the equation, I’ve got to comment on how tired I am with having “Security” used as an excuse for just about anything a flight attendant wants to do or say. Complain about a bad meal and your likely to be accused of “threatening a crew member.” Don’t say “please” when asking for a soda and you’re likely to be accused of subversive, terrorist-like behavior. 90% of FAs do an amazing, awesome job, but its just a few key individuals who make up rules to suit their own needs, which sully the reputation of good flight attendants everywhere.

And to the FA who says that taking pics of FAs is illegal because terrorsit might be able “to study and copy” uniforms….so why wear uniforms at all then? Do you think people aren’t going to be able to study FAs walking through the terminal? Sitting in a hotel lobby? Waiting for the bus? I don’t believe for one second that not allowing pics onboard an airplane will prevent or even slightly delay another 9/11 attack if someone is bent on that idea.

Comment by Former FA Tired of Demigod Crews - August 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm

This is silly. Nothing happened to this lady or her video. There’s nothing to complain about. It’s a difference of opinion. Personally, I’ve had someone take photos of me on the airplane before while I was sleeping and commuting in my uniform. It’s just not something very nice to do. Have your kid have a bad day on the plane and someone tape it; I’m sure no one would enjoy that just as I didn’t enjoy being awakened with a camera in my face. Additionally, there are many, many flights where customers consistently break FAA rules (rules that actually exist and are not made up) no matter what is said. I think employees follow the rules for the most part and don’t spend time making up new rules. It’s tough enough to keep up with the current government rules. If everyone would just remember that travelling is supposed to be fun, there wouldn’t be an issue. Get to the airport on time, talk to people politely, and exercise some patience. All factors of travelling cannot be controlled. Cool heads definitely prevail in the terminal and in the air.

Comment by Commercial Pilot - August 14, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Something DID happen to ME. I am barred from Jet Blue and most likely other major airlines…I was put on the NO FLY list and if you read the whole story on Christopher Elliotts blog…it became a living nightmare for me.
I believed I was standing up for my rights. What is there was something important on that video. I should not have been punished for doing something people do everyday.

Comment by marilyn parver - August 14, 2008 at 6:32 pm

Hi! I was a flighta ttendant for 2 years and wow, I am glad I left. First and foremost, passengers may use an electronic device after Sterile Cockpit is over. Capt will alert the cabin crew to make an announcement, that certain electronic devices are approved for use. What I don’t understand is, JetBlue allows pax to watch their tv’s during this critical phase of flight??? So basically if the passenger video-taped the altercation during flight, then she did nothing wrong. I miss flying, but I do not miss the bogus flight attendants who think they were police. I can assure you all, I was one of the few who loved my job, and it showed. I think passengers have had to saccrafice enough. On the final note, anyone correct me if I am wrong, it is a mandated FAA Regulation, that no passenger can use an electronic device while the aircraft is below 12,000 feet. So as long as this lady used her recorder during the regular stage of flight, she was in her rights.

Comment by peanutslinger at yahoo dot com - August 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Something DID happen to me. I am being written up to the FAA and was told I may no longer fly on Jet Blue and it will be difficult for me to fly ANY airline. I am a wildlife/travel photographer who travels A LOT!
I was punished for standing up for my rights.
Yes, I am a grandmother too…I was on my way home from seeing my newborn grandchild who had just survived 2 heart surgeries in her first 2 weeks of of life. Kids were on my mind. Traveling with kids was on my mind since the baby will be flying across country soon. The people in the video never asked me to delete it. The flight attendant ,who is in the video, but NOT recognizable was the one pressuring me to delete it OR ELSE!!

Comment by marilyn parver - August 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm

I am not making any judgements here but it has been my experience that every time someone has been escorted off the aircraft in handcuffs the rest of the passengers applauded.

It is against most airlines policy and therefore law (see above post about the FAA) to videotape or photograph crewmembers performing their duties, period. Whether you or I agree with the policy does not matter. BTW I must tell at least 3 people I need to Pee while at work. Sucks,Huh? Follow the rules and we will all get along just fine. If you have a bone to pick take it up with the Gov. not with the PERSON just trying to do their job.

Comment by Pilot Steve - August 14, 2008 at 11:28 pm

First off the FAA makes RULES…not LAWS. Laws are legislated by legislatures. Last I checked the FAA wasn’t elected by anyone.

Second, if the video was in blatant violation of FAA rules why was the tape not erased/confiscated and why were charges not filed against the passenger?

The one good thing about these types of stories is that it brings us closer and closer to have the industry undergo some level of re-regulation. Once that occurs the traveling public will be able to regain some level of control over the airlines they fly instead of the airlines controlling the passenger.

Comment by JohnnyJet - August 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Well, No one applauded me!
I called Jet Blue the Monday AFTER my problem and asked if I was allowed to video tape during the flights and was told that I could. I could even tape flight attendants doing their job.
This was BEFORE I sent my letter of complaint.
I really was just sitting, no longer filming, when I was approached by the crew. Everyone around me was asked if they had taken pictures. I honestly answered “Yes”.
I was then “DEMANDED” to delete it…not even “asked” nor was any reason given. This is all about rights to me.

Comment by marilyn parver - August 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm

14 August 2008

Attorney seeks at least $405,000 in Osteen lawsuit

August 14th, 2008 @ 9:53am

By JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - An attorney for a Continental Airlines flight attendant wants a jury to award his client at least $405,000 for physical and mental pain suffered in an alleged attack by the wife of mega church pastor Joel Osteen.
Closing arguments in the civil trial were Thursday morning. Flight attendant Sharon Brown is suing Victoria Osteen, the co-pastor of Houston's popular Lakewood Church, claiming Victoria Osteen assaulted her before the start of a 2005 flight.
Brown says Victoria Osteen got so angry that a spill on the armrest of her first-class seat was not quickly cleaned up that she threw Brown against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast.
Both Victoria Osteen and her husband testified last week that no attack took place.

Hello all BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Well if this don't beat all...no pun intended!

I always thought and maybe it's just me...plus a few other people in this country but I was under the impression that the last thing you should do on a play regardless of your social status is mess with a flight attendant!!! Rule #1: Never mess with a server or give them a really hard time if they have to serve your food or drinks! There are tricks flight attendants do (I know from experience not my actions) that can make you wish and wonder what you ate in the last 48 hours and you would be none the wiser. Now I know they won't print the whole story but there are alot of holes in this article and it leaves too much information out to defend or convict Victoria Osteen. I'll try to throw some hypothetical situations and questions out there and you can make your own decision of guilt or innocence.

Spill on the armrest of the seat? Was it spilled by this flight attendant?

Ok, if the flight attendant noticed the spill after it was brought to her attention by the passenger then the flight attendant should have cleaned it up as long as it was not during the taxiing of the aircraft. (Taxiing is considered by the FAA as a hazard and flight attendants are not supposed to do anything that is not safety related during this time) That being said most flight attendants are pretty savvy and she could done a walk through with a napkin or towel, wiped it up and it would have been done. Sounds like savvy was not on the agenda here...still missing some key info to make this a solid reason for this situation.

Did the flight attendant ignore the spill and go on about serving the rest of the passengers in first class?

If they were in flight and this is during the service, did the passenger let the flight attendant know there was a spill? If she did then the flight attendant should have went to her galley and returned quickly to clean up the spill plain and simple. It is possible that the spill was small and the flight attendant looked at it and thought it was minimal and went on serving other customers and forgot about the spill or she could of ignored it.

How did the passenger get the chance to "throw" the flight attendant against the bathroom door?

Now how does a passenger get the chance to throw a flight attendant into the bathroom door? Are you for real!!! Ok, first we should know what type of aircraft they were on because of the sheer size or lack there of would give the passenger the ability to throw the crew member around. If it was a narrow body aircraft I think throw is a bit strong of a word for court purposes but if it was a wide body then there is room for someone to get a hold of somebody and potentially throw them across the galley. However on a wide body aircraft there are 2 flight attendants in the first class area working so how did this passenger get the chance to do this and if there was another flight attendant there what was he/she doing when this was going down? maybe this was a sucker toss and the passenger just walked up and made the action and then started telling the flight attendant about herself...who knows!!!

Seatbelt sign on or off?

If the seatbelt sign is on what is the passenger doing out of her seat and does she realize that she can be held liable plus she is interfering with a crews members duties and that includes serving as well as the standard safety related items. This information would be nice to know because I'm sure it will come up in the deposition or in the hearing of the fact of the case. If it was off then I can see why the passenger was up and that's self explanatory. Again we need this bit of info to make a better decision.

What were the other passengers doing once this happened?

Once the altercation started especially after 9/11 what were the other passengers doing who were in first class? I know if I'm on a plane and passenger is acting stupid by messing with a crew member I'm at least going to pay attention to the situation and then when it gets physical then I'm going to get up and help break things up. Then again that's just me!

Was there a verbal altercation first then the physical action happened?

If the words are getting thrown around and voices are getting loud, that has to get every ones attention in first class at least. Is the pastor aware of this yelling going on considering if his wife is not sitting next to him, what's going on....is he even remotely curious? Maybe he is just reading his bible and preparing his next sermon I guess!

Where was the pastor while all this is going on?

Pastors are supposed to promote non violent actions and keep the peace. Mrs' Osteen is an associate or co-pastor so she should know better but it looks like being a pastor and the First Lady of the Church she forgot all about that when she got upset. Her husband said there was no altercation but it sounds like something happened! What was he doing during this time and where was he? If nothing happened then he should have come out and said "nothing happened, what is everyone talking about?" Well we all know this didn't get said, so something happened and he didn't do anything to calm this situation. Isn't this one of the many things that pastors do is to defuse a situation or is that just in the "hood" and on TV and once you have a very large congregation, cars, homes and bling you don't have to do this anymore? This must be beneath these 2 pastors.

Why didn't the pastor stop his wife from leaving her seat or calm her down?

What did the pastor gain by letting his wife go up to the galley because of the spill? I don't understand this one because if she was sitting there complaining to him about the spill why didn't they (the pastors) wait for the lead flight attendant to make a complaint about it if it was such a serious matter that needed immediate attention. This is clearly not the actions of a pastor because Mrs. Osteen showed no restraint or any regard for the position that she holds and probably preaches about.

Did the flight attendant apologize about the spill to Mrs. Osteen once it was noticed?

Now I could see the flight attendant not taking this one serious and or not caring 2 licks about some woman sitting in first class with a few drops of water on the arm rest. This can be a lazy flight attendant that doesn't care, burned out or completely. This is why I say don't bring home to work, turn on your 24hr smile because that is your job and if you don't like it quit!!! All Ms. Brown had to do was apologize, wipe things up as best as possible and keep on going. Apologize, was probably the one thing that should have been done but this sounds like the apology part was not on her agenda.
Everyone should have common sense and be repectful of others but as we all know "sense ain't common" so we should expect no less from either one of these women.

Did Ms. Osteen listen to the safety demonstration announcements at the very beginning of the flight?

The safet demo is there to help you in case there is a problem on board the aircraft. If you don't watch it and here the key points of the demo you may miss something! Ms. Osteen usually and since your sitting in first class you should be able to see who is in charge of the cabin crew. (your not that busy!) Plus certain things are said to keep these types of situations from happening. Observe your surroundings and who is around you that's part of the demo and you should know who your co-travelers are in case something does happen.

Was it necessary for the flight deck crew (pilots) either the captain or the first officer to come out of the cockpit to resolve the situation?

If either pilot has to come out of the cockpit to resolve the situation that is considered a safety of flight issue and nowadays you probably won't see them come out to help in any altercation.

Was Ms. Osteen arrested after the flight landed for interfering with crew members or jeopardizing the safety of the passengers?

Usually if you do anything to a crewmember in flight the local police are dispatched to meet the airplane upon arrival and the person in question is detained. If a call of any type is made from the pilots on the plane indicating there is a problem that is an automatic trigger for the local authorities to be dispatched. I'm sure Ms. Osteen got detained for a bit if nothing else. If that were you or me we would have been detained and unofficially arrested till the police can sort things out!

These are just few extra things for you to converse over or chat about that I picked off the top of my head. I'll see if I can get the whole story or at least some better details than what the newspaper or news agencies are reporting.

Finally, remember these few things as you fly around the USA and hopefully the world.

Don't piss off the flight crew no matter how dumb you think they are and don't be the dumb traveler that say's "I could have your job!" If you could have their job you would and don't let the less than glitz and glamor fool you about flight attendant because they train very hard and long for to do what they do and the pay is not what it use to be.

American travelers think it's their right to fly and act any kind of way and that is not the case. Whether you pay to fly or your company does it's a privileged and if you don't do things at home why would you climb into a skinny, silver, pressurized tube flying at 550 mph think it's ok to do it in that environment. I was a flight attendant in the past and trust me I know and have the stories to tell!!!

Have Good Flight And Be Safe!!!


11 August 2008

British Airways and American Airlines 'close to merger'

Major airlines British Airways (BA) and American Airlines (AA) are said to be close to striking a deal over a possible merger. BA is making a third attempt to join forces with its USA partner despite being twice turned away by officials in the US due to competition laws. It tried both in 1997 and 2002 to strike up a similar deal with AA but previously had its offer rejected. Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, said that his firm "want to move on this as soon as possible" which would see the airlines operating transatlantic flights as a single company.Rival airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, are against the deal which they fear would be anti-competitive. Virgin spokesman Paul Charles said: "It would form a dominant mega-power on trans-Atlantic air routes from two of the largest EU members, forcing up ticket prices for passengers and restricting choice."BA is also looking to close a merger with Spanish carrier Iberia.

Emirates To Offer In-flight Showers

Emirates has revealed that one of the amenities on offer to first class passengers on its new Airbus A380 planes will be in-flight showers.The provision is part of the Dubai-based airline's plans to turn its A380 into a "premium hotel in the sky".Other facilities will include an onboard bar, leather lounge seats and an advanced inflight entertainment system.Business class passengers will be able to make use of fully-flat seats that are positioned to ensure that all customers have aisle access and areas for stowing laptops and other belongings.Emirates took delivery of its first A380, one of a total of 58 on order, at a ceremony in Hamburg on July 28th.The airline will use the plane to operate its busiest routes to New York, London Heathrow Airport, Auckland and Sydney.

American to hike fees, cut flights, trim staff

BlkAv8tor2003 Checkin' In!!!

Hello All, you see what's going on? I told you it's going to start happening, airlines are going to charge you for everything under the sun when you fly. Check your bags with FedEx or UPS, it's going to better for you in the long run. Cost is in your favor for the most part, security, and getting your piece delivered where you want. You can even track your piece well before you even depart and if for any reason your piece gets delayed or missed your already on top of it in advance. I would say if your a business traveler use this service with a little caution because of the short on advance notice. If you know far enough ahead you can go with the professional shipping companies if your very sure the travel plans aren't going to change. Business travelers I'm not a business traveler where I had to fill out expense reports but if anyone could give me some in-sight on if you could write this cost off or business expense it and or report a cost savings on paper to your company? Be proactive because the less you have to deal with when it comes to the airlines the better off the trip will be...at least things the airline can control!!!

Have A Good Trip!!!


12:36 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Michael Ainsworth / DMNAll luggage will be subject to a surcharge starting next month.

Brad Hawkins reports
STORY: AA adds $25 fee for extra bag
LINK: American Airlines baggage information

FORT WORTH — American Airlines, hit hard by escalating fuel prices, said Wednesday passengers will be hit with fees to check any bag, starting with tickets purchased after June 15.
American and its American Eagle subsidiary will also trim their fleets, cut their flight schedules and lay off workers in the coming months.
Speaking at the annual meeting of AMR Corporation, the parent company of both airlines, chairman, president and CEO Gerard Arpey said travelers would face a $15 charge for the first piece of luggage checked, the first time any major domestic airline has used this method to increase revenue.
Delta doesn't plan to match American's fee for the first checked bag, airline spokeswoman Betsy Talton said.
What's your view?

"These are difficult but necessary steps," Arpey said, noting that rising oil prices have inflated the airline's annual fuel costs by nearly $3 billiion since the start of the year.
American recently instituted a $25 fee for second bags checked after a free first bag. Arpey said other passenger fees will be increased, including surcharges for pets and for unaccompanied minors.
Also on Wednesday, Arpey said AMR planned to cut its domestic capacity by up to 12 percent by retiring 40 to 45 American Airlines jets and 30 to 35 American Eagle aircraft starting in the fourth quarter. Some of the planes will be retired; others will be parked at a desert storage facility.
Arpey said fewer flights will lead to job cuts at both American and American Eagle. The number of workers facing layoffs was not announced.
AMR shares tumbled $1.10, or 13.4 percent, to $7.10 after the announcement which came as its shareholders gathered for their annual meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alaska Airlines cancels 41 flights to Alaska because of volcano

Alaska Airlines said it’s canceled 41 flights to Alaska because of volcanic ash created by the Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutian Islands.
The Seattle carrier, a unit of Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) said the flights were canceled to the Alaskan cities of Adak, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka from the cities of Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Airline officials said they hope to resume flights later on Monday.
“We recognize these cancellations will significantly impact our customers intending to travel to or from Alaska ... We are making every effort to re-accommodate passengers whose flight schedules have been disrupted,” said Glenn Johnson, executive vice president of airports, maintenance and engineering, in a statement.

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)

Well Hello All,

BlkAv8tor2003 here and checking in!!!

Did anyone who was flying up to Alaska think to check this one out? I know I think everyone should be proactive but checking for the latest hurricane info is a bit over the top! So if your flying on Alaska and were heading up to Anchorage (KANC) what should you do before you go if you just have to be there and this doesn't included locals? Well first you probably would have heard about it on the plane or hopefully before you even boarded the aircraft in the boarding gate area or ticket counters when you checked in. So if you heard about it early enough though you can make some alternate arrangements or change your plans all together. This would be a good time (in a nice way) to talk to one of the airline reps who can help you make the changes you like and hopefully keep this process cheap as possible.
Have them locate your bags so that if you make the changes you can go elsewhere or back to home and try another day. If your bags happen to go on without you don't plan on seeing them returned to you very quickly especially since the volcano fully erupted. Give the city, airline and that community a chance to recovery and they will get your baggage back to you! Remember your bags are not the only ones the airline has to deal with. The more calm, respectful and understanding you are when talking to the airline reps the better your chances you have of getting what you need taken care of then and there.
Rental cars, hotel and other events or places you have reserved you should call them and see what they have planned for natural disasters when customers cannot make it to keep a reservation. Time is of the essence so the sooner you handle this the less it may cost you down the road.
Listen to radio and TV reports and or reference the internet to see the status of the vocanic activity before, during or after your trip. The more informed you are will keep the stress levels to a minimum!!!
Lot's of this info is common sense but sometimes it takes something to draw our memories to it!
Be safe people, think ahead and no matter how crazy, be proactive and stay ahead of the ball game!!!



3 comments from 3 users

posted by SamSam9547 on Aug 11, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Hey BLK....very good and timely post....and excellent reminders to be adult and thinking of something and someone beyond normal control....only a few of the more demanding of us can control an erupting volcano and its aftermath, and chances are that none of them are reading this blog.

Report Violation
posted by animadvert4 on Aug 11, 2008 at 03:19 PM

Guess those airlines got tired of having to replace their windscreens and repairing the damage from sucking all that airborne dust into their engines.
Can't say I blame them.

Report Violation
posted by JD5847 on Aug 11, 2008 at 06:16 PM

Oh, dear! Did anyone alert Al Gore? We must immediately create a ginormous plug in order to stop the greenhouse gases form destroying the earth! A single volcano can put more gas and particulate pollution into the atmosphere than all the world's industry.
"The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!!"

01 August 2008

Largest flight attendant union in the U.S. endorses Barack Obama for President

Barack ObamaThe Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the largest flight attendant union in the United States, recently announced their support for Sen. Barack Obama in his bid to become President of the United States. Over 200 flight attendant leaders voted by acclamation to endorse Sen. Obama during AFA-CWA's 35th annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a news release issued by the AFA.

More from the AFA news release:

The Board's resolution stated that, "In the coming years, many decisions that could reshape the face of aviation will be made while the chorus for unfettered global aviation ownership and service grows louder. Also, it is crucial that policymakers in Washington realize that the U.S. aviation system since deregulation has failed airline employees, communities and consumers. We are at a turning point and need a President who recognizes this struggle."

AFA-CWA remains committed to supporting political candidates of all parties. The only criteria is that the candidate support issues important to the flight attendant profession and the improvement of working women's and men's lives.

"While AFA-CWA strongly supports both Democrats and Republicans for offices that have an impact on the flight attendant profession, the record of the two candidates for President, on issues of importance to our industry and our profession, the choice is clear," added AFA-CWA. "We must choose the future for our profession that continues to value our work as front line responders and safety professionals in a strong and vibrant U.S. aviation system."
The AFA represents more than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO.

Emirates Airbus A380 Cabin Interior and Special Luxury Features

Emirates Airbus A380Yesterday Emirates took delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft. The double-decker 'superjumbo' aircraft is the first of 58 that Emirates has ordered from Airbus. The first Emirates Airbus A380 will make its inaugural flight on August 1, 2008, from Dubai to New York.

The cabin features of the huge new A380 are like nothing we have seen before. The first photo on this page shows the economy cabin, with seating for 399 passengers. The cabin has straight walls, designed to give the impression of increased spaciousness. Emirates says that this feature, combined with the advanced mood lighting system and noticeably quieter cabin, works to combat the effects of jetlag.

Of its A380 Economy Class, the carrier says, "More generous seats, wider aisles, Gourmet chef-prepared meals and the Emirates' personal touch mean passengers could be mistaken for thinking they've settled in the wrong cabin class."

Emirates Airbus A380That is, unless they get a peek at the upper deck, which the airline bills as "a premium hotel in the sky," promising a level of comfort and space never seen before on a commercial airliner. The whole of the upper deck is dedicated to Premium Class passengers: 14 in First Class, and a 76 in Business Class.

The Business Class cabin, pictured at right, features "intelligent seating," designed to ensure all seats have aisle access. Emirates says, "There's a cleverly designed table that never gets in your way, a seat that slickly becomes a fully-flat bed, and laptop stowage..."

The upper deck of the new Emirates A380 also has an Onboard Lounge. Located in the Business Class cabin for use by First and Business Class passengers, the Lounge "is designed to make passengers feel like they are in their own executive club." Another First Class social area and bar is located at the front of the upper deck.

In the forward section of the upper deck are 14 flat-bed, massage-equipped Private Suites for First Class passengers. The suites include remote controlled doors, a work desk, an electrically controlled mini-bar and the most advanced in-flight entertainment system available.

Emirates Airbus A380The First Class feature on the Emirates A380 that is getting the most media attention is the On Board Shower Spa -- two fully equipped bathrooms in its First Class cabins, including shower facilities. Emirates promised some special surprises with its A380 and this certainly is one of them. The airline refers to their A380's First Class Shower Spa as "the jewel in the aircraft's crown."

The Emirates A380 flights will be staffed by 24 Cabin Crew, dressed in their newly updated uniforms. All will have undergone intensive training on the aircraft at the new Emirates Crew Training College in Dubai.

There's a new twist, too. There will be additional staff on board whose job it is to keep things tidy on the huge A380. For the first time, Emirates has hired and trained "Cabin Service Assistants" for keeping the cabin -- including the Shower Spas -- immaculate. The presence of the Cabin Service Assistants will free the regular Cabin Crew to focus on cabin safety, and serving passengers. Now that is a revolutionary feature!

TSA launches expedited security screening for flight deck crews

TSA logoI received the following press release from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today -- reporoduced here for your information:

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today launched crewPASS, a test program designed to evaluate expedited access to secure areas of airports for properly credentialed commercial flight deck crew members. The program is a mandate of the 9/11 bill and will be evaluated at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport and Columbia (S.C.) Metropolitan Airport.

Eligible flight deck crew members will enter the secure area of these checkpoints via the exit lane of the security checkpoint after presenting their airline-issued identification and another form of ID to transportation security officers (TSOs). TSOs will check these credentials via a secure, real-time flight deck crew member database that includes a picture and other information to verify the individual's identity. Flight deck crew members who utilize this program will be subject to random screening, observation by behavior detection officers and other layers of security.

"We are very interested in developing ways to increase security through enhanced identity verification," said John Sammon, assistant administrator, TSA. "We are also interested in evaluating this program's ability to increase security by decreasing the number of people being screened, which allows our behavior detection officers to focus on individuals that exhibit suspicious behavior."

This test, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Air Line Pilots Association, will be limited to flight deck crew members in uniform and is scheduled to conclude after 60 days, at which time a full evaluation will be made.

Sterling Airlines Boeing 737 ends up on its tail at Málaga

A strange incident in Spain turned a Boeing 737 aircraft into a tail dragger several days ago. The aircraft, operated by Copenhagen-based Sterling Airlines A/S, ended up perched on its tail on the ramp at Málaga, Spain after an unusual encounter with a jetbridge. The incident occurred on July 20, 2008, shortly after the aircraft arrived at Málaga. Details of exactly what happened are sketchy, but several news reports, including one on the Spanish language website 20minutos.es, say that after the jetbridge was attached to the aircraft at the gate, it somehow managed to lift the forward section of the aircraft completely off the ground, leaving it balanced on its tail. No one was injured, and passengers deplaned through an aft door. An investigation is underway to determine if the cause was human error or some mechanical fault.

Here is a YouTube video showing the precariously perched B737 on the ramp at Málaga:

(If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.)

Near mid-air collision at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

NTSB logoThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced today that an investigation has been initiated regarding a near mid-air collision at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) earlier this week. The incident occurred on Monday, July 21, 2008, at 12:47 CDT, when a regional jet operated by American Eagle, and a privately owned Learjet LR60 came in close proximity to one another while aloft. There were no reports of injuries, and no damage to either aircraft.

According to information in today's NTSB Advisory about the incident, an Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft, operating as American Eagle Flight EGF298, was departing ORD runway 32L, and the Learjet was landing on runway 9R. The local assistant/monitor for the local air traffic controller observed the converging paths of the two airplanes and advised the local controller to instruct the Learjet to go around. The American Eagle ERJ-145 was instructed to stay low on departure. The NTSB says that analysis of radar replays revealed that the Learjet passed 325 feet above and slightly behind the departing ERJ-145.

The NTSB states that as a result of this incident, new procedures have been implemented for arrivals to runway 9R requiring specific coordination between approach control and the tower regarding whether 9R is in use.

American Eagle Flight EGF298 was departing on a scheduled passenger flight to Greater Peoria Regional Airport (PIA). The Learjet (registration N252RP) was operating under 14 CFR Part 91 as a corporate flight. FAA records indicate that the Learjet is owned by Electrolux Home Products, Inc. of Augusta, GA.

According to the NTSB, a preliminary report on the incident is expected to be published later this week on the Board's website.

This near collision comes close on the heels of another midair incident earlier this month at New York's JFK Airport. In that incident, the path of a LAN Chile Boeing 767-300 that was departing JFK's runway 13R intersected with that of a Cayman Airways Boeing 737-300, which had performed a go-around while on approach to JFK runway 22L. Air traffic controllers at New York TRACON estimated their closest proximity at 100 feet.

Comments will follow

Air Canada Airbus A319 incident at Denver

Air Canada Airbus A319 incident at Denver

Air CanadaThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued its preliminary report about an incident at Denver last week involving an Airbus A319 aircraft, operated by Air Canada. Judging from the description of events provided by the NTSB, it sounds as though the crew had one very frustrating afternoon.

The aircraft (registration number C-FYJP), operating as Air Canada Flight ACA1042, was departing Denver International Airport for a scheduled passenger flight to Toronto's Pearson International Airport on the afternoon of July 23, 2008. According to the NTSB report, the captain heard a "whistling noise" during the takeoff roll. Suspecting an unsecured window, he rejected the takeoff. The aircraft taxied back and a second takeoff was initiated.

Here's what happened next (quoting from the NTSB report):

Gear retraction, which was delayed to allow the brakes to cool as a result of the previous rejected takeoff, was normal.

When the flaps were retracted, an F-LOCKED message was received. An emergency was declared.

When the airplane was configured for landing, the following messages were illuminated: RIGHT UNLK ON PANEL; L/G DISAGREE; L/G NOT DOWN. A go-around was made and dispatch and maintenance were contacted.

It was later determined that the landing gear was down and locked, and a flaps 3 landing was made on runway 16R. There was a noticeable vibration on the right side of the airplane, and minimal braking was used to slow the airplane on the 16,000-foot runway. Inspection revealed the right inboard tire had failed.

After discussions with the cabin crew and some passengers, indications were that the tire failed at rotation on the second takeoff. Rubber fragments were found on the right side of the runway at the 6,000-foot mark.
There were no injuries reported among the two cockpit crew, three flight attendants, and 94 passengers on board at the time of the incident.

Sounds like that airplane just didn't want to leave Denver!

comments will follow shortly

Fatal crash of East Coast Jets charter in Minnesota

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fatal crash of East Coast Jets charter in Minnesota

aircraft accident sceneA chartered business jet (registration number N818MV) operating as East Coast Jets Flight ECJ 81, crashed this morning, July 31, 2008, near Degner Regional Airport, Owatonna, MN. On board the aircraft were two pilots and six passengers, all of whom died. The aircraft was completely destroyed.

Brad Cole, President of East Coast Jets, confirmed that the accident aircraft, a BAe 125 (AKA Hawker 800a) was operated by his company. He identified the two crew members as Clark Keefer of Bethlehem, PA and Dan D'Ambrosio of Hellertown, PA. News reports said that both pilots and five of the passengers perished at the scene of the accident. The sixth passenger died at a hospital a short time later.

In his statement, Mr. Cole said that the aircraft was chartered from East Coast Jets by Revel Entertainment to transport employees to Owatonna, MN from Atlantic City, NJ. According to Cole, the aircraft had departed from Lehigh Valley International Airport, Allentown, PA early this morning for a repositioning flight to Atlantic City International Airport before departing for Minnesota.

A news report about the accident in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune quoted witnesses who said that the aircraft "apparently landed on the 5,500-foot runway and either couldn't stop or tried to take off again." A witness on the ground said the plane tried to get airborne again before crashing wing first into a nearby cornfield.

Local media reports say that "severe storms" had passed through the Owatonna area earlier in the morning. MyFox Twin Cities said that wind gusts of 72 mph were reported in Owatonna around 8:35 a.m., but added that the severe weather seemed to "wrap up" shortly before 9AM.

"By the time it's believed the plane went down, the winds were down to 5 to 10 miles per hour out of the south," MyFox Twin Cities reported. The accident occurred between 09:30 and 10:00 local time.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched a team to the accident site. They arrived at the crash scene late this afternoon. Several news reports this evening mentioned that the cockpit voice recorder and a flight management system already had been recovered from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB lab in Washington, D.C.

The Star Tribune has published a collection of still photos of the accident scene.

Condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of Clark Keefer and Dan D'Ambrosio, and to the families and friends of the passengers who died in this accident.