27 July 2010

United Agents Forget About Unaccompanied Minor In Chicago

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Here goes another blunder by the airline and it's irresponsible employees that just sends chills down the spine of anyone who is a parent that may fly by themselves!
Kids fly all over the airlines and you would think that the airline employees would pay a little more attention to them because they are children, well that doesn't always seem to be the case and it's starting to happen more often than not. Airlines are losing kids left and right, sending them to the wrong destination or just leaving them behind. I bet they don't have a problem letting you know that you owe extra money for baggage, sodas or food when your on the plane.

Here is the latest incident to add in the "UM Woes" from United Airlines in Chicago (United's Corporate HQ). Agents failed to get a UM to his flight and fed him the wrong food and I'm sure the best thing that United will do is say "were sorry" and here is a future travel certificate for next time in the future!!! So read along and I have inserted my comments in Italics and hopefully United will evaluate their procedure when handling UM's and make some changes pretty quick!!!

Original Story Below

A nine-year-old boy was forgotten in a Chicago airport waiting room Saturday for nearly eight hours after an airline representative failed to put him on a connecting flight, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
Julien Reid was headed home to Ottawa on a United flight after visiting his dad in San Francisco, a trip he makes about six times a year.

The agent slipped up on this one for sure! How do you forget a child in the process of working flights especially when they are usually logged into a waiting room for unaccompanied minors and flight info is tracked so that they can be taken to their flight for pre-boarding.

He left San Francisco at 6 a.m. and arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport at 11 a.m. He was supposed to catch a connecting flight from Chicago to Ottawa at 1:50 p.m., which would have put him in Ottawa at about 4:45 p.m.

The agents working the minors flight to Ottawa didn't check their Special Services list to see if they had any special customers to be on the lookout for ie UM's, wheelchairs, blind passengers etc. The agents working the flight failed to stay ahead of their flight and all important items which is unacceptable. The agent working where the minor was being held between flights also failed to call or message the departure flight agents to advise them to be on the lookout for a UM before they started their boarding process. The ball was dropped here in several areas which are designed to prevent such a thing from happening.

His mother, Genevieve Harte, checked online and saw that Julien's flight was delayed until 5:35 p.m. When she arrived at the airport to pick him up, she noticed other passengers had disembarked but that her son was nowhere to be found.

Then she got a call from Julien, using his own pre-paid cell phone. He said he was still at the Chicago airport in a "tiny, little room cramped with kids," where they played the same video on a loop all day, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The only food he'd been given was McDonald's, but Julian is a vegetarian. He said the other children were yelled at to "stop being kids."

He was in the UM room which most if not all airlines have at least in their Hub cities. The little boy was able to call his mom and let her know that he was still in Chicago from his personal cell phone. Why didn't the agents keep up with this minor? He was in a room playing video games and he was obviously being watched...sort of anyway and he was fed.

Now why was a child that is vegetarian fed McDonald's and I'm sure if he is 9 and smart enough to call his mom and tell her he was still in Chicago he probably told someone that he didn't eat meat. If he was Muslim, Jewish or just didn't eat pork would they have listened to him or would they have dismissed his dietary request? This is a little slip up on the parents part because they depended on the airline to feed their child while he was enroute.
He has special dietary restrictions so the parent should have made sure he had carried his own food so that this would not be a problem. That being said I would be highly upset that someone gave my child food that he could not eat! How much does the airline employees really care about your child when they are in the airlines care???

Harte, 36, asked Julien to put her on the phone with the United attendant who was watching the children. That's when the attendant let it slip that no one had come to fetch Julien to put him on his connecting flight, she told the Ottawa Citizen.

Fetch Julian??? Is he a dog??? No, the agent should have called the departure flight agents and told them she had a UM for their flight like I said above. She should have called for a supervisor if there was not someone who could take him to his connecting flight ie "UM Runner", extra agent or something. Checking for Special service request before a flight boards is required for an agent to do every flight. It's like going to the bathroom, it must be done or the consequences can be bad on so many levels!

This is why I always say that airline employees need to care more about what they do and take a personal stake in what they do when at work otherwise find another job where you don't have to care about anything and you can still get the job done!

We have already seen where an airline has put Um's on the wrong flights to the wrong destinations and to be as irresponsible as to forget the child all together is flat out wrong! if the airlines don't have people in position that care about what they do especially when it comes to someone else's child then they need to get rid of them and find somebody that really does care.

I'm a parent and a 23 year airline profession working on the ground and in the air and this is something I would not allow if this is what I need to expect out of airline employees. They need to be doing it better because they are dealing directly with someones child and I only hope that Julian's parents blast United for this mistake and make it a big deal and not let United just give them a free ticket for the trouble!!!

Remember To Be Proactive Not Reactive and Enjoy Your Flight!!!


26 July 2010

United Flight Kicks Off Passengers Who Paid Least for Tickets

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So now you can get bumped for being cheap with your money??? What is up with that??? A weight restricted flight causes a denied boarding situation and a situation that could scare many passengers into not flying or at least being extremely selective when and who they fly. 

Here is what happened in the words of one of the passengers and i added a few comments and they are in Italics.

What happens when a small United Airlines flight from Burlington to Washington DC oversells its cargo capacity and ends up with a weight problem? Well, when this exact thing happened today for @brucepoontip's flight, the gate agents announce that the passengers who paid the least for the flight will be removed.

How unfair! But even more—how embarrassing, to be punished for scoring a deal perhaps months in advance when someone who paid top dollar the day before gets to remain on the plane. Then you're stuck back in the terminal, without a guaranteed flight for another two days and no hotel allowance from the airline.

So if you shop the airlines for a low priced fair you give yourself the open chance to be bumped from a flight because you were penny pinching! Is this the next wave of new things on the horizon coming from the airlines? I hope not but anything is possible these days!

This is why Twitter sometimes becomes a priceless tool for customer service. Bruce, Founder of Gap Adventures, began tweeting the drama:

United Airlines Service. Just announced they have a weight problem and have to remove 20 ppl in order of how much you paid for your ticket!

...and continued to relate the ridiculous actions of the United crew:

So uncomfortable with United Airlines removing families and older couples who bought cheap tickets. Sad frankly.

I've now missed my connection in Washington but they said they can only guarantee me a flight out in two days! I can't stay here two days!

[Gate agent] said if we don't get two more [volunteers to get off the flight]... I am going to get a list of the last people that checked in! All passengers sitting nervously!

We managed to reach Bruce via Twitter during the drama to ask about the mood of the kicked-off passengers, and he responded:

It's funny, there is no anger really. People are embarrassed. [The gate agent] has announced that you will be thrown off based on how much u paid. "Thrown off the flight!" What kind of customer service is that considering that is not how you handle a denied boarding situation!

To see the entire series of tweets about this drama, check out @brucepoontip. We can happily report that United is now reviewing the mess, as their @UnitedAirlines customer service finally noticed and responded to the situation. It will be very interesting to see if anything comes of this. Nightly news?

This is a black eye for United even though this was an express carrier and not main line United. It sounds like inexperience played a major roll in this even and lack of tact if nothing else. This is definitely not the norm and even though I haven't seen any follow up info I hope at least that the denied passengers were compensated. When I talked to Bruce just after it had happened via Twitter he said that they were not compensated at all but just put onto a later flight. Hopefully united makes a mends with the little incident!!!

Remember to Be Proactive Not Reactive and enjoy your Flight!!!


Original Link:


25 July 2010

Southwest: A Mechanical Is An Act of God and It Always Has Been

"If there's a God who controls floods and earthquakes, does the deity also have a hand in an airline's mechanical problems?"

If that is not the statement of the decade and maybe the history of the airlines as we know it!

Southwest comes out and says "mechanicals are an act of God" and with that statement they are re-writing the history of airline delays as we all know it. Passengers usually don't have a clue about their flying rights and they usually never read the back of their boarding envelope to find out what the "contract of carriage" to find out either.

Southwest has always been know for their leaps and bounds in the airline world by not totally following the "norm" and kind of trend setting or creating their own flavor within the airline world. Well this is a pretty extreme step as far as being different is concerned but I'm not sure if making such a bold statement as this is a power move. Now it will create publicity and a buzz amongst the passengers that fly Southwest Airlines with a cult like following but when it comes to Southwest i think they can experiment with just about anything and it would become a hit.

On page 11 of 32 pages of fine print called a "contract of carriage," which many passengers don't read, but which spells out their recourse in mishaps such as flight interruptions or baggage loss.

Mechanical difficulties - what type is not defined - now appears on a list of events such as wars, riots, storms, earthquakes and other acts of God that are "outside of (Southwest's) control." Now that being said Southwest has now changed the bar possibly and it may grab new passengers to fly their flights but it's still too early to tell. 

Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst based in Port Washington, N.Y., called it "surprising" that Southwest, which has a reputation for stellar customer service, would make a change that puts passengers at a legal disadvantage if an aircraft breakdown delays their travel. This makes Southwest have the upper hand in many different situations and they can hide behind mechanical problems because they didn't list the problems protected under their newest policy announcement. 

"I can see (carriers) saying, 'It wasn't our fault the airplane broke down,' and I also can see customers saying, 'I bought a ticket from you and I have reasonable expectation that the airplane is going to work,' " Mann said." The passengers are going to jump at this everytime there is a delay to get the real story on the delay.

Well everyone knows that the airlines play "Monkey See, Monkey Do" and now we all need to watch and see who will be the next airline to follow suit. I think they will wait a bit to see if Southwest catches any backlash from the rule but if they don't you could expect some of the airline to get on board and adopt some type of equal ruling or facsimile.

Now let's just wait and see what happens next!

Remember Be Proactive Not Reactive and Enjoy Your Flight!!!


20 July 2010

Japan Airlines Tries To Keep Uniforms Out Of Japanese Sex Clubs

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In January, Japan Airlines went through a humiliating bankruptcy , with layoffs, pissed off customers and the poor view in the eyes of the Japanese public. Now they have a bigger problem to deal with and that is because of layoffs that include flight attendants there is a big surge for their flight attendants uniforms as a costume to be bought, sold and worn in Japanese sex clubs.

A new market has risen in fetish clubs and sex clubs not to mention just having a uniform fall into the wrong hands for potentially dangerous activities and a strong security problem around the world.

JAL fears the security issues that may rise if the uniforms hit the open market and someone may be able to pass into secure areas while wearing a uniform. They also don't want someone to further tarnish the image of the airline in some bad fashion.

Scott Mayerowitz of ABC News reports that "in Japan plenty of people are willing to pay top dollar for an experience with a club entertainer clad in an authentic Japan Airlines flight attendant uniform." He adds "people have been known to pay thousands of dollars for the outfits of JAL and rival airline All Nippon Airways, or ANA."

JAL has warned its staff not to sell their uniforms, and that laid-off air crew could try to auction their old uniforms on the Internet for profit. On the Internet such as Yahoo Japan, uniforms for sale could fetch as much as $3000.00 USD for a complete set.

JAL is planning on sewing tracking computer chips or RFID's into its uniforms so that they can be tracked but I'm not sure how this will work since flight attendants have already been layed off. All Nippon Airways (ANA) is also caught in the same type of problems minus the lay-offs and financial troubles that JAL has undergone and they currently track their uniforms before and after a member of their crew departs the companies employment.

JAL says they have ways of making sure it's impossible for a former crew member to hold onto their uniform after departing the company even though a few years ago a business class uniform hit the Black Market and was reportedly sold and the airline went out and bought the uniform back for a reportedly $2000 dollars to ensure they go it back.

Japanese flight attendants have always been viewed by the traveling world as very"uniform" and classy yet sexy and I could see how the look of the uniform could create a frenzy in the adult sex world.

As a former flight attendant and having flown many times out of Tokyo (NRT) and the South Pacific I can say there is a certain flair that the flight crews have for JAL, ANA and the other Asian carriers have that is noticeable from how their flight crews all look somewhat alike to how they really care for their appearance individually and as a crew when the move through the airport. I hope this doesn't hurt the JAL brand name and hopefully it is only a passing fad that won't produce any serious consequences.

Even though these flight attendants are seen as excellent in the service world, they are very well equipped to handle an emergency situation just like other flight attendants around the world and hopefully JAL will recover and be able to bring back all of their layed-off flight attendants to continue the western experience that so many are use to and accustomed to enjoying when they fly to the Pacific Rim!

Remember to Be Proactive and Not Reactive And Enjoy Your Flight!!!

13 July 2010

Japan Express Crowns First Female Captain

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Here is a new bit of aviation history! Japan, which is very much a male dominated society has just made their first female pilot a captain of a Boeing 737 at Japan Express (JEX). This is ground breaking that she has qualified for the position and achieved the left seat. Being a pilot I know that is the dream of all aviators and to do it in their society is monumental.

They would not give her this position I think just because they didn't have one, Japan is world class when it comes to pilot training and procedures and being in a position of authority. Capt. Ari Fuji, 42, will make her first flight next week and she said she was nervous but excited and wanted to do a good job and command a safe flight. I think any pilot is a little nervous when the get the command position and that starts when you first solo an airplane or when you take a family member or friend flying once you have received your private pilots license. It never seems to go away and it happens at all experience levels.

Good luck Ari, from one pilot to another and remember to "Keep the Blue Side Up!"


Remember to be Proactive and Not Reactive and enjoy your flight!!!

Below is the original story with a few pics I found and a translation in Japanese from the website and I left it intact with no editing so that it is translated correctly. I don't speak that much Japanese...lol and it's in Japanese script!!!

(Kyodo News International) -- A co-pilot of Japan Express Co. became Japan's first female airliner captain Friday after passing the government's qualification screening.
Ari Fuji, 42, is scheduled to make her maiden flight as a captain next Monday, from Osaka to Sendai, according to the airline, which is wholly owned by Japan Airlines (OOTC:JALFQ) International Co.

She was given a letter of appointment at the company's Osaka head office.
Fuji joined JAL Express in 1999 with pilot's licenses both for private and commercial aircraft and started flying as a co-pilot the following year, the company said.

She passed the screening by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry earlier the month after promotion training with a license of airline transport pilot, which she obtained in February 2008, it said.
It usually takes 10 years or so for co-pilots to be promoted to captain.

Japan has had female passenger plane pilots since around a decade ago but had no female captain so far.
According to the ministry, there were 6,137 pilots working for major domestic airlines as of January, including 289 at JAL Express. Of the total, only three were female -- Fuji and two others.

Ari Fuji, the first female flight captain in a major airline group in Japan, holds up her appointment notice, in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on July 9, 2010. (Mainichi)