(“Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” – Benjamin Franklin). Last night, agents of the Transportation Security Administration visited the homes of two aviation bloggers: Steven Frischling, of the popular Flying with Fish blog, and Christopher Elliott, syndicated travel journalist and blogger.
We’ve maintained consistently that the most effective anti-terrorist tool in intelligence. Good intelligence can stop a potential terror suspect before he gets anywhere near the airport. Beyond that, we have screenings. The New York Times reports that the U.S. Government’s response to a warning from the man’s father that he developed radical views, had disappeared and might have traveled to Yemen, was not to revoke the young man’s visa to enter the United States, which was good until June 2010. Now, on some level, that makes sense. But their response was to flag him for an investigation should he ever apply for another visa and to add him to a list of over half a million other individuals with possible terrorist connections.
As my name(the Infrequent Flier) suggests, I don’t often have a chance to get up in the air. As a result, my trips form a time-lapse portrait of the flying experience as it has changed. Each time I fly, I am amazed at the new rules, regulations and procedures that have been put in place. It has become common to refer to this group of measures as “Security Theater”- a group of actions for show which have no real impact on security.
On Friday, a passenger on a Northwest flight set off a small explosive device shortly before landing in Detroit. The man, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, was subdued. He had connected in Amsterdam to the flight from a KLM flight inbound from Lagos, Nigeria. He had been rescreened in Amsterdam, as is standard procedure there. The device failed to fully detonate, and has been described as a mixture of liquid and powder, and were described as more incendiary than explosive.
Reports are coming in that an American Airlines plane overshot the runway, crashed, and broke in two. Flight 331 was landing in pouring rain at its final destination of Norman Manley Airport in Kingston, Jamaica. We will update this post as we receive additional information. The plane was carrying 148 passengers and 6 crewmembers. Initial…
As part of regulations unveiled today that were advertised as groundbreaking rules to protect passengers in the event of tarmac delays, a second, in our opinion, more significant portion of regulation has been unveiled. Airlines will now be required to adopt a Customer Service Plan. Airlines have been required to submit plans to the DOT before, but not quite at this level. These plans, which will apply to all airlines, must be audited by each airline for compliance.
This morning, the DOT announced a new rule that will take effect in 120 days which would address tarmac delays. The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.
Today, while we are stuck in our homes in the snow, our thoughts are with those stuck at the airports. In preparation for this storm, airlines around the Northeast United States preemptively cancelled flights, airports were closed for hours, and some people are being told it might be days before they get home. At least 800 flights were cancelled in the New York Area alone. We don’t have the magic bullet that will solve all of these problems.
Last night, we upgraded the software that runs this blog to the latest version, which now supports embedded video from a variety of sites. We figured we’d see what sorts of things we could now embed. We’ve been posting Youtube videos for some time, but we’ve never tried some of the other sites. So, courtesy of Hulu, we now are offering you a chance, if you missed it, to experience the CNBC documentary, Inside American Airlines. It is a good documentary that shows a lot of interesting aspects of the industry in general, and American in particular. To those of you outside the U.S., unfortunately, Hulu is U.S. only.
Allegiant Air announced today that it will move service from ten U.S. cities from Orlando-Sanford Airport(SFB) to Orlando International Airport(MCO), effective February 1st. By March 5th, they will base 5 MD-80s at MCO, which will be their eighth base. The cities, which are roughly a third of the total they serve to Orlando, are: