Safety and Security Roundup – Not Just a Drunk Pianist

By | April 21, 2007
  • Investigators say that fatigued air traffic controllers contributed to four aviation mishaps in recent years…including the Comair crash. They are calling on the FAA to revise work schedules and take other action. Their union jumped on the report as validation of its own claims that air traffic controllers are overworked and understaffed. Details available here.
  • The FAA has ordered a halt to the practice that has arriving aircraft in Memphis about to land to fly directly over planes on another runway. ALPA, the Air Line Pilot’s Association, continues to encourage the FAA to stop similar practices at other airports. A near collision on February 18th between a DC-9 and a Saab 340 prompted a review.
  • Passengers on a Spirit Airlines flight from Cancun to Detroit were stranded on the tarmac for several hours on April 9th, told they couldn’t leave the plane because no customs supervisor was available, apparently having left for the night. They arrived at 11PM and did not get off until almost 4AM.
  • Passengers on a British Airways flight from London to New Delhi were delayed for about 13 hours when the flight crew reported they were too tired to fly…due to noise at their hotel making them unable to sleep. The flight’s 210 passengers were sent to hotels. One hotel ran out of rooms, forcing people to double up. One passenger, forced to share a double bed with a stranger was not thrilled.
  • Today in the Sky reports American Idol judge Paula Abdul created a stir among Southwest passengers at San Jose when she demanded first-class treatment. When told she could not board first, told that only children, elderly, and the disabled could, she reportedly said, “But I’m famous! I need to go on first!” She then pushed her way past other passengers and did get on first. If we were Southwest, we would have taken her off the plane for that.
  • Airport employees will be trained to spot hostile behavior and given incentives to report their suspicions under a new program. The plan will be developed over the next 90 days and introduced in a phased rollout. Accusations from Congress claim the TSA Proposal does not go far enough and is an attempt to draw attention away from hearings on a bill to start 100% employee screening at five airports. Screening all workers at the nation’s airport would cost in the billions.
  • An Oregon concert pianist forced a United flight from Chicago to Portland to make an unscheduled stop in Billings on August 8th, 2005. The pianist claims he was so drunk he did not remember banging on the walls or threatening to kill a male flight attendant. He was up partying all night, and took ADD medication and Valium. He came onboard with Vodka in a water bottle and asked for ice, and consumed it. He had to be carried off the plane, and was in federal court to answer for himself this past week.