Roundup – Cargo Pants, Drunkeness, New Construction and More…

By | August 6, 2007
  • Northwest CEO Doug Steenland continues to apologize for Northwest’s flight cancellation. Northwest continues to blame the problem on pilots, however, instead of blaming their own practices. Northwest Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association confirmed an agreement on contract issues and work rules to help improve the problem, the agreement implements contractual changes on work rules pertaining to international flying, as well as the settlement of an outstanding grievance, in exchange for the reinstatement of premium pay of 50 percent for all pilots flying more than 80 hours a month, effective Aug. 1, 2007. The agreement is economically neutral, with the cost to Northwest of the premium-pay element offset by the value of the work-rule changes and grievance settlement.
  • A US Airways pilot piloting a flight into Philadelphia from Las Vegas is under investigation for veering his jet into the path of another plane. The pilot was told to take a right on a taxiway and instead took a left and crossed over a runway being used by an Air Wisconsin flight to Cincinnati The pilot has not been grounded though, and is a 20 year veteran of the airline.
  • If Airtran buys out Midwest Airlines, as planned, they have declared they would keep the culture and discard the Midwest name. Does this mean the end of fresh-baked cookies? Midwest says it has 4 possible suitors for a sale, now that it has agreed under pressure to consider one. One is definitely Airtran, but the others have yet to be revealed.
  • Airtran might be considering moving its headquarters out of Orlando. Other cities wish to lure the carrier’s HQ, and offer economic incentives the city would have to match. Airtran operates its largest hub out of Atlanta.
  • European discount airline Easyjet announced Friday they would institute a new baggage policy. The policy will take effect on October 1st and will charge two pounds sterling for each checked bag. The previous policy was five pounds for each bag, with the first bag being free. Carry-on bags will still be allowed without weight limit.
  • Frontier will begin three-day a week nonstop service from Albuquerque and Puerto Vallarta on December 15th.
  • A 37-year old Australian man who needs a stick to walk due to multiple sclerosis says he had his walking stick pulled apart by security at Melbourne Airport, and told to take it back to the check-in desk because he couldn’t take it on the plane. When he explained he needed it to walk, he was told “Bad Luck.” He claims a security officer laughed at him, and a supervisor told him to get out of the way. He asked for a wheelchair, and had to wait 15 minutes for a Virgin Blue supervisor to appear and was told “I don’t have time for this and you have a plane to catch.” When Mr Larsen said he had time to discuss the issue with someone who did have time, he said the supervisor responded: “I don’t have to help you.”
  • A Southwest Airlines plane made an emergency landing Saturday at Midland International Airport after reports of major difficulties. The plane, en route from Dallas Love Field to El Paso, reported cabin pressure problems. Passengers were boarded onto another aircraft which took off to El Paso. It is interesting how Southwest was able to swap in an aircraft rather quickly, rather than stranding passengers.
  • Construction continues at Mineta International Airport in San Jose, California. The work began in 2004 with the construction of a new “North Concourse” between Terminal A and C, the steel frame of which is nearing completion this month. Crews will shut down the roadway that continues beyond the baggage claim area of Terminal C and build a new connector directly to Skyport Drive sometime around October. The plan will ultimately replace Terminal C, originally opened in 1965, with the new Terminal B and North Concourse, as well as more customer amenities and operational capability at Terminal A, which opened in 1990. The project also includes a new 3,400-space garage for the public and for rental cars, and improved airport roadway circulation. There will also be a new cut-through directly to Terminal C, saving drivers from having to loop around Terminal A. The next stage of work on Terminal C, which began in July, includes construction of a consolidated security checkpoint, leading to the relocation of airline ticket offices this fall.
  • Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan opened its second runway Thursday. The addition of Runway B, thirteen years after the offshore airport began service, means the airport is the first airport in Japan to operate flights around the clock. Due to financial issues, the construction of terminal and cargo facilities for the runway has been indefinitely postponed, and the runway will be used for landings only.
  • San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, limited by its single runway, is suffering from a lack of gate space as well. Since area voters rejected a proposal in November to convert part of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar into a commercial airfield, the airport authority has resumed a master plan update that recognizes Lindbergh Field is set to reach capacity between 2015 and 2022. The expansion plan being considered would expand Terminal 2 by 10 gates for a total of 41, as well as constructing an elevated road to the terminal for easier traffic access, a possible five-story parking garage, and an overnight parking area for passenger jets that must be grounded to comply with a no-fly curfew from 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • Chicago/Rockford International Airport had more than 19,500 passengers last month, the third-best performance since 2003. Airport officials hope the figures encourage additional service to the airport, particularly Allegiant Air. For the first time in July, United made more money than the airline was guaranteed by the airport for its service to Denver. Rockford wants area residents to show their support so they can get Allegiant to fly to Ft. Lauderdale and Phoenix/Mesa Williams Gateway Airport. Allegiant plans to add flights to these cities as part of its business model and Rockford wants the service, which will be announced by the carrier beginning Thursday.
  • Michael Allgood, who was not so good, was sentenced Wednesday for grabbing a three year old boy at toy store at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas in June 2006, and ran through a security gate before confronted by police. When he lowered the knife from the child’s throat and lunged at police, two officers shot him and a third used a stun gun on him, according to police. The child was unhurt. He was sentenced to a minimum of five years and five months, with a maximum of eighteen years. He had been released from a mental hospital weeks before the incident.
  • An East Palo Alto Man was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for trying to smuggle six bags containing nearly 3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in his cargo pants. Michael James Cade, age 26, was attempting to board a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose to Honolulu, when he was chosen for secondary security screening. While patting Cade down, a Transportation Security Administration agent “felt a large bulk item in the front right pocket of Cade’s cargo pants.” Cade, who only had $10 with him, hoped to be paid for the ‘illicit cargo in his pants.’ He was sentenced to serve the mandatory ten year sentence.
  • Starting sometime next month, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport will give airlines the option of having those waiting for a gate to open up at the busy airport to taxi elsewhere and deplane and travel to the concourse by bus. The city approved a $2.5 million expenditure for four new buses to operate the service, and new sets of mobile stairways and service for disabled passengers. Airlines requesting the service would reimburse the airport for use of it. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport has a similar service for emergencies, and LAX uses a similar service daily due to a lack of gate space.
  • Airtran also announced it will begin once daily nonstop service from Indianapolis to Las Vegas beginning December 20th, using its 737-700 aircraft. It is the ninth nonstop destination from Las Vegas for the airline.
  • In an amusing move, the Consumerist reports that an Indian company, the Tata Group, has opened a call center in Reno, Ohio, and is targeted toward their U.S. corporate customers willing to pay a premium to give their U.S. customers a “more culturally fluent, less frustrating experience.” Their head of U.S. operations commented, “We want to be able to say to a client, If there’s a piece [of call-center operations] you want to keep in America, we can do that for you.” The call center takes calls from Expedia Travel(which is why we mention it).
  • Sarah Mills, a flight attendant for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, was removed from a plane and arrested at Louisville Airport because she was allegedly drunk. She was charged with terroristic threatening, alcohol intoxication and violating a law against being a crew member of an airplane while drunk. The final charge is subject to a review by the Federal Aviation Administration. Delta, whom ASA operates the flight for, canceled the flight due to a lack of crew members. A spokeswoman for ASA commented that this situation has never come up before, and their more than 900 flight attendants perform their duties at an ‘extremely high level’ every day.