January 7, 2011

Weekly Airline News Roundup – Yin Yang

Image courtesy of tehbieber on Flickr

As is the case with many facets of our lives, optimism balanced negativity in the airline industry this week. As we come out of the snowpocalypse and into the beginning of a new year, we see that dark gives way to light, that the yin and yang are interconnected.

Om mani padme hum.

We saw the yin, or the dark, with stories like the attempted hijacking in Turkey, which thankfully ended up carrying more yang than yin ending after passengers tackled and subdued the man attempting to enter the cockpit. And then there was the poor luck of the American Airlines plane that slid off the runway in Wyoming and the subsequent NTSB investigation. American is also feuding with the online travel sites in the hopes of centralizing its ticket sales and is returning to the union negotiating table.

In more tall news, a passenger was forced to stand the entire flight when his long legs didn’t fit into Spirit’s limited legroom seats (not to be confused with JetBlue’s Even More Legroom seats). The gold medal-winning Russian hockey team got booted from a flight out of Buffalo for unruly behavior. Unrelated but equally strange, the U.S. Capitol Building was evacuated this week after a pilot tuned into the wrong radio frequency when it entered into restricted airspace. And speaking of Washington D.C., U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Israel this week, where she reportedly found few parallels between U.S. and Israeli airport security and few opportunities for implementing something similar.

And one man’s garbage is another’s pearl or something like that, no? Analysts are claiming that rising oil prices is good for airlines, though a raised eyebrow is not an unreasonable response from an airline or a passenger. Rochester Airport Director David Damelio quit after suspicions arose that he was using airport funds to purchase thousands of dollars worth of cigars claiming them as a business expense. Talk about smoke and mirrors!

In other news, Delta is pulling out of some cities in the South, announced it expected a $45 million hit due to the winter storm last week, and there’s mounting pressure to extend the tarmac delay rule to include foreign carriers. Air traffic controllers in the Washington area made a record number of errors in the past year, though thankfully the number of accidents are down, and airports are considering ditching the TSA.

You shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, but you might have to emergency land a plane over spilled coffee, which is exactly what happened this week.

In more positive news, our German friends over at Lufthansa announced this week plans to hire an additional 4,000 people in 2011! Charter airlines are benefiting from the reduction of a first-class among major carriers, passenger volume at Los Angeles International Airport continues to increase, and researchers are hard at work on a plane skin that could repel water and ice. Also hard at work are researchers in England, who invented what they’re calling the best luggage scanner to date.

In JetBlue’s sangha this week, we’ve been mostly focused on getting back to normal operations after last week’s blizzard, and are preparing for a smaller weather event coming through the Northeast this weekend, but we were pleased to have won the 2010 Jaunted award for Best Domestic Airline!

As always, safe travels and have a great weekend. Thanks for reading! Namaste!

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