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Old 09-22-2009, 07:20 PM   #1  
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Default NBC: 8 things airlines will never tell you.

Found this in a link on an article about the pilot fatigue debate. Thought ya'll might find it interesting. There were 8 things in total, only a few of which I posted here.

8 things airlines will never tell you - Tips- msnbc.com

"Our air may make you sick."


The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether potentially harmful fumes have been circulating in airplane cabins.


Between 1999 and 2008, air became contaminated on 926 flights, reports the FAA, without specifying any possible health risks.


Currently, the agency is looking at a particular type of "fume event" that involves "bleed air," or air that's been compressed by the airplane's engines.


If there's a malfunction in plane equipment, the air that's fed into the cabin can be contaminated with chemical residues from engine oil — specifically TCP, or tricresyl phosphate.


"Passengers may have symptoms like tremors," says Clement Furlong, a research professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington.


So far, federal reviews of the research have been inconclusive about whether bleed air actually endangers the health of passengers and flight crews, though two civil lawsuits about fume events are under way.



"We wouldn't tell you right away if there's an emergency."


The FAA leaves it up to the airline to decide if it wants to tell passengers about an engine failure or other significant crisis. And many flight crews opt to keep their lips sealed.


The reason? Flight crews don't want to scare passengers or say something they'll regret later.


"In one recent emergency, the cockpit crew was faulted for making a public announcement before some of the required procedures were accomplished," explains Kent Wien, a pilot for a U.S. carrier.


So attendants tend to err on the side of being secretive to avoid trouble.


Last June, passengers traveling from Brussels to Newark on Continental Airlines were not informed when the captain died during the flight. The plane continued along its scheduled route with nary a peep from the rest of the crew, beyond a cryptic question: "Is there a doctor on board?"


"Our planes are antiques."


Compared to the rest of the world, we're flying the airplane equivalent of grandma's Cutlass Supreme — except Uncle Sam isn't interested in paying cash for these clunkers.


American owns 268 MD-80 class airplanes, with an average age of 18 years old. Meanwhile, thanks to a geriatric fleet of DC-9s, Delta and Northwest's average fleet age is 13 years old.


In contrast, Emirates has an average fleet age of about 5 years. Singapore Air's is 6 years. And, while Ryanair is often faulted for lacking basic amenities, its planes average less than 3 years of age.


Luckily, U.S. airlines aren't having problems maintaining their aging aircraft from a safety standpoint, notes Bill Voss, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation. "There's no real indication of anyone cutting corners," says Voss. "Planes don't age like wine, but they do remain flight-worthy with proper maintenance."


The FAA doesn't have a maximum age limit for planes, though it does require more frequent inspections for planes that have flown for more than 14 years.


So if you've ever wished you had a personal seatback flat-screen TV instead of having to share a view of a cathode-ray tube in the aisle — well, now you know the reason.



"Our crew is totally exhausted."


Airline jobs are famously hard on the Circadian rhythms, and flight crews simply aren't getting enough rest.


Pilot fatigue has been a factor in crashes that have led to over 250 fatalities in the past 16 years, including the recent crash of a Colgan Air flight to Buffalo, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The night before that accident, the copilot commuted from the West Coast to Newark while the pilot slept on a couch in a crew lounge at the airport.


Crews on reserve (that is, crews readily available for service on short notice) don't have it much better. "On reserve, we don't have control over what we're doing," says Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a U.S. carrier and a contributor to travel blog Gadling. "One day we're flying a 5 a.m. departure, and the next day we're working a red-eye. Do this for a few trips in a row — add the delays in there — and that's when it gets bad."


Working reserve can stretch crews to the limit. "Once during a terrible reserve month, I remember staring at my emergency exit door, thinking, Is it armed? Is it armed? Is it armed? I could see that it was, indeed, armed (the evacuation slide was attached to the door properly). But it wasn't clicking in my brain because I was so tired."



"Your ticket might not be with the airline you booked."


Two airlines may sell seats on the same flight, a sales strategy called code sharing. You may think you'll be traveling on one airline, but you actually fly on another.


The situation seems harmless enough but can cause major headaches for passengers. For example, most major airlines farm out their short, commuter flights to regional airlines.


"By and large, you haven't heard of Chautauqua or Republic, but you may be flying them when you click to buy a ticket on Continental," explains Randy Petersen, publisher of InsideFlyer. "With two airlines involved, there's a constant passing of the buck. Worse, many regional carriers operating on code shares are exempt from reporting their on-time statistics. And God forbid if you need to file a claim with them for lost baggage."
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:18 AM   #2  
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One thing the airlines should tell the passengers.

1. "Its not polite to board a flight and immediately head for the lav to drop a deuce." Take care of that poo before you board.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:43 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal73 View Post
One thing the airlines should tell the passengers.

1. "Its not polite to board a flight and immediately head for the lav to drop a deuce." Take care of that poo before you board.
1a - When your child does the deuce in their pants - please fix the situation before boarding.

(true story - during boarding we had a mom work her way against the flow & whip her ~6 year old daughter's pants off in First Class because she needed the extra space... I could not believe it... the Lead F/A sounded like Adam Sandler ... welcome aboard, hello, good morning, wel - HEY! PUT THAT KIDS PANTS BACK ON HER!)

Inevitably it turns out these are the $1 over non-rev Priceline Specials. The same folks who show up at the gate demanding (always in this order):
1. First Class upgrade for some perceived fault in the security, weather, or special assistance request
2. Exit Row window
3. Bulkhead
4. Isle seat
5. Four other passengers be relocated so they can sit near their (girlfriend, child, aged parent)

I understand the whole sale of seats for incremental last minute revenue, but for the rest of us who buy the expensive fully refundable last minute seats for business travel - we'd sure like to avoid the Priceline Customer - who always packs like a refugee - and enjoy and extra empty center seat every now and then. As more and more Executives and even Government Officials are being forced by austerity programs to ride in back, maybe they'd like a little return to decency too.

The airlines offer a nice product with better seating and in-flight entertainment. What makes travel miserable is the rudeness of the other customers.

From row 14, we'd probably prefer to pay a little more and reduce the load factor by a few percentage points. Maybe they could zone the priceline seats, rearmost rows, anyone?

Last edited by Bucking Bar; 09-23-2009 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:49 AM   #4  
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A little Sandler comedy in the AM.....Now that's something there funny
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:08 AM   #5  
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OK, but why not let it all out, clear the air a little. Why stop at eight things, and why limit ourselves to things we don't want to tell you about us? I can think of many things many of us at the airlines have wanted to tell you, about you.

Or for that matter, let's talk about those things you're not telling us about yourself:

"I'm booking one seat, but really need a second one for my (slang for derriere). That's OK, I'll make it up by putting seatbelt extenders end-to-end later. I'm sure there will be an empty seat next to me. There always seems to end up being an empty seat next to me"

"I think personal hygiene is overrated."

"I just came back from Africa, where I met this really cool monkey. Can I borrow your hankie?"

"I enjoy airline oxygen best. It's not just pure, but it's also free. You just have to wait until you're on the tracks to ask for it".

"I plan on putting my anti-depressant in my checked bag, and I plan on discovering it in cruise".

"I will trash your lavatory like a rock star at the Ritz".

Etc.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:45 AM   #6  
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A few more against the passengers:

"I paid $89 for this seat, so I better damn well be able to trash your plane before I leave it, and oh, by the way, we had to wait on the tarmac for an hour before leaving because of some LAME report of bad weather along the route, so what are you going to GIVE me for making me late?"

"The seat belt sign is for sissies.............so I'll get up whenever I darn well want to".

"I don't have to listen to the safety briefing...............then I can sue the airline if something happens because they didn't ENFORCE me to pay attention...........so it's THEIR fault if something happens to me".

"How can the airlines complain about not making any money? I paid $134 for my ticket from Miami to Anchorage, and the guy next to me paid $125. Geeze you greedy airline people make me want to barf".

And the list goes on and on...................
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:45 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewrbasedpilot View Post
A few more against the passengers:

"I paid $89 for this seat, so I better damn well be able to trash your plane before I leave it, and oh, by the way, we had to wait on the tarmac for an hour before leaving because of some LAME report of bad weather along the route, so what are you going to GIVE me for making me late?"

And the list goes on and on...................
True Story, happened this past week on a IAH-LAX leg:

One of the "CO-Stars" sitting in the big seat up front took it upon himself to ring the FA "come here" button to show her....via his IPhone....that the WX to the west of IAH was "not that bad". He was curious "why the Capt." was electing to sit on the ground to further "his" delay while waiting for a reroute to LAX. When the FA called and told us this, I could see the veins in the Capt's neck begin to pulse!!....the Capt's PAX PA that followed was pure comedy, aimed very much at our friend in first class. Wish I could have recorded it!

I guess we can take the SAFE out of "Safe, Comfortable, and Reliable service". Darn'ed is we do, darn'ed if we don't!!

Last edited by SoCalGuy; 09-23-2009 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:36 AM   #8  
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Wait until the rocket scientists in Washington pass the " Passengers Bill of Rights".
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:41 AM   #9  
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To all iPhone users:

Don't be a douche. It's just a phone.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:06 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homa View Post
To all iPhone users:

Don't be a douche. It's just a phone.
Q400 is just a propeller plane

Bugatti Veyron is just a car

Ansel Adams just took pictures

Autobahn is just a road

I'm just a pilot! (Okay, bad example)
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