Posts

Carbon permits are alive and well, at least in Europe

In January 2012, per the European Union, all airlines that fly to Europe must purchase carbon emission permits.  Yes, you read that correctly. If American Airlines flies from New York to, let’s say Lisbon, when virtually none of the flight is over Europe, American must pay for a carbon permit to do so. Read more

Flight cancellations up after introduction of extreme FAA tarmac delay fines

Did the FAA really think airlines wanted to keep passengers idol on tarmacs across the country for more than three hours? That’s what the people who care about you figured, so they came up with a passenger bill of rights (ugh) that would fine airlines $27,500 per passenger if they were stuck more than three hours.

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Armed pilots – what’s up with the Federal Flight Deck Officers program?

A Washington Times editorial notes the Obama administration’s FAA budget has diverted $2 million from the Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO) program to provide more funding for supervision of pilots.

Some suggest this is an administration attempt to disarm pilots, but my quick research indicates this probably is not true. I read the editorial yesterday, but I elected not to write about it since the opinion piece was so vague.

… President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

In fiscal year 2007, the program received $25 million in funding, and in 2008 it was suggested that funding increase by $2.5 million. If the Obama administration is diverting $2 million from the program elsewhere, this is not an attack on the concept of arming pilots.

What does concern me is statements noted in the editorial from program participants.

Since Mr. Obama’s election, pilots have told us that the approval process for letting pilots carry guns on planes slowed significantly. Last week the problem went from bad to worse. Federal Flight Deck Officers – the pilots who have been approved to carry guns – indicate that the approval process has stalled out.

Pilots cannot openly speak about the changing policies for fear of retaliation from the Transportation Security Administration. Pilots who act in any way that causes a “loss of confidence” in the armed pilot program risk criminal prosecution as well as their removal from the program. Despite these threats, pilots in the Federal Flight Deck Officers program have raised real concerns in multiple interviews.

For those of you involved in the FFDO program – is this true?

Since less than 3 percent of flights have air marshals, I’m quite fine with pilots having access to a firearm as a last resort to keep hijackers off the flight deck.

FFDO training is not your everyday gun safety and shoot at a few targets class. For a full week, pilots review legal issues, use of force, firearms training and defensive tactics. They are trained specifically for protection of passengers – by keeping hijackers off the flight deck.

Training is provided by the Federal Air Marshall Service, which is the right organization since they too, deal with guns inside pressurized tin cans at flight level 250. (Little ATC lingo for you there…)

The Times notes program participants are – for a lack of a better phrase – very well behaved.

The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.

Fewer than one percent of the officers have any administrative actions brought against them and, we are told, virtually all of those cases “are trumped up.”

stupid-holsterOther than the stupid holster design – click on image to enlarge  – FFDOs need to deal with, this is a good program that should be continued.

Ed at Hot Air asks if we are disarming pilots, as does Malkin and Atlas Shrugs.

Miracle On 48th Street

A US Air  is forced to make a landing in the Hudson River … A320 headed for Charlotte. 150 Passengers reportedly all got off safely. One is Jeff from Norwalk, Connecticut. He’s interviewed here by Fox News. If you know who this might be … please send me a message through the contact page. All we know is he’s married with a new baby. Mom … Dad is OK.  “It’s a miracle!” Please go the Fox news to learn more. Thank You.

Here’s an interview Fox’s Neil Cavuto conducted with Bill White, the President of the Intrepid Museum. I post this only so you can hear from an eyewitness what a great job NYC emergency personnel do.

News Flash: Domestic Airline Service No Longer Exists

But you probably already knew that… Anyway…

Since I’m planning a trip to Australia next year, I’ve been buried in the language of the airlines. I’m getting pretty comfortable with the airport codes between BDL and CNS, flying through some combination of PHL, LAX, SFO, YVR, AUK and SYD. I’ve got all the bases covered since I’m trying to book two first class award seats using Star Alliance – aka *A (get it?) – partners.

My choices seem to be some combination of US Airways, United, Air New Zealand and/or Air Canada. You would think that since you can book *A award seats about 330 days in advance, I’d be in good shape to get a couple of seats since we’re not traveling for, oh gee; another 330 days. Read more

So Much for Airport Security

We’ve read the reports about “testers” from the TSA getting certain items through security with no problems. As a matter of fact, TSA has failed numerous tests for a variety of reasons. Look, if somebody wants to get something on a plane, their going to be able to do it with time and money.

Today’s story from Heathrow just continues to prove that we’re not any safer. These nuts just walked out there and climbed out onto a BA jet? What is going on?

What Happens When Less Seats are Available?

I fondly remember struggling through my first economics class in 1987 or 88. At the time, economics was a pretty difficult concept for me to grasp even though my dad was an economics major in college. The subject was not in the genes. But over time, I have been able to figure out some of the basics that most Americans – and government officials – can’t seem to handle.

Two of the more simple concepts are the law of supply and the law of demand. When you artifically mess with the laws, you need to expect an artificial change that will be bad for consumers.

Today, the transportation secretary announced that after months of discussions with airlines that service the New York City area, the airlines agreed (were forced) to reduce the number of flights flying in and out of the three major airports surrounding the city.

With less seats available during the peak travel times, what do you think is going to happen to the price of an airline seat out of New York? It’s going up. Let’s see what happens in the future, will my prediction come true?

By limiting the number of airline seats available, the government – as usual – is not dealing with the problem. All they are doing is interrupting the supply and demand curves artificially.