Thursday, January 28, 2016

Note to Allegiant: Emergency Landings Are Not the Problem

Recently a friend asked me what airlines were the safest to fly. I get asked that question all the time. I find the question challenging in part because of the chasm between risk and perceived risk. 

For example, most air travelers will admit to some anxiety about the safety of their flight, but few worry much about the taxi in which they are speeding to the airport. Travelers are also treated to end-of-the-year news reports about the world’s most dangerous airlines based on fatalities. That’s a false relationship as I’ve reported before.

Sometimes, however, it is obvious what airlines to avoid. I was reminded of that today when I read the latest in the ongoing saga of America’s low cost carrier Allegiant. According to William Levesque in the Tampa Bay Times, a group of investors in the airline are calling for Allegiant to create a special safety committee after a number of emergency landings and maintenance problems that have plagued the airline.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Third World Bathrooms in OneWorld Terminal

Warning to readers:  Photos of toilets appear in this post.

Travelers at the airport hail from many countries and speak many languages but women arriving on oneworld flights into New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport have one word for the condition of the bathrooms in Terminal 8, “Ewwww.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Aviation Year in Review Has a Star Wars Sci-Fi Feel

Harrison Ford and cast Disney handout photo 
Star Wars dominated the end-of-the-year entertainment news. Harrison Ford, the ageless superstar most associated with the ageless film franchise also arrives on my list of top aviation news stories as I wrap up the year with a look back at 2015. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

WWJD? If Jesus Had Been a Pilot

A patient being carried
All photos courtesy Samaritan Aviation.
Mark Palm thinks he knows what Jesus might do if he were a pilot. He might climb into the left seat of a Cessna 206 Amphibian and fly the 700 mile long Sepik River in Papua, New Guinea helping transport the sick to the region’s only hospital.

It must feel a bit like being God, and not in a good way, when Palm and others with the medical transport charity Samaritan Aviation have to dispassionately triage passengers before giving them a ride on the air ambulance.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Birthday from Syria and Other Places in a Troubled World

One of my Facebook messages today
Not long after my eyes opened this morning I enjoyed reading some of the early birthday greetings posted on my Facebook page. (Don't judge me.) It is heartwarming to be remembered by friends and family of course. Then I noticed something else; the remarkable number of countries from which those greetings came. I counted eleven even before 9:00 o'clock. 

My host family during my 2006 stay in Syria, my daughter’s former boyfriend in New Zealand, an au pair from Spain, a tour guide from Morocco, a pre-teen acquaintance from Australia, an a septuagenarian from Japan, business associates from Norway, Italy and India and fellow aviation enthusiasts from Holland, Sweden and France.