Major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines say they need more than $50 billion in federal bailout money as the coronavirus pandemic closes businesses and dramatically slows down air travel.
A lobbying group that represents 10 U.S. passenger and cargo airlines said Monday that in a worst-case scenario, the airlines will “run out of money completely sometime between June 30 and the end of the year.”
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The aid, if received, would be the industry’s first broad bailout since the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. It is also the clearest sign yet of the financial damage coronavirus and the draconian measures governments are taking to stop it are having on American businesses.
Airlines for America, which represents carriers including Delta, United, American, and Southwest, recommended passenger carriers immediately receive up to $25 billion in grants to compensate for reduced liquidity and in the medium-term $25 billion in low- or zero-interest loans.
US airlines seek more than $50 billion in government assistance as coronavirus roils business Read the rest
Penalties include fines as high as $500,000 as well as jail time of up to a year.
Delta Airlines received a $50,000 fine after discriminating against three Muslim passengers who were barred from flying despite being cleared by the airline's own security personnel.
From the order issued by the Department of Transport, which describes two similar incidents on separate Delta flights:
4. We order Delta AirLines, Inc. to provide civil rights training (including cultural sensitivity training)to all flight and cabin crewmembers and all customer service employees involved in these incidents–to the extent that those individuals are and remain active employees of Delta Air Lines, Inc. That training must make clear that, in the absence of a valid safety or security concern, passenger or crew discomfort is not an acceptable basis to deny transportation. ...
5. We order Delta AirLines, Inc. to revise its security and secondary screening protocols to include clear procedures consistent with Federal law to allow passengers to re-board the aircraft after appropriate security personnel determine that the initial security and safety concerns have been eliminated if the aircraft is still at the gate.
The fine is tiny but the publicity will hurt. The New York Times reports that one couple was removed from the flight to placate another passenger who said they were "uncomfortable."
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“They were just kicked off this flight without any explanation,” Ms. Hassan said in an interview on Monday night, adding, “To be treated in this way and be marginalized in this way simply because of your Muslim appearance was disheartening for them.”
She said the couple had first complained to the airline, which she characterized as having been dismissive.
Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia has opened a food court restaurant at a mall in Kuala Lumpur. Called Santan, the restaurant serves the same food as what's on the airline's in-flight menu. Over the next five years, AirAsia expect to open more than 100 other Santan locations around the world. From WHDH:
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Entrees cost around $3 USD and include local delicacies such as chicken rice and the airline’s signature Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak dish, a rice dish with chilli sauce. Locally sourced coffee, teas and desserts are also on the menu.
“We have seen a significant appetite for our in-flight menu offerings beyond our flights across the region and this is our answer to that demand,” the brand’s general manager Catherine Goh said in a press release.
Not long ago, United demanded a black passenger remove her official Marvel "Black Panther" hat because it made someone uncomfortable. This weekend, United refused to even challenge a white passenger wearing a "Rope. Tree. Journalist" shirt, no matter who it made uncomfortable.
Jessica Sidman on Twitter:
My brother is on a @united flight from LA to Boston and saw this guy boarding with a shirt that reads “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”
He told the flight attendant and she asked what he wanted her to do.
He told her he didn’t want one passenger threatening to kill other passengers.
He told her @United should do the right thing. She went to talk to the captain.
Then security pulled my brother off the plane. He talked to a security official.
The security guy said they couldn’t do anything just because it was offensive.
My brother said it wasn’t offensive, it was THREATENING.
They offered to put my brother on another flight. They didnt say anything to the guy with the shirt.
Then, in a statement to Forbes,
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Sidman’s brother said he chose to bring the matter to United’s attention because, “I did not think one passenger should be allowed to threaten other passengers (be it on a shirt, on a sign or verbally) and that United should do the right thing.
“I didn’t want this to be about United appeasing me, a single customer,” he wrote.” I wanted the airline I flew not to sanction the threatening of murder of any group.”
On January 26, 1972, a suspected bomb exploded on board a Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 and the debris of the plane rained down on mountains in the former Czechoslovakia. Everyone died except flight attendant Vesna Vulovic. After a long but full recovery, she returned to work for the airlines until she was fired in 1990 for protesting against President Slobodan Milošević's nationalism. Vulovic died in 2016. Watch her story above.
More in this BBC News obituary.
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Dr. Latisha Rowe, a family-medicine specialist, was on the way to Miami with her 8-year-old son. She says that an American Airlines flight crew publicly humiliated her by demanding she wrap herself in a blanket to conceal her dress, which they deemed "inappropriate".
Here is what i was wearing when @AmericanAir asked me to deplane for a talk. At which point I was asked to “cover up”. When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket. #notsofriendlyskies
Buzzfeed News interviewed her.
Rowe told BuzzFeed News she and her 8-year-old son were guided outside the aircraft and she was asked if she had a jacket. Confused, Rowe replied, “No, I don’t.” After questioning Rowe further, the flight attendant made it clear that she could not board the plane as her romper was too revealing.
“I felt powerless,” Rowe said. “There was nothing I could do in that moment other than give up my money and my seat to defend my position that I was completely appropriate.”
Using a blanket that was provided by the crew, she covered up her waist and walked back to her seat feeling “humiliated.”
Business Insider adds:
After she wrapped the blanket around her waist, she said, another flight attendant came up and warned her not to make a scene, despite the fact that she was deliberately behaving calmly to avoid escalating the situation.
When they tell you not to "make as scene", that's a tell. Read the rest
When booking a flight, it's often cheaper to buy tickets for a connecting flight — one in which your destination is the first leg of the flight. You then get off the plane and ignore the second leg. This is a trick that some passengers do to save money, and apparently Lufthansa isn't pleased.
The airline is suing a man who booked a flight from Seattle to Oslo with a stopover in Frankfurt, but got off the plane in Frankfurt and scrapped the last leg of his flight.
According to CNN:
Lufthansa saw this as a violation of their terms and conditions and is seeking €2,112 (around $2,385) in compensation.
A Berlin district court dismissed the lawsuit in December, but Lufthansa's spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the company has "already filed the appeal against the decision."
It's not clear how Lufthansa thinks they can win a case like this. If we buy a gallon of milk because it's cheaper by the ounce than buying a quart, must we drink the entire carton?
Image: By Lasse Fuss - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Read the rest
When Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia checked in for their flight at Detroit, they were told they'd get a seating assignment together. But at the departure gate, the request was denied—and they claim the gate agent would not communicate with them except by talking at them. Thing is, they're both deaf.
The gate agent rolled her eyes at us. Melissa asked for her to write. After a few moments, she finally wrote on a piece of paper and said, the flight is full and can’t book us together. I wanted to continue to communicate and decided to try and write on that same paper but instead of giving us the paper we asked for, she crumbled it in front of us and threw it in the trash.”
Yingst says she pleaded with the agent — who allegedly refused to give her name but whom they identify as “Felicia” — to write down her end of the conversation, arguing that she was “denying us our communication access” by not doing so.
Here's where they story diverges: one of the women says "Felicia" pushed her when she tried to retrieve the note. But "Felicia" claims she was assaulted. In any case, "Felicia" summoned airport security and the women were removed from the flight.
Delta is backing its gate agent, stating that the women were barred from the flight because Garcia went behind the gate desk and "pushed" the gate agent when trying to retrieving the crumpled up paper. The women deny this and say Delta falsely told the media it had reimbursed them. Read the rest
Once a month, Delta Air Lines holds a "garage sale" at one of its facilities near their flight museum adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The New York Times' Jackie Snow visited this curious surplus sale. Turns out, many of the shoppers lining up to buy galley carts, oscilloscopes, earbuds, posters, branded silverware, and maybe even a scavenged coach class seat actually are Delta employees. From the NYT:
Perry De Vlugt, a Delta flight attendant based in Salt Lake City, has a basement full of Delta memorabilia; his collection was profiled in The Salt Lake Tribune, and he has a website dedicated to his hobby. He doesn’t know how many items he has, but he’s out of room in the 1,000-square-foot space dedicated to his collection...
Over the years, the sale has expanded to include decommissioned plane parts, service items and promotional material. Pieces as varied as pre-9/11 steak knives, coasters, an aircraft lavatory, old menus and timetables have been snapped up by collectors. The priciest item sold has been a $500 pressurized door from a DC-9 plane, and the sales contribute between $70,000 and $100,00 to the flight museum each year.
When Delta updates its branding, changes technology or over-orders or retires parts, those items are offered up to the sale.
“They suffer my wrath if they throw out anything before we get to take a look at it,” said Judy Bean, the sale’s manager and a Delta employee for 48 years.
"Stocking Up at an Airline’s Garage Sale" (New York Times)
Delta Surplus Sale (Delta Museum)
(Images: Delta Flight Museum posts on Facebook)
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An American Airlines steward is suing the airline, claiming that a colleague assaulted her during a flight and that it refused to address her complaints. A lawyer representing the airline, as quoted by USA Today, says that she had it coming: it is "not liable because Plaintiff caused or contributed to cause the harm".
An American Airlines flight attendant who says she was dragged down the aisle by her scarf by a fellow crew member has sued the Dallas-based carrier for failing to investigate the July 2016 brawl or take actions to ensure her safety.
In her lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court and obtained by The Dallas Morning News, Kathy Ida Wolfe says another flight attendant, Laura Powers, "maliciously dug her fingernails into my arm, and slammed the door of a beverage cart on my arm" and later "grabbed my scarf, choking me, and dragged me in the aisle and in front of the passengers."
Alas, there's no video of the "brawl." Dallas News has more:
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Wolfe, of Irving, said she followed American's procedures by reporting the attack to the captain, other flight attendants and the flight service manager.
"I also reported the assault and battery to legal authorities after American Airlines failed to investigate and/or take action to ensure my safety," she said in the lawsuit, which was initially filed in June in Tarrant County district court.
During boarding, a Delta passenger noticed that he'd just sat in a seat covered in shit. The shit was all over his leg. Delta's stewards gave him a paper towel and a mini bottle of gin to clean himself with, and made it clear they wouldn't be cleaning the shit off the seat.
The gate agent called a manager, who [passenger Matthew] Meehan described as confrontational, while he was trying to remain calm and “not get kicked off the plane.” “I tell her what happened and she said, ‘If the cleaning crew didn’t do their job, that’s not my problem. What do you want me to do about it?’” Meehan alleges. “Very confrontational, like, so what? So I said, ‘Can we get that cleaned up so I can sit down?’ So she says, ‘Sir, it’s almost time for that plane to leave. You can sit in your seat or you can be left behind.’”
Meehan and the manager realized he wasn’t the only passenger upset about this. “At that point, four or five other passengers had gotten up and out of their seats as well, standing at the flight attendant area in front in protest and wouldn’t sit until it was cleaned,” he says. To avoid causing a commotion, the manager had someone clean that area with paper towels. “To my knowledge, they did not use any kind of sanitizing solution, and I was supposed to be OK with that because she quote unquote, cleaned it.”
A whole new meaning to the term "Business Class". Read the rest
A new facial recognition technology screening system will soon be used on some travelers who pass through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Read the rest
The Air Carrier Access Act, written back in 1986, was kind of lazy in how it defined ‘what a service animals is, to the point where almost anything goes. As such, there’s been a whole lot of folks of late bringing their animals on board of airplanes claiming that they’re emotional support animals. This peacock is an example of that sort of thing. Maybe some help calm their owners on what would be a harrowing in-air experience, without them. But for individuals with verifiable medical conditions who have been given specially-trained psychiatric service animals to help them better navigate their lives, it’s a serious pain in the ass.
With travelers and airlines alike getting tired of people attempting to bring their ‘comfort’ and ‘support’ animals on flights with them, the idea of bringing along an animal for legitimate medical reasons, even one that comes with documentation from a doctor or mental health professional, can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. That’s not OK. It’s a problem that can be especially prevalent with veterans afflicted with PTSD. Many rely on their service dogs to ground them during a flashback, make them feel like someone is watching their back in public places or wake them from reoccurring nightmares. It's not the sort of tool that you want to leave at home when you travel.
Thanks to a pair of new registries currently in development, the epidemic of false service animals that’s cropped up in the news of late could come to an end while, at the same time, helping those with a legitimate medical need to have their prescribed pooches with them on a flight do so, with less hassle. Read the rest
Documents obtained by CNN outline a plan to eliminate TSA security screenings at more than 150 small and medium sized airports that mostly service planes with 60 seats or fewer. Read the rest
Singapore Airlines just launched the longest nonstop commercial flight route in history -- 20 hours between New York City and Singapore. On the other side of the coin though is the shortest international commercial flight in the world: Anguilla Air Services' 12-mile route in the Caribbean between Saint Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and Anguilla's Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. Flight time is 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the shortest domestic commercial flight is from Westray to Papa Westray, Scotland. From CNN:
A narrow stretch of water separates the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray, off the north coast of Scotland. Scottish airline Loganair has been running an air bridge between these two tiny Scottish islands for around 50 years, making it the shortest nonstop regular flight anywhere in the world.
The flight, operated by a Britten-Norman Islander eight-seater aircraft, takes just over a minute, but on occasions has been as short as 53 seconds, depending on tail wind.
"This route is used mainly by the people of the Orkney Islands going about their daily routines," says Andy Thornton, Loganair's director of flight operations. "It is used by teachers, the local police officer, the banker and children going to school. However it is also a keen route for tourists and aviation enthusiasts."
"A 10-minute flight? World's shortest airline routes" (CNN) Read the rest