Monday, January 30, 2012

Fear of Flying - A Glass is Half Full Approach

My friend and fellow aviation and travel writer Harriet Baskas reports on a survey that shows the majority of travelers think air travel is stressful. Not exactly surprising news, but the results of the HNTB study could help the aviation industry enhance how it interacts with its customers, which I suppose is the goal.

What ticks travelers off? Oh, you know, the obvious; invasive security, long lines to check bags, that sort of thing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taking a (Web) Page from Wikipedia's Book

Spirit Airlines is nothing if not clever, as I reported in The New York Times back in 2011 when this airline was alone among U.S. carriers in deciding to turn the baggage fee concept on its head. It not only charged to check a bag, it also charged for carry-ons. See what I mean? Verrrry clever.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wing Cracks and Cars That Go Zoom in the Night

Two items in the news caught my eye this week. And while both are getting relatively little attention while Americans focus on Newt Gingrich's "open marriage" scandal and the rest of the world wonders what really happened when that cruise ship ran aground in Italy, these other stories are significant.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Safety is My Co-Priority

If you are operating under the impression that air show megastar Sean Tucker confines his fancy maneuvers to his airplane, I'm here to tell you, he does not. Yesterday at the NTSB hearing in Washington, I watched him dazzle a panel of hardened air safety investigators looking into ways to improve air show and air race safety.

"It's not basket weaving 101", he said, all gosh, shucks and boyish charm and the five board members from Mark Rosekind on the left to Earl Weener on the right practically cooed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Flames, Air, Altitude Create Deadly Triangle in New Zealand

August 2007 photo courtesy Transport Safety Board Canada
The news tonight from New Zealand's north island is terrible. Eleven people, 10 passengers and a pilot killed in a fiery hot air balloon crash.
Apparently the airship flew into a power line and caught fire. Early reports suggest the balloon was 160 feet above the town of Carterton, east of the capital city of Wellington. Even those able to get out of the burning basket could not survive the fall.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What a Dying Airline Looks Like

I could have paid for a night in a fancy hotel (and I saw a beautiful one)  if I had a dollar for every time someone told me about the glory days of Air Zimbabwe while I was there last month.  But airlines cannot fly on memories alone and the Air Zimbabwe of late has had little else to keep it in the sky. It has a decades-old habit of unreliable service and not paying its bills. By the end of 2011 some credit holders had enough.