Friday, May 30, 2014

Bumps Not Unexpected En Route to First Ever Star Alliance Terminal

At Newark the night of my departure for London
Writing from London -- When I arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this week for my United Airlines flight to London, the check in agent had bad news; while a reservation appeared in her system, the ticket processed by Lufthansa, had not been generated. To fix this, I'd have to walk to the next terminal and get Lufthansa to sort it out. 

Forty-five minutes later the problem was solved. Only the exceedingly pleasant demeanor of the United agents mitigated my frustration at the disconnect between these two airlines, who are supposed to be thisclose as fellow members of the Star Alliance.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dreamliner's Dramatic Life Mimics Woody Allen's Art

In the Woody Allen movie, Annie Hall, an estranged couple is seen in separate visits to their therapists answering the question; "How often do the two of you have sex?"

"Aways," the woman says, "three times a week." 

"Never," the man says, "three times a week."

When it comes to the way the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board see the question of the "safety" of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner the same flexibility in perception is on display. How well-contained are the risks on the world's newest wide body airliner? 

"Very" says the FAA. 

"Not so much," says the NTSB.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Etihad Finds a Seat Between Prudent and Audacious

When I told my friend the other day that I'd be traveling on Etihad she asked, "What's that?" In the United States, the 10-year old airline is not a household name. And though I am more than tired of writing stories about the mad rush by airlines - including Etihad - to woo and coddle the premium class, I have to give the Abu Dhabi-based carrier credit for it's audacious new luxury product unveiled to the public on Sunday.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Writing the Book on MH 370, the First "Virtual Crash"

When families of the passengers on Malaysia 370 were notified via text message that those aboard the missing jetliner were likely dead, attention focused on the ham handed-ness of such a notification. "Deep sadness and regret" delivered via cell phone just seems wrong. 

There is another significance to this first-ever, intentional digital notification in an air disaster, as pointed out to me last night by the thoughtful and experienced French air accident investigator Olivier Ferrante.

So far, it is a crash with no airplane, no bodies, no crash site, no physical evidence, he told me. "It is a virtual crash until a piece of wreckage is found."