Lavatory on a Boeing 787 for ANA.

Lavatory on an ANA Boeing 787

The last thing I wanted to do was break my wife’s arm, but that’s what happened as I tried to get her through the narrow door of the plane’s lavatory. It wasn’t intentional of course, but there is not enough room inside for a helper and a disabled person to be in the  lavatory at the same time. So rather than stepping in first and safely pulling her in, I tried to move her in backwards. That turned out to be a big mistake.

We learned the hard way. The lavatory door had the “wheelchair accessible” symbol. One would have thought it would at least be safe, albeit inconveniently narrow. However, the little on-board wheelchair (a.k.a. aisle chair) wouldn’t fit through the lavatory door. What was to be a relaxing and fun vacation with friends in San Antonio became instead a five-day stay at a Texas hospital for my wife. We have learned that life with a disability means we continually make adjustments. Sometimes the best laid plans can go astray.

Not an angle that one sees often of a Boeing 747-400

Not an angle that one sees often of a Boeing 747-400

“We actually don’t do that work here. For that kind of thing, we have to ship it out to Lufthansa Technik in Germany.” If you talk to a great number of airline maintenance employees around the world, you’ll probably hear that line a few times. Many airlines are capable of doing their own aircraft maintenance, but few locations in the world take MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) to the level Lufthansa Technik does.

Airlines around the world send their aircraft to Technik for jobs ranging from a mandatory C check to a nose-to-tail cabin refurbishment. Recently, I was invited to tour Technik’s facilities in Hamburg, Germany, which is just one of their multiple full-service locations around the world.

One of the black light inspection areas in Lufthansa Technik Engine Shop

One of the black light inspection areas in Lufthansa Technik Engine Shop – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

Our first stop on the Engine Services center. Engines are, by far, some of the most expensive parts on any aircraft. Most airlines perform only minor maintenance on their engines, but in the Engine Services center, several engines were completely torn down for a total rebuild.


Air New Zealand's "Pleased to Seat You" truck on display in Terry Fox Square in Vancouver.

Air New Zealand’s “Pleased to Seat You” truck on display in Terry Fox Square in Vancouver

Air New Zealand is in the midst of refurbishing its Boeing 777-200ER fleet, and is showcasing the planes’ new Premium Economy and Economy Skycouch seats during a North American “Pleased to Seat You” tour.

The seats are on display in a 26 foot, 5 ton, glass-walled truck that will cover more than 7,000 miles, giving the public a chance to see and sit in the -200’s new seats. The airline introduced the innovative Skycouch in its Boeing 777-300s – the footrest in a row of three seats can be positioned at the same height as the seat cushions, giving a flexible space for passengers.

With the update of the -200s, all of the long-haul aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet will include the Skycouch, along with the new Premium Economy seats also found in its Boeing 787-9s.

British Airways flight 2276 at Vegas - Photo: McCarran Airport

British Airways flight 2276 at Vegas – Photo: McCarran Airport

Today, we at AirlineReporter share two different opinions on passenger evacuations of an airliner during an emergency. In recent incidents, we have seen passengers taking their bags and people reacting. This story shares the opinion that it is not that big of a deal to take your bag and is written by an anonymous writer (that has been verified), who is a frequent flier, no stranger to the airline business, and is a writer. Be sure to read the opposite opinion and share your thoughts in the comments.

First off, I agree that probably it is best to leave your bag on a crashed/burning airliner. However, the attention that I have seen given to passengers who end up taking their bags with them during an emergency sickens me.

These people just went through a major incident, where many likely felt that they were going to die. Could you imagine going through something like that and then instead of having people asking you if you are okay, they harass you? I wouldn’t want that either. It now seems to be the popular thing to do.

If some of you will take the time to get off your high horse and read this, maybe you won’t be so quick to judge. I argue that people shouldn’t automatically be ostracized for grabbing their bag in the middle of a potentially deadly evacuation.