Flight 1549 Floating in the Hudson

Flight 1549 Floating in the Hudson

An amazing videos here and here showing the crash and evac (crash at 2:02). Some great pictures can be found here.

You have probably heard of the story in some detail by now, if you have an interest in the airline industry. Normally when I hear about an accident, I think I am about to have to write a blog that I do not want to write about. However, in this case things (other than some minor injuries and probably some nightmares) worked out about as well as an accident can.

Flight 1549 took off last Thursday a few minutes before 3:30pm from LaGuardia on its way to .

At about 3,000 feet, climbing after take off, it is certain that the jet his a group of birds causing both engines to go silent. Most people have the mis-conception that if a large aircraft like this loses it engines it will fall quickly to the ground. However, they still have forward momentum and lift, causing them to glide.

But with only 3,000 feet of elevation in a large metropolitan area, it doesn’t give the pilot too much time to think or maneuver.

After impact all 155 passengers were able to successfully exit the aircraft. Absolutely amazing. I have always seen those water landing images in the airline safety card and thought there would be very little chance a plane could successfully land like that and allow people to escape. I am glad I was wrong!

Source: AP Video: AP Images: Fox
AirTran Boeing 717

AirTran Boeing 717

Of course we all live in an age of heightened airport security. Signs remind us that “we” the passengers are the eyes and ears and report any suspicious activity.

That is what some passengers on an AirTran flight from Reagan National to Orlando thought they were doing…being vigilant. Anyone who has played the game telephone know how easy it is to mis-hear things. Well a group of 9 Muslim folks were on the plane and discussing the safety of the plane, something that many people would talk about before trusting their safety on a piece of technology 30,000 feet in the air. One passenger thought it was suspicious and reported the event.

This caused the party of 9 to have to de-board and be interviewed by the FBI. It also caused the other 104 passengers and their luggage to be re-screened before the plane can leave.

No matter if this was too much of an overreaction, the part I don’t get is even after the FBI cleared the group, AirTran would still not allow them to fly on their airline and would not set them up on another flight.

AirTran says they were given a full refund and may now fly again in the future, but I imagine that is not very likely.

UPDATE: Per MSNBC.com:
Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran said in a statement that it refunded the passengers’ air fare and planned to reimburse them for replacement tickets they bought on US Airways. AirTran also offered to take the passengers back to Washington free of charge.It is a good thing to see AirTran came around and did what was right!

 

Source: MSNBC Image: James Willamor
We can do silly things to get that internet!

We can do silly things to get that internet!

On the ground we live in a world of easy communication. Access to the internet is pretty much everywhere, from Wi-Fi, to phones, to city-wide free wireless access. However, the technology has seemed to take a while to find a foot hold in the sky.

It would seem to make sense. People are willing to pay to use the internet at hotspots on the ground (even at the airports) why hasn’t the technology taken off (heh) in the air?

Connexion by Boeing used to be the beacon of hope. Here was a big name (you probably have heard of Boeing if you are reading this blog) that was to provide internet access to passengers on planes. It went online on May 17, 2004 and only lasted until December 31, 2006. Boeing stated, “the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected.”

Prices varied from $9.95 per hour to $29.95 for unlimited access. Even though this might be a little too pricey for some, it would seem cheap enough to provide enough entertainment, communication, and business productivity for those who are dropping at least a few hundred on a ticket.

So, where is the beacon of hope now? One of the brightest beacons is Row 44. It was also created in 2004 around the same time as Connexion, but unlike Boeing it is still around and with a hopeful future.

Row 44 currently has plans to set up trial runs on Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Unfortunately there was been a little delay due to competition for FCC approval. However they are on track now for testing to start in early 2009. The beauty for those of us in North America, is we might have a chance to use the system (Connexion was not in N. America).

One way or another, I have faith that sometime in the near future we will have seamless internet connection from the ground into the air. Many people have already made it clear they don’t want to be sitting next to someone for a few hours talking on their cell phone (including myself), but I know I would love to be entertained (and gosh maybe even write an airline blog) at 30,000 feet in the air.

Image: Juicyrai

Air Canada Boeing 767-300

Air Canada Boeing 767-300

As a new year approaches, we say good bye to a hard year for the airline industry. Having to redefine itself with new fees, cut flights, and a few bankruptcies, we wonder what will 2009 bring the airline business?

Most economists think this recession will not be short-term. With people having less money, most likely that means they will have less trips and vacations. Companies will be looking at other non-flying meeting options and many government jobs have already put a freeze on non-essential travel.

Right now airlines are able to survive this recession because of the low price of oil. If airlines are able to cut costs, keep their fees, have low oil prices, and have the recession lift in 2009, it could be one of their best years. Of course, these are all a lot of “ifs” and already consumers are getting annoyed that fees are still up with oil prices down.

Another big obstacle that airlines might face are employee relations. As more and more airlines farm out their labor and force employees to re-negotiate their contracts — will more strikes loom and cause huge loses for airlines?

No matter what happens, I think the airline industry has proven itself and in one form or another it will not only survive, but thrive. We can only hope for the best!

Image: caribb