Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: May, 2011

POSTED: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 6:25 PM

Annual meetings of major airlines brought out some worry, and protest by some workers this week. Read more here about what happened at the Southwest and AMR (American's parent) meetings.

POSTED: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 6:22 PM

Until now, United and Continental have been merger partners but have not integrated most of their operations into what will be the world's largest airline. Read about the plans they have in this story from the Houston Chronicle.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 10:52 AM

We have been payijng attention in this space to the recovery of the black boxes from the doomed Air France Airbus A330 that crashed in the Atlantic two years ago. Why? Airbus supplies most of the jets in US Airways' fleet, including the 330s that take off from PHL to Europe each night, so we think there should be interest on the part of PHL travelers in the safety of the fleet.

The latest development in the ongoijng investigation the mishap is good news. There is a preliminary finding from examining the black boxes, which were recovered just last month from more than two miles under the sea. The finding: No new safety issues about the plane have been raised by what's been learned so far from the boxes, according to this news story.

POSTED: Monday, May 16, 2011, 10:20 AM

Good morning ... I'm back after a few days off. The one airline-related story in the last week that has generated an enormous amount of often hysterical news coverage and media comment involves the young Yemeni man who rushed the cockpit door of an American Airlines flight, screaming "God is great." As everyone who's heard of the incident knows, passengers on the Chicago-to-San Francisco flight were naturally freaked out. Who wouldn't be if you were trapped on metal tube in the sky with a nutcase? The man was subdued and the flight landed safely.

Now seems the hissy fits by some commentators, who want the incident to be about jihadhists runniung loose across the country, were a little premature. The 26-year-old was appears to be an unemployed, mentally unstable individual who happens to be from a country that harbors terrorists.  The portrait of him that is emerging doesn't indicate that he was a would-be terrorist himself, or at least not a very good one. He turns out to be a more run-of-the-mill disrupter of an airline flight, the kind that has become commonplace lately. Here is a detailed news story by the AP of the incident and the man involved.

Another news story, from a San Francisco Chronical reporter who was at the man's arraignment, describes some of his mental problems. 

POSTED: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 6:16 PM

US Airways has improved its service in recent years, as evidenced by government rankings that show higher scores month by month. But that didn't keep PHL's largest carrier from placing last in a new survey of 14,000-plus readers of Consumer Reports magazine. Inquirer beat reporter Linda Loyd did a masterful job today of weaving togehter two stories, the survey results and the monthly report from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics on airline and airport performance. Find her story at this link.  

Another thought about the Consumer Reports survey. I'm a great admirer of Consumers Union and the mnagazine but it's important to note that its surveys on travel involve a great many people who fly once a year. One bad flight can color an opinion, so keep that in mind if you see the full article on airlines. 

POSTED: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 6:03 PM

Readers may have heard of some of these "unruly passenger" incidents at U.S. airlines last weekend, a time of heightened security because of the death of bin Laden. The Christian Science Monitor rounded up the reports in a single story. 

POSTED: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 5:56 PM

The issue of how much travelers really will wind up paying for an airline flight -- with all fees added in -- and how the airline gives you that information, has been a theme in this space for well over a year now, first in columns and later in blog posts. Do you want to know the total cost before you buy? It's hard to do now on many airline Web sites, and it's likely to stay that way unless the federal government steps in to help with new rules that could be issued this summer. Here's a good update on the topic from Joe Sharkey's On the Road column in today's New York Times. 

POSTED: Monday, May 9, 2011, 2:53 PM

In the here-we-go-again department, a pilot for Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast didn't like the looks of two Muslim men dressed in traditional garb last week. Although they had cleared security, the pilot refused to fly them on his plane from Memphis to Charlotte -- where, wouldn't you just know it, the imams were attending a conference on islamophobia.  Here's a lengthy article from the Charlotte Observer about the incident and the conference.

About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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