Recent media reports might make it seem like the sky is falling; as if every airplane you encounter may be unsafe. Just over the last few days, we’ve seen a rash of very public maintenance issues:
- Southwest rechecks 737s after maintenance record problems found
- United checks 747s for improperly calibrated altimeters
- American reinspects MD 80 aircraft wiring
- Delta follows American and reinspects MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft
- FAA orders 737s to be inspected for fuel leaks
It’s a pretty long and scary list, huh? Well, let me just say this.
You still shouldn’t worry about flying on any of these airlines. Many of these things have to do with record keeping issues. It’s usually just double checking something that’s already been addressed, and I haven’t heard of any major problems discovered in any of these inspections so far.
Now that the FAA has been scared into action after they messed up the whole Southwest debacle, they need to look like they’re doing good things. (And to be honest, they are, I think.) The carriers are going to comply as quickly as possible with this stepped up oversight. This can only be good, because it’ll clear out the cobwebs. I’m not expecting to see any major safety issues come out of this.
So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss this from the perspective of someone flying this week. You guys might want to panic. Ok, ok. Panic is a little strong, but all of these checks are causing a ton of canceled flights. If you’re booked on an MD-80/90 type aircraft (also known as Super 80 in American’s marketing speak), you might want to rethink your travel plans while the airlines scramble to get these checks done.