3 Links I Love: Should Never Have Been Allowed to Fly, Aloha Southwest, Amazon Labor Trouble

Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
Experts: Traveler should have drawn scrutiny before flightAssociated Press
There are so many stories about airline passengers gone wrong out there, but this is one that I find more concerning than most. From the accounts I’ve seen, this guy never should have been able to buy a ticket, get through security, and board the airplane. The quote at the end that airline employees may be less likely to confront a passenger for fear of a video being taken is really frustrating, to say the least.

Two for the road:
Southwest Airlines Gets Serious About HawaiiThe Motley Fool
Southwest has been talking about Hawai’i for years, but I guess now it’s finally becoming a priority. Of course, the delivery of the 737 MAX later this year is the catalyst for this since it will allow the airline to serve the islands much more efficiently.

Amazon is starting to experience the headache of having an airlineQuartz
Everyone thinks they can run an airline, but, well, it’s a lot different than a tech company. I look forward to seeing how Amazon handles these kinds of dilemmas.

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17 comments on “3 Links I Love: Should Never Have Been Allowed to Fly, Aloha Southwest, Amazon Labor Trouble

  1. In the LA story re the suspicious character being allowed to board, is there any chance in cases of the ticket counters and how the security door opening was handled the prevailing permissive attitudes that are now the norm in California were also part of the problem?

    Kind regards,


    “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

  2. On the rouge passenger I don’t blame the ticket agent. Anyone with a smartphone can buy a ticket and nobody scrutinizes what luggage you have. Now acting under the influence and opening secured doors is odd – especially when the alarm goes off. I’ve heard it, it’s loud, and everyone knows universally it’s a no-go zone. Strange that they say it “isn’t uncommon.” Perhaps he got a pass since English is probably not his first language and LAX being a major int’l gateway….that said, had he opened a secured door in a place like Omaha would he been allowed back into the secured area? My bet would be no. I blame the LAX airport police in this one first and foremost.

    1. I was in O’hare when someone was trying to get a gate agent using the security intercom… don’t underestimate the intelligence of the general public.

  3. Given what has been in the news lately, I wouldn’t be shocked if that made the frontline employees gun shy in calling this guy on his behavior.

    I have heard from people on the front lines where passengers have been attempting to provoke the crew into an incident after what happened on April 9th.

  4. I agree with your comment that it’s frustrating to think that airline employees may be reluctant to confront a passenger for fear of a video being taken, but I’m certainly not surprised. I think this point, and concerns about passengers not following flight attendant instructions, was well represented in the written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Hearing on Questions, Answers, and Perspectives on the Current State of Airline Travel on May 4, 2017, of Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. Specifically, she states, “The fallout from these viral video events is creating damage that we believe is far-reaching and threatens aviation safety and security. We have reports of passengers allowed to remain onboard refusing to comply with crewmember safety instructions during boarding jeering and harassing at crewmembers across the country. We have reports of airport security refusing to respond to passenger incidents of threats, assault or failing to comply with crewmember safety instruction. We have aviation “experts” encouraging the public on TV to continue to film the crew and broadcast it, which offers free video surveillance of crew movement and tested disruptive tactics for terrorists. This has to stop before the consequences are tragic.”

    1. absolutely correct…. nowhere in the transcript of the Congressional hearings on airline customer service did I see/read a question from Congress about what Congress can do to help ensure safer/more customer friendly airplane experiences.
      It will only take a few incidents where people are harmed – whether from getting up to use an airplane during turbulence or terrorists or just plain common criminals intimidating airline personnel so that they can do “their thing” before people wake up and realize that every one of these customer service failures had a customer component which most people including the quick-to-judge public ignored.
      This also goes to highlight just as with the Manchester bombing and so many other security issues that terrorists usually have plenty of clues which indicate THEY are problematic and not the 99.9% of law-abiding citizens. it is time for law enforcement to focus scrutiny on those that have known warning signs and also remind ordinary Americans that being obstinate and refusing to comply with reasonably given requests quickly elevates oneself into the category that involves further scrutiny.

      As long as air travel is a target of terrorism, security has to be in place to protect and customers need to understand that the government and airline, not the customers, make the call about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

      1. The problem with all this “customers should just shut up do what they’re told” talk is that it loses sight of the way airlines seem to have lost sight of the fact that customers are, in fact customers, and all common sense seems to go out the window. Employees are far too quick to resort to law enforcement threats, so many passengers feel that “okay, it’s us versus them, so we have to record everything.”

        Yes, sometimes the failures have a “customer component”, but far too often that component comes about from a simple misunderstanding or the airline not having policies to prevent the customer component from happening in the first place (like Dr. Dao, where if removal of passengers is necessary, it needs to happen before boarding.)

        I’m not sure what the answer is, but it probably starts with the airlines trying to de-escalate. Specifically, on the plane, perhaps the answer is to try to separate the customer service and safety/security components of the flight attendant’s role.

        1. Societies simply cannot function when everyone decides they are going to do their own thing regardless of what is asked.
          I will repeat that everyone of the well-publicized customer service issues came AFTER airline personnel asked passengers to comply with their rules which the vast majority of people can manage to follow. Very few people argue with being told their bag/stroller/whatever won’t fit on the plane, that you really cannot walk down the aisle including to the toilet when the plane is taxiing, or to get off the plane when an airline representative asks you to do so.

          perhaps you missed – or chose to ignore – but one of the most accurate statements that was made at the Congressional hearing came from a Congressman who noted that, regardless of whether the airline was correct or not, when airline personnel and law enforcement officers have repeatedly asked you to do something, it is mind-numbing to think some people want to defy those requests and then act surprised when they get the crap beat out of them.

          Yes, airline personnel need to figure out how to de-escalate situations and I ahve said that on here; however, there is a point where your defiance is not going to turn out nicely and that is true on an airplane, in a concert, or on a street corner with a police officer present. The best thing that is happening with customer service conflict is for airlines to empty the plane and deal with a situation in the gatehouse rather than on the aircraft. I can assure you that the public will get sick and tired of being inconvenienced and will act out at the sole person who can’t conform to societal norms and that is exactly what should happen.

          If you wish to do your own thing, find a nice plot of land in the middle of the ocean and hoist your own flag. If you wish to reside in a world with billions of other people, figure out how to work through established channels to resolve conflict and recognize that you aren’t going to win by choosing to defy established laws and procedures.

          This isn’t the Civil Rights movement where defiance of a morally wrong principle is at stake. This is about compliance with safety and customer service procedures that work for the vast majority of people. If you don’t like them, work through established channels to correct them.

          1. The issue isn’t complying with reasonable instructions, it’s airline employees demanding compliance with UNreasonable instructions that’s the problem.

            Sure, society can’t function if everyone does their own thing. Nor can companies survive if every employee does their own thing without tegard to customer rights either.

            1. This is part of the problem. Is it a customers RIGHT to be up and about when the seatbelt sign is on even if there is some type of turbulence??

              Is it a customers RIGHT to come up from economy to use the first class toilet inconveniencing the first class customers?

              Is it a customers RIGHT to get up with their bags in the aisle when you taxi to the get because they have a tight connection or because they want to get off quicker?

              Is it a customers RIGHT to sit in a more expensive seat even though they haven’t paid for it although it’s empty??

              Is it a customers RIGHT to demand their bag gets onboard although it’s a full flight and they board with the last 10 people??

              I could go on and on.

              People want what they want when they want it and screw everyone else.

            2. thank you…. every one of the customer service issues that were highlighted by video involved well-established procedures that the company and in most cases the FAA requires. They weren’t one-off attempts by an airline employee to make up their own rules. The handling of each of the issues was poor but the rules were standard issue and were complied with by every other customer on those flights.

              The sooner that people accept the situations for what they were – defiant customer responses to established rules that were poorly handled by the airline personnel involved – the sooner the problem can be solved.

            3. That’s all well and good. However, in the case where the doctor was dragged from the plane, it is not agreed, nor tested in court, that the airline acted lawfully. That went viral, damaged the company brand, and considering the repurcussions, might well have led to the reluctance we are discussing.

              Companies of all types have certain discretion to make rules and regulations, within the law. They have no absolute rights outside the law. Thus, if they are entitled to remove someone from a plane, fine. However, step one inch outside what the law entitles them, and it’s assault and battery.

              The point is, that it’s up to companies to train their staff, and ensure their staff know the absolute limits of their powers to act. So, absolutely they should act IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW, stop people acting wrongly. Nobody reasonable would object.

              In many cases, staff are poorly trained or choose to ignore the training. Or, choose to exceed their authority. The response of the airlines seems to be: “Let us fo whatever we want, whether it’s lawful or not, or we will go away and sulk and not enforce any rules.”

              The laws are there for everyone to abide by, including airline companies. If they don’t, perhaps they should be subject to a lot more than some viral videos.

  5. Maybe it is also time for the FAA to revisit some of the “safety” rules that seem overly conservative to passengers and increase frustration, like getting out of seats when the seatbelt light is illuminated to use the lavatory. Can someone be injured by using the lavatory during taxi? Absolutely yes. But the probability is extremely small. More likely you will be injured while standing on the rental car shuttle bus while weaving through traffic with unsecured baggage scattered all around.

    I’ve wondered whether a law like the Colorado ski law would be a model (ie, skiing is inherently dangerous and the resort isn’t responsible if your behavior injures yourself or another person).
    Translated to air travel: if you get out of your seat when the seatbelt light is illuminated, any injury to yourself or others is your responsibility.

    1. …the difference is that when you are skiing you might not impair the ability of other people to get out of the aircraft when necessary.

      and taxiing is only part of the issue. The ATC tapes from the Delta incident show that the pilot repeatedly had to tell controllers that it could not move while ATC was repeatedly asking if they had resolved the situation so other traffic could pass. The aircraft was not stationary at the time the passenger got up according to ATC tapes. The aircraft was within a few positions from taking off and not only had to stop because no one ever knows how long “a quick trip to the bathroom” will actually take and also because not being strapped in really is dangerous for takeoff and landing. Passengers really don’t have any idea where the aircraft is in the process. Even on ramps, quick stops are not uncommon and I have seen FAs have to grab for seats in order to keep from being thrown to the floor.

      If a plane is really stopped for 20-30 minutes and the crew knows it isn’t going anywhere, that is one thing but passengers just need to accept that the crew really does know what they are doing when they request that people be seated.

      And the point still remains that taxiing and being seated is a part of every flight which happens tens of thousands of times per day around the world. The process can easily take 30 minutes or more. Passengers simply have to be able to control their bodily functions or recognize that flying is not for them.

      The human bladder is made of muscle and is designed to stretch. Just because you feel an urge to empty it doesn’t mean you have to respond to the urge at that exact moment. Most people learn that principle before they turn 3 years old.

  6. SWA should do very well with Hawaii considering how much of a beast they are in California. Hawaiian will always be better for local point of sale in Hawaii, but WN will dominate mainland sales.

  7. re:Amazon – I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but when ABX had a pilot strike and wasn’t able to cover their Amazon flying Amazon placed much of it with the other two carriers they have.

    AFAIK, ABX’s part of the Prim Air network shrunk a bit then, and since it hasn’t been growing as fast as the rest of the Prime Air network as Amazon has decided to place the planes with other operators.

    ABX’s pilots should be careful about work stoppages, as Amazon can and will yank the planes from the operating airline. (AFAIK, Amazon can give an operator six months notice and then switch the plane to another operating airline, so the pilots might shoot themselves in the foot and just be left with the DHL flying.)

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