This week’s featured link:
Canceled flights, wrecked vacations and leaky planes: Passenger frustrations rise as American Airlines struggles – Dallas Morning News
The media coverage continues to pummel American for its poor showing this summer. At the Boyd Conference this week, the questions for American mostly focused on fixing the problems and finding out how much it’s going to cost. The long slog continues.
Two for the road:
Captain Al Haynes ‘made the impossible possible’ – United Hub
The captain of United 232 has passed away. He and the three others in the cockpit saved an incredible number of passengers despite the aircraft cartwheeling at the Sioux City Airport after losing all hydraulics. This article itself is light, but at the bottom you can click on a link to read him talking about the events that day.
The Origin of Economy Class – KLM Blog
This is apparently a re-post by KLM, but it’s a great read nonetheless.
The KLM article is interesting, but has a bit of an info gap. So Economy Class was even cheaper than Tourist Class, which sounds pretty bare bones to begin with? It’s not clear what the distinctions were between the two or if Tourist Class simply morphed into Economy Class.
Saw the Dallas Morning News article a few days ago, and skimmed it again. It doesn’t appear to include anything especially new as far as causes and summary of AA’s poor performance (everything in there has been reported in this blog and elsewhere), but the anecdotes (and the fact that a major big city paper in AA’s hometown ran a feature-length story on the subject) are especially damning.
I’m normally fairly agnostic when it comes to airlines, and thankfully live in an area where AA doesn’t have a ton of market share relative to others, but the more I hear about AA’s woes the more determined I am to book away from AA until they get their act together, even if doing so requires a substantial price premium.
I’m surprised a hedge fund hasn’t started demanding major changes at AA yet, or released a 200-slide turnaround plan. If things continue in this direction, that may not be far off.
With MDD and Boeing now long gone and Long Beach having a long antagonistic relationship with the airport, which you yourself have written extensively about, I still maintain that the cities ultimate aim is to close the airport completely. You have any idea how much that land would be worth in property and other taxes if it were to be completely redeveloped as residential, office park, and retail? In prime South Bay.
Matt – I don’t think that’s the city’s intention, but it’s certainly the goal of the anti-airport crowd. Now, the city’s intention can change at any time, but the areas away from the airport would fight that because they like the economic impact. It could happen some day, but I hope not.
As I come across this post, a storm with 50 mph gusts just popped up in the Metroplex.
Update: My flight to South America is delayed 11 1/2 hours! Plane was there, crew wasn’t.
I’ve been stuck so many times on AA this year with delays mainly due to mechanical issues and the slow down is still going on. 2 non-stop flights delayed over 2 hrs each way. on the out bound I asked the agent if there was another way to get to my destination and she said no, this flight is going. after 30min pasted delayed boarding time no announcement was made so I went back to the agent and asked again if there was another way to get to my destination, because I would like to get where I am going this time. she let out a huge humphhhhhh and said I can only get you to LHR, and I was going to AMS. I asked about LHR to AMS and she said there is nothing available, without looking…. the guy behind me laughed and told the agent why are you even here is you can’t help, there were 4 agents at the gate…I left the line and the guy behind me started talking to the agent and she didn;t want to help him either. American has become a sad excuse of an airline and people in the DFW area are stuck because flying anyone else would mean changing somewhere. the Choices of who to fly has dwindled to the point of not much choice when it comes to non-stop service.
Al Haynes was someone special. What he did that awful day back in Sioux City was remarkable. He was truly someone I would have wanted in the left hand seat of any plane I was on.
More importantly, he was humble as people realized what he did. I had a great deal of respect for him, though I never met him, and it had to be rewarding to see the number of people who were alive because of his actions.
Rest in peace, Captain.
As a long time American Frequent Flyer, I’m horrified how the airline has declined in recent years. Labor unrest, operational problems and bad inflight product decisions – tiny bathrooms, less leg room and outback inflight entertainment rollbacks. WE NOTICE!
How much longer can Doug Parker hold onto this job???
I was at United for the Sioux City crash, and every detail is seared in my memory. I had the privilege of meeting Captain Haynes, as he spent a great deal of time making presentations similar to the one transcribed at your link.
Aside from the miracle that anyone survived is the huge contrast between Captain Haynes and some other more recent “hero pilot” characters. Captain Haynes made it his life’s mission to give back to the world in gratitude for having been able to help people survive the unsurvivable. He did not set himself up as an expert on every and all aspects of aviation, nor cash in on the celebrity. (Even though it was Chariton Heston who played him in the TV movie.)