Showing posts with label FAA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAA. Show all posts

December 29, 2017

When The Wires Get Crossed

So the flight coming back from Israel was technologically challenged. 

I'm sitting toward the front of the plane...more room, that's good.

But there are a bunch of families with small children and babies...and that ends up being bad. 

The flight attendants bring out this contraption to hook up a crib device to a front wall of the plane for the parents to put the baby in to sleep. 

But there ends up being one small problem.

The overhead lights are seriously messed up.

This passenger with the baby tries to use his button next to his seat to turn the bright reading lights off--this is like row 10 or something. 

But when he hits the lights off button--instead the lights go off in row 22. 

And they stay on in his row keeping his baby awake and crying virtually the whole flight.

The stewardesses are going crazy trying to figure out where the "wires got crossed" here. 

When they go to row 22 and ask them to turn off their lights--thinking maybe that will turn off the lights in row 10 that is keeping the baby up and crying--but instead that turns off the lights further in the back of the plane in row 30-something. 

This was a really bad comedy going on this plane.

The baby keeps crying and crying.

The stewardesses keep running around trying to figure out how to get the lights working where they are supposed to be working.

And the parents are frustrated as hell trying to calm the baby and get some rest on this lengthy, cross-ocean flight. 

Needless-to-say, all the other passengers trying to get some rest weren't thrilled at this ridiculousness going on.

The plane got us home, but the electrical system didn't inspire any confidence and kept the baby (and us) up almost the entire flight. 

When you think that this was just the lights--oh boy!  

Because what if the wires had gotten crossed between something important like the accelerator and the brake instead?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2017

DISGRACEFUL United Airlines


To all decent human being out there...

Think twice about United Airlines. 

They overbooked a flight and then forcibly removed passengers that had paid for their seats. 

What right does anyone have to sell something that they in essence don't have to sell?

And then treating their passengers like animals, smashing them and busting their lips, and dragging from from seats they paid for!

These passengers just wanted to go home.


On top of it, the joke of a CEO of United Airlines, Mr. Oscar Munoz, defended this abhorrent violence against his paying passengers stating:
"Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose [not that he regrets that they oversold seats and then beat the sh*t of this passenger], I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to do above and beyond to ensure we fly right [this is what he "commends" and consider going "above and beyond" and doing what's "right"--what a complete moral disgrace!]."

While Mr. Munoz had a heart transplant last year, apparently he truly has no heart at all--these are subhuman actions whose defense can only be considered to be the vacuum of any decency or morality in the leadership of United Airlines. 

If no passengers took their offer of $400 or even $1,000 to get bumped, then let them offer $10,000 or more--whatever the market price is to get the seat--but they have NO MORAL RIGHT to force this passenger out of a seat he legitimately paid for and was already sitting in. 

Either United Airlines should immediately apologize and extraordinarily compensate this harmed passenger, promise never to do this again, and fire their corrupt CEO or the public should boycott this disgraceful airline.

Where is the Federal Aviation Administration? 

Where is the board of directors of United Airlines?

Where is justice for this passenger and protection for airline customers?

Please G-d, justice will be done. ;-)
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November 27, 2014

Drones Neighbor Against Neighbor

Fascinating perspective in the New York Times today on the future diabolical use of drones.

Yes, drones can be used for defense, law enforcement, search and rescue, neighborhood watch, agriculture, and even Amazon or Pizza Hut deliveries. 

But what about the darker side of drones--used neighbor against neighbor, where anyone can buy a fairly sophisticated drone for merely hundreds of dollars and use it against others in the community.

- Want to use the (surveillance) camera to spy on your neighbor?

- Want to use its claws to pick up and steal something?

- Want to airlift and plant evidence or contraband and frame someone unjustly?

- Want to distract someone or cause an accident or fatality?

Ok, I am going a lot further than the NYT article...but really what prevents people from doing these things and more?

The article does mention new FAA policies "prohibiting drones from flying [over stadiums] near major sporting events."

But think about a drone in the hands of a terrorist with a dirty bomb or G-d forbid, even a WMD, and the drone swooping into a densely populated area like a stadium or even Times Square...what would prevent this--perhaps, nothing?

Think about it...this is about to become a lot more dangerous world because drones are not just for the good guys anymore, and the bad guys may not care about FAA regulations and penalties. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to outacontext)
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June 18, 2012

Flying The Miserable Skies

So I had booked up on the airline to go to the Florida Keys.

You have to go to Miami first and switch flights—it’s a two-legged trip.

But I decided after the first flight to just to stay in Miami and not go on the second flight to the Keys.

Since the flight was overbooked—not only didn’t the airlines lose anything by me not going, they actually benefited by having my empty seat for another passenger—and making money twice off of the same seat.

Yet, the airline demanded that I pay them a change ticket fee.

This is the first time that I heard of being asked to pay extra for not using a product or service.

Common sense and basic business practice is that if you don’t use something, you get a credit or refund, but the airline was actually demanding I pay an extra fee for this so called “change.”

I explained politely that I didn’t change anything and that I just wanted to be able to get home.

They said even by not getting on another flight that is a change—and as the customer service representative (and I choke on even calling him that) then went on to say, “you will pay for that mistake!”

I reiterated that I didn’t make a mistake or any change, I simply decided not to use the second leg of the trip.

I asked to see a copy of the policy or guidelines where I had to pay for not using something, but the customer rep refused this.

He may as well have said, “Who needs right, when we have might?”

Basically, it came down to, “If you want to go home, you will have to pay.”

As if this wasn’t enough, when I arrived at the airport, another airline representative made me put my rolling carry-on into the sizing device to check that it would fit in the overhead.

Dar-gone-it—I bought it specifically for just that purpose, as it was advertised—why go through this?

In the airport, in front of everyone, they made me empty my things out and put some in another bag to skinny the first--“just a little.”

Then they said, uh ha, now you have an extra carry-on we can charge you for—but I didn’t, I only had two bags, total!

Later, in the airport, I overpaid for a stale sandwich and diet soda.

And for the first time, even after going through airport security and showing my boarding pass and picture identification once, I was then asked to do it all over again—while “walking the plank” to board the flight, with suitcase and sandwich in hand. 

Not long after I sat down, an airline attendant literally shoved my seat up straight, and then reminded me put up my seat before takeoff! Yet the seat was already up—the whole time.

Another comes up and asks me if I was the one who asked about the Internet—no, it wasn’t me, but there’s another customer somewhere onboard who did ask about it—they just forget who it was—oh well.

It used to be that the airlines were just overcrowded, the bagged peanuts were skimpy, and the recycled air was nauseating, but now the flying experience is at a whole new level of yuck!

This is no way to run an industry, treat customers, or generally do business.

On the airline, the stewardess gets on the mic and says “welcome to {Blank} airlines” and hope you enjoy the ride—unfortunately, they are riding all of us. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Kuster and Wildhaber Photography)

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April 16, 2011

Wake Up To Advanced Technology


Yet another air traffic controller asleep on the job today--OMG.
Everyone is upset--as they should be--safety and lives are at stake.

Hello.

Come in...

Is anyone down there?

We need to land.

We have an emergency on board (someone is sick or perhaps the plane is in imminent danger or maybe it's been hijacked).

I guess we need to call back later.

That's CRAZY!

Silence is not golden, in these cases.

In the government (as in private sector control rooms), there are a lot of round the clock duty stations--watching our airports, our borders, and critical infrastructure.

We rely on people to be alert for any problems and be prepared to step up to the plate to take necessary action to safeguard our nation.

When people are "asleep at the switch," they are not only abrogating their basic duty (for which they are getting paid), but they are endangering others and this is obviously unacceptable.

We know this intuitively.

Why has this gotten so out of control lately--Is this a new phenomenon or just one that is coming to light now? Are people taking advantage of the system, genuinely exhausted, or disillusioned with their jobs and giving up--so to say?

There are a lot of questions that need to be explored and answered here and I would expect that these answers will be forthcoming.

Because it is not just a matter of reacting with a doubling of the shift or clamping down on the people involved--although that maybe a good first step to stop the proverbial bleeding; but obviously more needs to be done.

For decades, air traffic control (ATC) has relied on controllers on the ground to guide planes on the ground and in the air, despite new technologies from autopilot to Global Positioning System (GPS) and from on-board transponders to advanced cockpit displays.

Many hardworking government and commercial sector employees have been working to change this through modernization of the processes and systems over the years.

By increasingly leveraging advances in technology, we can do more of what people--like the ATCs and many other of our hardworking watchstanders--are currently being asked to do manually.

This doesn't mean that there is no human (AWAKE! is the expectation) watching to make sure that everything is working properly, but it does mean that the people may be in some instances an augmentation, rather than the primary doers.

In the end, people have got be in control, but technology should be doing as much of the heavy lifting as it can for us and perhaps, as we are a failsafe for technology, technology can in some instances be a backstop for human error and frailty.

It doesn't make us weak to admit our limitations and look not only for people and process changes, but also for technology solutions to help augment our personal capabilities.

(Credit Picture: PN.PsychiatryOnline.org)

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