In her last public talk as National Transportation Safety Board chairman on April 21, Deborah Hersman made a final pitch at the National Press Club for child safety restraints in commercial aircraft. The NTSB has been trying to convince the FAA to mandate the equipment for several decades, and Hersman used the 1979 crash of United Airlines Flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa, to make her point. Although the accident claimed 111 lives, another 185 people on board survived. A number of small children were among the passengers that day.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA) has responded to an October 2 ABC News story in which a passenger questioned an American Airlines captain’s decision to return to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) after declaring an emergency. The passenger suggested that the emergency might simply be another labor jab at American management rather than a true emergency.
If the drop in the number of attendees at last year’s annual NBAA Flight Attendant Conference was a result of economic uncertainty, then perhaps the increase in attendees this year suggests a market recovery. Few would be willing to publicly embrace such a notion, but the fact remains that the 197 attendees at this year’s conference in Philadelphia was a healthy increase over the 149 who turned the stiles last year in Nashville, Tenn.
“One last thing. Delay taking your breath until the water reaches your waist, then follow the procedure the way we briefed,” said Survival Systems training coordinator Bobbi Lytle as we hung by a cable above the water in a big, blue “pretend” aircraft. I was strapped in the front seat with a four-point harness. At the command, “Ditching! Ditching!
In her final speech before the Washington Aero Club last month, former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey chided the airlines for causing most of their own delay problems with flight schedules that “are at times out of line with reality.”
Few things can make or break a flight as thoroughly as catering. Caterers know it, and passengers know it. So do the schedulers and dispatchers who order it and the flight attendants who serve it. That considered, said Brad Thomas, catering director and executive chef at Lindy’s in San Diego, “the goal of everyone is to make the passengers happy.”