Turnabout is fair play, so today we are turning over this article to RE, our pundit extraordinaire from The Suss for her thoughts and comments to some of yours. What say you, RE?
In an article done in USA TODAY, a report suggested that airline maintenance on may be shoddy. The article states, "During the past six years, millions of passengers have been on at least 65,000 U.S. airline flights that shouldn't have taken off because planes weren't properly maintained, a six-month USA TODAY investigation has found." The article further stated that "shoddy work or failure to do repairs can often go undetected because of inconsistent or ineffective FAA and airline oversight."
In citing some examples USA TODAY described an emergency landing of an American Airlines plane that took off without catching mistakes of maintenance workers before an engine caught on fire during takeoff from St. Louis Sept. 28, 2007. They made an emergency landing and the passengers were safely evacuated, but the plane had "substantial damage." Not scared enough yet?
Here is another example they cited, this one about United Airlines: "After takeoff from Denver on April 28, pilots noticed low oil pressure and returned to the airport. United mechanics inspecting the engine found that two towels, instead of required protective caps, had been used to cover openings in the oil sump area when maintenance was done four months earlier."
Okay Cher,I don't know about you, but I won't be buying tickets any time soon.
heres' the real deal - airline deregulation in the 1980's led to the stupid structure of most airlines today.
the maintenance schedules include only the required work that is checked by the faa pop inspections. pop inspections are held when an airlines seems to have a less than satisfactory rating from their chief mechanic. yes the chief mechanic is required to submit the maintenance records yearly to the faa for the fleet he is in charge of. who goes through all that data ? welll now that's the problem.
the faa is in charge of collecting it, but the ntsb only utilizes it in the case of need. yes I said need. like if a plane crashes, has an engine failure or some other catastrophic incident like was described in the article. then they "need" that data to find out what happened. wow..
when I found this out, I was not only flabbergasted but I now make it a habit of checking as much as I can about each flite before I take it. I want to know what kind of aircraft is used; where it came from or is it fresh ? is this the chief workhorse of this carrier, or one of their short haul birds ? all of this is important to know but usually takes a little of work to find out. you can do alot of the work on the carriers sites; where they give you their statistics and capabilities. that's what they call their equipment manifest and route breakdowns. yeah jargon.
then you need to look at the schedule for your flight and see what kind of aircraft is used, as well as where it originates. you may be able to get that info by calling. I make as many of my flights in the early morning as possible to get a fresh plane; which has probably had maintenance overnight in the slot before boarding. that's the optimum situation for a long haul flight. anytime I take a over the pond it's a nite flite. hopefully out of the Midwest, so that I know they've had hours to get their maintenance done; while loading and getting ready for customs and the ins clearances.
the safety concerns are more of a question for me these days, and I've followed some basic rules as I've ventured around the world in various types of planes, trains, boats and cars.
in the Caribbean I've flown LIAT alot. they sell tickets on the tarmac with a scale. yes a scale. notice that lil box at the bottom of the steps, that's a scale folks. and yes you are being weighed before you get on that plane, yes you are.
they know how much weight is on the plane before it takes off. so that means you don't know if you're going to be seated next to a space; a passenger or a bundle. as long as the weight is right, they put it on. and guess what Cher, they've never had a crash, engine failure or any problems with their aging fleet. most of the smaller carriers take care of their bread and butter.
this btw is not the carrier who was carrying Aaliyah when she crashed, because the airplane was overloaded with equipment. that was an american carrier. yep.
safety in Europe on airplanes is much different than in the us and it makes you feel more comfortable. I flew klm habitually or ba instead of ua or nw. they were on the same routes, at the same time and for me it was just a peace of mind issue.in Europe, you see people working on the airplanes. in the us you may or may not. usually you don't. that's the problem.
Honestly Cher, until that trust between the airlines and the passengers is restored, no one will enjoy flying; and the service will continue to erode. sadly I believe we are witnessing the death of the American airlines industry; and joyfully we are witnessing the rebirth of the American auto industry. somehow the airlines carriers have to come to grips with their safety and customer service issues if they want to retain their slice of the American leisure travel dollar.
flying in general these days for me is an only if I must do it issue. I only fly if I must; because if I can I Drive.
yes I drive between Fla and MI. it's easy. I stop in GA and rest up and then head for home. it's no real biggie since I get there with all my undies intact, and no feeling up my personal parts by strange women (who look like escapees from the wwf). I also know that the engine in that bird I'm flying is grounded; and the parts holding it together are serviced regularly and maintained properly. I check my fluids and make my own peace of mind. that's what the airlines, the FAA and the NTSB in America have failed to do for their passengers.
So Cher that Makes Two Of Us, and I'm Traveling Real Soon
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