Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jet Blue, To Richmond (RIC)



JET 012 Having to attend a “Mandatory 40th Birthday Party” in Richmond, Virginia, I am flying Jet Blue direct from Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Flight 1282 scheduled to leave at 12:45pm actually leaves the gate about 9 minutes early.





JET 006 Today's Jet Blue flight is onboard a Brazilian made Embraer E-190. The E-190 is a comfortable cabin with two and two seating.







JET 010 Jet Blue E-190 Leg Room Seating



JET 008 About 30 empty seats on a Saturday morning I end up in a row by myself that has lots of leg room and storage space for my backpack.






Jet Blue offers onboard entertainment from DirectTV, bring your own headset or purchase one for $2 and it is yours to keep. Sure is nice to watch ESPN College Football while cruising at 39,000 feet.


JET 023 About twenty minutes into the flight we are offered complimentary snacks and beverages.

From Doritos Munchies Mix, Chifles Plantain Chips to Arizona Iced Tea and Coke products, Jet Blue customers have a nice selection to chose from.






JET 014 On flights over 3 hours and 45 minutes buy-onboard meals can be purchased for $6. No cash, credit or debit cards only.






This afternoon it turns out to be very smooth at 39,000 feet. Watching NC State and Georgia Tech playing, if my inseat TV had a bigger screen I would be inclined to believe I was in sports bar minus the rowdy sports fans.



JET 019 ESPN College Football On Jet Blue


We arrive in Richmond a few minutes early and I am very impressed with this flight on Jet Blue. Give Jet Blue a try the next time you fly, I am betting you will also be impressed.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Airlines Report Profits And Record Load Factors


In recent weeks most US Airlines have reported record load factors for air travel.


Picture 1593 For August 2010, Southwest Airlines reported a rise in traffic along with a 15 to 16% increase in revenue per seat mile from a year ago.







For the same period, Delta Airlines, the world's largest reported a decrease in domestic traffic but an increase for international traffic.

This overall increase in traffic and air travel demand has lead to decent quarterly profits for most airlines. However, the airline industry still has a long way to go in orders to make up for the almost decade of losing money.



For consumers, I believe this increase in traffic and air travel demand will lead to higher ticket prices. Although disappointing to many, airline ticket prices have remained depressed for too long and have stagnated the airlines returning to profitability.

Even at these increased prices air travel is still a bargain and consumers must be reconditioned to realize this. Airlines can do their part by improving their customer service and flight performance. I notice recently that some airlines are upgrading their in flight services including bringing free pillows and blankets back.

$900 round trip to Europe may not be such a bad deal if the airline provides you with a pleasant flight experience.


Spain 219 Visiting Spain in the summer, The Alps in the winter or Holland in the spring can be priceless if you are not jaded by poor airline service or ticket prices that are too high.





Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Simulators Not To Blame For Airline Safety


simulatorCaters_450x375 According to a USA TODAY analysis of federal accident analysis, flaws in flight simulator training help trigger some of the worst airline accidents in the past decade.

I beg to differ.




Except for severe mechanical failures most aircraft accidents are caused by lack of good pilot judgment. Simulators can only teach skill sets not good judgment. Good judgment comes from applying one's experience for which there is no substitute. Anyone can master flying a simulator but be a dummy when it comes to real life experiences.


FSX-box-artwork-Deluxe Just purchase a Microsoft Flight Simulator for $39.99 at Target and in six easy lessons you can become a pilot. Unfortunately, this is the approach the FAA, ALPA (Professional Pilot Union) and some airlines have taken in the past.

Airlines under the oversight of the FAA have allowed pilots with only 250 hours of flying experience to operate jet aircraft.




Prior to this reduction in pilot hiring experience most airlines would not offer employment to pilots with at least 1500 hours of experience. A huge difference in experience level when it comes to operating an aircraft.


Picture 1489 As usual the FAA and NTSB places the blame where it hardly belongs. In the Colgan Air crash that killed 50 people near Buffalo on February 12, 2009 in an ice storm, one of the pilots had never flown in ice.

Lack of pilot experience.



The other pilot had failed several performance test during his career but remained employed as an airline captain. Poor employer judgment.

A December 20, 2008 Continental Airlines crash in Denver that injured six and destroyed an airplane, the NTSB in part blamed deficient simulator training. However, again no amount of simulator training can replace experience and good judgment.


Snoop Each pilot should be aware of his personal and aircraft limitations.

Good judgment and experience allow you to respect those limits. If a pilot cannot control an aircraft that has not had a severe mechanical failure then hat pilot has exceeded both limitations.


Airplanes are not designed to take off in any conditions. Safety requires that pilots use good judgment when operating an aircraft. You can simulate certain conditions all day long but it will never substitute for experience and good judgment.

As USA TODAY noted simulator training is credited with saving thousands of lives. However, I would suggest this happens because of pilots being able to apply real life experiences to what they learn during simulator training. Most pilots acquire their experience outside of flying simulators and are only required to have simulator training once a year. Once a year simulator training can only begin to touch the surface of the problems USA TODAY suggest in it's report.

A better way to address the problem is to make sure airlines hire pilots with an ample amount of experience who also demonstrate good judgment. Basic to being a safe pilot, from day one, pilots are taught and required to know their aircraft limitations. Over time experience teaches your personal limitations.

Combining the two with good judgment and you increase the chances of becoming not only a safe pilot but a retired one. No simulator required.