Archive for the Aviation Category

Fraudulent Frequent Flying Fiascos.  Oh, And Happy Canada Day and Independence Day! (July 2, 2018)

Posted in Airlines, Aviation, Boycott Series, Less Government Regulation Series, Price, Transportation on July 2, 2018 by

. . .

K          “In the past, an airline descending into bankruptcy protection did everything to pull out its frequent flyer program.  Now, many of the programs are a fraud and a ruse and . . . morally bankrupt.  United Airlines and Delta Airlines are among the worst offenders.  By contrast, Alaska Airlines still believes that a mile is a mile is a mile is a mile.”

J          “I suffered a stall and spin in March.  After an almost 6000 mile trip in a sardine can in the air, I was iron fistedly begrudged about 1500 ‘miles’ on the ground.  For each 21,120 feet I endured in the air, I ended up with a ‘mile’ in the program.  The new calculation of ‘ground speed’ today is perplexing and vexing.  Some byzantine formula discounts the actual mileage based on purchase price, whether you had a middle seat, whether you ate peanuts, whether the flight was delayed, sun spot activity and other irrelevant factors first foisted on impressionable ‘b’ school students to foist on the public.”

K          “At least the observant traveler who missed the form letter that starts ‘For your convenience . . . ’ becomes aware of the fraud and the ruse each month and can shift loyalty accordingly.  If each consumer acts diligently, the market works adequately.  If consumers are involved, the government does not need to get involved.”

J          “Most of the statements are electronic and not likely reviewed by the consumer with any care.  We are tolerating far, far, far too many M.B.A.s flying around the country.”

. . .

[See the e-ssay at “An Airline (Partial) Survival Guide (January 24, 2005)” discussing the absurd and inefficient pricing scheme for tickets and “Going The Extra Mile:  Today’s Airline Mileage Programs (August 19, 2013)” and “Close the Harvard Business School (February 23, 2009)”.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

21,120 feet in the air = 1 mile on the ground

Fly the unfriendly skies

The first thing we do, let’s imprison the M.B.A.s

Bugging Out To N.Z.:  The Movie, Part 2.  Oh, And Happy Valentine’s Day! (February 12, 2018)

Posted in Aviation, Class, Climate, Collapse, Community, Contracts, Global Climate Change, Kleptocracy on February 12, 2018 by

. . .

K          “Those who want to bug out to New Zealand seem to believe the island is ‘PLAN B’ on this planet.”

J          “And yet the thoughtful folks who think about it observe that ‘There is no PLANet B’ in our universe.”

K          “Not even Mars.” 

. . .

K          “When the funds run out to guard the compound, the guards will walk off the job.”

J          “I would clear the runway and clear the plane to land, visually if necessary.  The first aid kit, fire extinguisher and other supplies on the plane would come in useful.”

K          “The P.I.C. should pack a readily available t-shirt proclaiming ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m only the pilot’ to stand apart and then stand apart when they land.”

J          “When the kleptocrats deplane, they can be debriefed and disabused of their old ideas.  They need to know that the rules have changed.”

K          “The rules may be the same, just the participants will change.  They depart a land where ‘Might makes right’ and land in a land where ‘Might makes right’ also.  The difference is the group with the might has changed mightily.”

. . .

K          “If I were the pilot, I would let the Kleptocrats know that the manifest has changed and take my family and friends.” 

J          “The ‘theory of efficient breach’ provides the inconvenienced Kleptocrats with a cause of action against the pilot for their inconvenience.”

K          “That is a succulent use of a theory that was concocted to allow the wealthy to breach a contract that nuisances them and avoid punitive damages and the likelihood that the other party would be able to pony up the lucre in the ‘pay to play’ legal system.”

J          “I would cherish the opportunity to inform the Kleptocrat: ‘Sue me’ and then part with: ‘I’ll see you in court’ as we run up the engines and begin to head down the runway.”

. . .

K          “I asked him to forward the draft contract when they e-mail it to him.  Is he as pilot obligated to be ready to leave in four hours or six hours or eight hours?  How many family members is he allowed to take with him?  However, when the Collapse comes, all contracts are advisory and voidable.  The pilot can amend the manifest and take his family and friends to the promised land.  That could be the plot twist for the third plane that actually completes the flight.”

J          “We might ‘Immanentize the Eschaton’ in the new land, the New Z-land.”

K          “Perhaps the most prudent strategy for the locals is to bivouac next to the compound, befriend the guards and be ready for the transition.”

. . .

K          “Before takeoff, China will already have taken over both islands.”

J          “Unless an earthquake devastates and cracks the runway first.”

. . .

[Listen to this excerpt from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot (1994) ]

[See the e-commentary at “Bugging Out To N.Z.:  The Movie (June 26, 2017)” and “Immanentize the Eschaton.  Say What? (August 22, 2016)”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

There is no PLANet B

Bugging Out To N.Z.:  The Movie (June 26, 2017)

Posted in Airlines, Aviation, Climate, Collapse, Global Climate Change, Global Warming, Kleptocracy, Movie Reference on June 26, 2017 by

. . .

K          “Last March while hanging around the hangar grounded by the weather, a few fly boys and girls were hangar flying the script for a movie about the New Zealand bug out estates that are all the rage among the parvenu jet set.  And mulled the job opportunities.  We posited three perspectives – the valiant and selfless pilot of one evacuation plane, the oligarch on another air ship, and a kleptocrat’s cute kid on the third bird who questions the insanity and absurdity of the scheme.”

J          “Bugging out is not without bugs and not just the ones implanted on the windscreen.  The first plane may never take off because of mechanical problems, the second air ship may be lost in transit because of navigation and communication difficulties occasioned by the Collapse, and the third bird may arrive to find tents, yurts, buses, campers and other structures and local folks trying to survive who are covering the runway and precluding a safe landing.”

. . .

J          “The thinking is that the pilot’s family must be accommodated on the manifest.  Imagine the pilot’s daughter caught in swelling traffic during the Collapse an hour from the airport compelling her father to stall the departure by claiming that the stall warning system is malfunctioning.  She is trying to taxi her Gremlin to the airport while her dad is faking a gremlin in the cock pit.” 

K          “So let’s say they get everyone safely buckled into the air ship.  Heat conspiring with altitude produces ‘density altitude’ that can ground a plane because the craft physically cannot lift off the ground.  Phoenix may have arisen from the ashes, but the planes at PHX may not arise from the tarmac in the summer.  WX is such a bugger.”

J          “If they lift the craft off the ground and then the GPS system goes south, they are left with no idea whether they are heading north or south.”

K          “The best laid plans.”

. . .

K          “No one is going to inquire whether you have made three touch and goes in the last ninety days.  However, can you make one takeoff and one landing in the next nine hours?”

. . .

K          “Imagine the surprise in the cockpit when they come upon the LZ in NZ.  ‘Robber Baron Estate traffic, N0666Whiskey turning final landing one three  . . .  Romeo Bravo traffic, 66Whiskey overflying the airport.’  No place to run (fly), no place to hide (land).”

J          “They could squawk 7700 to their heart’s delight in a world that will be indifferent to their flight and to their plight.” 

K          “Some of the helpless villagers have silently squawked 7500 all their lives to announce that their existence was indeed hijacked.”

. . .

J          “Even if they armed their jets and mowed down the little people down on the runway, they may not be able to rid the strip of detritus and dead bodies to make a safe landing.”

K          “Dollars are shackles.  If their money is no good, the wage slaves are suddenly emancipated.”

J          “Someone on the ground formerly enslaved on the payroll has little incentive to assist his or her oppressor.  And may perhaps harbor some resentment at his or her former master.”

. . .

K          “So are we on a CFIT or an UFIT?”

J          “We are UnFIT.”

. . .

K          “If you want to make the gods laugh, just share your plans with them.”

J          “We need to laugh.”

. . .

[See “‘Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich” in “The New York Times” by Evan Osnos dated January 30, 2017.]

[See the e-commentary on the prospects for the Empire and the planet passim.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

CFIT:  Society’s flightpath

We are way behind the power curve

No place to run (fly), no place to hide (land)

What happens when you are running out of altitude, airspeed and ideas at the same time?

Pull up . . . pull up . . . pull up.”  . . .  “Or level off if your airspeed is too low.”

Crank, yank and bank

Aviate, navigate, communicate

Fly the plane, fly it where you want it to go, tell someone about it

What are the two most dangerous words in aviation:  “Watch this.”

Stay tuned

World Trade Center Building 7 And The AIA (May 18, 2015)

Posted in Airlines, Architecture, Aviation, Awards / Incentives, Collapse, Courage, Perjury, Profile In Courage Award, Pulitzer on May 18, 2015 by

. . .

A          “If they presented a Profile in Courage lantern, would someone seek the light?”

B          “If they provided a Pulitzer Prize, would someone pursue the truth?”

A          “If they fielded a Fields Medal, would someone prove that 2 plus 0 is not 3?”

B          “It they supplied only two planes, could someone destroy three buildings?”

. . .

A          “On Saturday, delegates of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) overwhelmingly voted down Resolution 15-6 which called for AIA to support a new investigation of the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11 2001.  By a vote of 3892 – 160, the resolution, introduced by AIA member Dan Barnum FAIA, was voted down.”

B          “96% of the delegates voted to ignore the facts, the science, and the evidence which is today common knowledge among those who care about the destruction of Building 7.”

A          “The vote says more about architects, at least 3892 architects, than anything ever said about architects.”

B          “And about 160 architects.”

. . .

Bumper sticker of the week:

Give prizes for the truth and you may get some truth; give prizes for untruth and you will get untruth.

Going The Extra Mile: Today’s Airline Mileage Programs (August 19, 2013)

Posted in Aviation, Market Solutions, Markets on August 19, 2013 by

. . .

A          “That is correct.”

P          “So I drive from my home near Raleigh to the airport and then fly sitting in a middle seat to Kuala Lampur International and wait for seven hours and then fly to Kathmandu International and sit for ten hours and then fly to Timbuktu International Airport and then I arrive.  That is the best you can do under the mileage program.”

A          “That is correct.”

P          “I get it.  I had to accumulate a lot of miles and then the available routes entail enduring all kinds of miles in the air on inconvenient routes with long delays between flights.”

A          “That is correct.”

P          “So that is why they call it a mileage program.”

A          “That is correct.”

P          “That is the best itinerary to get to Durham Airport.”

A          “That is correct.  Would you like the available flights from Ft. Worth to Dallas?  In August, we can route you through Antarctica.”

. . .

P          “The president of the airline is a Harvard MBA and a sociopath who makes 120 million a year and could not make a HO gauge train in his den run on time.” 

A          “That is correct.” 

. . .

P          “You are required to read from a script and stay on message.” 

A          “That is correct.” 

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” at An Airline (Partial) Survival Guide (January 24, 2005).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Remember, we are not happy until you are not happy.”  Today’s Airline. 

Seeding Pollution From The Heavens (February 2, 2009)

Posted in Aviation, Gas/Fossil Fuel, Global Climate Change on February 2, 2009 by

Geopolitical changes opened the northern polar routes to regular commercial air travel.

Commercial aviation cross-hatches the northern skies and deposits exhaust particles from on high.

Exhaust particles create a black shroud on the white snow and clear ice.

The black exhaust particles absorb the sun’s heat and melt the snow and ice rapidly.

The next day, planes fly over and do it again.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Better to be on the ground and wish you were in the air

Than to be in the air and wish you were on the ground

An Airline (Partial) Survival Guide (January 24, 2005)

Posted in Aviation, Economics, Politics on January 24, 2005 by

How do you create a small profitable airline?  Start out with a large profitable airline.  The move of small and large airlines to unprofitable status in America is cause for concern.  The survival of many of Americas private air carrier system is in everyone’s interest.

The current insane pricing system is too baroque and requires one to earn a merit badge or obtain an MA in Ticketology.  There is so much effort expended and time wasted that does not provide any utility attempting to find an even cheaper ticket.  On any given flight, one would need to search a few rows to find someone who paid the same or even a similar price for a ticket.  “That fellow in seat 6C looks smug.  He got a better deal.  I know it.  Next time, one more search, by golly.”  The search itself provides no social benefit.  By contrast, a hurricane that inflicts a billion dollars in damages also inflicts a billion dollars in benefits because of the resulting purchases of plywood, overtime for insurance adjusters, sales of batteries and bottled water, etc.  By contrast, the process of searching for a cheaper ticket does not provide much utility even if a successful outcome provides some fleeting happiness.

The fare structure should be simplified to one fare with desperately few restrictions, conditions or limitations.  Business class fares are undesirable because the tickets are purchased by the public via an income tax deduction provided by our even more baroque and byzantine tax system.  On the other hand, in a free market, perhaps a business class section meets an acceptable public desire.  A Saturday night stay or a Tuesday afternoon stay or a Friday morning stay is not related to the actual cost of transporting humans; stay stays altogether.  Current thirty-day limitations on travel are unfounded, although a requirement that travel be completed within a year provides for the elimination of the liability to the airline within the fiscal year; this limitation really only impacts five customers.  Charging more for a ticket as one gets close to the date of the flight may appear to trap those who have no other alternative.  Trapping those who have no other alternative is inelegant, unsporting and bad business.  Set one price and then let those who want to have that ticket in hand buy a ticket early.  One astute frequent flyer plan allows a participant to walk up to the booth on the day of departure and fly if there is an available seat.  The airline satisfies a previously satisfied customer while extinguishing a liability.  The additional cost of the passenger is little more than peanuts, although admittedly some more fuel is consumed, blankets are worn and thus worn out, flight attendants must attend, etc.

The airlines should not serve much more than peanuts on a domestic flight.  They should provide fast flights not fast food.  All the different dietary needs that have been met commendably by the airlines to date (such as no peanut products in the food, etc.) are too expensive and unwarranted.  Food courts at the terminals provide food more efficiently.  Aircraft space currently committed to the galleys could be used for more seats and for an additional two inches of knee room between each seat.  Flight attendants who were originally nurses would no longer hand out fries and would instead nurse the safety of the larger number of passengers in more spacious seats.  Eliminating the food delivery to the aircraft eliminates the most vulnerable opportunity for a security breach of the aircraft.  And if someone wants to change a return time and there is an available seat, change the time once for $25 and a second time for $100.  Allowing for free time changes does not force the passenger to spend sufficient time at the outset determining his or her realistic travel plans.  Passengers treated this way will be back.

Any action by the government is likely to botch up the necessary market forces.  Create a CAB II?  BAD.  Those who laud the apparent lack of government involvement in the airline industry since 1977 overlook the nearly complete regulation of the industry at this time by the government.  The government agency is known as the United States Bankruptcy Court For The __________ District Of __________.  Bankruptcy courts are appallingly poor economic air traffic cops.  The airlines need to behave rationally with as little government activity as possible.

An airline that cut costs by eliminating these inefficiencies (and absurdities) may survive long enough to achieve profitability.  That best serves the public interest.  There are still the problems of unfunded pension plans and inadequate health care, but that is for another flight.