Friday, March 11, 2011

To Fee or Not to FEE! To Fly or Not to Fly...

Airlines took in some $22 billion in add-on fees (checked baggage, meals, ticket changes, etc.) last year. Naturally, they are considering other services where fees might apply. A few are actually being considered.

Reservations: online, $5; talk to real person on phone, $10; bad weather cancellation insurance, $15; tarmac delay exit via chute fee, $25; guaranteed reservation, $15; order a champagne meal, $25.

Seat choice: wider (four inches) seat zone, $50; aisle, $15; window, $20; reclining seat, $20 (activated by cabin attendant); quiet zone (no talking allowed) fee, $25; front of the plane coach seating, $15; seat next to your children fee, $5 per child.
Airport check-in: automated, $5; talk to real agent, $10; concourse moving walkway or escalator pass, $10; individual motorized wheelchair available to anyone, $15 (standard wheelchair use remains free); carry-on baggage bin fee, $10 (items fitting under the seat in front of you are free); body mass index (BMI) fee, rising scale $10-$50 (all passengers required to show official current BMI measurement card); purchase bag of coin tokens for on-board use (see below), $10.

Security: go to head of the line fee, $25; full body pat down by TSA person of choice (from daily roster photos posted at metal detector), $20; watch full body scans of other passengers fee, $100.

Boarding: Get on the plane first (limited to 100 passengers) fee, $30.
On board: bag of tokens for coin operated TV, bathroom access including extra toilet paper, vomit bag release, and high or slow speed wi-fi access, $10; use of on-board library (no carry-on reading materials allowed) fee, $10; cabin attendant attention (get served first with a smile) card fee, $15; change of seat (if available) option, $15; drop down oxygen (ensures breathing apparatus works) fee, $50; safe landing fee (basically for the pilots, like the tip jar at Starbucks,) suggested $50.

Destination arrival: get off the plane first (seat belt lock release activated by cabin attendant) fee, $15; luggage carousel fee, $10; first off luggage fee, $10.

With all the new fees, the actual airfare may become a minor consideration; to fee or not to fee, or to fly or not to fly.

FAA Secretly Removes live saving Oxygen Generators from Airline Lavatories...But they Leave the Masks!

FAA secretly removes airline lavatory oxygen generators, flying public put in harms way...again!

Is this actually TRUE, I asked myself, so I asked Mr. Bing. It’s AD 2011-04-09 (We will post the Directive shortly) says, in part,

The AD requires either activating all chemical oxygen generators in the lavatories until the generator oxygen supply is expended, or removing the oxygen generator(s); and, for each chemical oxygen generator, after the generator is expended (or removed), removing or re-stowing the oxygen masks and closing the mask dispenser

So, take out the O2 source, but put the mask back, shut the access door, and walk away, quietly. They say, in effect, “Not to worry, the odds are low.” The odds of requiring oxygen on an airliner are low, unless the situation actually arises. Then, the odds of needing oxygen are exactly the same at every point inside the aircraft. That’s because the time of useful consciousness—the time during which you can still help yourself—drops drastically as altitude rises. Here’s the data on that:

OK, so droning IAD to SFO at 35,000 ft (flight level 350), your TUC is 30 to 60 seconds. In that time, you must find a source of O2, or you will pass out. Period, non-negotiable. In the time approaching the limit, “useful” becomes a less and less relevant term. That is, you may be theoreticially capable of strapping on a mask 30 seconds into the event at FL350, but your mileage may vary with age and physical condition.

So, the FAA is calculating, in fact, that there WILL NOT BE A DECOMPRESSION. If that’s so, then heck, let’s take all the O2 systems out of aircraft. Think of the weight and fuel savings!! Neat!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

As Winter Storms pound Chicago and New England, is here to help!

At O’Hare, where more than 1,300 flights were canceled Tuesday, most airlines have indicated little or no flights will operate Wednesday.

Despite the canceled flights, both O’Hare and Midway International Airports remain open, according to the aviation department.

Travelers are advised to check their airlines’ websites for flight status before hearing to the airports. For flights that are able to depart, passengers are encouraged to arrive early at the airport -- at least two hours before flight time, the release said.

Many airlines are offering re-accomodations at no extra charge when winter storms threaten to cancel flights, so check the airlines website or call for help at (877) 359-3776.