We May Soon Be Able To Use Electronic Devices On Planes

While having dinner with a pilot once in Los Cabos, he leaned across the table and told our fellow diners and me, “You know you can actually use your electronics in flights, right? It doesn’t affect the plane at all.”

I believed him not only because he was a pilot, but also because we’ve all heard this before, these rumors about the irrelevance of the FAA rules about electronic devices on planes. But I also like to choose my battles wisely, so I always turn off my music when flight attendants ask me to and eagerly wait for the moment I can return to sifting through my phone for songs I’m not already sick of. Luckily for all of us who don’t want to disconnect, the FAA is meeting this week to complete the details on new and relaxed restrictions for electronic devices on planes. It’s expected that we still won’t be allowed to make calls, send texts or use the internet in flight, but more leisurely activities, like music-listening and e-book-reading, should be a go. This will likely make those moments of ascent and descent more peaceful, providing familiar distractions for kids and babies and an escape from unwanted conversations for many adults.FAA Reconsiders Gadget Ban During Flights

Snakes On A Plane… Again

Snakes on a plane is a ridiculous movie concept, but the release of the movie has certainly helped us all to pay a bit more attention to real-life snakes on a plane scenarios. A Qantas flight from Australia to Japan was delayed for a full day recently when a Mandarin rat snake was discovered on board. Mandarin rat snakes are nonvenomous and small — adults don’t usually grow any longer than seven inches, though this particular snake was eight inches long. The snake was removed and eventually euthanized.

Other stories of snakes on a plane:

95 Live Boa Constrictors On A Plane
4 Snakes On A Plane
4 Baby Pythons On A Plane
Thousands Of Snakes On A Plane
14 Royal Pythons On A PlaneSnakes On A Plane: Cobra Escapes, Bites Passenger

How Did So Much Cocaine Wind Up On This Flight?

A couple of passengers departing Caracas, Venezuela for Paris, France checked 31 articles of luggage on the flight, all of which were tagged under false names. Upon investigation, authorities discovered that the bags were filled with 2,866 pounds of pure cocaine. Suspicions were apparently only raised when the passengers who checked the bags didn’t actually board the plane. The flight date was on 9/11 no less, a date we all know for extra precautions at airports, at least in the United States. The unaccompanied bags of cocaine were eventually detained at the Charles De Gaulle airport.Several people have been arrested in France regarding the incident — three are Italian and three are British. Venezuelan authorities have arrested three officers of the National Guard and have said that they expect more arrests to come. According to Minister Miguel Rodriguez, Venezuelan authorities are also suspicious of the airline workers involved in this flight. While we don’t have any further details regarding just how this much cocaine wound up on this plane, it’s pretty clear that with National Guard members and possibly airline workers aiding in the transport of the drugs, a massive coverup and/or coercion may have been present. Most drug rings wouldn’t risk this much cocaine on a single flight unless they felt success was inevitable, a presumption that is contingent on corruption.

$270 Million Worth of Cocaine Found on France Flight

Fuel Costs Aren’t Making Airlines Eco-Friendly

As discussed in an article in The Economist today, airlines should theoretically be becoming more and more “green.” Fuel costs are normally the largest single cost for airlines and rising fuel costs aren’t good for the airline or the customer. One might assume that airlines would pursue fuel efficiency with their bottom line in mind, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, at least not with the most profitable domestic Airline (2009-2011), Allegiant Air. Allegiant was found to actually be the least fuel efficient airline for the year of 2010 in a report recently released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
While it is certainly counter-intuitive that the most profitable airline can also be the least fuel efficient, there are other factors that play into the sometimes ambiguous cost/profit setup of airlines.

Still, The Economist asks the question that I have to echo: “If the bottom line cannot force airlines to be more fuel efficient, what can?” One of the many possible answers to that question is fleet, since almost one-third of the efficiency gap between airlines can be attributed to differences in fleet. Here’s to hoping for the employment of greener planes down the road.

[Thanks, The Economist]

High Fuel Costs End Carriers' Longest Routes

Southwest Airlines Now Has A ‘No-Show’ Policy

Southwest Airlines’ leniency with “no-shows” has been a popular attractor for many customers. The airline has long boasted that their customers get to keep the total value of their flight purchase, even when they simply don’t show up.

While the idea of not losing money in the case of an emergency might seem appealing to the masses, only a small minority of Southwest customers have been taking advantage of this deal and they’ve been doing it habitually. For that reason, Southwest will now be enforcing its own version of a “no-show” policy. Passengers will still receive the full value of their flight purchase if they cancel, but they have to cancel no later than 10 minutes before the flight takes off. This updated policy is still sensible and comparatively customer-oriented.[Thanks, USA Today]

Southwest Airlines Plane Landing Gear Failure Closes LaGuardia