Cracks on American Airlines Boeing 767 planes “cause for concern”

Experts from American Airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing are working overtime to inspect all Boeing 767 aircraft in the AA fleet.

The inspections were ordered after cracks were detected on a 767 which regulators say could have resulted in the loss of an engine.

During the past two weeks, inspectors found problems on three of the planes, promoting calls for “additional action.”

The cracks were found in engine pylons, which are the structural members that hold the engines on the wings, though none of the parties involved are going as far as to claim there is any danger.

This is not the first time Boeing planes have had issues with engine pylon structures – cracks in engine fuse pins were to blame for the 1992 El Al Boeing 747 crash in Amsterdam, killing 43 people.

According to FAA records, one of the planes found to have serious safety issues had only flown 500 trips since its last major inspection – which is prompting Boeing to recommend more regular safety inspections. At the moment, the pylons are only inspected after 1500 flights.

Of course, everyone involved is quick to point out that the safety concerns are not the result of missed or botched inspections. American Airlines says it expects to finish all inspections of its 56 Boeing 767s today.

If the FAA does alter current safety inspection rules, about 360 Boeing 767s will have to be inspected in the United States, along with hundreds more in use abroad.

[Image from: Flickr/Deanster 1983]

Pocketknife found on plane causes major security drama at Dallas airport

The discovery of a pocket knife on an American Eagle plane at Dallas Fort Worth airport triggered an aircraft evacuation, passenger rescreening and a two hour delay.

The knife was found by a passenger between two seats, and while common sense tells us that someone probably found it in their pocket after simply forgetting to remove it, the TSA treats these incidents as a major breach of security.

Of course, the stupid knife should never have made it through the checkpoint in the first place, but items making it past the checkpoint is barely news any longer.

I fully understand asking the TSA to come pick up the knife, but to force everyone off the plane is just stupid – and reinforces the idea that they are not doing their job correctly. If the TSA had faith in what it does to protect us, they should have taken the knife, apologized to all the passengers, and let the plane depart on time.

Flight attendant photographs obese passenger / safety hazard

The story behind this photo is that a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight pulled out her camera phone to show how airlines deal with the problem of obese passengers. As you can see, no amount of seat belt extenders is going to help this fellow “of size”.

The photo was sent to Kieran Daly at Flightglobal, and according to the source, it is 100% authentic. Commenters who were on the flight say the poor passenger in the middle was pulled from the flight, given a voucher for his inconvenience and put in first class on the next flight.

Several things come to mind when looking at this photo – first of all, nobody in front of this guy will be getting anything to drink, as there is no way the trolley will fit through that gap. Secondly, in the event of an emergency, I would not be surprised if this guy does not manage to fit through the emergency exit.

In my opinion, American Airlines should have denied the man boarding until he ponied up the cash for a second (or third) seat. Letting him board, and then forcing another passenger to be bumped is pretty unfair.

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Kids fly free to Vail this winter

Skiing is not a cheap hobby. For those who don’t live close to the slopes, just getting to their favorite ski resort can cost hundreds of dollars, especially for families. But those going to Vail may find it a little more affordable. . . well at least for the flights.

American Airlines, which operates several nonstop routes to Eagle Airport (30 minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek), is offering free flights for kids traveling with adults this winter. Each paid adult can bring one child for free on flights departing Sunday through Wednesday and returning Monday through Friday, from December 1 to 17 and January 3 to February 10. Within the selected date ranges, there are no blackout dates.

The offer is good on connecting flights to Eagle Airport as well. Kids also ski free on the day of arrival and get free transport to Vail or Beaver Creek from the airport.

The $10 airline peak “surcharge” is here to stay

Last week, we reported on a new money making scheme concocted by the airlines. In a nutshell, they are raising fares by $10 on the busiest days of the year. The scheme started as a fee from one airline on three days around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then other airlines followed, turning it into an industry wide scam scheme.

Well, apparently the bean counters at the various airlines loved it – because they have expanded it to a whole bunch of other dates.

Farecompare.com has the dates listed as:

  • November 29 – November 30, 2009
  • December 19, 2009
  • December 26 – December 27, 2009
  • January 2 – January 3, 2010
  • March 14, 2010
  • March 20 – March 21, 2010
  • March 28, 2010
  • April 11, 2010
  • May 28, 2010

That’s right – when you need the airlines the most, they’ll make the most money off you. Some airlines were smart, and hid the $10 surcharge in their fares (American Airlines is a good example of this), others simply tack it on top of the other fees and surcharges added to your ticket.When the first wave of “peak surcharges” was added, you could opt for a different airline, but as is often the case in the airline world, most airlines have copied American Airlines, so it’s going to be one of those times when the airlines win. In other words – get used to these new fee generating methods.

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(Via Walletpop)