Most of us know that one of the easiest ways to get through a flight is to drink, but there’s a line passengers can cross with drinking and if they cross it, their flight isn’t going to be any easier. In fact, boozing it up too much on the plane can make a flight a lot more difficult.
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri reportedly engaged in a heated argument with his hair dresser after drinking on a flight to SFO. Take note, travelers! Keep your drinking in check when flying lest you wind up arguing with your hairdresser after landing like Guy Fieri.
(Watch the video of the fight here. Warning: profanity used.)
United Airlines has received a hefty penalty for keeping passengers waiting on airplanes for hours on end while their flights were delayed. The Department of Transportation fined the carrier $1.1 million-the biggest fine of its kind so far-for tarmac delays that happened at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport last year.
Rules that were put in place in 2010 state that airlines will be penalized if they keep passengers waiting around on the tarmac for more than three hours. In United’s case, all the rule breaking happened on one particularly stormy day when 13 separate United flights were delayed because of thunder and lighting. According to the rules, United was meant to give passengers the chance to get off the plane as it was obvious flights would be held up. But the carrier didn’t. And to top it off, bathrooms on the some of the delayed planes weren’t working, leaving passengers in the lurch.The Department of Transportation says United didn’t do a very good job handling the situation and didn’t reach out to other airport personnel for help. The Department of Transportation also slammed the airline for not having a good plan in place to deal with weather-related problems in general. Some of the money from the fine will go to passengers affected by the delays, while another portion will go towards creating a tracking system at O’Hare so United can better monitor its planes.
Airline wine has never severely disappointed me, but it’s never left a lasting impression on me either -– though it seems it may soon do just that.
While airlines have been scrambling almost universally to add fees and reduce amenities whenever possible to make up for rising fuel prices, it appears as though airlines are becoming increasingly concerned with having quality wine around for their passengers. A piece from USA Today yesterday described the thorough process Qatar Airways undergoes to procure its wine. According to the article, Qantas Airlines spends more than $19 million on Australian wine alone each year. It seems as though airlines’ wine programs are becoming more thorough in response to consumers’ tastes. And I think that’s inarguably a good thing.
The New York Times recently reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially ruled that regulations regarding the use of electronic devices on planes when flying below 10,000 feet can be relaxed. This will prove to be a convenience for all passengers and it will likely make flights more comfortable for many (fewer unsolicited awkward conversations, more playlists filled with music that takes you to your happy place). But this move is bound to increase productivity on planes for those who prefer to work while flying when possible. Here’s why:
When flying coach, like I pretty much always do, a compact existence is the key to a smooth flight. This means that if you want to bust out all of the things you need to conduct work after electronics are finally approved for use, you have to set-up your mobile workspace like a ninja to not interfere with the person beside you. This often leads to me not doing any computer work at all. The loosened rules, however, will make it possible for those who need to work to set up their little workspace when they first get to their seat and have some elbow room to work with. Sure, people will still have to fold their tray back into the seat in front for takeoff, but at least everything will be out and usable.2. Interruptions
Most people who work on the computer need to be able to focus. It can be difficult to get back into the swing of work if you started when you first boarded the plane but then had to power everything down for a chunk of time below 10,000 feet. We won’t have to power down now and can instead keep chugging along, hopefully much more focused than before.
Unlike interruptions that cause us to power down in the middle of work, distractions can, in some cases, take an even bigger toll on plane productivity. If you get hooked into conversation with a neighbor who loves talking, which is easy to do if you can’t wear your headphones and at least pretend to be listening to music at the beginning and end of a flight, you’ll be less likely to accomplish what you had hoped to on the plane. These new regulations should help with that.
Cheers to the FAA for making such a sensible ruling and to all of you aspiring to increase your plane productivity: go get ‘em tigers. Or, you know, go get ‘em as long as your battery lasts.
Even though we’re all aware that auto-pilot is flying our aircraft the vast majority of our trip, it’s always reassuring to know that there’s a pilot sitting behind the controls, ready to spring into action in case something goes wrong. Even better, there are usually two pilots up in the cockpit prepared to take charge. So news that a packed airplane heading to the UK was left on auto-pilot as both pilots fell asleep is a little unsettling.
The British Civil Aviation Authority has revealed that the pilot and co-pilot flying an Airbus A330 on an unnamed airline had decided to take turns napping. However, at some point during the flight, one pilot woke from his nap to discover the other pilot was fast asleep. The pilots voluntarily reported the incident which happened in mid-August this year. It’s believed the pair had only gotten about five hours of sleep over the two nights prior to the flight.The incident has sparked debate over pilot fatigue and mandatory rest periods between flights. Proposed changes in Europe would actually mean pilots could go even longer before getting a break, and includes rules like allowing pilots to land a plane after having been awake for 22 hours. The UK pilot’s association, Balpa, is fighting the changes.