One of the things I like best about my day job is that I *never* run out of things to write about. And we had the usual dog pile, making it tougher than usual to ferret out the most interesting five things this week. But here we go!
- I have to give a big high five to the Town And Country Manchester Patch.com news site for some very good coverage on the tornado destruction at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport late last week into this week. Their team of reporters covered every angle, and even managed to get in some video clips.
- When I worked in the airline industry, one of the banes of my existence was getting calls from politicians with requests — and complaints — that showed they had absolutely no clue on how carriers really operate. Thanks to CrankyFlier.com for passing along this gem. The Sacramento Bee reports that Calif. state Sen. Ted Lieu is calling on Southwest Airlines to retire its fleet of Boeing 737-300s after that aircraft type was forced to make an emergency landing after it blew a hole in the top part of the fuselage. Why? Because the planes are too old. Aircraft go through a series of regular checks where they are practically rebuilt, allowing them to fly for decades. There are still Douglas DC-9s out there that are older than me and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them.
- New York Times travel columnist Joe Sharkey wrote an article — Piecing Together the True Cost of Flying — that tries to make sense of mounting airline fees. I’m not a fan of fees, but airlines have to report to shareholders and make profits. And since you folks won’t pay higher fares, airlines are using fees to make up the difference. You don’t believe me? A report released in July by U.S.-based IdeaWorks found that 96 airlines made $13.5 billion in 2009 on ancillary revenue.
- I recently had to check on my Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account and realized I had an award that was mere days away from expiring. I paid the $50 to extend for another year, so all is well. But this story from our good friend Chris Elliott of Elliott.org is on what happens when those awards expire. Don’t forget to take the poll at the end of the story.
- I’m really enjoying the ArizonaBuffaPho blog. The blog is written by a friend, a retired airline executive and air service consultant helping a new Vietnamese airline get off the ground. Vietnam has always been on my list of places to visit, and he makes me want to go there — tomorrow!!
I’m still in mourning because there was no Airplane Geeks podcast, but we can all console ourselves with “Strange But True Aviation News,” which did not disappoint this week. We had a very unusual case of lost baggage, the latest from the TSA police blotter and an interesting way to get from LaGuardia to LAX.
As a kid, I was a regular watcher of “The Carol Burnett Show.” Please enjoy this hilarious 9:46 clip of a sketch that she, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway did, entitled “No-Frills Airline.” Enjoy!!