Airline Collusion, Boeing Whistleblower, LATAM 787 & More [Roundup]

Last updated on Mar 16, 2024

Posted on Mar 16, 2024

This was quite the week for news stories with developments in the criminal probe for the 737MAX issues, people trying to access the cockpit on an Alaska flight, and confirmation that airlines are the reason why your food in the air sucks.

Most of the time, I feel like I need to pack my own food and (non-alcoholic) drinks on the airplane. If you're stuck in economy, the food kinda sucks. Usually it's insanely expensive if the meal isn't complimentary, and it's just a cold sandwich or an assortment of warm wilted fruits.

How Airlines Colluded To Ensure Onboard Food Would Be Awful - View from the Wing
A special IATA meeting was held in London to define a sandwich, and hear violations. The airline industry body declared that sandwiches had to be “cold… simple… unadorned… inexpensive” and had to “consist of a substantial and visible chunk of bread.” Moreover they could not contain anything “normally regarded as expensive or luxurious, such as smoked salmon, oysters, caviar, lobster, game, asparagus, pate de foie gras” nor could they feature “overgenerous or lavish helpings which affect the money value of the unit.”

With all the robust security measures in place post-9/11 and empowerment of passengers to protect themselves in the case of a problem in the sky, who would ever think it was a good idea to try to access the cockpit? What's even worse is that the flight was heading to Washington DC, which means extra scrutiny around any flight. To top it all off, the kid was a student pilot!

Alaska Airlines Passenger Attempted to Access Cockpit On Three Separate Occasions On Washington DC Flight to ‘Test’ Flight Attendants
A student pilot and passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight from San Diego to Washington Dulles Airport made multiple attempts to gain access to the cockpit before off-duty police officers who just happened to be on the flight managed to restrain the suspect with flex cuffs, a criminal complaint alleges. Nathan Jones has been charged…

Color me absolutely shocked that a major whistleblower was found dead while testifying about the safety of Boeing. While there is no evidence of foul play yet, this situation certainly stinks. The loss of any life is tragic, and I would hope that no matter what, safety is the top priority and accepting fault and correcting action is the correct outcome.

Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead In His Car... - Live and Let’s Fly
John Barnett, a former Boeing employee turned whistleblower was found dead in his truck, with authorities attributing his death to suicide.

Hey it's me! I wrote a guest article over at Eye of the Flyer exploring "scope clause" and how it hinders the regional airline industry. We have a debate about who is at fault, is it pilots who work at mainline carriers or greedy airline executives?

Inside the Airline Industry: What are “Scope Clauses”? - Eye of the Flyer
In the complex world of airline operations, a key term you might encounter, especially around contract negotiation time, is “scope clause.” But what exactly is it?

Airlines are slowly starting to resume flights to Tel Aviv. Along with United, Delta will resume service from New York on a daily basis but with weak demand we probably won't see multiple daily flights for awhile.

Delta Air Lines Resuming Flights To Tel Aviv, Israel
As of June 2024, Delta Air Lines will resume daily flights between New York and Tel Aviv. Here are the full details of this updated service.

Virgin Atlantic award flights are 50% off! I took advantage of this deal along with their bonus miles for buying miles. The only downside is that you have to pay UK taxes and that can easily be hundreds of dollars even for an award ticket. I ended up redeeming 32,700 miles and paying around $500 cash for a Upper Class flight from Europe to the USA.

Virgin Atlantic: 50% Off Award Flights (Flights Between US & UK) - Doctor Of Credit
Virgin Atlantic is offering 50% off award flights

This story keeps getting more interesting. According to some reports, it was a runaway captain's chair that jammed the pilot up against the controls and forced the flight into a nose dive momentarily before the crew could adjust the seat and recover the aircraft. Scary, and will probably lead to some safety enhancements to the cockpit seats.

LATAM Boeing 787 Plunge Caused By Cockpit Mishap?
A LATAM Boeing 787 entered a rapid descent recently, causing injuries. Investigators believe this was due to a cockpit seat mishap.

Ew... Just ew... of my top tips that I can give you when flying, don't take your socks off. These floors are gross, not cleaned very well, and could easily have urine or vomit residue. Please, whatever you do when you fly just remember, don't let your bare feet touch the floor, and when you use the bathroom wear shoes unless you want your socks to soak up all that urine.

No Socks Given: United Airlines First Class Passenger Turns Cabin Into Clothesline - View from the Wing
A United Airlines first class passenger “took his shoes and socks off, then hung his dirty socks on the seat-back so they could dry” on Thursday. Flight attendants said nothing, but a man sitting across the aisle couldn’t help bringing it to social media - asking how United Airlines could permit such behavior.

That wraps up my most interesting bits of news this week, have a great weekend and we'll see you next week!

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