Drunk Delta Pilot, American Striking, United Mileage Pooling & More [Roundup]

Drunk Delta Pilot, American Striking, United Mileage Pooling & More [Roundup]
Photo by Miguel Ángel Sanz

This week, the big three legacy carriers all had some pretty negative news. A Delta pilot who was found drunk for his flight was sentenced to jail, the FAA is going to increase audits over United, and American's flight attendants are preparing for strikes across the company.

Not to mention, being in a position of privilege at an airport or with an airline can come with some great perks. However, great perks come with great responsibility. A San Juan airport police officer was caught using his access to the airport to smuggle suitcases full of cocaine!

Police Officer Working at San Juan Airport Used His Insider Status to Smuggle Suitcases Full of Cocaine Into Terminal, Prosecutors Allege
A police officer has been arrested for attempting to smuggle suitcases full of cocaine with a street value of more than $4 million through San Juan International Airport in Puerto Rico in a massive drug trafficking conspiracy that was busted by the FBI on Sunday. Zachary Quiñones-Bon, a police officer with the Puerto Rico Police…

jetBlue surprised us all by drawing down a lot of their west coast operation and cutting entire cities out of their route network. I'm still trying to make heads or tails of the situation, it might be fallout from the failed Spirit acquisition, or they are preparing for a shift in their network scheduling. It will be interesting to see where the airline decides to utilize these planes.

JetBlue Slashes A Third Of Los Angeles, Cuts Fort Lauderdale And Exits Four Cities Entirely - View from the Wing
I wrote this week that JetBlue was telling employees it would pull down flying on the West Coast out of Los Angeles. They’re doing exactly that, and making other significant changes to their route network as well.

This is quite the demand, not just any flights but longhaul flights. American pilots are getting picky and choosy with attempting to direct the airline how to expand its network. This generally does not work out very well if you're adding flights just because, rather than finding the most optimal market to break into.

American Airlines Pilots Demand More Longhaul Flights - Live and Let’s Fly
American Airlines Pilots Want More Longhaul Flights, Decry Current AA Business Model

All I can say is, good. A pilot showing up to work drunk is the biggest safety red flag. That pilot should have known better than to show up drunk and put hundreds of lives at risk. Not only did he break federal laws, but being under the influence could affect the ability for that pilot to fly the airplane. Shame on him.

Delta Air Pilot Jailed For 10 Months For Showing a ‘Reckless Disregard’ For the Safety of His Passengers When He Was Caught More Than Twice Over the Alcohol Limit
A veteran pilot for Delta Air Lines has been jailed in the United Kingdom for ten months after he pleaded guilty to reporting for duty as a pilot while being impaired through alcohol. Captain Lawrence Russell, 63, was sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday following his arrest on June 16, 2023. Prosecutors accused him…

American flight attendants again rejected new pay proposals and have been asking to be released from mediation. Neither them nor the company can come to an agreement in compensation, and we may soon see the flight attendants striking. They have until the end of April to try to come up with an agreement.

American Airlines Has An Interesting Proposal To Keep Flight Attendants From Striking - View from the Wing
American Airlines flight attendants haven’t had a raise since 2019. Their contract became amendable, but negotiations were first delayed by the pandemic and have been slow since. And the value of their wages have been eroded by inflation. The airline has offered to match the top of the industry - what non-union Delta pays its flight attendants. The union has rejected this. Now American has made an intriguing new offer.

Speaking of American, they are joining the free Wi-Fi club... sort of. It'll be ad supported Wi-Fi where you presumably be forced to watch ads for a limited amount of internet time before having to watch more ads. While I'm not the biggest fan of this approach, it is a step in the right direction for free Wi-Fi.

American debuts new Wi-Fi redemptions, but stops short of making it free - The Points Guy
American Airlines will allow you to redeem miles for Wi-Fi, but it won’t make internet service free.

Put on your tinfoil hats for this one. The Tennessee legislature seems to have fallen for the great "chemtrail" conspiracy theory. And while they tried to ban it, they in inadvertently passed stricter emissions for aircraft. Which is a good thing!

Conspiracy In Tennessee: State Senate Votes To Ban Weather Controlling Chemtrails From Planes - View from the Wing
Legislators in Tennessee are convinced that contrails are really government weather control experiments, or targeting of civilians with poison – and the state’s senate has passed legislation to ban “chemtrails” within the state’s borders. Chemtrails is a conspiracy theory that the trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for nefarious and secret purposes.

Great idea, bad implementation. United this week announced point pooling, allowing you to combine points in your family to help redeem for trips. As I am writing this article, the pooling went live and then quickly went back offline. The company said due to a "glitch" they had to shut it down while they work on it some more. This seems like United pushed through a product not ready for market to try to distract from their week of safety issues.

United Airlines New Mileage Pooling Feature Hits Technical Snag Shortly After Going Live
For once, we aren’t talking about a technical fault with one of United’s airplanes but instead an issue with the carrier’s IT systems that marred the announcement of an impressive new mileage pooling feature just hours after it was launched. On Thursday, United Airlines announced that it had become the first carrier in the U.S.…

What was the most interesting article you read this week?

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