Naked Florida Man, Passenger Death Penalty & More [Weekly Roundup]

Charlie Mortling

Los Angeles, CA

Last updated on Feb 11, 2024

Posted on Feb 11, 2024

This week seemed to be all about passenger experience. Delta announced new cabins, American Airlines is struggling with customer service... still, and a Canadian man is facing the death penalty for pulling an evacuation slide.

I think it's important that airlines should be improving their onboard customer experience. Each of the three legacy carriers in the US has cannibalized their loyalty systems and instead of the diehard loyalists we now have passengers picking the better customer experience and price.

Delta seems to be somewhat listening and has committed to reconfiguring their oldest cabins as well as rebranding their onboard product. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that. The renderings shared give me a strong Air France vibe with the dark blues and dark reds. I think the accent walls for their cabins look pretty neat, however the overall darker cabins will be a stark change to their current cabins.

Delta leans into darker hues with possible cabin rebrand - The Points Guy
Frequent Delta Air Lines fliers are familiar with the palette of its airplane cabins, but that look might be about to change with an interior rebrand.

Continuing my partnership with Eye of the Flyer, this week I wrote about pilot communication. A vital link between pilots and their dispatchers is essential for real-time communication of hazardous weather or communicating any problems while in the air.

How Do Your Pilots Stay Connected in the Air? - Eye of the Flyer
While pilots navigate this complex world, they’re not alone. Behind the scenes, a vital communication network keeps them connected to their ground support: dispatch. Pilots work closely with their dispatcher to ensure safety of flight and to get real time updates while in the air for the best rides and route of flight. This critical […]

I'm quite surprised by this one. A Canadian man in Thailand was arrested and faces a death penalty for opening the emergency exit and deploying the slide wile they were taxiing out to the runway. I think the death penalty is quite a hard punishment, hopefully it'll be pleaded down to a fine. However, I'm not against harsh fines for passengers that disrupt operations like that.

A Canadian Man Potentially Faces the Death Penalty for Deploying an Evacuation Slide - The Bulkhead Seat
A passenger is in serious trouble after opening an emergency exit door and causing a slide to deploy on a Thai Airways flight. The incident took place at Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) on February 7th and under Thai law he faces huge fines, up to 20 years in prison, and even the death penalty.

This gets on my nerves, elite fliers feel like they deserve first class seats. Complimentary upgrades are just that, complimentary. You are entitled to nothing, and if you want a first class seat, then buy it. As someone who holds top tier status at Delta, I know the anticipation I get for a complimentary upgrade, but I know at the end of the day I'm not entitled to it. Pilot unions obviously have a good negotiator for working that into the contract, so good on them. I haven't depended on a complimentary upgrade in a long time, if I want First, I'll buy it.

No, The Pilot Did Not Steal Your First Class Upgrade... - Live and Let’s Fly
When I hear folks says that a pilot stole their first class upgrade, I am sympathetic, but I don’t blame the pilot or call it stealing.

To me, American Airlines is a bottom tier airline for customer service. They are constantly in the news for some sort of passenger drama or problems within the airline. Just last week it was about them moving customer service overseas, this week it's bad flight attendants. I believe that their flight attendants should get compensated fairly, but stories like this make it hard to support them in their current negotiations.

No Service In First Class: American Airlines Flight Attendants Glued to Phones Amidst Service Slump - View from the Wing
United Airlines has been warning flight attendants not to have their face in their phones. It’s bad for customer service, and ostensibly cabin crew are there to be paying attention to safety not Candy Crush. I have seen no such warning memos from American. I have, however, heard flight attendants talk to each other about performing the minimum required service because of contract negotiations that are dragging on.

Filing this firmly in the 'Things I Expect Florida Man to Do' folder, a naked Florida Man walked through the Fort Lauderdale airport and attempted to walk through TSA security. At least we know he's not concealing any weapons!

A Naked Passenger Walked Through Fort Lauderdale Airport and Tried to Get Screened by TSA - The Bulkhead Seat
A naked man casually strolled through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on Monday and tried to get screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This is certainly a way to not have to stop and empty your pockets or remove your shoes.

In a misuse of the term AI, KLM looks to be trialing a program to reduce the number of meals they load on an airplane. I believe this is less of using AI and more like what airlines do when overbooking aircraft. They take the average percentage of passengers who don't show up for a flight and reduce their meal load along those same lines.

KLM Reducing Food Waste With Artificial Intelligence
Here’s how KLM is reducing food waste across its network by using artificial intelligence. This is an interesting system.

Sigh... I don't want to get political. But I feel like someone was embarrassed for their own mistake on this one and wants special treatment so they can hide their insecurities.

Ted Cruz Shields Politicians From Pesky Constituents At US Airports - Live and Let’s Fly
Ted Cruz added language to a FAA authorization bill that will spare lawmakers from the public at US airports with private screening and security escorts.

Same on Boeing, one of the most fundamental items on the 737 MAX9 is the door plug. If you don't have robust enough measures to ensure the door is secured properly from the factory, then you are doing something wrong. I have harped on this before, but Boeing is profit driven and their quality control has become so terrible it will kill someone sooner rather than later.

Bolts Were Missing From Door Plug on Alaska Airlines Airplane
Bolts were missing from the door plug on an Alaska Airlines airplane that caused the door to blow off of the brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 9…

To be honest, I think twice before booking a non-changeable ticket. I don't care that it isn't refundable, but I care more about the changeability of the ticket. For some trips I speculatively book a ticket during a sale and once I work out the details like hotels and activities may adjust my travel days. Having that flexibility is key to me, and I'm happy to see most airlines have taken this approach to at least offer free changes to tickets.

Passengers Have Saved Over $2 Billion Since United Airlines Eliminated Change Fees in 2020 - The Bulkhead Seat
United Airlines was the first legacy carrier in the United States to eliminate change fees back in 2020. What came from pandemic-induced necessity became the industry standard and has saved passengers over $2 billion in fees over the past few years.

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