United Pilot Drama, Flight Attendants Smuggling, Hertz Tesla Gas Refill Fees & More [Roundup]

Last updated on May 12, 2024

Posted on May 12, 2024

Summer is here, I have trips planned, and I'm ready to fly! However, not everyone seems to be in the same mood. This week, we've seen airlines issuing lockout notices to their mechanics, flight attendants being arrested, and jumpseating pilots stirring up drama.

As airlines are returning to strong profitability, we will likely see unions wanting to be compensated fairly for all this increased revenue. However, I suspect that airlines won't want to share too much of their profits with the workforce. We're already seeing some push back as the mechanics union at WestJet has been issued a lockout notice, a sign their contract negotiations aren't going well.

WestJet Issues Lockout Notice to Maintenance Workers | AirlineGeeks.com
The second-largest airline in Canada issues a 72-hour lockout notification to the union representing its aircraft maintenance staff.

Along with that, the strong cargo operations that picked up during the pandemic is cooling off, and we're seeing some smaller cargo carriers start to wobble. Reports are that Amerijet is considering furloughs and reducing their fleet size to adjust from the dropping cargo demand.

US’s Amerijet considering furloughs amid cargo downturn
Several daily Operator News updates covering all Operator Route Network changes, strategic fleet developments and aircraft orders, start-ups and bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions and partnerships and alliances.

Speaking of reducing fleet sized, Korean Air will be selling 5 of their Boeing 747-8 aircraft to the US Government to be retrofitting to become the new “doomsday” airplanes. These airplanes are meant to be deployed during a man-made disaster and are flying communication outposts capable of delivering orders around the world, even under the water.

Air Force’s New ‘Doomsday’ Plane Will Be Converted from Korean Air Passenger Jets
The new Survivable Airborne Operations Center, to be developed by Sierra Nevada Corp., will be hosted on ex-Korean Air 747-8s.

While Korean Air is selling airplanes, jetBlue will be taking some of their A320s from the desert. Due to the increasing issues with the Pratt & Whitney engines for the A321neo aircraft, the company is looking to supplement flying with these airplanes that have been stored in the desert.

JetBlue to Return Some Retired A320 Jets to Service | AirlineGeeks.com
Embattled with ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine troubles on its new A321neo aircraft, JetBlue is planning to return some older Airbus A320s to revenue service.

In flight attendant news, multiple flight attendants were charged with smuggling millions of dollars to the Dominican Republic by abusing their Known Crewmember status to bypass more scrutinized screening for regular passengers. It's a shame that flight attendants would willfully break laws for this and give the TSA more ammo to dissolve the Known Crewmember program.

Four Flight Attendants Charged With Smuggling $8 Million in Drug Money to the Dominican Republic By Using Special Security Lane to Bypass Checks
Four New York-based flight attendants have been charged with smuggling as much as $8 million in drug money from the United States to the Dominican Republic over a seven-year period following a major investigation by Homeland Security Investigations. The flight attendants are accused of using their special security privileges to bypass normal TSA airport checkpoints…

In the next chapter of why I'll never rent from Hertz again, a top-tier member returned an electric car, and they were charged $277 to fill up the “gas tank.” What's even worse, after trying to fix it with customer service, they wouldn't budge on the fees, only stating that the customer agreed to the contract. Hertz is broken, and I still highly discourage anyone renting from them.

Hertz Charged Presidents Circle Member $277 For Not Filling Gas Tank On A Tesla, Won’t Remove Fees - View from the Wing
A Hertz Presidents Circle customer was charged a fee of $277.39 for not filling up the gas on a Tesla model 3 in Los Angeles. This is an obvious, impossible claim because it’s a Tesla that doesn’t run on gas. But Hertz customer service is so bad, that they kept doubling down saying that there’s ‘nothing they can do’ about the charge.

The hot button issue with the week was a jumpseating United pilot calling the FAA safety hotline on a Southwest crew after observing a minor problem. In short, the crew slowed too much on descent, but never were in danger of stalling the aircraft. This new United first officer took it upon herself to call and report it to the FAA safety line. This caused major backlash and for a short time Southwest pilots were denying United pilots the jumpseat.

Jump Seating United Pilot Causes Drama At Southwest
There’s drama between pilots at United Airlines and pilots at Southwest Airlines, following a recent jump seat incident. Here are the details.

But what I think is even worse is that a cargo door was left open in flight from Los Cabos to Portland without anyone noticing. It wasn't clear if the door was open the entire flight, or maybe just after landing. There are sensors, and it would alert the crew if the door was open. The space is also pressurized, so I believe it opened on landing rather than in the air.

Alaska Airlines Lands in Portland With Open Cargo Door and Pets Inside - The Bulkhead Seat
Alaska Airlines flight AS1437 from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) to Portland International Airport (PDX) landed safely on March 1st, but the cargo door was ajar and there were pets in the hold. It’s unknown how long the Boeing 737 cargo door was open, but it’s troubling given the animals on board.

The FAA finally has a reauthorization bill for another five years, no more short extensions and putting us at risk of a shutdown. Good on the Senate for them finally doing something somewhat good...

Senate Passes Five-Year FAA Reauthorization Bill - AVweb
The U.S. Senate passed a five-year extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday evening, just one day ahead of its expiration date. The $105 billion bipartisan bill dubbed “The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act” was overwhelmingly approved in a vote of 88-4. Following its passage, the Senate also […]

It's no joke that flight attendants are chronically underpaid for what they do. American Airlines has to twist the knife in the wound harder by providing an employment verification letter to state they only make $27,315 per year. How abysmal.

American Airlines Delivers Poverty Verification Letters To New-Hire Flight Attendants - Live and Let’s Fly
New-Hire Flight Attendants At American Airlines Receive “Poverty Verification Letters” - What This Means And Why It’s A Problem

And lastly, they finally done it. Oakland Airport is now known as the San Francisco Bay Oakland Airport. I still don't think it makes that airport sound anymore appealing.

Oakland Airport Adds “San Francisco Bay” To Name
Metropolitan Oakland International Airport has been renamed, and now has “San Francisco Bay” in its name. This change isn’t without drama.

Thanks for reading!

Do you think flight attendants should be paid more?

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