Loyalty programs are something that have always intrigued me. Sometimes it seems like the sheep follow a little too closely instead of actually looking at the price of what is being paid. For example, is it better to fly RT to a place you want to go for $199 on an airline you never really use, or pay $239 for the airline you always use just to get miles in your loyalty program? I know people who are so loyal and determined to get the miles that they will (gladly) pay the extra $40. Let’s say that trip is from DFW to ORD (Chicago). Having flown that route about 150 times, I am very aware that it is 802 miles each way for the purpose of calculating FF miles. Even if I am platinum, that is 3,208 miles. If I am paying $40 for those miles ($.0125 per mile) I am valuing them at even less than the airlines do (they accrue $.02 per mile on their books). To look at it another way, 3,208 miles is roughly 1/8th of a “free ticket”. $40 x 8 = $320. What could you do with $320? Buy another $199 ticket to Chicago and have a really good dinner at Shula’s…gives new meaning to the phrase “Dollars and SENSE”.
Dallas enjoys relatively moderate temperatures in the winter. Sure we get an occasional snow here and there (1″ or less usually). I have flown in and out of Dallas many times during the winter and have never actually seen a de-icing truck used there. Today the temp dropped to 32 degrees just after noon. And the performance began. So, I snapped this pic from seat 9B on American flight 1180 just to show that those trucks do get used.
After watching the military-like precision efforts of the ORD ground crews through the winter of 2004, I have to say this was like watching ice skating on carpet. But, in the end, American provided a safe plane and a good flight.
With all the press this week regarding American Airlines and what they have had to undertake related to inspecting planes, I know they have taken a beating. Having flown at least 400 segments in the last three years on AA, I am extremely happy that they chose to do this. Does it disrupt people?? Yes!! Just imagine the backside of this if the inspections were prompted by an aircraft that had a problem while in the air and something horrible happened.
To their credit, I received an aplogy from them tonight by e-mail. Here is that e-mail — Thank you American.
|American Airlines MD-80 Fleet Inspections
Background: : In 2004, American Airlines was the lead airline working with Boeing to develop a Service Bulletin to correct wiring exposure and chafing in the MD-80 auxiliary hydraulic pump wire bundle. The concern was that exposure and chafing could cause fire in the wheel well. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) was issued in September 2006, giving MD-80 operators, including American, 18 months to address this issue. American completed the Service Bulletin in November 2006, followed by adjustments deemed necessary by American’s structural engineers to comply with the AD well ahead of a March 2008 deadline.In recent weeks the Federal Aviation Administration significantly increased its emphasis on monitoring the adherence to Airworthiness Directives that apply to various U.S. airlines. With respect to American Airlines’ MD-80 fleet, we had a detailed issue that we believed had to be addressed immediately to remain compliant with the FAA; if found in non-compliance, we would have been instructed to stop flying our airplanes.What is the specific nature of the issue?
The issue surrounds questions raised by the FAA about the way American implemented the Engineering Change Order (ECO) addressing the MD-80 auxiliary pump wiring Airworthiness Directive (AD). American fixed the item well within the specified AD timeframe. The work being done now centers on a need to change the way in which American complied with the AD regarding such items as the spacing of the ties on the wiring bundles and the direction of the retention clips and lacing cords. We are highly confident that this is not a safety of flight issue because the wire bundle is secure. It is a matter of how the work was done, not whether aircraft were protected from the threat of wire exposure and chafing that could cause fire.
Why ground the entire MD-80 fleet?
Who is completing the work and why is it taking longer than the previous MD-80 inspections?
What is the airline doing for customers?
What is the company doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
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