New Airline Changes
Airline Seating is Shrinking Leg Room
There is yet another new trend occurring in airlines. Jet Blue and West Jet are just the first two airlines to shrink the leg room in coach seating, however, they are increasing legroom for higher priced seats. JetBlue is cutting legroom from 33" to 32", so they still contend they offer more than other airlines. This is certainly a concern for the taller man or woman. When you have 3 seats across the loss of an inch can make the flight uncomfortable.
They made this change to add two more rows in the front of the cabin, which allows them to make $150 million in revenues. Canada's WestJet will be adding 4 more rows due to the remaining rows having only 31" or 32" of leg room. Southwest has also announced they will decrease legroom to 31". Technically, legroom is really "buttock-knee" distance" as they measure from the back of the buttocks to the front of the knee. Since fat squishes more than muscle, it might be wise to sit near a heavier person! Sprint Airlines already has only 28" of room, which would be difficult if you happen to be Dutch. The Dutch are the tallest people in Europe. Apparently we will be traveling much "closer" together if this trend continues!
Famous Old Route - Historic Route 66
Airline Consumer Protection Rules
In August, 2011 new federal rules took effect to prevent those long tarmac delays and to provide compensation for fliers bumped off flights. Airlines also must better disclose extra fees. The Transportation Department instituted the following consumer protection rules:
- Airlines are required to prominently display all ancillary fees on their websites
- Airlines must refund baggage fees if bags are lost and also promptly refund fares when warranted.
- The Transportation Department can impose fines up to $27,500 per passenger if an international flight is left on the tarmac for more than 4 hours.
- If passengers are bumped from an oversold flight compensation has been raised. They will receive double the price of their plane fare up to $650 if they are delayed just a few hours. Compensation is typically the cost of the airline tickets. Longer delays quadruple the airfare compensation up to $1300.
New Rules for Passengers
New rules for passengers are being imposed immediately. Passengers will not be allowed to leave their seats one hour before arrival at their destination. During this final hour you will not be allowed to have any carry on baggage in your lap, or a pillow, nor your lap top computer. You will not be allowed to go to the bathroom. That could certainly impose some hardships and problems for those with particular medical conditions. Pilot will no longer point out sights of interest on the landscape below.
Officials are saying there will be increased screening at gates and when checking their baggage. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement Saturday that passengers flying to the U.S. from overseas may notice extra security, but she said the measures "are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere."The US and Canadian governments have requested that Air Canada limit passengers to one carry-on bag. They requested that US bound passengers to restrict their carry-on items to the absolute minimum. Of course, we are seeing significant delays for all US bound flights.
In addition, now we must pay for luggage for most airlines unless it is a carry-on. Different airlines have different regulations.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Terrorism Effects Airline Travel
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is spending life in prison and a fine of $250,000 for willingly attempting to destroy an aircraft and willfully placing and causing to be placed a destructive device on an aircraft; so what’s next?
The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment list includes about 550,000 names, and is maintained by the U.S. National Counter terrorism Center to enhance airport security. One would have to wonder how many terrorist names should be on the list but have not been identified at this time. They are tstill telling us it is still safe to fly. Since the unqualified Janet Napolitano remains in the position of Home Land Security Security, what's changed? Will a few more pat downs and rules for staying seated make us safer? Maybe we should just drive instead of flying.
New rules in effect for airline delays
Pat-downs are often ineffective because the government rules regulate where screeners can put their hands and how frequently they can frisk passengers. They probably wouldn’t have found the explosives on Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab due to storing the explosives being located in his groin. Metal detectors usually go off first before someone is frisked. Women in particular have complained which caused the government to make a list of do’s and don’ts on pat-downs. Airport screeners must use the back of the hands when touching the breasts or the groin. Maybe the body scanning machines will be used more frequently but they do show things such as breast implants and body piercing, which as we know are know sometimes in unusual areas.
Many people are being searched and finding it offensive. People in wheelchairs and little children have been searched in a way that touches their private areas. Frequently on the news we here of the poor judgment used by an employee that does the scanning. While they are not allowed to racial profile, it would make sense to not use their hands to search five year old children or 90 year old women in wheelchairs.
So what is the answer? If you have a name like Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, I think a much more in-depth pat-down and data search should be mandatory. No more political correctness. They might as well arrive for their plane 3 or 4 hours early because it will take more time to clear them than the average person. Call a terrorist a terrorist. I'm sick of made up words so certain groups won't be offended, If they quit trying to blow us up then they wouldn't need to be singled out, but until that time we need to make flying or doing any activity safe for the American public.
Now they have new rules for domestic flights; you can't be left on the tarmac for hours on end without food and you can go to the bathroom, however, the response of the airline is this will cause more cancellations and delays. Instead of fixing the problem they still are putting it back on the passengers. Maybe I'll just drive next time.
© 2010 Pamela Oglesby
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