Transportation Secretary: Dreamliners Won’t Fly Again Until They’re Deemed “1,000% Safe”
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FlyersRights believes passengers deserve a reasonable expectation of safety, therefore we will continue to follow the Boeing 787 saga. 

Airline customers know there are other planes without smoking battery problems they can travel in.
Just one week after he said he would be comfortable taking a spin in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has changed his tune. LaHood now says no 787s will take to the skies again until officials are “1,000% sure” they’re safe to fly.  
As for when they’ll fly again, LaHood isn’t giving a timeline, “We just have to be patient here,” he said. “What the American people want is to fly on planes that are safe, and that’s what we’re going to assure them of.”
NTSB chairwoman, Deborah A. P. Hersman, said repeatedly at a news conference that a fire should never break out on a plane, as one did on a 787 parked at Logan International Airport in Boston on Jan. 7.

The airlines have few alternatives in the long run and little choice but to wait for Boeing to fix the planes. Due to its carbon composite structure and new electrical features, the 787 promises significant savings for airlines that are desperate for ways to cut their fuel bills.

Some dissonant voices are rising. Officials with Poland’s national carrier, LOT, said they will seek monetary compensation from Boeing.  Hours before the 787s were grounded worldwide, LOT flew its first commercial flight from Warsaw to Washington. The plane was not allowed to return after the FAA and European aviation authorities grounded the planes.

For the big question; how was a Japanese company, GS Yuasa, chosen to manufacture the problematic lithium-ion batteries on the 787?  The NYTimes uncovers the quid pro quo arrangement.  Boeing, in return for awarding this major contract to GS Yuasa, which also receives subsidies from Japan‘s government, agreed that Japanese airlines would buy Boeing aircraft almost exclusively.
Such arrangements are banned by the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft, signed by the United States and Japan, which requires that aircraft purchases be made solely on the basis of “commercial and technological” factors and that procurement contracts should be entered into only on the basis of “competitive price, quality and delivery.”

Would you fly the 787?



Dining out… at LaGuardia?  Smoothing the Airport Wait       
Forget greasy french fries, soggy pizza or sandwiches that have been sitting out for hours.
Delta has added new places to eat and shop at La Guardia, including a bistro with an iPad at every table.
Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
Now filet mignon, crispy duck confit and crab cakes are taking off at the airport.
With travelers waiting longer due to extensive security checks and flight delays, airports across the country are replacing fast-food joints for sit-down restaurants. It’s part of a trend of airlines serving their customers before they board their flights.
Delta has put in two dozen new restaurants, bars, cafes and made iPads available to customers in its concourse restaurants.
LGA passengers can order food, have magazines delivered to their seat, shop as well as browse the Internet from cafes equipped with iPads. Seats by the gates also have iPads, allowing passengers to play games and shop at nearby stores. Renovations at Terminal C and D cost upwards of $50 million.
Rick Blatstein, CEO of OTG Management which owns and operates the concessions in the LGA terminal, told The New York Times that there is revenue potential in spaces at boarding gates, filled with people who have nothing to do but wait.
Latest Developments in JetBlue vs. Biscone, 11-Hour Tarmac Confinement  

Ms Biscone, who was held on the tarmac for 11 hours by JetBlue on Valentine’s Day 2007, has appealed the December 2012 decisions of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department to the New York Court of Appeals.  As reported here last week, New York based courts dismissed her case and that of 1,300 other stranded passengers, except for physical injury.  And another court dismissed a lawsuit by passengers confined by JetBlue for 7 hours at Hartford International Airport in October 2011, stating that airlines are immune from such lawsuits as tarmac confinements are deemed a “service” .

Should the 2012 New York court decisions stand and be adopted by other courts, passengers in situations involving long tarmac confinements will no longer be able to sue airlines for damages unless they are physically injured or killed, notwithstanding violations of FAA safety and US DOT consumer protection rules or even state criminal statutes.

Also, New York plaintiffs in tort cases may be now be required to consent to corporate defendants publicly filing on the internet their private medical, psychological and tax return records as a condition of receiving any possibility of compensation for corporate misconduct.  Full details of these cases are here.

It is time for passengers concerned by this new airline attack, against already weakened paassenger rights, to make their voices heard to their Congressional representativesPresident Obama and the the US DOT.  FlyersRights will be posting an online petition soon.
Airline Wi-Fi Check: Which Have It?
It took ages, but United has finally made a decision on putting Wi-Fi on its fleet. Instead of just the domestic fleet, it’s going global. Now, almost every U.S. airline has plans for Wi-Fi with at least one of the various providers out there. Here’s a look at how they stack up.
Installed on entire mainline fleet (except for the cargo/passenger combi 737s that primarily fly in Alaska). Service not available on Hawaii flights.

No plans for Wi-Fi.

American  Will install on entire mainline domestic fleet by next year. To see if your flight will have it, check the AA widget. Service not available on Hawaii flights. No plans for international fleet have been announced.

DeltaInstalled on entire mainline domestic fleet. Currently installing on all regional jets with more than 50 seats. No plans for international fleet have been announced.

Frontier  Plans to install only on Embraer 190 aircraft, but not currently in service.

HawaiianNo plans for Wi-Fi.

JetBlue  Will install on entire fleet beginning next year.

SouthwestInstalling on most of its fleet. Will be completed by 2013. Pre-merger AirTran fleet has it installed on every airplane.

Spirit  No plans for Wi-Fi.

United (including Continental)Installed on only the 13 airplanes flying between New York/JFK and both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Will begin installing on rest of the mainline fleet (domestic and international) next year. Full mainline fleet will be completed by 2015.

US Airways  Installed only on all A321 aircraft.

Virgin AmericaInstalled on entire fleet.

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Final Word:  
On behalf of all of us at FlyersRights, we’d like to take the opportunity to express our gratitude for your years of loyalty
Your support has been invaluable!  And your help is critical to ensure we can stay here and respond to passengers rights.