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Roundup: A Meaty Buffet Of Stories Including Commercial Flights Plus Update On Hawaii Copter Crash

Delta 767. Photo by By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

A frequent nightmare for frequent fliers is waking up in a cold sweat after a dream about being stuck on a flight that never ends.

The “Nightmare On Delta Flight 944” happened this week. It was the usual imperfect perfect storm of circumstances and bad luck. About 160 passengers were on Monday’s flight from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Bad weather, turbulence, two diverted landings and uncoordinated responses by the airline led to plenty of disgruntled passengers.

Why, How Airline Connections Are Missed

Perhaps there was a traveler on Delta 944 who was connecting for that flight and ran too late to make the connection. That would have been fortunate for that passenger, missing out on a 30-hour excursion.

But some of us have experienced the frustration of our flight of origin being delayed and creating a mad dash to make the connecting flight. And the unluckiest folks are the ones who think they have raced through the terminal and made it to the gate with time to spare … only to find out that the door has been shut and the gate agent has thrown up a human road block.

This post on helps explain why airlines are capricious when it comes to holding connecting flights.

Virgin America Perplexed By Bare Fare Competition

The emergence and success of low-fare, no-frills airlines, combined with lower fuel prices, has created some tough choices for major carriers. For instance, in markets where Spirit operates, the larger carriers who offer more full service are faced with the prospect of dropping fares.

Virgin America, which in the past two years has started operating flights out of Dallas Love Field, is balking at selling cheap seats. An executive for Virgin calls it a “very toxic fare environment.” The airline is willing to fly with empty seats rather than sell them at low fares.

“We are not going to fly passengers at rates that will not make money,” Virgin America chief executive officer David Cush said on a Thursday conference call with analysts. “We are going to make sure we get an average ticket value up to where its sustainable and we can earn a return, and we’ll take the hit on load factor.”

Southwest Rates As Top 10 Most-Admired Company

Commercial airlines are in the business of customer service but they’re also committed to making a profit while moving millions of passengers safely for departure to arrival. Translation: They can’t make everybody happy. And the passengers who complain that they didn’t get enough peanuts create stressful work environments.

When it was founded over four decades ago, Southwest Airlines has tried its best to make its passengers happy and, more importantly, keeping its employees happy. When your flight attendant or gate agent is in a good mood, it helps defuse issues with cranky travelers.

Southwest ranked No. 7 – the only airline in the top 10 – in FORTUNE’s 2016 list of World’s Most Admired Companies. So, get those resumes printed and fill out those applications, youngsters.

Update On Hawaii Helicopter Crash

Last night posted the dramatic footage and story of the helicopter crash in Hawaii nearly the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Here’s an update on the bystanders who jumped in to help pull the five passengers from the water plus new details about the crash and the survivors’ conditions.



Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.

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