Soon only terrorists will fly American Airlines

The executives at American Airlines must be crazy. I heard a rumor — and I believe it is true — that they have made the decision to replace plastic knives with honest-to-God metal table knives in the first class cabin.

Are they crazy? Metal table knives were banned after 9-11 for good reason! Those things are dangerous. They could poke an eye out. There is no way the government, or whoever got rid of metal table knives after 9-11, would have banned them unless it was absolutely necessary to fight terrorism. This horrible decision to allow metal on the plane is simply an invitation to terrorists that they can come right on the plane unarmed, gather up these knives, and poke people at will. No honest citizen in his or her right mind would take the risk of flying on American in this new regime.

The next thing you know, TSA is going to allow me to fly with my 4.1 oz deodorant instead of throwing it in the garbage and rightly demanding that next time I limit myself to 3 oz. From what I hear, that extra 1.1 oz of deodorant is just the extra amount that terrorists need to turn deodorant into nuclear weapons from scratch on the plane. Apparently, though we have completely lost our will to fight terrorism in the sky.

(As an aside, I’m happy to say that my iPod listening during takeoff and landing continues not to cause the plane to crash.


kentavos

Airlines aren't the only ones with silly rules, in the name of safety.

Hospitals are a great example of regulation gone wild in the name of safety. Or how about mandatory vaccinations for an STD?

Steven seems especially transfixed on airline rules. Is there a deep psychological reason for all of this rebellion? Perhaps you were sternly scolded by a stewardess as a youngster.

andrew

The plan is to force the terrorists to fly first class, thus reducing: (1) the funds available for arms; (2) their inclination to destroy the plane. Cattle class tends to increase destructive tendencies, after all.

kentavos

Jim Driscoll

I wouldn't normally consider myself a prude, but perhaps I am. The fact that the disease is only communicable through sex is very relevant to me.

The purpose of requiring a vaccination to attend public schools is to prevent infection through contact over the normal course of a school day.

Kids crammed in cement buildings for seven hours a day will likely contaminate each other if the disease/virus is airborne or spread through saliva.

And although a high number of kids are sexually active, this doesn't happen in schools (or at least not too often) nor as frequently as sneezes or drinking after each other.

Therefore I don't think it's rational to say you must get this vaccine or else you cannot attend public schools.

I also think that people readily accept the idea as sound because it only applies to eleven year old girls. If we mandated the vaccine for all ages and sex, then we'd probably see many more protests.

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onovotny

This isn't actually new -- airlines have been allowing metal knives in Business and First class for quite a while now. Last august AA had them in both cabins and back in Oct/Nov, both British Air and Lufthansa had metal knives in their business class cabins.

dg

Since we're on the HPV vaccine tangent, let me add something:

To put it gently, the people who are against the vaccine are nuts (and grossly irresponsible). A huge percentage (somewhere north of 25%) of people are infected, and thousands die every year from cervical cancer. (About 12,000 cases in the US per year of which about a third die.) Condoms only give partial protection.

Should people be forced to have the vaccine? Well, that depends how libertarian you are. But given the nature of herd immunity, there are huge positive externalities that will arise if many people are immunized. In fact, I hope that once testing is complete, boys will be given the vaccine too.

One thing is sure though: My daughters will be getting the vaccine asap.

dg

One last point to kentavos: The reason many vaccines are tied to school attendance is not to stop the spread of disease in school. The reason is because that's the easiest way to get wide coverage. For example, Hep B vaccine is given to children at a young age to ensure coverage, but children are not very susceptible to the disease. By the way, Hep B is also spread sexually.

kentavos

dg,
I'm not arguing the effectiveness of the vaccine. Nor am I arguing the safety. I'm arguing that making it mandatory to attend public school is inappropriate.

Whether or not my daughter receives the vaccine should be up to my wife and me. We will research, discuss and weigh the risks vs. benefits. Ultimately though, it should be our decision as parents, not the government's.

As a matter of record, I don't agree with the Hep B virus mandate either.

I could not find any published reasoning behind mandating vaccines to attend schools. I'm guessing we're both right and that another good reason to mandate vaccines to enter school is because vaccinating early is more effective than later.

I did find it interesting that there are no laws mandating that adults receive vaccinations.

I am all for certain mandates when the general public is in danger, simply by exposure. However, this is not the case.

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BaumslagSolitar

Lifted from an excellent Economist piece a while ago:

"GOOD morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are delighted to welcome you aboard Veritas Airways, the airline that tells it like it is. Please ensure that your seat belt is fastened, your seat back is upright and your tray-table is stowed. At Veritas Airways, your safety is our first priority. Actually, that is not quite true: if it were, our seats would be rear-facing, like those in military aircraft, since they are safer in the event of an emergency landing. But then hardly anybody would buy our tickets and we would go bust.

The flight attendants are now pointing out the emergency exits. This is the part of the announcement that you might want to pay attention to. So stop your sudoku for a minute and listen: knowing in advance where the exits are makes a dramatic difference to your chances of survival if we have to evacuate the aircraft. Also, please keep your seat belt fastened when seated, even if the seat-belt light is not illuminated. This is to protect you from the risk of clear-air turbulence, a rare but extremely nasty form of disturbance that can cause severe injury. Imagine the heavy food trolleys jumping into the air and bashing into the overhead lockers, and you will have some idea of how nasty it can be. We don't want to scare you. Still, keep that seat belt fastened all the same.

Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero. This aircraft is equipped with inflatable slides that detach to form life rafts, not that it makes any difference. Please remove high-heeled shoes before using the slides. We might as well add that space helmets and anti-gravity belts should also be removed, since even to mention the use of the slides as rafts is to enter the realm of science fiction.

Please switch off all mobile phones, since they can interfere with the aircraft's navigation systems. At least, that's what you've always been told. The real reason to switch them off is because they interfere with mobile networks on the ground, but somehow that doesn't sound quite so good. On most flights a few mobile phones are left on by mistake, so if they were really dangerous we would not allow them on board at all, if you think about it. We will have to come clean about this next year, when we introduce in-flight calling across the Veritas fleet. At that point the prospect of taking a cut of the sky-high calling charges will miraculously cause our safety concerns about mobile phones to evaporate.

On channel 11 of our in-flight entertainment system you will find a video consisting of abstract imagery and a new-age soundtrack, with a voice-over explaining some exercises you can do to reduce the risk of deep-vein thrombosis. We are aware that this video is tedious, but it is not meant to be fun. It is meant to limit our liability in the event of lawsuits.

Once we have reached cruising altitude you will be offered a light meal and a choice of beverages?a word that sounds so much better than just saying ?drinks?, don't you think? The purpose of these refreshments is partly to keep you in your seats where you cannot do yourselves or anyone else any harm. Please consume alcohol in moderate quantities so that you become mildly sedated but not rowdy. That said, we can always turn the cabin air-quality down a notch or two to help ensure that you are sufficiently drowsy.

After take-off, the most dangerous part of the flight, the captain will say a few words that will either be so quiet that you will not be able to hear them, or so loud that they could wake the dead. So please sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. We appreciate that you have a choice of airlines and we thank you for choosing Veritas, a member of an incomprehensible alliance of obscure foreign outfits, most of which you have never heard of. Cabin crew, please make sure we have remembered to close the doors. Sorry, I mean: ``Doors to automatic and cross-check''. Thank you for flying Veritas.

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Oh Really

Here is the famed, myth-busting Ecomonist article:

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7884654

Note: it requires a login to view all of its reading pleasure splendor.

Oh Really

Meanwhile #27 has difficulty adhering to copyrighted material. ::Sigh::

feuer

Freakonomics must attract brighter people than my local newspaper. A sarcastic rant in a letter to the editor gets responses from readers who can not believe anyone would suggest such a thing. Other readers will defend the sarcastic rant as just the thing that is needed.

I am reminded of Steve Martin's character in the movie Roxanne: "We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at."

stuart

Has Steve Levitt been channelling Tyler Durden of Fight Club?

BennyM

As a Clevelander I fly Continental quite often.

Things I've noticed regarding safety:

After a 45 minute delay for takeoff on the tarmac due to some kitchenette-related cabinet door not latching...they duct taped it. Half the ground crew (the same guys maintaining engines and landing gear armed with their vast array of tools) had taken a crack at it first, and that was the best they could do.

They still mention that my seat cushion can be used as a flotation device regardless of the probability well land in water on a given flight (say to ATL).

As far as the auditory devices ban as a means of insuring safety information is effectively relayed, I was on a flight when the safety recording broke. The unfortunate attendendant staffing this flight (who I'd later found out had worked there for 20+ years) was bewildererd. After five minutes of playing with the recording she was unable to stammer out the rest of the script. As more awkward moments passed with lots of stuttering and some suggestions that were plainly wrong (all of which was delivered with an inquisitive inflection) she trailed off with something to the effect of "and remember if something happens I'm in charge" before being relieved of this duty by a merciful frequent flyer. He nailed it and had she not been the only attendant, I'm quite certain she would have hid for the remainder of the flight.

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The Dane

Re: HPV vaccine (off topic). The reason vaccines are made mandatory for public school attendance is because by making them mandatory the public health system has to provide them free of charge. If the vaccine is optional then poor folks who want their kids to get the vaccine (HPV vac is quite expensive) have to pay for it out of their pocket or have really good insurance that will cover it. I think making vaccines mandatory and thus making them available for all is a good idea. I also think that the system of opting out of vaccines should be easier and more readily supported (not just an exception based on religion).

MMR

Yes, AA is a group of losers. It doesn't surprise me that they want to use metal knives instead of plastic--they are idiots! Even if they decide not to use metal, I still won't fly this line because their incompetence is overwhelming. I had a flight a couple of years ago to DFW and let me tell you that the stews disappeared to the front of the plane and did not reemerge until descent. Hmm. I wonder what was going on in the cockpit!!! Soon it became more than apparent. Personally, I prefer to fly a line that believes in keeping the cockpit door closed and, if the pilots and stews want to fool around, they do it on their own time and not 37,000 feet in the air!!! Also, when I arrived home, I opened my luggage to find that my underwear had disappeared and that my luggage was rummaged through. There is also some guy that runs around claiming he is Tony Accardo, Jr. in a pilots uniform, who tries to rope women into prostituting for AA and Continental pilots on layover. I had the unfortunate opportunity of becoming one of his victims. He stalked me endlessly in an attempt to get me to join American Eagle so he the pilots could have easy access to me. I have been hounded and harassed by these people endlessly and they just don't seem to disappear. AA is stuck in the 1950s and it needs to get its head out of the sand. I will never fly that airline or American Eagle ever again. I will fly United or Southwest where professionalism means something and men know how to behave like men.

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Stitch

Uh, MMR... from your description it sounds (unfortunately) like the American Airlines crews you have encountered ARE in fact behaving EXACTLY like men. (as in rude, loutish, sexually abusive, demeaning towards women, etc.)Heterosexual men that is...

From what you said, I'd say that the gentlemen on staff at United and Southwest that have provided you with a more genteel experience have a slightly different set of preferences in that department.

And let me assure you, that behavior is not unique to American. Just hang out anywhere where men occupy a majority of the positions of power and where women in the workplace have both little power and little recourse and you'll see the same crap.

The thing is, on a different day you could just as easily have had an identical experience on United. Straight men in packs are neolithic in spite of tens of thousands of years of purported evolution we still revert to basic "lizard brain" behavior given the slightest provocation.

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so angry

n the past one month American Airlines has lost the luggage of two people I know, plus my own. Three different flights, three different days, three different lost baggage claim reports, and still no baggage. None of us have seem a dime yet for items up to 2,000 dollars. They are rude and unhelpful. All of us flew from Houston to New York La Guardia through Chicago. I am seriously warning whomever reads this not to fly American Airlines. They have the cheapest ticket rates out there right now, and this is why. They are a horrible airline with absolutely horrible, heartless, unhelpful and most of the time unattainable customer service. Something should be done.

MMR

Stitch,

I have met many good men and this group does not fit into that category. There are good and bad in everything and this was a bad group. AA has had so much bad press lately, they are just a screwed up airline. Faulty wires, masturbating passengers, dying passengers, faulty equipment, etc. I wish they would close its doors and leave flying to the professionals. I just don't like AA.

mabel amenuku

i want to know the time american always will fly on 29th august which is friday?

darkangelazreal

dude this article is awesome.