Weekly Roundup 24 February 2012

It is now 30 years since the demise of the revolutionary low-cost airline, Laker Airways, and six years since the death of its founder, Sir Freddie Laker.

Good morning

Wow.  Have you ever woken up on a Friday morning to find the better part of 2000 emails having come in from overnight in your inbox?

That’s what happened to me last Friday morning with the flood of responses to the reader survey about what you do on airplanes.  Read on, below, for the results of this survey, and see also the additional two articles also offered up this week.

And here’s a lovely tribute piece commemorating Sir Freddie Laker and the airline he founded.

  • Reader Survey Results – What You Do On Airplanes
  • Bad News for the Boeing 787
  • Proof We Remain Unsafe and Need Armed Pilots
  • Over Packing?
  • Celebrating Presidents Day Downunder

Reader Survey Results – What You Do On Airplanes

Last week I asked you to select items from a list of eleven different activities, advising which ones are things you regularly/typically do on planes, which are things you occasionally do, and which are things you seldom or never do.

Thank you for all the responses you sent in.

This first chart shows the distribution of responses as between whether each activity is something you do regularly, occasionally, or seldom.

Before analyzing the results, there is one other interesting thing about the results in general and which is not apparent from this first chart.  Some activities attracted significantly more responses than others, no matter which of the three answers the responses were.  This is apparent here.

Why did so few people comment on if they use their own computer for entertainment on a flight or not, compared to so many people commenting on if they read books or not?  That is a bit of an imponderable, but interesting to see.

However, to look at the results that were received, the most popular activity was reading books, followed by eating and/or drinking, followed by sleeping.

For those of us relying on electronic devices, Kindles and other ereaders outscored iPads and other tablets, but only by a very small amount, and overall, more people use iPods and other devices probably mainly for playing music.

Many thanks to all who responded.

Bad News for the Boeing 787

The terribly problematic 787 ‘Dreamliner’ (some would say, ‘Nightmareliner’) looks set to give Boeing another round of challenges.  Boeing reported earlier this week that 55 of the planes have a recently discovered flaw in the fuselage, and earlier this month reported signs of delamination on a support structure in the rear of the plane.

The planes have been flying for a mere nine weeks, and less than ten have been delivered (the others being planes Boeing built in advance of getting final certification; most of which are now being given all manner of fixes prior to being able to be finally delivered).

Inspections of the already built planes threatens to delay still further Boeing’s way-behind-schedule delivery timelines, and continues to raise questions about the overall safety of the composite construction of the plane.  More details here.

That’s not to say that ‘tried and true’ Aluminium construction is not without problems either, as Airbus has been discovering with some cracking problems on the new A380s and their wings.

Proof We Remain Unsafe and Need Armed Pilots

I wrote last week about how the White House wishes to reduce funding for the armed pilot program because our multiple layers of TSA security mean we no longer need this last ditch line of defense.

I didn’t believe a word of that ludicrous claim last week, and this week came across an interesting example of a felon on bail, who was probably not allowed to leave the confines of the city he was bailed to, being allowed onto a flight only to go berserk, yelling profanities, fighting with other passengers, and, oh yes, speaking or singing about Osama bin Laden – this article tells more but coyly doesn’t indicate if the Saudi national was singing the praises of the late Mr bin Laden or not.  We can probably guess.

How does a violent felon on bail get onto a plane?  What happened to the thousands of TSA Behavioral Detection officers – here was someone obviously as unstable as they come, but he managed to go through security and onto the plane with no hindrance.

Note also that there were no Federal Air Marshalls on the plane.  If things had turned out just a little different, this raving nutter could have ended charging up the aisle and cannoning his way through the ‘secure’ cockpit door and getting up close and personal with the pilots.

The Federal Air Marshall service has a budget of $1 billion for 2012.  This compares with $12 million set aside for the armed pilots program – 83 times less.

Let’s increase the budget for arming pilots, not reduce it.

Over Packing?

British Airways released the results of a survey about what passengers take with them in their baggage this week.

The survey found that 90% of their British passengers didn’t use up to 30 of the items they packed and took with them.  Among the stranger items that some people traveled with, but didn’t use, are tea kettles, peanut butter and sardines.

Over 40% of passengers surveyed said they pack three or more pairs of shoes, while 20% would take ten or more pairs of underwear.  Just over 10% of passengers, when traveling internationally, even for only a short one week break, would still pack three towels with them, too.

(The British propensity to bring their own towels and wash cloths with them is why many British hotels don’t provide wash cloths.)

Celebrating Presidents Day Downunder

What did you do for Presidents Day?  Many of us worked, and some of us enjoyed a long weekend doing something special or perhaps doing nothing at all.

But in Australia and New Zealand we saw some interesting special accomplishments, although neither country has the same Presidents Day celebration last weekend.

In Australia, a Melbourne man set a new record for a stack of pancakes, which stretched a mere 30 inches high.

And in my home country of New Zealand, the Girl Guides (I think they are called Girl Scouts in the US) in the small North Island town of Dargaville managed a singularly epochal accomplishment, creating a much more impressive world record, an approximately 84 mile long chain of, ahem, 169,324 bras, all neatly hooked together.

It took 100 Girl Guides two days to join them all together – one wonders if the Boy Scouts were subsequently called in to unhook them.  More details here.

Until next week, please enjoy safe travels.







3 thoughts on “Weekly Roundup 24 February 2012”

  1. The Great British Washcloth dilemma. One reason British hotels don’t provide “face flannels” is that most Brits don’t use them at home either. Nor do a lot of other European hotels. I find guests in my London home often use my “washcloths” as towels when they wash their hands. Washcloths to many Europeans are about as foreign an object as a bidet is to Americans.

  2. On our first trip to England at our first B&B, I asked the owner for two face cloths.

    She said: “Face cloths? Their use is not restricted to the face. Have you thought about other body areas where they might be used? That’s why we don’t provide them.”

    Oh, my!

  3. Hello David…you might mention to your readers that United Airlines is changing its reservation system to that of Continental on March 2 and the transiition will most likely have some glitches which will definitely affect passenger travel.

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