Odds and Ends: TSA, 787 endurance and Frontier, again
This just in:
Busted. We’re a big fan of the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters. In the warped sense of humor department, we found this to be pretty amusing, since nobody got hurt.
TSA: Anyone who has flown in the US knows that the airport experience is probably the worst part of traveling. It’s worse than the abominable on-board service now provided by most US airlines. It’s worse than the crowded airplanes and the cramped legroom. TSA’s use of body x-ray machines is invasive. The 3-1-1 rule about liquids is absurd and the requirement to remove shoes before going through magnometers is silly.
In Europe, the body x-ray machines we’ve been through (and we had no choice for an alternative method) are less objectionable. The particular machine at Delta’s Amsterdam connecting gate was a stick figure, not an x-ray of the body itself. The stick figure shows dots where “something” appears and the security person did a quick pat-down of these locations. Much less invasive than the TSA. And the shoes stayed on. This actually was the first body scanner we went through since they were introduced and because it was a stick figure, we had no objection.
Business Week has this article talking about the TSA and its silly policies.
Boeing spent billions designing the 787 (we’re thinking only of the standard expense here, not the overruns) to dramatically improve the passenger experience, and it did a very good job. And Boeing is spending lots of money to aid airlines in training, to reduce in-flight fuel expenses and to improve the air traffic management systems.
Too bad it can’t control what the airlines do with the interior, but even that isn’t the real challenge: it’s the airport experience.
Speaking of the 787: Boeing launched a round-the-world endurance flight for the airplane, beginning with a 21 hour segment to Bangladesh. Officials expect to set a record. This is going on while Boeing is using another test 787 for a world customer tour.
More on 787: Alenia, the troublesome supplier that contributed in no small measure to Boeing’s problems with the airplane, thought the entire program would be cancelled due to the cost overruns, according to Flight International. It’s a revealing article.
Frontier Airlines: Flight International wondered where the order for Republic Airways Holdings 80 Airbus A320neos was, destined for the troubled Frontier Airlines. We asked Airbus: it is expected to be booked to the December tally.
Today’s the Boeing-IAM vote: We will learn today of the IAM 751 members approve the contract negotiated and announced last week between the union leadership and Boeing that will extend the contract from September 2012 for four years, ensure the 737 MAX is built in Renton (WA) and lay the groundwork to settle the NLRB complaint over the 787 Charleston plant. As we’ve previously written, this was a stunningly positive development between management and the 751 leadership. We certainly hope the membership approves.
We consider this to be the best development at Boeing in years.
Bombardier: Bombardier held an investors day in New York yesterday. Here is a write-up of the information imparted.
Embraer: Boeing and AWACS are synonymous. Not any more. Embraer is now in the game. The EMB-145-based AWACS has been in development for some time.