Shuck and Jive

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Reason to Take the Bus

When I traveled to Montana this summer I took the bus. Kinda smelly. A little pressure on the rear end for the 48 hour ride from northeast Tennessee. But it is cheap, you get to meet folks, see the countryside, and despite needing to dodge the occasional cannibal, the bus is a good way to go. Especially, in light of this news:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pilots are complaining that their airline bosses, desperate to cut costs, are forcing them to fly uncomfortably low on fuel.

Safety for passengers and crews could be compromised, they say.

The situation got bad enough three years ago, even before the latest surge in fuel prices, that NASA sent a safety alert to federal aviation officials.

No action. (Read more)


  1. It's bad enough they took all the fun out of flying - now they've taken out a lot of the probability for survival, too!

    What's next? Bring your own floatation devices?


  2. As the resident employee of America's Most Hated Industry, I would note that the reporting on this is really overblown (they completely misrepresented the "Alert" given by NASA). Federal law requires that commercial flights have enough fuel to fly from the origin to the destination, then from the destination to an alternate airport, then to fly for an extra 45 minutes. Dispatchers usually order more fuel if holding patterns are likely. One of my current projects is scouting out new alternate airports closer to our destination airports in order to save fuel.

    The other thing to remember is that fuel has weight. The more fuel an airplane carries, the fewer passengers and bags it can carry safely. That terrible crash in Charlotte a few years ago was directly caused by the aircraft being too heavy and out of balance.

    I can't speak for other carriers, but at mine and a couple others I deal with on a regular basis, the pilots are completely onboard with the new fuel conservation techniques. We never compromise safety. And there's something to be said for not requesting an extra 10,000 lbs of fuel (in addition to the Origin-Destination-Alternate-45 minute fuel) for a flight from Charlotte to Atlanta in perfect clear weather.

  3. Now I get the fly in flycandler!

    Thanks for the inside scoop.