Air Travel Changing

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
According to the news in my union magazine, air travel will see changes beginning with the 2019 travel season and beyond. Airports and even certain airlines will be using what is called “human biometric data,” which amounts to using facial recognition software to seek out terrorists, wanted criminals and any other low-lifes.

Also, air travel is expected to climb an average of 4-6%, which is a very large increase over previous years.

Getting through security at certain airports may take a bit longer due to TSA agents being instructed to pay more attention to the monitors that highlight certain items in passenger’s handbags and carryon luggage. If you have ever seen the monitor, it highlights unidentifiable objects. Then, the TSA agent has some discretion as to have the bag checked or let it pass. If the object is outlined in red, it must be checked. My guess is that security is being heightened due to Homeland Security receiving some information of terroristic threats. Let’s hope not.
 

RadishRose

SF VIP
Location
USA
I'm glad about the security, but since oil prices are rising, I'm surprised that an increase of flights are projected.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
A friend of mine who is still flying said that he spoke with a TSA agent and they have only heard about this new technology, but no training has begun yet.

My friend flies the Triple 7 (Boeing 777) and his last flight was from Washington to London. By the way he was talking, they must have really went though some pretty bad turbulence. He said that he had heard a few screams, but no one was hurt and he did make a few announcements asking for the passengers to remain calm. They had tried different altitudes, but nothing worked, so he decided to just take the shortest route. It lasted for almost an hour.

At the end of the flight, he had maintenance check the plane for damage to the outside.
 
......Also, air travel is expected to climb an average of 4-6%, which is a very large increase over previous years......
You sure are not reading what I have. In 2017, air travel increased 7.9% over 2016. In 2018, went up about 6%. Perhaps you're talking domestically, instead of worldwide? For 2019, there is some doubt about increases due to global economic slowdown. We'll see on that.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Domestic travel. I kind of focus just on domestic, only because I never flew international. The closest that I came to international was the two years that I did the O’hare to Honolulu and Lihue in Kauai routes. Pretty boring just flying back and forth over the water. However, some pilots enjoy the challenge of the changing air currents.

I once posted a notice that was in one of my union monthly periodicals that stated 20,000 pilots would be needed in the next five years due to attrition, additional routes and additional planes being added. The skies are definitely getting busier.
 

Packerjohn

Packerjohn
Location
Canada
Just flew from Canada to London, England last week. It was terrible. No meals given on a 7 hour flight; just coffee & 2 tiny biscuits. Everyone sat like zombies starring at their electronic toys all night. Glad I had my wife with me to talk to. This will be my last overseas flight. The airline, Westjet, treat passengers like some cattle. Everyone wants to fly to Europe for free so I guess what you pay for is what you get.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Just flew from Canada to London, England last week. It was terrible. No meals given on a 7 hour flight; just coffee & 2 tiny biscuits. Everyone sat like zombies starring at their electronic toys all night. Glad I had my wife with me to talk to. This will be my last overseas flight. The airline, Westjet, treat passengers like some cattle. Everyone wants to fly to Europe for free so I guess what you pay for is what you get.

Sounds about right. Most, if not all, low cost carriers, do not include the frills that other airlines include and also add into the price. I flew from Washington, D.C. to London just a few years ago on United in First Class. I get free coach travel, but must pay for any upgrades.

When dinner was served, I walked back through Coach just to find out what was on their menu. They were given a choice of wraps and a desert, plus snacks throughout the trip. Each seat also had access to an entertainment system located on the seat back in front of them. They could tune in movies, TV shows or play games, along with tracking the flight and also an opportunity to listen to the chatter between the pilots and the flight controllers, which is pretty neat if you have never experienced it. All United flights offer passengers the opportunity to listen to the chatter.

I am am sure that the people in coach paid more for their seat than someone who may have flown on one of the low cost carriers.
 

RadishRose

SF VIP
Location
USA
I remember this. I looked it up on Quora just now-
[h=1]Is it true that American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class?[/h]
It seems close. Some interesting answers at:

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-American-Airlines-saved-40-000-in-1987-by-eliminating-one-olive-from-each-salad-served-in-first-class.

Another quote there-

"AA was always a leader in fuel savings. It's the reason their airplanes are mostly bare metal -- AA found the paint added significantly enough to each plane's weight that removing most of the paint resulted in significant fuel savings.
(from a former, and proud, AA employee)"

One more quote-

"Note also that the former Northwest Airlines saved $500,000 per year by cutting its limes into 16 pieces instead of 10 (How much money did Northwest Airlines save by cutting its limes into sixteenths instead of tenths to harmonize their merger with Delta Airlines?), so it's not that hard to believe that removing one olive per salad could save American $40k."[h=1][/h]
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Rose.....United must have learned the paint trick from AA. United’s planes are pretty plain now too, since the merger with Continental. We used to make jokes about each other’s airline in the Dispatcher’s office or the pilots lounge.

I knew that AA was the cost saving leader in the airline business for many years. Jet fuel contracts are done similar to your home heating oil contracts. They are negotiated far in advance, but not too far. This is done so that both the airline and the oil company can regulate their costs and fare prices.

Most airlines have learned from Southwest’s way of buying jet fuel. Instead of paying spot price for what they use on a day to day business and instead they use a system called “fuel hedging,” which is nothing more than buying jet fuel on future contracts when jet fuel is low, or at expected low prices.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Just think, if you could have bought a gas contract back a year or two when gas hovered around $2.00 per gallon. Wouldn’t you and I have bought a contract for a few thousand gallons at that price? I probably would have. Today, gas prices are about $3.00 a gallon here. That means if I bought a 2000 gallon contract, I would save $2000.00.
 
Some warning signs ahead:

Is a travel recession in the wings?
Consumers nervous, cutting back according to reports
Chris McGinnis, SFGATE.com, May 10, 2019
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/travel-recession-13832563.php

(excerpted) Travel demand is almost always a good predictor of what's to come for the overall economy. It's like the canary in the coal mine. When consumers and big companies start to feel nervous about future prospects, travel is usually one of the first things to get cut (or reduced) from the family or corporate budget.

So while employment and overall economic numbers still look like it's full steam ahead for the U.S. economy, the travel industry may be starting to feel a light recessionary chill. Some examples:

"We have had 100‐plus straight months of travel expansion in the U.S., and there are now parts of the world that are just starting to join the travel revolution...But despite these positive factors, I see increasing and worrying signs about where worldwide demand is headed and evidence that suggests the U.S. is poised for a slowdown across every travel category" writes Clayton Reid, the CEO of MMGY Global, a giant marketing and communications firm in the travel space.

.... MMGY's research shows an overall decline in demand for travel over the last two years, with a lot more travelers citing sensitivity to pricing as the reason for cutting back. It finds that business travel demand is currently a little stronger than leisure demand, which is propping up airfares and hotel rates, but that is also expected to decline in 2020. With economies outside the U.S. going soft, fewer travelers will be headed to big American gateway cities like New York or San Francisco, pushing down demand.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
I have seen different articles and reports in travel magazines and also in my monthly union newsletter. Most agree that thanks to Brexit, travel from the UK to the U.S. has slowed.

Here in the U.S., travel overall is down about 1-2%. I have always thought that the economy can be judged by the amount of passengers flying. When the economy begins to sink, you can see more people taking to the highways.

Some of the the more popular routes like from the east coast to west coast and vice versa has remained fairly steady. In the summer when travel peaked, I would fly the Boeing 767, which seats around 300 passengers. Then, when the travel season would begin to lessen, I would switch to the B-757, which seats about 200-250, depending on which version of the plane we would be flying. Mainly, the planes would be full to my delight.

I flew down to Florida this past weekend leaving from Washington, D.C. The flights were full down and back. Florida is a popular destination, so it should be no surprise that the flights were full. If you look at smaller, less popular markets, I am sure the plane’s would be less than full. It costs airlines a lot of money to run regional flights, which most airlines will add a few bucks to other more popular destinations to help defray the costs of running a regional system.

Someone mentioned cost cutting on airlines, which was always a huge ongoing effort. At United, if an employee would suggest a cost cutting idea that they would implement, the employee would be rewarded. I remember one of my pilot friends recommended using recycled paper towels in the lavatories. He did his homework and estimated that the airline would save approximately ‘x’ amount of dollars (I forget how much.) The airline used his idea and he received a check for $2000.00.
 
Some warning signs ahead:

Is a travel recession in the wings?
Consumers nervous, cutting back according to reports
Chris McGinnis, SFGATE.com, May 10, 2019
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/travel-recession-13832563.php

(excerpted) Travel demand is almost always a good predictor of what's to come for the overall economy. It's like the canary in the coal mine. When consumers and big companies start to feel nervous about future prospects, travel is usually one of the first things to get cut (or reduced) from the family or corporate budget.

So while employment and overall economic numbers still look like it's full steam ahead for the U.S. economy, the travel industry may be starting to feel a light recessionary chill. Some examples:

"We have had 100‐plus straight months of travel expansion in the U.S., and there are now parts of the world that are just starting to join the travel revolution...But despite these positive factors, I see increasing and worrying signs about where worldwide demand is headed and evidence that suggests the U.S. is poised for a slowdown across every travel category" writes Clayton Reid, the CEO of MMGY Global, a giant marketing and communications firm in the travel space.

.... MMGY's research shows an overall decline in demand for travel over the last two years, with a lot more travelers citing sensitivity to pricing as the reason for cutting back. It finds that business travel demand is currently a little stronger than leisure demand, which is propping up airfares and hotel rates, but that is also expected to decline in 2020. With economies outside the U.S. going soft, fewer travelers will be headed to big American gateway cities like New York or San Francisco, pushing down demand.
Among people I know there is a lot less flying going on, partly due to how expensive it is and partly due to the incredible hassle of flying nowdays and cramped quarters on the planes. It just isn't any fun anymore.
 
Among people I know there is a lot less flying going on, partly due to how expensive it is and partly due to the incredible hassle of flying nowdays and cramped quarters on the planes. It just isn't any fun anymore.
It would be nice if more people would think the same. In my opinion, flying should not be fun overall. In times of climate change, air travel should be made even less attractive. When I look at the scale of air travel, I get dizzy: https://www.flight-radar.org
 

Capt Lightning

Senior Member
Air travel and affordable prices have opened up the world of travel to people who could never have managed it a generation or two ago. Yes, it can be hassle, but a couple of hours of minor discomfort is hardly a show stopper. I'm glad I can have 2 or 3 foreign holidays a year - something my parents could never have dreamed of.
 

CarolfromTX

Member
Location
Central Texas
Hubs and I flew over to Athens on American Airlines a couple weeks ago. Coach. It felt incredibly cramped. The nearly 10 hour flight about did me in. We cruised to Italy, did an extension in Tuscany, then flew out of Florence. We flew Lufthansa from Munich to Chicago, and it was way better than AA. More leg room, a better incline on the seat back, great screen in the seat back, more restrooms, better service. Still a long boring flight, but more comfy for sure.
 

Don M.

Well-known Member
Location
central Missouri
We flew to Las Vegas...from Kansas City...a few weeks ago, via SW Airlines. We booked the non stop flights on their "gotta get away" bargain fares, and the flights were on time, and uneventful. We actually spent more time at the airports...going through security, etc., than the flights themselves. Since it is only about a 2 hour flight, we just had a small snack and a cup of coffee while on the plane. True, the seats seem to be getting smaller, and the leg room has diminished in recent years, but since neither of us are very large, the seats are still comfortable. My only concern about flying is having the bad luck of being seated next to a huge "Lard a$$", or on the return flight, a drunk.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Don....Since seats are not assigned on SW, you have the option of changing your seat. I know that you may feel awkward in doing so, but it is an option. As for the drunk, unless he/she is unruly, they can fly, but again, you can ask to be reseated. I would rather sit in the back of the plane than next to someone who makes me uncomfortable.

The thing about seats is that when an airline contracts with either Boeing or Airbus to have a plane built, they give the manufacturer their seating requirements and the manufacturer will then assemble the seating in the fuselage as requested.

SW has an all Boeing 737 livery. Some of their 737’s have been stretched like the -7 & -8 or -700 & -800. The older 737’s, like the -3’s & -4’s have tighter seating.

At United, we offered extra legroom seating for about $20.00 each way. Airlines do what they can to make a buck. I tell everyone to keep in mind that it was only up to about 7 or 8 years ago that U.S. airlines finally turned decently profitable thanks to deregulation and cost savings. Flying is still a good deal and time saving for those with only a limited amount of vacation time.

I hear people tell me that when they fly they miss a lot of what’s on the ground to see. If you have driven to your destination previously, then you’ve seen everything. For me, I just want to get to where I’m headed.
 

Don M.

Well-known Member
Location
central Missouri
I hear people tell me that when they fly they miss a lot of what’s on the ground to see. If you have driven to your destination previously, then you’ve seen everything. For me, I just want to get to where I’m headed.
Yeah....we've driven to Denver and Las Vegas several times in the past, but anymore it just isn't worth driving. It would take us 4 full days to drive to/from Las Vegas, and when you factor in the cost of gas, motels, meals, etc., it would cost several times more than an airline ticket. That, plus, my age making driving for 12 hours a day a real challenge, makes air travel the only real sensible option.

One time, coming back, we had some guy who stunk of booze and body odor plop down in our row, and he slept virtually all the way, but having to put up with his stench, even with the overhead vents running full blast, almost made us ill. Then, another time, we got stuck next to a really obese dude....he took the aisle seat and almost blocked half the aisle with his "excess" hanging over the armrest. But, outside of a couple of experiences, flying has been quite good. Now, since 911, security has been more intense, but we don't take any carry on luggage, and get through the screening quickly....just the delays of standing in line waiting for our turn.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Don: I shouldn’t even talk about this, but I can remember having a 400+ pound man onboard going from New York to LA. I’m in the cockpit and we just received clearance to pushback and start our engines when the Purser came in and told us (the First Officer & myself) that two passengers were raising cane in the middle of the plane over seating issues. I asked her what’s the issue? She said the one guy is pretty big and the other man is telling him to sit somewhere else because he was encroaching on his side of the seat.

I just shook my head and I asked her if we had any seats open in first or business class. She said we had three seats open. So, I told her to offer the guy complaining a seat in first. That way, there would only be two people in a three-person seating row. That should be plenty of room. Finally, everyone was happy.

Having people onboard that smelled bad was always an ongoing issue. There just isn’t much we (the employees) or the company can do, unless the smell is so rank that several people complain and that has also happened. We were just lucky to have some open seats that allowed us to adjust the seating to make everyone happy.

Flying is (was) supposed to be a pleasurable experience. Ever since the airlines took away the meals and narrowed the seating clearances things have changed. People aren’t as happy or satisfied as they should be. I have found that if you want to find the most rudest people around, just go to an airport. Vacation passengers are happy and taking their time while business passengers are, at times, grumpy and rushed. Mix those two together and it makes for a poor environment.
 


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