Does your company have a screening process for commercial airline travel and do you keep track of which airlines are acceptable and which ones are not? If the words “Banned from the European Union” make you cringe, you need to work with your travel manager and make sure you are not flying with an airline that has had to change their name because of poor regulatory oversight or a history of accidents or financial instability.
Airline travel in some parts of the world is a risky affair. Government oversight, ownership quality, code share alliances, aging aircraft, inadequate ATC facilities, poor passenger screening processes, lower standards for flightcrew and maintenance personnel are generally found in cases where there is a high accident and incident rate.
JRAL has the tools and connections to help you determine if the airlines that you are using would meet your standards. If you do not have a process for vetting the airlines, we can help make the connections that you need with a firm that is second to none in scoring nearly all of the airlines of the world and lower your risk factors.
In a 2013 Harris poll, it was learned that 39% of airline passengers in the USA would prefer to have a stranger sleep on their shoulder during a flight than pay for carry-on baggage. 63% would rather be seated next to a crying baby than a smelly adult. What is most interesting is that Harris did not ask the question that travel managers are most concerned with by citing any results to the most basic questions such as "Which airlines have acceptable operating histories, offer the safest travel and best customer service and will allow them to negotiate their fees and leverage their market positions?" But they did learn and report that
58% of passengers would be willing to pay more for extra legroom on a longer flight. In comparison, only 33% would be willing to pay more for extra legroom on a short flight.
55% of passengers would rather have free Wi-Fi than free TV or movies on a flight.
46% of passengers would rather be seated in a zone where other passengers can't recline than in a seat with extra legroom.
37% of passengers would be willing to pay more to fly on a newer plane.
27% of passengers would rather pay extra for my baggage than fly without in-flight TV/movies.
50% of passengers think airlines should allow people to use their mobile phones on flights.
53% of passengers would be willing to pay extra to avoid a middle seat on longer flights (3 hours or longer)
27% of passengers would rather pay extra for their baggage than fly without in-flight TV/movies.
And the things that your pilot won’t tell you
The Readers Digest magazine ran an article a while ago with comments from airline flight crewmembers. Some of them are actually true and are included here for your amusement.
I’ve been struck by lightning twice
Most pilots have. Airplanes are built to take it. You hear a big boom and see a big flash and that’s it. You’re not going to fall out of the sky.” —Pilot for a regional carrier, Charlotte, North Carolina
You may not be getting the airline you paid for
You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to the curb, and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time, you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: Their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that. —Captain at a major airline
The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing
The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you’re in the middle, you don’t move as much. There is no safest place to sit. In one accident, the people in the back are dead; in the next, it’s the people up front. —John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain, Seattle
People don’t understand why they can’t use their cell phones
Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are. —Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot, Phoenix
It’s not an FAA rule, it’s an FCC rule. Imagine 1.5 million people a day flying over the USA and all of them tying up dozens of Cell towers per call. At 31,000 feet, your cellphone will be grabbing 50 or 60 cell towers and using up the frequencies with one call. And lastly, who wants to sit next to someone talking into a cellphone for two hours on an airplane – Pilot in Salt Lake City
Some FAA rules don’t make any sense to us either
We don’t make you stow your laptop because we’re worried about electronic interference. It’s about having a projectile on your lap. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 miles per hour. And we’re not trying to ruin your fun by making you take off your headphones. We just want you to be able to hear us if there’s an emergency. —Patrick Smith
Some FAA rules don’t make sense to us either. Like the fact that when we’re at 39,000 feet going 400 miles an hour, in a plane that could hit turbulence at any minute, (flight attendants) can walk around and serve hot coffee and Chateaubriand. But when we’re on the ground on a flat piece of asphalt going five to ten miles an hour, they’ve got to be buckled in like they’re at NASCAR. —Jack Stephan, US Airways captain based in Annapolis, Maryland
It's updrafts, not turbulence, we really worry about
A plane flies into a massive updraft, which you can’t see on the radar at night, and it’s like hitting a giant speed bump at 500 miles an hour. It throws everything up in the air and then down very violently. That’s not the same as turbulence, which bounces everyone around for a while. —John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain, Seattle
Pilots find it perplexing that so many people are afraid of turbulence. It’s all but impossible for turbulence to cause a crash. We avoid turbulence not because we’re afraid the wing is going to fall off, but because it’s annoying. —Patrick Smith
I’m constantly under pressure to carry less fuel than I’m comfortable with
Airlines are always looking at the bottom line, and you burn fuel carrying fuel. Sometimes if you carry just enough fuel and you hit thunderstorms or delays, then suddenly you’re running out of gas and you have to go to an alternate airport. —Captain at a major airline
Being on time is more important than getting everyone there
The Department of Transportation has put such an emphasis on on-time performance that we pretty much aren’t allowed to delay a flight anymore, even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight that’s coming in just a little late. —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina
No, it’s not your imagination: Airlines really have adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals. So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes. —AirTran Airways captain, Atlanta
You'll never hear, "One of our engines just failed”
What they’ll say instead: “One of our engines is indicating improperly.” Or more likely, they’ll say nothing, and you’ll never know the difference. Most planes fly fine with one engine down. You'll also never hear, "Well, folks, the visibility out there is zero.” Instead they'll say: “There’s some fog in the Washington area.”
There’s no such thing as a water landing
It’s called crashing into the ocean. —Pilot, South Carolina
The truth is, we’re exhausted
Our work rules allow us to be on duty 16 hours without a break. That’s many more hours than a truck driver. And unlike a truck driver, who can pull over at the next rest stop, we can’t pull over at the next cloud. Do pilots sleep in the cockpit? Definitely. Sometimes it’s just a ten-minute catnap, but it happens —Captain at a major airline
Most people get sick after traveling not because of what they breathe but because of what they touch
Always assume that the tray table and the button to push the seat back have not been wiped down, though we do wipe down the lavatory. —Patrick Smith
It’s one thing if the pilot puts the seat belt sign on for the passengers...
But if he tells the flight attendants to sit down, you’d better listen. That means there’s some serious turbulence ahead. Passengers: PLEASE be more mindful of yourself and others. Most of you wouldn’t consider going down the highway at 60 miles an hour without your seat belt fastened. But when we’re hurtling through the air at 500 miles an hour and we turn off the seat belt sign, half of you take your seat belts off. But if we hit a little air pocket, your head will be on the ceiling. —Captain at a major airline
Whatever you pay to fly, we pay more
Please don’t complain to me about your lost bags or the rotten service or that the airline did this or that. My retirement was taken to help subsidize your $39 airfare. I know pilots who spend a quarter million on their education and training, then that first year as a pilot, they qualify for food stamps. —Furloughed first officer, Texas
Driving is WAY scarier than flying a plane
People always ask, "What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?" I tell them it was a van ride from the Los Angeles airport to the hotel, and I’m not kidding. —Jack Stephan
There's a good reason for everything we ask you to do
We ask you to put up the window shade so the flight attendants can see outside in an emergency, to assess if one side is better for an evacuation. It also lets light into the cabin if it goes dark and helps passengers get oriented if the plane flips or rolls over. —Patrick Smith
Those buddy passes they give us?
I give them only to my enemies now. Sure, you can get a $1,000 airfare to Seattle for $100. But since you have to fly standby, it will take you three months to get back because you can’t get a seat. —Pilot, South Carolina
Some insider advice:
I always tell my kids to travel in sturdy shoes. If you have to evacuate and your flip-flops fall off, there you are standing on the hot tarmac or in the weeds in your bare feet. Cold on the airplane? Tell your flight attendant. We’re in a constant battle with them over the temperature. They’re moving all the time, up and down the aisles, so they are always calling and saying, ‘Turn up the air.’ But most passengers I know are freezing. —Captain at a major carrier
Here’s the truth about airline jobs:
You don’t have as much time off as your neighbors think you have, you don’t make as much money as your relatives think you make, and you don’t have as many girlfriends as your wife thinks you have. Still, I can’t believe they pay me to do this. —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina