Archive for January, 2009

American Airlines today announced that after reviewing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policy on raft capacity (which mentions that the rafts on the plane should accommodate for all passengers, crew and lap children), they found that the Boeing 767 fleet was not following the policy. So, temporarily all flights using the plane will be restricted to 228 instead of earlier capacity of 236 (both number includes the crew of 11). The airline did add that it was never safety concern, since the the seat cushions could be used as flotation devices instead of the raft.

It seems that the Hudson river landing of flight 1549 had caused the self check.

The airline is going to add additional rafts to the planes for permanent solution.

What it means the passenger?

For long term, the airline might restrict the number of seats that it can sell and for the current flights, the flights which are sold between above capacity and capacity-8 might be looking for volunteers to fly some other flight, if all passengers show-up.


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The complaint letter was supposed to be sent to Sir Richard Branson and is supposed to be world’s funniest passenger complaint letter. Sir Branson has been confirmed to have called the author of the letter to thank him for the letter.

The letter goes like follows (from Telegraph) –

Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite
a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest
incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand
rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was
subjected to at thehands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it: [see image 1, above].

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were
racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given
it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which
one is the desert?

You don’t get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a
generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted
the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it’s
next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That’s got to be the clue
hasn’t it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they.
Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with
peas in: [see image 2, above].


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I am one of those people who would normally get on a flight, exchange the usual smile and hello and then go straight to my seat paying little or no attention to the announcements or safety briefings by the flight attendants and the crew. My only interaction with the flight attendants come when they ask for choice of beverage or food or if I get an exit seat and I say “yes” to whatever!

Since flight 1549 crash landed in Hudson river, I have taken 4 flights (2 were with US Airways) with the last one being exceptionally turbulent. All the four flights I made sure to hear my flight attendants on their safety briefing, made sure to keep the seat belt on and tight and kept looking through the window to look for birds :).

Though I think the chance of having a similar event is very small, but still my advice to everyone – Pay Attention!

(I am adding two more categories – safety and flight attendants to my blog :))


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US Airways announced that it has sent a check of $5000 (for lost possessions) to each passenger that were on the flight 1549 that crash landed on the Hudson river. The airline also included the check for reimbursement of the ticket price. Though they did mention that the passenger’s possessions might not be returned for months (checked for weight and balance) till the investigation is complete.

The letter mentioned (from CNN) –

“The National Transportation Safety Board has now begun their
investigation of this accident, and we are offering our full
participation and cooperation,” airline executive Kerry Hester wrote in
a letter accompanying each check.

“Investigatory protocol
requires that the aircraft and all of its contents must be examined and
weighed prior to releasing any items onboard in order to verify the
weight and balance on the aircraft. … The process is to weigh all
items in their current state, dry them for eight weeks and then weigh
them again,” Hester wrote.

“This means we cannot return your items to you until the NTSB
recovers and releases them, a process that will likely take several
months. It is also possible that some items may be unrecoverable.”

The airline
also included checks to reimburse the 150 passengers for the costs of
their tickets. “This is an obvious reimbursement that we wanted to make
quickly to each of you,” the letter says.

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Following are the CCTV videos for the flight number 1549’s crash landing that have been released to public –

This is an interesting video with simulations and edits from other videos –

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Recently I was on a flight from Delhi to London which took off in a 75-100m visibility. I was trying to see if someone actually had a video for such take offs or landings, when the visibility is so low.

Following is the video I found which looks like a news segment done for some Indian news channel. Very interesting.

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Flight number 1549 that was scheduled to fly from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte’s Charlotte-Douglas Airport at 3:20pm, had to crash land into the Hudson river after both its engines failed due to a run in with a flock of geese. There were around 150 people on flight. According to reports, the pilot maneuvered a soft landing on water after he told the passenger to “brace for impact”. Eye witness say that they saw a large splash in water. Five minutes after landing, passenger were seen on the wings of the aircraft while ferries dropped life jackets. Casualties (if any) are not known yet.

From Mizozo.com

“There is a speculation that the plane hit a flock of geese that
disabled both the engines forcing the pilots to land the plane on
water.  There were 144 passengers and 6 crew members on the flight. “

From Village Voice Blog

“People were standing on the wings of the plane” waiting for rescue,
says Harry Martin at My9 News. The rescue scene is alleged to be
visible from the 42nd Street shore of the Hudson. The water temperature
is 42 degrees. Roosevelt Hospital is alerted to receive between 25 to
50 injured passengers. Witness Jayme Lewis says the touchdown was
smooth: “It looked like it wanted to land on the water… very gentle
and very controlled”

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