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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:14 PM

Cost-Cutting Cited in Loose Plane Seats

Source: NY Times

Last month, American Airlines grounded dozens of Boeing 757 airliners after passenger seats came loose on four flights. Just a few weeks earlier, another American plane, a Boeing 767, was grounded after a problem was reported with the installation of some seats, though in that case no seats actually came loose.
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WBZ-TV, via Associated Press
American Airlines hired outside contractors to install passenger seats with more leg room. The seats have come loose on several flights.
J Pat Carter/Associated Press
An American Airlines passenger in Miami tries to make arrangements after her flight was delayed.
Why the seat problems?

American, like other carriers, is in the midst of reconfiguring its coach section to give more leg room to some economy seats. To get the extra space, it is creating three rows instead of four. The airline then charges more for the seats, which it calls Main Cabin Extra.

But the airline, in trying to cut costs during bankruptcy, hired outside maintenance companies this summer for the first time to modify its cabins. And airline documents show that those workers did not understand how to properly install the seats.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/business/installation-problems-seen-in-american-airlines-loose-seats.html?ref=business



Krugman was right, the "free market" isn't really working for workers, now they have students doing faulty work for "free".

Guess it wasn't the "pilot's fault" like AMR's press releases wanted you to believe.

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Cost-Cutting Cited in Loose Plane Seats (Original post)
cpamomfromtexas Nov 2012 OP
Berlum Nov 2012 #1
SoapBox Nov 2012 #2
cosmicone Nov 2012 #3
crazylikafox Nov 2012 #4
cpamomfromtexas Nov 2012 #7
yesphan Nov 2012 #5
naaman fletcher Nov 2012 #6
cpamomfromtexas Nov 2012 #8
naaman fletcher Nov 2012 #9
DollarBillHines Nov 2012 #11
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #10
Swede Atlanta Nov 2012 #12
Javaman Nov 2012 #14
happyslug Nov 2012 #13
OnionPatch Nov 2012 #15

Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:15 PM

1. Republican Business "Values"

As usual.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:19 PM

2. "Guess it wasn't the "pilot's fault" like AMR's press releases wanted you to believe."

Didn't he mean it was President Obama's fault?

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:26 PM

3. I am wondering what other things

may come loose during the flight. Scary thought.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:27 PM

4. A neighbor tried to tell me that this was the Union's fault.

That the pilot's were just making this stuff up to cause problems. A former stewardess at American told her that. Why do people believe this shit?

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Response to crazylikafox (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:16 PM

7. Because it was on the news that way. Amr's press release was taken at face value by the media.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:09 PM

5. In 1994,

I took an Aeroflot flight from NY to Moscow. Before leaving Kennedy, I noticed my seat belt would not latch.
I pointed this out to the attendant and she quickly tied it in a knot around my lap. She said "no problem now"
and off we went.

Maintenance schmaintenance ,Russian free market at work !

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:13 PM

6. I fly a lot..

 

YTD I am at 78,680 miles. I am going to central america next week, and Europe later in the month or january.

Anyway, I don't see how American can possibly turn around. It is simply the worst, most god-awful airline in the world. I do anything to avoid it. I once flew from London to the US without a headrest. The planes are always late, the workers are always bitter. The planes are all shit. The lounges are terrible.

Once upon a time the big american airlines were sort of all the same. No more. United is far and away better than American.

I don't see how American can possibly turn things around.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:16 PM

8. They can't unless management and the board are given the boot.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:18 PM

9. yeah

 

but even then.. it takes years and years to change the culture in a company. More importantly, it will take billions and billions of dollars to catch up with United.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:10 PM

11. Unfortunately, I have over 1M miles on AA.

I refuse to use them. My last few flights were nightmares.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:30 PM

10. I changed seats on a Braniff 747 Airplane

a long time ago because the seat was loose.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 06:20 PM

12. American flag carriers, once world class are, by and large, flying city buses....

 

I recently flew on Delta from Atlanta to London and then on Malaysia Airlines' new A380 to Kuala Lumpur.

The passenger experience couldn't have been starker. The Delta aircraft was an aging 767 whose seats in economy were squeezed in as tight as possible. I am 6'3" tall so my knees were in my chest the entire flight. The meal service was lukewarm and not overly plentiful. The flight attendants were rarely seen after the meal service although they tried to be accommodating and friendly.

The MAS A380 was beautiful, new and comfortable. The seat recline was decent and I could extend my legs fully even with the seat in front of me reclined. This was in economy. The food was piping hot and very plentiful. The flight attendants came through the cabin at least once an hour with water and juice throughout the flight. The pillow wasn't smashed down such that it gave no padding at all. The blanket was big enough to actually cover your feet all the way to your shoulders.

Malaysia Airlines is working on a financial recovery plan. But, as a privately traded company, it is focusing on improving customer service, simplifying its business as its path to success.

Delta has admitted they are not purchasing any new aircraft and are rather buying old airplanes on the open market and refurbishing them. That might work for a while but they are forgoing the improved efficiency and lower maintenance costs of newer aircraft as well as customer choice. If I have a choice for the same price to fly on a newer 777, Dreamliner, A330, A340 or A380, over an aging 767, I will go with the newer aircraft.

American flag carriers need to realize they can't compete if their business plan is about being the cheapest bus in the sky. That might work from Topeka to Chicago but it won't work from Los Angeles to Beijing.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:21 AM

14. I had a similar experience flying to Rome earlier this year...

I took Amercian from Dallas to Chicago then Iberian Air to Rome.

The best way I can summerize my experience is: U.S. based airlines are now the grayhounds of the air and everything that connotates. Iberian and other European Airlines are like how U.S. airlines used to be 30+ years ago.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:08 PM

13. Reminds me of the last days of Private Passenger Train Service

Last edited Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:50 PM - Edit history (1)

If you look back at the reports, the same type of reports appear, lack of maintenance, it all the Union's fault, etc. The reason was the same, it was a declining business and when you are in a decline, you cut costs to keep up profit margins. The problem the more you cut, the more it turns people off.

Amtrak inherited this in the 1970s, a lot of complaints about Amtrak in the 1970s were similar (it did not help that when Amtrak was formed under Nixon, it was assumed it was last just a few years and go under, Amtrak was to save the private Railroad companies the complaints from riders when Passenger service was discontinued, they would blame the Government instead). What saved Passenger Rail Service was the Oil Embargo of 1973, it did tend to increase ridership some, but more importantly it forced Congress to look at the needs of Amtrak and actually give them money to upgrade the system, something clearly needed by then, the rail cars were get to old, just like they are today.

Now, Amtrak does NOT move the same amount of people as the Airlines do, but some of the same complaints are heard about Amtrak. The problem is most of the equipment is old, most purchased under Jimmy Carter. The US Air Carriers are in the same boat, For example, While the #1 plane flown by American Airlines are the newer (post 1997) boeing 737-800, the second and third number of planes are older, MD-82 (104 Produced between 1981 and 1997), and MD-83 (82 produced between 1985 and 1999). Thus the airplanes are newer then most of the Amtrak fleet, but Amtrak cars do NOT go through pressurization and de-pressurization that Jet air planes go through. Pressurization and de-pressurization tends to make the Aircraft weaker and thus have to be replaced sooner.

American Airlines use of older planes is not unique to American Airlines, other US Air fleets show a similar age. I just point it out that sooner or later these things have to be replaced, but often time the equipment is retained to long, despite the excess maintenance such older equipment require. Thus the cost to run the equipment goes up, while profit from Passengers goes down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Airlines_fleet

Amtrak has a similar problem today, its equipment is old and to keep it up requires extra maintenance which cuts in on profits.

Now, Amtrak knows it makes money on the Northeast run, thus those tend to be the best trains in Amtrak, most of the complaints are on the other routes which Amtrak loses money on (With maybe the exception of the California line, but mostly due to assistance from the State of California who owns the rail-cars, I suspect they have service up to the standards of the North East Corridor. Please note when I use the term "service" in the above, I mean the quality of the train not their frequency).

Amtrak in California:
'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak_California

Just a comment, that the same reasons people used in the 1950s and 1960s when they abandoned Rail for air travel, are now being seen in Air Travel. and for the same reason, decline in passengers leads to cost cuttings that passengers see and hate.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:01 AM

15. Airlines cost-cutting......

this is why I avoid flying anymore. I have not one drop of faith that the planes are maintained properly.

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