I don’t want to worry you, but all is not perfect in the airline world.
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After so much positive chatter from airline CEOs, one – United’s Scott Kirby – confessed this week that business travel is stabilizing.
It may have something to do with companies stabilizing the number of people they employ.
Perhaps, however, if you are planning a vacation, this leveling may be right for you. More seats for those who just want to get away and rest.
But things don’t always go so well, even with the best of intentions. So I have to prepare you for possible bumps in the air.
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You see, American Airlines pilots are wondering if they should delay flights a bit. Or maybe even a lot.
No, they don’t say so expressly. But it seems they have a particular concern and think the best way to address it is to slow things down.
The problem is the so-called known crew member screening system. You may have seen it in action. If you’re a pilot or flight attendant, you’re allowed to go through security a little faster, without necessarily having to go through the same personal exam that regular humans undergo.
However, it seems that the occasional employee of the airline was able to take advantage of this (relative) freedom in an allegedly illegal way. You know, the kind of drug dealing. This has led the TSA to perform rather secondary screenings, just to make sure there isn’t a whiff of nefarious activity.
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Ergo, says American Airlines pilots union president Ed Sicher, the pilots aren’t happy.
Apparently he Free: “It is not unusual for a driver to be ‘randomly’ checked six or seven times in a row. The rate of these checks has increased to the point where the quick check at KCM has been replaced by unpredictable and sometimes lengthy delays .”
Sicher explained that bosses like to see planes turn around quickly, but if pilots are held up during those secondary throws, it causes delays.
So the drivers solution seems to be, oh, to cause more delays.
Says Sicher: “I recommend using standard passenger entry points for security screening when starting and logging onto our footage. For those who choose to do so, please do NOT jump past passengers who may also be harassed and late due to the unpredictable nature of TSA checkpoints.”
Thoughtful, at first sight.
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At second glance, however, well, here are some more recommendations from Sicher: problems that have arisen with the system Once KCM has been fixed to the point that it is again a predictable means of quick security checks I will be the first to encourage our pilots to exercise this privilege Until then, you should consider using traditional TSA checks and queuing with our passengers.
I’m afraid you’ve gotten there already – and now I’m afraid you’re not going to get where you want to go in time.
If pilots line up with the rest of us, it will take them longer to get through security and flights may well be delayed.
We live in a time when pilots of all airlines are pressuring their bosses. Delta pilots, for example, recently threatened to strike if they did not get a new contract. Coincidentally, the airline announced last week that it had reached an agreement with its pilots on an increase of more than 30%.
Perhaps, then, the American Airlines pilots’ fuss will lead to a quick resolution. Maybe customers will never have to support their drivers after all. Maybe everything will be fine.
But all of this incites a slightly grubby atmosphere that can only leave guests wondering what can happen.
And all they really want is some peace.
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