Monthly Archives: August 2006

Breaking News: Judge Rules in Northwest/AFA Case; AFA Has Right to Strike


Okay folks, I’m writing today, so I can’t get into this too much right now, but here’s the gist of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Alan Gropper’s decision concerning Northwest Airlines’ request for an injunction against the AFA.

No. Nada. Zip.

The AFA’s right to strike has been upheld, as Gropper has denied a request from Northwest for an injunction that would have prevented the Northwest flight attendants from striking.

Good Take on Airline Security

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a “security guru,” Schneier is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. He is also the founder and CTO of Counterpane Internet Security, Inc. The guy knows his stuff.

Too bad he’s not head of the Department of Homeland Security.

TerrorHere’s his take on the latest airline security issues, “Focus on Terrorists, Not Tactics,” which appeared as an Op-Ed piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Sunday.

As he says:

“Security measures that require us to guess correctly don’t work, because invariably we will guess wrong. It’s not security, it’s security theater: measures designed to make us feel safer but not actually safer.

Airport security is the last line of defense, and not a very good one at that. Sure, it’ll catch the sloppy and the stupid — and that’s a good enough reason not to do away with it entirely — but it won’t catch a well-planned plot. We can’t keep weapons out of prisons; we can’t possibly keep them off airplanes.”


Just as We Thought: Northwest Apparently Did Its Own Dumpster Diving

DumpsterJust as I figured.

Thanks to Eric Olesen, who did a little online dumpster diving of his own online this afternoon — the list has been found.

As I suspected, the “101 Ways to Save Money” that Northwest included in their materials to laid-off employees? Came right off the web. The list was apparently originally distributed by various consumer credit counseling services. But the interesting thing? Apparently even they must have decided some of the things on the list were a little out of line, because Eric says he could only find the list in old cached pages.

Old outdated web pages. I guess that’s what Northwest was referring to when they said the information had come from a “third party vendor.”

Hey guys — you’re busted! You are guilty of dumpster diving online!

Eric tells me there are a number of versions floating around of this patronizing piece of drivel, but this one sounds pretty close to the one that Northwest felt compelled to include in their employee materials.

Happy reading. The entire list is included below.

BTW — thank you to Eric, who confesses he is a “cheap bastard.” As a result, he knows the “saving money” territory quite well.

101 Ways to Save Money

Continue reading

Northwest Overwhelmingly Nominated for BuzzBomb; We’re Happy to Oblige

Nwalogo Fortunately, readers seem to like the concept of BuzzBombs.

Unfortunately Northwest Airlines keeps doing things that warrant an award.

This week, by overwhelming popular demand (measured very scientifically ….. your emails on the subject have clogged up my email box), we once again have to award the brain trust at Northwest Airlines a coveted PlaneBuzz BuzzBomb award.

And just what did Northwest do this time to merit such an honor?

It appears the airline wrote and distributed a little 165 page booklet to employees last week. The booklets were sent to 60 ground workers facing layoffs in Bozeman, Montana, and Austin, TX. Included in that booklet were two pages of “Money-Saving Tips.”

Those tips were also posted on the airline’s employee website.

The two pages of tips were entitled, “101 Ways to Save Money.” Included were such intelligent suggestions as “Brown bag your lunch,” and “Always grocery shop with a list.”

But it also included ideas such as “Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash,” and “Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods.”

Now first of all, if someone is about to be laid off, I doubt they have to worry about “brown-bagging” their lunch.

And if there is no paycheck, I would think shopping for groceries becomes a bit more difficult as well. With or without a list.

But clearly the suggestion that has caused the greatest outcry was the one that employees should, in effect, become dumpster divers.

Northwest’s excuse?

The material was provided by a “third-party vendor.”

I wonder if they actually paid for this stuff, or if some lackey just pulled it off some website somewhere.

“Regrettably, this list, which included some insensitive material, was inadvertently published in this resource guide without being reviewed by Northwest management,” the company said in a statement.

Sorry guys, but that’s just not good enough.

To accompany this particular BuzzBomb, we offer this inspirational graphic. We suggest Northwest have it enlarged and printed by the thousands. They could adorn the walls not only at the company’s headquarters, but each employee lounge as well.


Good Morning

Oh, I couldn’t help myself. In between reading subscriber notes detailing continued inconsistent TSA treatment at domestic airports, (not to mention a couple that also mentioned weirdness in-flight with flight attendants refusing to give cans of coke to passengers saying it was now “prohibited,”) what did my eyes read this morning, but this tidbit. Not that we weren’t already aware of the fact. But it just served to start the day off on the, er, wrong foot.

And I quote from Leslie Miller of the Associated Press,

“X-ray machines that screen airline passengers’ shoes cannot detect explosives, according to a Homeland Security Department report on aviation screening.

Findings from the report, obtained by The Associated Press, did not stop the Transportation Security Administration from announcing Sunday that all airline passengers must remove their shoes and run them through X-ray machines before boarding commercial aircraft.


The shoe-scanning requirement was ordered as the government fine-tunes new security procedures since British police last week broke up a terrorist plot to assemble and detonate bombs aboard as many as 10 airliners crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Britain to the United States.

Among the new procedures are a ban on liquids and gels in airline passenger cabins, more hand searches of carryon luggage, and random double screening of passengers at boarding gates.

On Sunday, the TSA made it mandatory for shoes to be run through X-ray machines as passengers go through metal detectors. They were begun in late 2001, after the arrest of Richard Reid aboard a trans-Atlantic flight when he tried to ignite an explosive device hidden in his shoe. The shoe scans have been optional for several years.

In its April 2005 report, “Systems Engineering Study of Civil Aviation Security – Phase I,” the Homeland Security Department concluded that images on X-ray machines don’t provide the information necessary to detect explosives.”

I’m shaking my head. I might actually be forced to get another cup of coffee. Or maybe a valium would be better. At least I’m not screaming… yet.

Meanwhile for those of you who have a trip to Heathrow in your future, good luck. But other than that admonition, as of today, a “small” carry-on bag can be taken onboard flights out of Heathrow, but the size of that bag is barely big enough to squeeze in a 17-inch MacBook Pro inside. Much less the iPod, the headphones, a good book to read, and all the rest.

But at least there’s been some “give” in the onboard limitations that had previously been in effect for those flying in and out of Her Majesty’s Palace of Planes. Along with that second-tier place of planes, Gatwick.

Off Topic: Chrysler Please Stop Running These Ads

I know. This has nothing to do with airplanes. Then again, we all need to broaden the discussion. If not, we’d be limited to depressing topics.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had enough of Daimler-Chrysler’s Dr. Z. In fact, I’ve had too much.


This campaign is not only annoying, it’s just downright stupid. And apparently not very successful if Chrysler’s sales figures for July are any indication.

Frankly I think it also picks away at the previously enviable Mercedes-Benz reputation. Oh, I get it. Chrysler wants you to think you’re really buying a Mercedes when you buy that Pacifica.

But the problem is — what does that mean a Mercedes owner is getting these days?

Please. Someone. Help make our airwaves more enjoyable. Give this guy the boot.

Update on TSA Antics, Prohibitions Across the Pond

There were some changes made to the TSA banned list of items that you are allowed to carry onboard today. Why mascara is now on the list when it wasn’t before is beyond me. But anyway, you can read the modifications for yourself.

Although I’m sure you can find better things to do with your time.

Then again, if you are a Mac user using Safari as your internet browser, forget trying to access the TSA website. Apparently updating the list of banned items onboard was not the only thing the techno-nerds did at TSA in the last few days. There is apparently some code on those pages that Safari chokes on. When I try to access the site using Safari, the page chokes and then Safari eventually quits.


Thanks guys.

I did find that Firefox worked.

Reminds me of last year when I tried to register with FEMA after the storm that began with “K,” and when calls to the agency when unanswered for hours at a time. You could register online, according to news reports. Yes, you could register online — but only if you 1) had a PC 2) had XP installed and 3) had the latest version of Internet Explorer on there as well.

Really bright thinking guys. Especially when those at Red Cross shelters were oftentimes using donated computers which were not the latest and greatest — thus making it impossible for those there to register people with FEMA.

So for those of you with Macs using Safari, you’ll just have to look elsewhere to get caught up on the latest list of contraband at the TSA site. Or use Firefox.

Then again for those of you who are lucky enough to have one of the new Intel-chipped Macs that can run Windows or OSX, have at it.

Meanwhile, while security lines continued to snake through an airport near you here in the U.S., things at London’s Heathrow airport were once again a mess today. Reports said that some passengers were forced to wait as long as seven hours, simply to check in and go through screening. 68 flights were cancelled out of Heathrow, while 27 were cancelled out of Gatwick.

Northwest Reminder


For those of you who missed it — we have no hot news to report from bankruptcy court tonight concerning the situation between the flight attendants and Northwest Airlines.

Friday AFA said that because of present “security concerns,” the flight attendant union had set a new deadline — 9:01 p.m., CDT, August 25.

Meanwhile, according to the National Mediation Board, who checked in with both sides today, there are currently no plans for any talks between the two sides scheduled.

As for Judge Gropper? He did not rule Monday on the airline’s request to block any work action by the union.

Now *This* is Important


In the “News We Know You Can’t Live Without” category tonight (and we all need some diversion these days), the Korea Times announced today that Asiana Airlines has chosen a new model for their advertising campaigns.

And I quote,

Asiana Airlines has chosen a new model to represent Korea’s second largest air carrier _ Park Chae-kyung.

After screening hundreds of models, talents and actresses for six months, the airliner announced its final call on Park. Park is a recent graduate of the Seoul Institute of the Arts’ Film Department and is relatively new as she has not yet started her career in the entertainment world.

Asiana Airlines chose the 19-year-old talent as her image closely matches the direction the company is trying to head toward _ to emerge as a fresh world-class carrier with high-quality service for all passengers in the world. Asiana Airlines is known to choose fresh people with talent including Lee Boyoung and Han Ga-in, who both moved on to become well-known actresses in Korea.

I might add that Asiana is also known to leave crew members behind when they take off. At least they did two weeks ago.

Is it me, or does this person look like she’s barely 13?