It seems like this is bound to be a week of wasted time and energy by the folks in charge as it relates to the travel industry.
The FAA started furloughing air traffic controllers this week. So far, the delays haven’t been too bad, but it’s unlikely to stay that way. View From The Wing is steadily continuing to beat the same drum, that the FAA really does have leeway here and that the administration is doing a pretty good job using the FAA as their race car in a game of chicken.
It really is quite amazing that large parts of the government (see DOD) found ways to make the necessary level of cuts without affecting readiness in a meaningful way, but one of the more bloated budgets in the system can’t find a way to keep air traffic controllers paid.
You really can’t give all the credit to the White House, though. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood should get a decent amount of the credit for turning this into a game of sport. Couple that with his bloviating on the 787, and Ray’s not exactly a “man of the people” when it comes to making decisions for the flying public.
I remember a ways back View From The Wing had “Impeach Norm Mineta” bumper stickers made up. Hey, Gary! I’ve got a sharpie if you have some of those bumper stickers left.
Say it ain’t so, Ray!
Pivoting towards the TSA, it appears they’re backtracking on a decision they recently made to allow small knives back onto planes.
I can’t say I have super strong feelings on this, but I did feel like the TSA was moving towards a better place by announcing this change. I understand the strong feelings about knives on planes based on the painful memories of 9/11. But, things have changed drastically since then. Armored cockpit doors and air marshals for starters. And, I get a reasonably sharp knife with my dinner in First Class on most domestic flights. That’s why I didn’t see a big issue allowing blades less than 2.5 inches long back on planes, especially when you consider the TSA seizes roughly 1,000 knives every day.
There was a huge outcry from politicians and officials, so it looks like the TSA is going to walk this one back a bit. Not the end of the world either way, but I was pleased to see the TSA try to take some initiative to improve the security experience by focusing on more serious (IMO) screening issues. I hope the backlash from this most recent decision doesn’t dissuade them from moving forward on better screening processes in the near future.