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Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 was Annus Horribulus for flying

Flight at sunsetOur thoughts are with the 137 people aboard AirAsia QZ8501 : Requiescat in pace.

Today they announced that debris had been found. We had hoped for more positive news.

The one consolidation to the families is that there is resolution to the event unlike the poor families of MH370.

2014 was  an ‘Annus horribilis‘ for air travel. The worst since 2005.

We pray that 2015 is a better one.

A visit from St.Humbug: Tale of the passenger refusing to be merry at christmas

An unknown passenger on AA's do not fly list.

An unknown passenger on AA’s do not fly list.

In honor of the passenger who was booted off the America flight from La Guardia to Dallas after freaking out about being greeted Merry Christmas too many times, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present an abridged reading of ‘a Visit from St. Humbug’:

‘Twas the flight before Christmas, when all through the plane
Not a passenger was stirring, except one not named
The peanuts were handed out properly with care,
In hopes that Heather Cho would not be there.
The flyers were settled on a flight to Dallas
While greeting were given for a merry christmas
To bubba in his T-shirt, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the deck there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the ailse seat I flew like a sword,
Tore open my iphone and started to record,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
but a passenger complaining about the christmas cheer
With a little old curmudgeon so whiney and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be a prick.
More rapid than eagles his hectoring they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Not everyone celebrates christmas you know”.
“Now get on with this flight, for now we must go”.
The flight attendants were not so happy,
with the conduct of this miserable chappy,
They sprang to to cockpit, to tell the captain of the plane
about the irate nutter who was quite insane.
But I heard the captain exclaim, ere he walked out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, now get off my flight!”
He was escorted off the plane as they burst into applause
That’ll teach him to grouch and diss Santa Claus.

Bill of Wrongs : Mayor of NYC delays a flight in order to get a personal late boarding

Not featuring Bill DeBlassio

Dahlings, if you believe the gossip (like I sometimes do) then it looks like Bill Blassio, Mayor of New York, invoked Royal privilege where after running late for a flight to Puerto Rico, he phoned ahead and had Jet Blue delay the flight for him.

From dnainfo.com

Notoriously late Mayor Bill de Blasio kept more than 100 people waiting at the gate to board a JetBlue flight from JFK Airport to Puerto Rico last month because he was running late and had the plane held for him, DNAinfo New York has learned.

The passengers — including state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and numerous other lawmakers as well as vacationers — were forced to cool their heels for roughly 20 minutes on Nov. 6 as they waited to board JetBlue Flight #703 for San Juan, where the Somos El Futuro Fall 2014 Conference was being held.

“We started to make our way over to the gate, about a half-hour before the flight was due to board,” a passenger recalled.

“There was a long line, but there was no boarding call and no one knew why. We were saying, ‘Why are we just standing here? The plane is here. We are here. So what’s the holdup?’”

Planes generally begin boarding 30 minutes before scheduled departure. After waiting roughly 20 minutes — nearly 10 minutes before they were due to leave — activity near the security entrance caught their attention.

It was de Blasio and a small entourage of aides, mostly NYPD bodyguards, walking briskly toward them.

“We finally understood why. It was the mayor that was holding us up, of course, and a few people could be heard joking, ‘Late again,’” the passenger said.

“He was walking quite fast, with four or five people, probably security people, and he went straight past everyone onto the plane.”

It is unclear why the mayor was late for the plane, but his NYPD security personnel had to radio the airline security to hold it for him, sources said.

The witness said the mayor and his security personnel were seated first, and then the rest of the passengers were allowed to board the plane.

NYPost add some more details

A JetBlue spokesman denied that the airline held the flight and its more than 100 passengers at the behest of City Hall. “It’s not our policy to hold a flight specifically for a dignitary or VIP,” said the spokesman, Morgan Johnston.

But he conceded planes are sometimes held at the pilot’s discretion.

“Our crew members are trusted to recognize extenuating circumstances, though, and are empowered to bring those to the team for review of potential operation impact,” Johnston added.

“It’s not unheard of for us to take a delay for connecting customers, groups, or simply a customer running late for the last flight of the day.”
Johnston refused to confirm that the mayor’s security detail or his office asked for the delay.

Me thinks that NYPost does not think too highly of King Bill. In the article the mention a previous incident where mayor was late for a Flight 587 memorial (which went down in 20010 and apparently had asked for the service time to be delayed. The NYPOST have even given Bill a nickname : Hizzoner, a corruption of “his Honor”.

You can always rely on a tabloid paper to come up with a solution to a problem so what the Post do?

“The Post gave the mayor a West Elm alarm clock without a snooze button to thoughtfully match the $65,000 in furniture the Brooklyn company provided at no charge to decorate Gracie Mansion”.

Ciao for now, Cleo.

PS: I wonder if Jet Blue will extend such extended check in to Emperors of Roam?

 

“Knock me down with a feather, Terror Heather.” : Song list for Heather Cho

Nero's Spotify playlist for Heather ChoCleopatra has taken great delight in writing about the rise and stratospheric fall of Heather Cho, ex-Senior VP of Korean Air Lines. The more story she told, the more songs came into my head.

Well, Boppety bop. Ringy ding ding. Kerrang !

Here are my songs (+Youtube) that communicate to me, the attributes of the Heather Cho story.

  1. Sorry seems to  be the hardest word by Elton John.
  2. RESPECT by Aretha Franklin: This link is to the Blues Brothers version ! Fantastic film, fantastic songs.
  3. You’re so vain by Carly Simon : This probably should be #1 song to summarize Heather. 
  4. Satisfaction by a (very young) Rolling Stones: I can’t get Cho, Satisfaction...
  5. Evil Woman by ELO.  btw, Jeff fantastic gig in Hyde Park Continue reading..

Seoul and Fire (d) : Korean Airline Fires Senior VP over Nutrage abuse

Dahlings, as I watched the sad public apology by Heather ChoEx senior VP of Korea Air Line – who resigned in shame, and was now speaking so quietly there was one thing that I wanted to say to her.

“SPEAK UP ! I CAN”T FLIPPING HEAR YOU”.  After all, it is not as if she is she has never shouted at someone in public before.

Pappa Cho Yang-ho- head of Korean Air – had previously apologized earlier on the same day “as a father and head of Korean Air”.

He called his daughter’s conduct “foolish”, and added: “I beg the people to blame me for the current situation, because everything is my fault… I failed to properly educate my daughter.”

I’m with you on Heather’s education Daddy-0. It seems that instead of doing that Executive MBA from USC and studying under the likes of professor Gregory H. Patton, Heather would have been better off studying history where she may have learned from another Patton – General George S. Patton, ‘Old blood and Guts’ himself – who in 1944, had got himself in the newspapers for slapping soldiers in hospital accusing them of cowardice and had to do a few public apologies.

It seems the Cho family are pretty big on public apologies. Pops had to do some apologizing back in 2000 when he was convicted of tax evasion along with his brother and father for receiving rebates on purchased airplanes.

And would you believe it that Heather’s brother and sister– Walter and Emily – are Vice presidents of Korea Air Lines where Walter is a bad boy wanna be. In 2005, Walt was investigated by the popo for “..pushing an elderly woman who had confronted him about his reckless driving”.

Which leaves us with Emily who we could find no scandal. Nada. Nowt. Not a peep.

Shesh, there’s always one white sheep in the family.

Ciao for now, Cleo

London stalling : Flights around South England in Chaos after computer failure

BBC news is reporting that flights around London are grounded due to a computer failure at UK control center.

Nats confirmed a “technical problem” at its Swanwick control centre in Hampshire and said airspace remained opened but restricted.

It said “every possible action” was being taken to resolve the issue.

Heathrow reported delays and Gatwick said all its departing flights had been grounded. Other UK airports reported knock-on effects.

It appears incoming flights can land but some maybe diverted.

Even when things are running, fridays are horrible at London airports so I can only imagine how miserable this is making fellow Roamans as this is going to back up everything. Urgh.

For those stuck at Heathrow terminal 5, well at least your luggage is staying with you even if it is going nowhere quickly. The other positive is that this didn’t happen over the peak holiday time which starts next weekend.

 

 

Nut job aboard the Cho Cho plane : Korean Air Line VP goes ballistic after mis-serving of Macademia nuts

Don’t mess with my nuts

Dahlings, How I laughed when I heard about the case of Heather Cho, the Executive Vice President of Korean Air, who had nut rage after she was served macadamia nuts by a junior attendant, without asking.

The faux pas was that per KAL’s rules, passengers must be asked first before serving. Some papers are even saying she was served with the nuts still in a bag ! Gosh.

Heather apparently, was not impressed since she was first class and vented very loudly at the head flight attendant to demonstrate his knowledge of company policy. When he could not do this, she ordered the plane to return to the gate and unceremoniously booted him off.

Except there were a few reasons that this was not such a good idea afterall. The first is that Heather somewhat exceed her authority to order the plane to to return to the gate. Only the Captain could do this and then for emergency reasons. It was also at the busiest airports in the world, JFK returning to the gate potentially inconvenienced the passengers by delaying the flight. Finally, her temper tantrum was heard by other passengers.

Well after that, the press got wind of this. When the story broke, Korean Air’s statement to press where highly apologetic and sympathetic to the unlucky purser. Like hell they did:

The purser didn’t know the company’s procedures and “kept on making up lies and excuses,” Korean Air said in a separate statement late yesterday.

The aircraft had already left the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport for takeoff on Dec. 5. It took no more than 2 minutes to return to the gate to deplane the crew member, according to the airline. The flight was 11 minutes late when it arrived in Seoul on Dec. 6.

The internet lit up with virtual outrage about the bullying from top management. Even the Korean politicians chimed in, saying that the event on Nation’s flag carrier airline was a major embarrassment to the country. Chairman Cho Yang Ho, Chairman Hanjin Group of companies that includes Korean Air, Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hanjin Transportation Co, apologized for the incident.

And they lived happily every after.

Oh, it almost slipped my mind that Heather is related to Cho Yang Ho. In fact, she is his daughter. That’s right, Heather either rose through the dizzying heights of the ranks in a  male dominated Korean company to become Senior VP on her own merits or benefited from nepotism to land a cushy little number, I am not sure which it could be.

But what did I see today reading the headlines over my frosties? The news that Verucca Salt Ms Cho has resigned.

Cho, 40, had been the vice president for cabin service and catering at the Seoul-based airline. Her father presided over the meeting of directors that accepted her resignation, the carrier said yesterday.

“I apologize to the customers and the public for causing social issues and to those who have been hurt by my actions,” Heather Cho said in the statement. “I will take full responsibility and resign from all my positions.”

Still it could have been worse and modern management is somewhat compassionate. At least she didn’t wait to deplane him the FA 30,000 ft in the air. That would be something Caligula – who you are yet to meet on Roads-2-Roam – would do.

Congratulations Heather, your name will go down in internet travel infamy: I salute The Nut bag lady.

Ciao  for now, Cleo.

Sometimes change isn’t for the better

TSA version of Cut and paste.

It was a last minute decision to change my booking to the last evening flight instead of the intended first morning flight. I had figured that I was being too optimistic to land at 7:15 am to get all day meeting that starts at 8:00.

On all my last trips, I have in checked luggage and as such, I completely forgot about the limitations on toiletries. So there I was, at an empty Houston Hobby airport – which looks very nice by the way – with my bag put to one side of the X-ray machine, waiting for a TSA supervisor to come to tell me off and confiscate offending items.

It took a while for a supervisor as the airport was nearly closed and I was wondering if I was going to miss my flight over this. Eventually I got to the gate only to find my flight was delayed. ‘Great’ I thought, ‘that means I have time to get something to eat’. The one minor point to that brilliant plan was all the food vendors had closed.’Oh well, plan B- get something in Dallas’.

When the flight did take off, the Southwest pilot made up for lost time so by the time they gave out drinks, it was ready to prepare for landing and my Heineken turned out to be free.

After finally getting my rental car, I check into the hotel. Toiletries? :”Sir, the shop has them but they are closed”.Uhm ok, let’s order some food. “Sir the Kitchen closed 5 minutes ago”.

So the next day, I drive to my meeting unshaven, hair untamed and teeth feeling a bit furry, only to be stuck in rush hour traffic due to a wreck and arrive late. If I had taken the morning flight as intended, I would have driven a different route that would likely have got me here earlier, clean shaven, clean teeth, and non-wild hair.

Fate, I curse you !