Six fundamentally strong value stocks in the technology-laden Nasdaq index to invest in, amid the racing market.
Gordon Bethune isn’t backing down. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. In a recent interview at the Asian Cultural Center in New York the iconoclastic former CEO of Continental Airlines clarified a remark he made about Dr. Dao, the passenger who was dragged off a United flight back in April. Immediately after the incident Bethune had called the passenger, “immature.”
The way United Continental Airlines treated Dr. David Dao is disgraceful... but the scandal is unlikely to make a long-term dent in United stock.
At a time when you would think the airlines would be a little more image conscious, you know because of that whole beating customers and dragging them off the plane thing that United did, they're apparently doubling down on efforts to make "Flying The Friendly Skies" the most miserable experience ever. After years of finding new ways to charge for 'perks' that used to be standard (want to use our aisle to access your seat...that'll be a $10 fee, please), according to the Wall Street Journal, airlines are getting ready to implement a whole new set of restrictions on their poorest customers. So, for those of you who have grown accustomed to lavish perks like free overhead bin space, get ready for your new reality. Battling it out with discount carriers, the world’s biggest airlines are rolling out ultracheap economy-class tickets, or cutting back sharply on basic amenities for their lowest-paying customers. At the same time, they are pulling out the stops to lavish their premium fliers with more perks. American, United Continental, and Delta all now offer super-low fares, dubbed “basic economy,” that strip out even once-standard allowances, such as carry-on baggage or a choice of seat before boarding. Those are now extra for these ticket holders, who also generally board last. But the fares are competitive with discount airlines such as Southwest Airlines Co. A United basic economy ticket between Washington and Minneapolis for travel in early May was recently listed as low as $128, $20 less than a regular economy fare. Some of the cheapest fares passengers can get on discount carriers are for seats so basic they don’t recline even an inch. “When we look at economy, we are looking at a commodity product, without a doubt,” BA Chief Executive Officer Alex Cruz said in November. But, while while flying in the back of the plane is starting to feel a bit more like a cattle stampede than a pleasurable prelude to a vacation, flying in the front of the plane is about to get even more luxurious, including everything from fully-reclining seats to comforters from Saks Fifth Avenue...because a regular blanket just won't work for some folks. But at the front of the plane, the same carriers are showering premium passengers with ever more comfort. Middle East and Asian airlines are among those leading the way, with U.S. carriers trying to catch up. American Airlines has upgraded its business class. Delta last year unveiled plans for business-class suites, effectively small cabins that can be closed off from others, with fully reclining seats. The suites should feature on planes this year. United on intercontinental routes is introducing an upgraded business class, called United Polaris, to try to keep pace with its nearest rivals. The cabin sports fully reclining seats, bedding by Saks Fifth Avenue and noise-canceling headsets. United is rolling it out on its San Francisco-Hong Kong route. A round-trip ticket for a May flight lists at about $5,000. British Airways, meanwhile, is spending about $500 million to upgrade its premium classes. BA, which popularized the fully reclining business-class seat in the mid-1990s, is planning a new business-class seat design. So while the 'millionaire, billionaire, private jet owners' are sleeping in first class... ...we wish you main streeters the best of luck maintaining your sanity in 'last class.'
In a letter to employees, United CEO Oscar Munoz said he was "upset to see and hear about what happened," but defended his staff's actions because the passenger had been "disruptive and belligerent." It seems not acquiescing to a computer's decision to select you for 'reaccomodation' is "disruptive" and warrants violence? As The BBC reports, Mr Munoz has faced criticism on social media for his response to the incident. He told staff in the private email that he was "upset to see and hear about what happened" but defended United employees. "Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this," the Associated Press quoted the email as saying. "While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right." Mr Munoz wrote that the passenger refused to voluntarily leave the plane, with staff "left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight". Jayse D Anspach, who posted footage that went viral, tweeted: "#United overbooked and wanted four of us to volunteer to give up our seats for personnel that needed to be at work the next day." "No one volunteered, so United decided to choose for us. They chose an Asian doctor and his wife." "The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day, so he refused to volunteer," Mr Anspach added. "Ten minutes later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, "I need to go home." A video that appears to show the man back on the plane, dazed and with blood around his mouth, saying "just kill me", has also emerged online. One of the three security officers involved has been "placed on leave", the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were "obviously not condoned by the Department". The department also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was "not in accordance with our standard operating procedure". United said it was trying to talk to the passenger directly in order to "further address and resolve this situation". So what went wrong? It appears to have been a series of errors. A group of flight crew needed to be in Louisville, properly rested, in order to operate the next morning's plane. Had they not been able to get there, then many more passengers would have had their plans messed up. The big mistake the airline made was allowing all the fare-paying passengers on board, and then trying to entice enough people off. It would have been far better to conduct the auction at the gate; physically preventing someone boarding is less harmful than dragging them kicking and screaming from their seat. Many in China felt the man's removal was simply discrimination, posting he was only chosen to be removed from the flight because he is Chinese. We can only imagine the uproar if this passenger was a muslim or an african-american. Finally, we leave it to The Mises Institute's Ryan McMaken, who explains United's violence perfectly illustrates the problem with government monopolies... United Airlines managed to provoke a firestorm of opposition over the weekend when the airline overbooked one of its flights and resorted to removing at least one passenger by smashing his face and physically dragging him off the plane. At least two other passengers filmed the altercation between the non-violent passenger and the law enforcement officers — it's unclear if they were private security agents or government police officers. In response, the airline issued a creepily Orwellian "apology" for "re-accommodating" the passenger who had been selected "by computer" to make room for some airline staffers. The response over social media has been swift with countless posters on Twitter vowing to boycott the airline. My purpose here, however, is not to dissect what United should have done differently or how they can better manage space on the airplane — which should be regarded as private property. It should be obvious that on a philosophical and moral level, United is entitled to remove anyone it wishes from its airplanes for any reason it pleases — provided the airline properly compensates all affected customers. However, the fact remains that few passengers would like to be treated the way United treated its passengers in this case, and the airline must be prepared to deal with the consequences of what anyone can see is amateurish management of an airline. It is in these consequences that we see the difference between a private competitive firm like United, and a monopolistic entity like a government. The Difference Between Private Firms and Government Agencies When United beats someone up for no good reason and throws him off a plane, both the victim and those who sympathize with him have immediate recourse to a solution: they can elect to never fly on United Airlines again. They can also attempt to convince others to never fly United either. Such reactions are perfectly peaceful, moral, and perhaps even prudent. After all, if one wishes to reach one's destination in a timely fashion, one might wish to avoid United, which it turns out, is the second-worst in the nation for bumping its passengers from flights. And, of course, if you're tired and grumpy and really want to just remain seated in a seat you already paid for, you might also not want to have your face thrown into an armrest by the airline's "security" personnel. But the important fact here is that in most cases, passengers have the option and the choice of avoiding United Airlines and electing to fly on other airlines. Yes, it's true that using other airlines might mean fewer non-stop flights or flights to less-convenient locations. After all, goods and services are not homogeneous even if we do casually refer to airline flights as if they were more or less interchangeable. But, the fact remains that for many people a call to "boycott United" is something that can actually be achieved without requiring that one drastically alter his or her daily life. Things are much different, however, when we start talking about governments. When a government agency beats someone up — or treats people in a way that most people regard as unjust or despicable — there is usually no recourse. Thanks to the state's extensive monopoly power, one cannot simply say "boycott the Federal government" and select alternative services instead. One cannot decline to pay for a monopolistic government's "services" whether they be road building, welfare programs, "security," or publicly funded universities. Any refusal to pay will be met with overwhelming force, fines, and possibly imprisonment. Moreover, thanks to the sheer size, scope, and power of the US government specifically, the only way to avoid these mandatory "fees" is to completely uproot one's entire life, moving 1,000 miles away (in many cases), and possibly never seeing one's friends and family ever again. And even then, you may not be able to escape US power. This of course, illustrates the absurdity of the "love it or leave it" mantra that jingoists often rely on to claim that anyone who doesn't like the US should simply avail himself of other "options." These alleged options are not really options at all when they most likely require one to give up his career, his family life, and many of his assets. Monopoly Power Invites Abuse of Power And perhaps worst of all is the fact that the government knows it has monopoly power and acts accordingly. As with any monopolistic firm, a state can get away with offering lower-quality service at higher prices. After all, if one has to pay for services "or else" why strive to offer high-quality services? Why keep costs low? On the other hand, if it were easier to refuse payments, refuse services, or easily relocate to an area controlled by another state "firm," then the situation would be quite different. Indeed, we do find that it is different for smaller states that are in fact more competitive and must act in ways that attract new investors and new residents. It has been demonstrated that small states tend to be wealthier than large states — and this may be due to the fact that small states tend to be more sensitive to those who wish to avoid it or leave it. As Peter St. Onge has noted: [A]ccording to numbers from the World Bank Development Indicators, among the 45 sovereign countries in Europe, small countries are nearly twice as wealthy as large countries. The gap between biggest-10 and smallest-10 ranges between 84 percent (for all of Europe) to 79 percent (for only Western Europe). This is a huge difference: To put it in perspective, even a 79 percent change in wealth is about the gap between Russia and Denmark. That’s massive considering the historical and cultural similarities especially within Western Europe. Even among linguistic siblings the differences are stark: Germany is poorer than the small German-speaking states (Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein), France is poorer than the small French-speaking states (Belgium, Andorra, Luxembourg, and Switzerland again and, of course, Monaco). Even Ireland, for centuries ravaged by the warmongering English, is today richer than their former masters in the United Kingdom, a country fifteen times larger. Why would this be? There are two reasons. First, smaller countries are often more responsive to their people. The smaller the country the stronger the policy feedback loop. Meaning truly awful ideas tend to get corrected earlier. Had Mao Tse Tung been working with an apartment complex instead of a country of nearly a billion-people, his wacky ideas wouldn’t have killed millions. Larger states can afford to raise the cost of emigration and avoidance for existing "customers" and for potential ones. That is, larger states are simply more monopolistic than smaller ones. When there is meaningful competition, people really do have options. They can avoid the firm they view as abusive and reward the abusive firms' competitors. This isn't to say that abuses within private firms will never exist. Even when firms are subject to stiff competition, there is no way to completely avoid human stupidity, incompetence, and criminality. What consumers need, however, is a way to escape these problems when necessary. In the modern political debate, we're told that exit and choice are not acceptable, and that we have democracy instead. That everyone should patiently wait for "reform" and have faith in "the system." This, of course, is the equivalent of mandating that all current customers of United Airlines remain the airline's customers forever — no matter how inept the airline becomes or how much it abuses its customers. If United's customers don't like it — by this way of thinking — they should seek "reform" from within and remain "loyal" no matter how many times the airline forces its customers to miss flights or be assaulted in their seats. Such a view is absurd when talking about an airline, and it should be regarded as equally absurd when applied to a government.
Update: as of 9:30pm ET, Delta said in an advisory that the ground stop has been lifted. * * * One week after United Continental was forced to ground its flights for nearly three hours due to a computer failure, on Sunday around 7pm Eastern, Delta Air Lines - the second-largest US airline - halted all U.S. flights because of another technology glitch. Can confirm. Stuck on the tarmac at MSP ???? https://t.co/xSOvNIql6U — Thrifty Traveler (@thriftytraveler) January 30, 2017 Still no real info from @delta as we are counting down over two hours since the screeching ground halt. #infosec pic.twitter.com/JOzvIw8tu8 — Michael J Daugherty (@DaughertyMJ) January 30, 2017 #BREAKINGNEWS #Delta update. Ground stop in effect until at least 8:30p EST Captain added this could be an extensive #deltaoutage pic.twitter.com/G94a4uKrcK — Craig Lucie (@CraigLucie) January 30, 2017 "Our systems are down," Delta tweeted, adding "the IT department is working to rectify the situation as soon as possible," said Atlanta-based Delta. Delta teams are working to fix a systems outage that has resulted in departure delays. Flights in the air remain unaffected. — Delta (@Delta) January 30, 2017 Delta apologizes to customers for the inconvenience and will provide updates as they become available on https://t.co/QS4ugj8hOa. — Delta (@Delta) January 30, 2017 The company's international flights are exempt from the grounding, which was caused by “automation issues,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The second consecutive froced grounding at Delta struck as airlines struggled to comply with new travel restrictions following President Trump’s executive order blocking travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. As Bloomberg adds, last year, a rash of computer failures disrupted flight operations at U.S. airlines. Thousands of passengers were stranded as carriers struggled to keep older information systems working. Delta took a $100 million hit to sales after a power-control module at the company’s Atlanta command center caught fire in August, cutting power to computers. Southwest Airlines Co. had to halt flights the month before that because of issues with “multiple technology systems.” Ground stops, as the FAA calls them, are relatively common reactions to thunderstorms and other disruptions in the U.S. aviation system. They are typically short-lived and narrowly drawn, such as halting departures to a congested airport for an hour or two. Nearly two hours after the FAA first notified about the ground halt, Delta still has to resolve the system outage.
Earlier this morning, Boeing's shares dropped after United Continental Airlines said it would delay orders for 61 Boeing 737 jetliners, worth roughly $5 billion, and instead order the newer 737 MAX models for delivery in later years. Boeing, of course, downplayed the impact of the decision saying it would not affect its plan to increase production rates of 737s, and stressed that it continues to have orders for more 737s than it can produce. Given that, it does seem to be curious timing that Boeing has just announced an operational restructuring that will result two site closures in El Paso, Texas and Newington, Virginia. While we're sure there are "efficiency gains" to be generated from the consolidation of sites, cutting 4.5 million square feet of facility space in just 4 years seems like there may be a bit more behind the cuts. “In order to push ourselves farther and win more business, we need to make the most of our resources and talent,” said Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Defense, Space & Security. “These steps will help us be a stronger partner for our customers worldwide.” By the end of 2020 Boeing will reduce facilities space by approximately 4.5 million square feet. Along with that, many positions in Huntington Beach will move to El Segundo, Long Beach, and Seal Beach in Southern California, with others moving to St. Louis and Huntsville, Ala. Similarly, many positions in Kent, Wash., will move to nearby Tukwila. Boeing also will close its El Paso, Texas, and Newington, Va., sites. With the moves, Los Angeles County gains about 1,600 positions, with St. Louis gaining 500 and Huntsville about 400. “Making better use of our facilities will enhance efficiency and promote greater collaboration,” Caret said. “This will help drive our global growth in Boeing’s second century.” To bolster that effort, Boeing Defence Australia, Boeing Defense Saudi Arabia, and Boeing Defence United Kingdom will be aligned and managed in a new global operations group led by David Pitchforth. He will also continue as managing director of Boeing Defence UK. While Pitchforth will report directly to Caret, those three organizations will continue operating independently. While Boeing attempted to downplay the financial impact of the delayed United Continental order, analysts are somewhat more skeptical of it's impact on free cash flow generation over the coming years. But some worried that canceling 61 current-generation planes and ordering MAXs for an uncertain date could delay Boeing's planned production increases and its cash generation. "737 output is their only realistic way to increase cash flow," said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group in Virginia. Boeing is already cutting production of the 777, its other cash cow, and 787 output is due to remain steady. "Now it looks like 737 output will not grow as planned," he said. Meanwhile, shareholders were somewhat disappointed as well: Though we're sure it's nothing.
United Continental Airlines, along with all other airlines, has benefited hugely from the low oil prices. Consequently, the low cost environment has enabled the carrier to refurbish, upgauge, and add more capacity to its fleet. While refurbishing helps the company provide its clients with a more convenient and comfortable flying [...]
Catastrophic computer outages that paralyze an entire airline are few and far between. Except this summer. Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled 2,300 flights after a router in one of its data centers failed, delaying hundreds of thousands of passengers. And last week, Delta Air Lines suffered a massive computer outage, which triggered the cancellation of 451 flights in a single morning. A rare look behind the curtain at Southwest’s meltdown offers several important customer-service lessons for passengers who experience similar delays in the future. And in an industry that depends on finicky information systems, these incidents are bound to repeat themselves. They’ve left customers wondering how to avoid getting stuck in another IT collapse, and what, if anything, an airline can do to make up for such an event. Related: Frequently asked questions about air travel. Jack Russell, who was scheduled to fly from St. Louis to Las Vegas last month, had a front-row seat for Southwest’s IT issues, which an employee euphemistically blamed on a “software problem.” The airline’s proposed fix: Fly him to Vegas four days later. As the executive vice president of a software company in St. Louis, Russell knows a thing or two about computers that go on the blink. But he’s less understanding about Southwest’s IT implosion, which he says left him with little choice but to pay an extra $1,800 to reach his destination. “I spent twice as much money as I thought I would to get to Las Vegas,” Russell says. “If my customers had an outage created by my company and I said, ‘Sorry, it was a freak occurrence,’ they would be waiting at my doorstep with their lawyer.” The Southwest systems problem suggests how fragile even the best-run airlines can be. It started in the early afternoon of July 20, when one of its small Cisco routers, out of about 2,000 such pieces of hardware that direct the airline’s network traffic, failed. This router broke in an unusual way. Instead of registering the error, which would have allowed network administrators in Southwest’s Dallas data center to take it offline immediately and replace it with a working router, it behaved as if it was still operating normally. Only, it wasn’t directing any traffic. Although network administrators spotted the error within half an hour, enough traffic had backed up that critical systems needed to be rebooted — a process that took a full 12 hours and affected critical functions, including the airline’s website, its smartphone app and several internal systems used by Southwest employees to handle reservations. It was as if someone had turned off the lights for half a day. When the systems flickered back to life, the problems continued. The airline still didn’t have enough information to restart all flights. Because its systems had been down for so long, it couldn’t be sure whether some of its crews had taken enough rest, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. That forced Southwest to cancel more flights on July 21 and 22. Brandwatch, a social-tracking service, charted a corresponding tsunami of anger on Southwest’s social media channels. The airline drew 36,905 mentions in a single day on July 21, an almost 20-fold increase from normal levels. “The spike in incoming volume that this received was incredible,” says Joshua March, the chief executive of Conversocial, which offers customer-service software to travel companies. “But the really significant piece in this instance was the inability to effectively scale the response.” Southwest had no script for handling an event of this magnitude. “It was really rough,” says Robert Jordan, the airline’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, who describes the IT catastrophe as a “thousand-year flood.” The airline sent 50-percent-off vouchers to passengers affected by the outage, and in some cases paid for them to fly to their destinations on other airlines. All told, he says Southwest spent “tens of millions of dollars” trying to make amends. “We know we messed up,” he adds. “We know we have to work really hard to regain our passengers’ trust.” Southwest is still cleaning up. Russell’s delayed flight to Las Vegas is among the thousands of cases still being processed. Under most circumstances, a full refund for a replacement flight would be a tall order, but these are not normal circumstances. IT disasters of this scale are unusual. Back in 2012, United Airlines experienced several days of delayed flights and sluggish customer service as it struggled to integrate the IT systems of United and Continental Airlines. Last July, United also suffered an outage that made it cancel hundreds of flights after a network router stopped working. Asked if passengers could have done anything to get to their destinations faster during such a systems collapse, Jordan paused. So many things went wrong during the event that the normal tricks didn’t work. You couldn’t fall back on calling the airline because even the call-center employees didn’t have access to their IT systems. “There just isn’t a good answer,” he says. That’s the consensus of the customer service experts, too. Elaine Allison, a former flight attendant and on-board service manager who now offers training courses in customer service, says passengers are powerless to negotiate their way around a total systems failure. She happened to be in Las Vegas during the week of Southwest’s outage, but was lucky enough to be flying on another airline. “Pack at least one day of clothing and small amenities, plus all medications, in a carry-on, in the event luggage is checked and immediately not retrievable,” she says. Russell handled the situation correctly by re-booking his flight on another airline, she says. Southwest must refund a ticket when it cancels a flight. The trick, says customer service expert Teri Yanovitch, is to look forward and not back. Southwest needs to figure out how to say it’s sorry without losing its shirt, and customers need a game plan should they get caught in a future systems failure. “Southwest needs to explain the situation and how Southwest will prevent it from happening again,” she says. “As a customer, the best you can do when all critical IT systems are down is to keep calm, don’t take it out on the employee — it is not their fault — and consider your options for alternate transportation based on the situation.” Research suggests that Southwest can make a full recovery, Yanovitch says. When a recovery is handled correctly, 96 percent of the customers will return. And when it’s not? In 2012, when United Airlines suffered its first meltdown, it was the world’s largest airline. Today, it’s No. 3. After you’ve left a comment here, let’s continue the discussion on my consumer advocacy site or on Twitter, Facebook and Google. 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Pierre Emil George Salinger (June 14, 1925 – October 16, 2004) was a White House Press Secretary to U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Salinger served as a United States Senator in 1964 and was campaign manager for the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign. He later became known for his work as an ABC News correspondent, and in particular for his coverage of the American hostage crisis in Iran, the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland, and his claims as to the cause of the explosion of TWA flight 800. Salinger was born in San Francisco, California. His father, Herbert Salinger, was a New York City-born mining engineer, and his mother, Jehanne (née Biétry), was a French-born journalist. His maternal grandfather, Pierre Biétry, was a member of the French National Assembly and devised Yellow socialism. Salinger was raised in his mother's Catholic religion (his father was Jewish). Salinger attended public magnet Lowell High School. He attended San Francisco State University (then College) from 1941 to 1943 where he was managing editor and columnist for the student newspaper, the Golden Gater. He left SF State and entered the United States Navy in July 1943. Salinger was commanding officer of SC 1368 in the Pacific. He distinguished himself during Typhoon "Louise" in Okinawa by making a daring rescue of some men stranded on a reef. For this act he received the Navy and Marine Corps medal. After serving with the United States Navy to Lieutenant, junior grade during World War II, Salinger finished his studies at the University of San Francisco, earning a BS in 1947. Salinger then began his journalism career as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and as a contributing Editor to Collier's in the 1940s and 1950s. Salinger was one of the leading figures in Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, at times described as being part of Kennedy's Kitchen Cabinet. In 1961, when John F. Kennedy became President of the United States, he hired Salinger as his press secretary. When JFK was assassinated, Salinger was on a plane flying to Tokyo with six Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Salinger's visit was to have been for an economic conference, and to start working on a visit JFK was going to take in February 1964 as the first American president to visit Japan since World War II. Salinger was retained by President Lyndon Johnson as Press Secretary after JFK's death. As Kennedy's White House Press Secretary, Salinger was accused of "news management." Following his service in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Salinger returned to California and ran for the Senate. He defeated then California State Controller Alan Cranston in a contentious Democratic Primary. Governor of California Pat Brown, who had supported Cranston in the Primary, appointed Salinger a Democratic United States Senator to fill the vacancy resulting from the July 30, 1964 death of retiring Senator Clair Engle; he took office on August 4, 1964. In his bid for a full six-year term in the 1964 election, he was defeated by former actor (and vaudeville song and dance man) George Murphy following a campaign in which Salinger's only recent return to his native state became an issue, his legal residency even being challenged in court. Salinger was also hurt at the polls by his adamant support (despite advice from his political managers) of legislation banning racial housing discrimination. Salinger's loss made California the sole Democrat-held seat to go Republican in what was otherwise a Democratic landslide. Salinger resigned from the Senate on December 31, 1964, only three days before his term was to expire. Senator-elect Murphy, who was to take office on January 3, 1965, was appointed to fill the remaining two days of Salinger's term, giving Murphy a slight advantage in seniority in the Senate over other members of the "class of 1964" at a time when seniority was even more vital in Senate affairs than now. Salinger appeared in a third season episode 111 of Batman, "The Joke's on Catwoman," broadcast on ABC on January 4, 1968. In the episode, Salinger portrays "Lucky Pierre," an unscrupulous lawyer who defends Catwoman and The Joker in a trial. In Salinger's first scene, he is sitting at his desk with a photo of a young Richard Nixon prominently displayed, and in an amusing epilogue, Batman (Adam West) laments Lucky Pierre's fate by saying, "If he hadn't gone so wrong, he might have had a fine career in politics, won a gubernatorial race, and the White House even." He wrote a book, With Kennedy and became vice-president of Continental Airlines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Salinger
18 мая американский сенат принял законопроект, который позволяет пострадавшим от терактов 11 сентября 2001 года подавать иски к правительству Саудовской Аравии в связи с его возможной причастностью к организации этих преступлений. Теперь документ поступит на рассмотрение в палату представителей конгресса. Правда, администрация Барака Обамы заявила, что президент не собирается подписывать законопроект, так как его утверждение чревато аналогичными исками из-за рубежа к властям США.
Find yourself draggy for a week after a redeye? Just think of the flight attendants and pilots who do it all the time. Former Continental Airlines flight attendant Abbie Unger told The Huffington Post that for her, the most grueling part of working transcontinental flights was the varied schedule. Unger, who is also a HuffPost blogger, was an on-call flight attendant and did not have a set number of flights she worked per month. “I never worked a day that was nine to five, so I was constantly trying to regulate my body clock as I juggled early morning check-ins followed by late night check-ins,” she said. To help her fall asleep when her clock was messed up, Unger would carry the sleep aid melatonin. She wasn't alone: New data from a recent survey of flight attendants working for the Irish airline Aer Lingus revealed that as many as a third of the crew reported using some type of sleep medications at least once a week. “This is a concerning statistic, but not surprising,” Dr. Neil Kline, a sleep physician and director of the American Sleep Association, told The Huffington Post. “Humans are creatures of habit when it comes to time. Our internal timer is set to an (almost) 24-hour clock,” said Kline, who was not involved in the Aer Lingus survey. However, he explained, being exposed to bright light or trying to sleep at different times than we're used to disrupts our internal clocks, which is what leads us to feel jet lagged. And sleep medications, like over-the-counter melatonin supplements, are meant to reset the body’s internal body clock. There’s not really enough research to say how often is too often to take sleep medications, Kline said. But, he added, it is important to recognize that any sleep medication, whether prescription or over the counter, is going to come with its own side effects. “Many of the medications and OTC products used for insomnia and jet lag can cause daytime sleepiness and lead to impaired daytime performance,” he said. 90 percent of flight attendants reported having trouble sleeping A total of 470 Aer Lingus flight attendants were surveyed for this research, which was commissioned by IMPACT, the trade union that represents the airline. In addition to the finding that 33.8 percent of the flight attendants reported taking sleep medication once a week or more, nearly 90 percent reported having trouble sleeping at least once a week or more. And the flight attendants reported sleeping 6.72 hours per night on average, shy of the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendation of seven to nine hours per night for adults between 25 and 64 years old. The data from the survey will be sent to the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and the Irish Aviation Authority, both of which have a role in aircraft safety, IMPACT communications officer Niall Shanahan told HuffPost. The trouble with sleep meds An important caveat is that the survey did not delineate prescription sleep aids from non-prescription sleep aids -- though research shows there are concerns associated with both. Melatonin is a natural hormone we produce that signals to our bodies it is time to sleep. It's also available in a synthetic form intended to help people counter the effects of jet lag or an unusual sleep schedule. Despite being marketed as a natural sleep aid, experts have warned that many melatonin products on the market, which are not regulated by the FDA, are much stronger than the dose most sleep doctors recommend, which in turn can make you groggy the day after using them. And some research suggests that when the brain’s melatonin receptors are exposed to too much of the hormone, they may stop responding to it -- meaning the supplements become ineffective. When it comes to prescription sleep aids, several studies have shown that use of hypnotics -- including Ambien (zolpidem tartrate), Intermezzo (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Silenor (doxepin hydrochloride), and Sonata (zaleplon), among others -- was associated with increased incidence of cancer and higher rates of death from any cause. This was true even for individuals who took fewer than 18 pills per year. Practicing good sleep hygiene is key In addition to carrying melatonin, Unger would also try to take shorter naps on her layover so she would be rested and prepared to work if she couldn’t sleep through the night. Other things that helped as she traveled across multiple time zones were making sure she slept in a dark room and got sunlight once she was awake (and wanted to be awake), eating well and eating enough, and exercising. “I can’t tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night starving because I didn’t eat enough in the evening because I had felt more tired than hungry,” she said. “And exercise can do wonders.” "The best treatment for preventing jet lag is avoid the time zone change," Kline said. But for flight attendants, other flight crew members and shift workers who cannot avoid having to shift their sleep, he suggests light therapy, which involves avoiding bright light in the evening and getting sunlight (or using a light box) when they do wake up. Practicing good sleep hygiene is essential, he added. This includes never watching TV in bed, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, exercising regularly, and planning a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, like taking a warm bath or shower or mediating. But is there enough time for healthy slumber habits? In addition to dealing with crossing time zones and her varied schedule, there was the problem of just not having enough time in between flights to rest, Unger said. “An eight- or nine-hour overnight [flight] only leaves you with about five and a half to six hours inside your hotel room. No matter how many time zones you have flown through or not flown through, six hours is not enough time to rest,” she said. Unger is far from alone in experiencing sleeping woes. One study that compared self-reported health information for flight attendants for two U.S. airlines with that of the general U.S. population found male flight attendants were diagnosed with sleep disorders at a rate nearly four times the general population and female flight attendants were diagnosed at a rate that was nearly six times the general population. Statistics like those are part of what inspired the Aer Lingus union to conduct its survey on the health and wellbeing of its flight attendants, Shanahan said. The union will use the data to help address concerns from airline crew members about the effects of working conditions on their health, as well as help ensure the airline is complying with health and safety aviation laws, Shanahan said. The U.S. Senate recently passed an amended Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that, in addition to a number of other provisions, would increase the required rest time for flight attendants to at least nine hours after working an 11-hour shift and 10 hours for flight attendants working 11- to 14-hour shifts. The bill still requires House approval, as well as the President's, before it becomes law. Sarah DiGiulio is The Huffington Post’s sleep reporter. You can contact her at [email protected] -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Questions About Growth and Profit Margins Dent Sentiment
In this 2009, file photo, Continental Airlines Flight 3407 burns after it crashed into a house near Buffalo. Monday was the seventh anniversary of the tragedy that prompted new regulations that failed to address all the problems associated with the crash. Now indicators are increasing that, if not heeded, will [...]
Like a 747 loaded to capacity, United Airlines is rising — slowly, steadily and improbably. “I thought I was imagining it,” says Anne Klein, who works for a marketing agency in Durango, Colo. “But United is listening. It’s trying to improve.” Klein had two recent customer service experiences that gave her hope. The first, a handwritten thank-you card for her business, slipped to her by a flight attendant. And the second, a response to her request for a $68 refund after one of her flights had been canceled for mechanical reasons. Instead, United sent her more than she asked for: a $100 gift certificate. Many passengers had all but given up on the airline after a painful merger with Continental Airlines in 2010. United had managed to alienate customers ranging from frequent fliers like Klein to ordinary vacationers, thanks to significant cuts in its loyalty program and new policies that seemingly demanded fees for everything. Not surprisingly, its customer service scores were among the lowest in the industry. A new hope But, in September, United’s new chief executive, Oscar Munoz, said enough was enough. “Let’s be honest,” he declared in a videotaped message to customers. “The implementation of the United and Continental merger has been rocky for customers and employees. While it’s been improving recently, we still haven’t lived up to our promise or our potential.” The changes have been small, but they’ve added up. In November, the airline eliminated an unpopular $50 processing fee for tickets refunded to passengers after unplanned events such as jury duty, illness or death. In December, it announced that, starting this month, it would serve a choice of snacks to economy class passengers at no additional charge. It also plans to eliminate another charge this month: a $25 fee for ticket receipts. All the while, United’s management has been asking its customer-facing employees to redouble their efforts to win back customers. And it’s focusing on its core performance, specifically its flight-completion numbers, or the number of scheduled flights actually flown. “Our customers want reliability from us,” says Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United’s vice president for customers. “It’s on-time performance. It’s a high completion factor.” United rising? During the busy Thanksgiving holiday week, United delivered an on-time performance in the 70th percentile, its highest level in three years, and a 100 percent completion rate. It was no fluke. United’s internal customer service numbers have been climbing steadily since Munoz made his promise: In November, it beat its 30.6-point customer satisfaction goal by two points; in October, it scored a 30.8, exceeding its goal by 1.3 points; and for September, it exceeded its 27.4-point goal by 4.3 points. United stresses that this is just the first stage of rehabilitating its image, a process that became more challenging after Munoz suffered a heart attack in the fall and temporarily stepped aside as chief executive. But it hopes it’s on the right track. “Oscar has given us a renewed focus,” says Pineau-Boddison. "Amazing" customer service So how is United’s initiative going over with its customers? Elizabeth Helsley, a frequent international traveler who works as a business consultant in San Diego, was stunned after one of her bags went missing on a recent flight from Paris to San Francisco by way of Newark. She wasn’t stunned because her bag had gone missing, but by what happened next. “After I arrived, I received a text message alert that one of my two bags did not make it and would be delivered to my address within 24 hours,” she says. “I also received an email where I could track my bag, see who was delivering it and at what time. At no time did I have to wait in line or on hold for them to rectify their mistake. They simply took care of it and kept me informed every step of the way. To me, that was amazing customer service.” The technology used to track and deliver those bags, part of United’s effort to upgrade its internal systems, is a key part of the airline’s new customer initiative. Last year, the airline introduced a service that allows customers to follow their luggage on the United smartphone app. “Before we had this, only our airport employees could see the luggage in the system,” says Pineau-Boddison. More improvements are planned. In early 2016, United expects to fine-tune its system to allow people with delayed luggage to specify their delivery preferences. To be sure, United still has a long odyssey ahead. It scored 60 out of a possible 100 points on last year’s authoritative American Customer Satisfaction Index, the lowest of any legacy airline and just a few points above discount carriers such as Frontier and Spirit. And it still has plenty of critics, including some of its own employees, who remain quietly skeptical. And the airline has a long way to go before some air travelers will come back. They’re passengers like Lex Page, an attorney from Portland, Ore., who endured years of United’s indifferent attitude and mediocre service before he finally gave up on the airline. “Let’s just say that if United Airlines were to give me a free first-class ticket to anywhere they flew, I wouldn’t take it,” he says. After you've left a comment here, let's continue the discussion on my consumer advocacy site or on Twitter, Facebook and Google. I also have a newsletter and you'll definitely want to order my new, amazingly helpful and subversive book called How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). Photo: Shutterstock. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.