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Delta Flight 1086 Skids Off Runway at LaGuardia Airport

by Lux Joseph 6. March 2015

On Thursday, March 5th, Delta Flight 1086, coming from Atlanta, attempted to land in LaGuardia Airport during heavy snow. After the plane touched ground, about halfway through the  7,000 foot long runway it began to slide off towards Flushing Bay, breaking through a fence and stopping on an embankment just short of the icy water.

LaGuardia Airport is known for it’s short runways in comparison to other airports and for it’s close location to the waterfront of Flushing Bay.  More so, being close to three other airports, pilots are forced to navigate through tight turns while preparing to land. Since other airports have more runway space, planes landing in them normally glide over part of the runway before landing. John M. Cox, a former US Airways Pilot, now CEO of consultancy Safety Operating Systems, told ABC news “You put the airplane on the ground and land it.”.

Should a plane accidentally overshoot the landing, the Federal Aviation Administration made it mandatory that at the end of each runway there should be an engineer materials arrestor system. This would act as a measure to be sure the plane stops, as it’s wheels would sink into the material, acting to slow the plane down. The issue was that the plane began to slide off the runway about halfway through, at 4,000 feet.

Because the runway extends onto a steel pier over the water this makes it easy for the runway to freeze over, which would make landing more difficult in very cold conditions. Steve Blazejewski told the New York times that he remembered “skidding forward but veering off to the left.”

To add on to what happened, Jared Faellaci stated, “The wheel felt like they didn’t take, we were going so fast.” He goes on to say “One or two seconds later we skidded off to the left side of the runway.  We skidded for about 20 seconds, and you could feel that we had gone off the pavement. It wasn’t a smooth surface anymore, it was very bumpy.”

According to Patrick Foye, the executive director of the port authority, the runway had been plowed minutes before the incident. He stated that other pilots who had landed earlier “reported good braking action. ”

As the plane approached the river, it was stopped by the bern, which was used to stop the bay from flooding onto the airport runways. Foye said, “The plane did not make contact with the water.” While there was a minor fuel leak, it was quickly dealt with. The passengers made it off the plane safely, using the right wing to get down because the chutes did not deploy.

Jared Kaufman, one of the passengers, told ABC news “As we walked across the runway, it was covered with so much snow that I was wondering: who decided it was safe to land here?”

The airport was closed for several hours after the incident. At around 2:30, LaGuardia airport reopened one of its runways. It was initially reported that the runway would be closed until 6:00pm however all appropriate parties handled the situation very efficiently.

This isn’t the first incident LaGuardia Airport has had during the winter season. On March 2, 1994 Continental Airlines flight 705 began to skid during it’s take off, and found itself on the berm. Around 30 injuries were reported then.

There was an earlier incident on March 23, 1992, where a plane, holding 51 passengers, was trying to take off during a snowstorm and ended up crashing into Flushing Bay, killing 27 passengers.

At Commercial Medical Escorts, safety is a number one priority for our patients, nurses, physicians, and their families. Our dedicated safety committee in collaboration with our operations team, constantly are reviewing and analyzing our transports to ensure safety protocols are being met. It is important that we look at this from all angles to ensure we deliver our patients with a smiling face and peace of mind for every transport.

Airline Dining at its Best

by Lux Joseph 5. September 2014

No matter whom you speak to from any part of the world, food is always a conversation topic and certainly something travelers enjoy most when going to places outside of their home country. A satisfying meal remains a top point of interest when selecting hotels, venues for meetings, and even when selecting their airline carrier.

United Airlines was the first carrier to open an experimental airport kitchen in Oakland, CA back in 1934.  They started a trend that was soon followed by many of the other major carriers at the time and by the 1950s, meal service was an amenity that travelers were looking forward to when traveling by air. In 1969 Air France and British Airways introduced a new distinct level of culinary expertise, but a decade later the quality of food on planes took a back seat as customers were looking for low fares. Low cost carriers continued to offer food service, but for a price in addition to the airline ticket. Food service was seen as something that was “extra” and those wishing to have it, would pay the cost as opposed to including that expense into every airline ticket.

Nonetheless, in-flight catering is not a fast food product or products you would find at your local 7-Eleven. It is a culinary masterpiece and that is exactly how the major players, Gategroup, LSG Sky Chefs, and Serair, view their product.  All those participating in airline catering look for big names in the culinary world to highlight their array of services. These companies believe that having a well-known chef design and implement an in-flight menu will bring success to the onboard experience. When I traveled from Beijing, China to Hong Kong in First Class I had the opportunity to enjoy an award winning meal on Hong Kong Airways. While they did not utilize an established celebrity chef to highlight their menu, they did offer an enjoyable meal that included Filet Mignon.

As a traveler, you should become aware of the meal selections offered on planes especially if you are traveling internationally. As more and more individuals are becoming more health conscious, the airline catering services have to meet these high demands. When traveling internationally or in domestic first class where a meal service is offered you can request a special type of meal through your travel agent. If you did not book with a travel agent you can call the airline, but we encourage you to do this at least 72 hours prior to departure, as the airline needs to put the necessary requests in place.  Some of these requests include vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten free, low sodium, low fat/low cholesterol/low calorie, diabetic meal, and even a bland meal.

Each airline takes a different approach to delivering a high level of food and beverage services. In 2013 Turkish Airlines received the award of Best Business Class Catering in the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards. They strive to deliver an authentic and elegant dining experience. Delta takes a different approach by partnering with top chefs to design their business class meals. Some of these chefs are Food Network stars and Delta believes these partnerships help providing a quality-dining program. Swiss Air takes the approach of sharing their culinary expertise by showcasing different regions of Switzerland. Every three months they bring on a different Swiss chef to focus on different local flavors throughout the country. Swiss Air has also taken it a step further by being recognized as the world’s first Allergy Friend Airlines. For British Airways they focus on the consumer’s feedback to drive their major decisions around food and beverage. They once focused on high end chocolates for the business and first class travelers, but the travelers have called for Cadbury so that is what they deliver. British Airways also partners with Twinings to design a blend of “altitude tea” for guests.

High-Flying Tastes is something airlines have to accommodate in order to meet and exceed consumer’s expectations. When consumers have the choice of different airlines, it is critical for the airlines to set themselves apart. As you fly, take the opportunity to observe the small details that each airline does to set them apart.

Fees, Fees, and More Fees

by Lux Joseph 11. July 2014

Fees for bags, fees for the lounge, and fees for in-flight beverages…the list goes on. Years ago a traveler would purchase a ticket and the sale would be complete. In today’s travel world, the sale is far from complete once you have your airline ticket. Furthermore, some recent announcements show that fees are not going anywhere. For most businesses, once fees are implemented that rarely if never go away. As a traveler, it is important to know the fees that you pay and what they are going to.

The bi-partisan budget agreement in 2013 is what is going to be affecting the restructuring of the passenger fee from TSA. Currently the fees that are in place are $2.50 per leg on a connecting flight with a one way cap of $5.00 and a roundtrip cap of $10.00. These fees will now be a flat fee of $5.60 per one way travel and $11.20 for round trip. These fees go to support t a variety of aviation security expenses.

While the aviation security fees increase may seem practical and necessary to ensure the safety of travel, those fees are not the only ones being introduced around the world. Venezuela’s largest international airport recently imposed a “breathing tax”. Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas recently installed a new air purification system and for those passengers departing out of CCS, they will have to pay a 127 bolivar per-person tax to cover this new piece of equipment. Essentially they have to pay to breathe clean air as this new system will serve to protect the health of travelers and eliminate bacterial growth. While this is beneficial to the travelers, should this expense be passed on to the travelers? Or should this be an overhead cost that the airport absorbs the expense?

Depending on the industry or arena of work, fees are applicable for different situations. Travel agents, including our in-house travel, have a fee for their services. We pay the travel agent for their expertise, knowledge, experience, and guidance. For Commercial Medical Escorts, the cost savings from using our travel agent far exceeds the fees paid. For a long time, American Express Platinum card holders were able to access the Delta Sky Lounge including one guest complimentary. However, as of recently American Express Platinum card holders have to pay a fee of $29.00 for their guest. Complimentary Sky Lounge access for members and their guests was once a benefit of being an American Express Platinum Card Holder, but now it is now another revenue opportunity for the credit card company.

When fees are implemented in any industry, it is important that the consumers see where their money is going and that it has a positive effect. Unfortunately most programs around the world that have new fees imposed are unable to effectively explain or show the benefit to the consumer whom is paying the fees. As you continue to travel, it is important to check with your airline of travel to ensure you are up to date with the most recent fees you can be expected to pay. A great resource for this information is:   http://i.slimg.com/sc/sl/graphic/u/ul/ultimate-guide-to-airline-fees_050114.pdf


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