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A Word about Continental 3407

All of us who write about this industry do it because we are fascinated with flight.  Especially for those of us who don’t have an engineering background, the idea that a large hunk of metal can somehow get off the ground and take us 6,000 miles away in a few hours will never cease to amaze me.  The child-like wonder I have watching a 747 take off, plus the infinite complexities of actually running a business based on those aircraft, is the reason I get up every morning and write about this stuff.

Which makes waking up to the news of the crash of Continental 3407 all the more painful.  Living in New York, and being a frequent traveler on Continental, makes it hit home all the more.  As we travel around today, I think it’s important to remember that for all of the complaining, whining, moaning and bitching people do about the food, the delays, or the whatever, that it’s still a miracle that the industry moves so many of us around safely, efficiently, and at a reasonable price.  It’s incredible when you step back and think about it.

As always, there is initial speculation about the cause of the accident, and all of that should be ignored for now (as should any suggestion that the Q400, which SAS has claimed has had some landing gear issues, is to blame).  Our prayers are for the crew and families of those on board who were just trying to get home after being away.

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  1. What I find pretty appalling is that Continental seems to be doing whatever they can to distance themselves from their own flight. Their own website refers to it as Colgan Air. Nobody I know would ever choose to fly one of these regional jet operators if they didn’t have to, yet the airlines pretend like they have no responsibilities when it comes to the operations and customer service of their regional jets. It’s a horrible tragedy and Continental needs to take responsibility for scheduling and putting people on that plane, no matter what may have happened to cause this accident.

  2. Well, it’s an interesting issue: why do the majors use these regional carriers? There’s only one reason: to save money. How does contracting out your flying business save an airline money? The only way I know is that the contractor runs its operations more cheaply, and in the airline business, that tends to mean they pay their employees lower wages.

    You do wonder that if there were no pilots unions to inflate pay scales, would the majors still contract out this flying. And if they didn’t, would that make flying smaller aircraft safer?

    In other words, is it possible that pilots unions HURT the safety of the flying public? It seems possible — and very controversial!

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