Also, In the Skies: 11 Aviation Happenings in Week 19

The electronics ban, also called the laptop ban, affecting limited commercial flights threatens airline and airport operations. It also presents a massive disruption to the passenger experience.

This weekly post is my ‘round tuit’. Included are stories which caught my eye and others which I couldn’t cover in-depth during the week, but thought Flight Chic readers would want to know about.

1.  An extension to the existing electronics ban has been avoided, for now. But is it inevitable?

The aviation family works each and every day to keep the skies safe for all passengers. Various threats to safety and security over the decades have prompted corrective actions which led to improvements to products, design, and procedures.

    Whatever the present threat, the method of deployment and nature of the current electronics ban has been damaging to those airlines already affected and to their customers. A last-minute intervention by the European Union avoided the threat that such a ban might extend to flights from Europe to the US. But the possibility of such extension still exists.
    There has to be a better way. Preventing millions of passengers from travelling with their electronics devices does not fit our modern hyper-connected society.
    https://twitter.com/sitanam/status/863139245497733120
    Having to carry hundreds electronic devices in the hold of the aircraft during each flight presents a safety risk. The industry has been trying to lessen this over the past few years through its procedures and policies for handling and carriage of lithium-ion powered battery devices.
    https://twitter.com/eu_cockpit/status/863009296384229389
    To now say it is OK to store these devices as cargo contradicts information the aviation industry has given the public. Thus, this sudden change in procedures threatens to shake public confidence that air transport processes are meaningful and serve a useful purpose.
    If the ban were to move forward, and be lasting, the technology industry would urgently need to develop alternative batteries, with lower risks of volatility, but we already know they have been slow to do so.

In short, the existing ban is not viable. Its extension is not sustainable.

That such a proposal to add ineffective and burdensome procedures is on the table, at the same time that policy proposes scaling back on regulations which are intended to ensure safety or defend consumer rights, is, at the very least, illogical.

    The APEX (Airline Passenger Experience) Association has sent out a request to members for support in finding alternatives, and in collaborating to resolve the challenges this ban poses. Interested parties among member companies should send in their proposals right away.

There is more than sufficient technological know-how in the aviation sector to find a happy resolution to this challenge.

RELATED: EgyptAir may have been brought down by a runaway battery fire from a single tablet. Though device fires to date have been identified and put out in the cabin, this conclusion by investigators suggests that lithium-ion batteries are a real threat.

2. Top 3 Passenger Experience Priorities

3. There’s nothing funny about hatred.

As I am sure many were, I was very bothered to see the news of the pie attack this week against Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce. Decades of slapstick comedy may account for why this story cycle was initially amusing to many, but there was never anything funny about it. Joyce was assaulted. That pie might easily have been something more sinister.

Indeed it was far more sinister.

The news followed that the culprit intended to intimidate Joyce and to protest Joyce’s support of same-sex marriage.  I know that this is a contentious topic around the globe. But really, really, REALLY: with so much EVIL about, can we NOT harass people for loving whomever they want to love?

My heart goes out to Alan Joyce for going through this.  My respect for him, in how well he has handled this event, has also grown.

4. Emirates reports a dramatic drop in profits.

5. EasyJet gets smart about cabin maintenance.

6. Inside American Airlines’ New Flagship First Lounge at JFK

7. Airbus enjoys successful Early Long Flight trials of the A350-1000 plane.

8. Boeing resumes 737 MAX test flights after engine troubles ground fleet.

9. Growth in Asia continues.

I’d say it’s bound to accelerate, given the complications of flying to certain other large markets.

10. Un-bee-leavable?

11. And then…

UNITED: Take heart. All of this is an opportunity.

There is more news to mention from week 19, but not enough time.

Onwards to week 20! I hope it delivers solutions to the electronics ban and not further complications.

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