Travel Blog: Air Travel

Chaos in Airworld? The 1981 PATCO Strike

In the wake of last week’s sequester-driven air travel delays, Jalopnik looks back at a short-lived 1981 strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, better known as PATCO. It’s a fascinating case study. Here’s writer Michael Ballaban:

As soon as the strike began, airlines reported losing $30 million a day. PATCO predicted insanity, with planes crashing into each other, hundreds, perhaps thousands (millions? billions?) of flights cancelled, and women and children crying and men gnashing their teeth.

The FAA began immediately to implement its contingency plan, which included asking airlines to voluntarily delay or cancel some flights, asking pilots to be a bit more vigilant, and calling in perhaps the best air traffic controllers in the world, the United States Air Force.

And after all that… nothing. Planes kept flying. Nobody crashed. Nobody died. Everybody still got to where they needed to go.

It spelled the end for PATCO.

Tags: Air Travel

A Call to End Reclining Seats on Planes

Like many of us, Slate’s Dan Kois hates it when the person in front of him on a plane reclines their seat all the way—making it nearly impossible for him to watch his seatback TV, use his tray table, or even get in and out of his chair very easily. But instead of calling for passengers to use some restraint and common sense (I’m a never-recline-more-than-halfway gal, myself), he goes further: He demands an end to reclining seats entirely. Here’s Kois:

The problem isn’t with passengers, though the evidence demonstrates that many passengers are little better than sociopaths acting only for their own good. The problem is with the plane. In a closed system in which just one recliner out of 200 passengers can ruin it for dozens of people, it is too much to expect that everyone will act in the interest of the common good. People recline their seats because their seats recline. But why on earth do seats recline? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if seats simply didn’t?

I’m convinced. What do you think? (Via @legalnomads)

Tags: Air Travel

Video You Must See: The Airplane Boneyard

This gorgeous timelapse of the planes in Arizona’s massive U.S Air Force ‘Boneyard’ also includes short, moving interviews with a handful of retired pilots. Wreckage never looked so good.

(Via The Atlantic)

Colin Firth on the Rewards of International Travel

Look out, Ewan McGregor. There could be a new travel-writing British actor on the scene. In this item for the Times Online, Colin Firth reflects eloquently on his past travels—from Ethiopia and Italy to a childhood road trip in the Southern U.S.—and notes that while he’s concerned about the environmental impact of flying, he can’t see giving up plane travel entirely: “It’s all too richly rewarding, isn’t it?”

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