Thanks a ton for signing up for the Rede Newsletter, your weekly digest for what’s REALLY happening in the aviation world. We send a weekly email with a bunch of stories tracking tech, passenger behavior and the business for the Indian aviation community and anyone interested in the world's fastest growing aviation market. We believe it is the best way for you to quickly catch up with what you need to know about our amazing industry (you can read more about Rede here). Here's the first one.
Videos of US law enforcement officers dragging a man off a United Airlines flight departing from Chicago's O'Hare airport shocked the internet on Monday.The incident is the result of a common practice among airlines called overbooking. Airlines sell more tickets than what a flight can accommodate hoping people will miss (bloody traffic!) or not show up for a flight (cancellation). If all turn up, they hope some pasengers will volunteer to be compensated to take another flight.This transaction is usually done before passengers enter the plane. But United somehow allowed people to board before realising it needed to make room for four staff members. After finding no takers for its 'offer', the airline chose to "reaccommodate" the unfortunate passenger against his will. The overbooking practice is not illegal. The US Department of Transportation's laws allow airlines to do this as long as they pay the displaced (that acquires quite a different meaning in United's case) customer for their troubles — up to a maximum of $1,350. Now thanks to the incident, there are calls to review this practice. United of course is now bearing the brunt of a nightmarish backlash. It has been ridiculed for its wierd responses and has been accused of racism. The outrage continues as United's stock prices wobbles and videos of the incident are being widely shared. The United CEO has since apologised.
What about India?
The practice of overbooking is prevalent but not rampant in India. India's aviation regulator too allows this practice, but has set strict rules for airlines to compensate inconvenienced passengers. They must pay up to Rs 10,000 if they are unable to arrange an alternate flight within 24 hours of the denied flight or up to Rs 20,000 if the alternate flight can be arranged only 24 hours after the denied flight.
Rogue MP Back On Board
Air India has revoked a flight ban on an MP who beat one of its employees after its owner, the government, mounted pressure. The airline had been cancelling tickets booked by Ravindra Gaikwad, of the Shiv Sena party, an ally of the ruling BJP government, until the government, which caved in to the pressure tactics of the hardline party from Maharashtra, ordered it to lift the ban. The government's excuse is Gaikwad wrote to the aviation minister to express "regret". Never mind that he is yet to apologise to Air India or the employee. Other airlines who had joined Air India in denying boarding to Gaikwad were quick to revoke the ban. So much for a strong government. The only silver lining is the government will (hopefully) act on a no-fly list. The US has one. You can read more about it here.
Biometrics for Passengers
Airlines such as British Airways, KLM and Air New Zeland have been using facial recognition software to get on board flights. This allows travelers to avoid showing documents at each stop in the terminal, reducing their inconvenience and help airlines with faster boarding. These efforts are still at the trial stage, but holds hope for the future.
Growth Slows in A-Pac Bizjets
The Asia-Pacific business jet fleet will likely grow just 1% this year as new aircraft deliveries decline, according to a new study.The fleet in the region, which includes Greater China, India, Australia , totaled 1,155 aircraft at the end of 2016. While the airline industry has been seeing a sustained resurgence, the private jet industry is slogging it out. Hopefully things will get better.
A Child's Love for Airports
We are signing off this issue with a lovely article of a three-year-old who is fascinated with airport infrastructure. He doesn't fret over flights delays and security lines. He actually looks forward to it. We get it!
Thanks... see you next week,