Airline Industry News

Gatwick Drones: Suspects Released As Confusion Grows

23 Dec 2018

A couple have been released without charge after being arrested in connection to reported drone activity that drove Gatwick Airport to a standstill on Thursday.

Det Ch Supt Tingley said the arrested man and woman had "fully cooperated" with inquiries after information was received from a member of the public, and they were released after 36 hours in custody.

Sussex Police have confirmed there had been 67 reports of drone sightings by airport passengers and staff - having earlier said it was “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place”.

Det Ch Supt Jason Tingley said:

"We are interviewing those who have reported these sightings, are carrying out extensive house-to-house inquiries, and carrying out a forensic examination of a damaged drone found near the perimeter of the airport."

About 1,000 aircraft were either cancelled or diverted, affecting about 140,000 passengers, during three days of disruption.

Gatwick Airport Limited has now offered a £50,000 reward through Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for disrupting flights.

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Image credit: BBC

Airline Abandons Woman in Wheelchair After Her Flight Was Cancelled

03 Dec 2018

The family of a 67-year-old disabled woman say an American Airlines porter lost her after her flight was cancelled and she couldn’t make it to a hotel.

Olimpia Warsaw, 67, flew into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to attend her ex-husband’s funeral, but she didn’t make it back home before family members say American Airlines lost track of her.

Warsaw’s son, Claude Coltea, said after his father’s funeral, his mum, who has Parkinson’s and diabetes, was set to return to Detroit. He had a flight shortly after and went with Warsaw, who was in a wheelchair because she has trouble walking, to her gate.

“I walked with her all the way to her gate,” Claude Coltea said. “I confirmed with the gate agent that the flight was on time. Everything was OK. She said, ‘Yep, all’s good. We’ll take good care of your mom.’”

But Warsaw never arrived in Detroit, and her family became concerned, calling the airline. It turned out Warsaw’s flight had been cancelled.

After the flight was cancelled, Claude Coltea says, the airline assigned a porter to take her back to the front, where they offered her a hotel room. However, Warsaw has trouble communicating and could not get her own transportation to the hotel, and no one at the airport was willing to help her.

Warsaw’s family claim that the porter said that his shift was over, and he didn’t know how he could help, and he left the 67-year-old even though she was crying and scared. The family says by the time they called the airline, nobody knew where she was.

Eventually, security helped find the 67-year-old, who was still in her wheelchair, dressed for her ex-husband’s funeral.

Claude Coltea said his mother was let down by both the airline and porter.

“All we wanted was someone to pause and say, ‘You know what, can we just make sure this human being is safe, and then, we can all go home?” he said. “Not one person did that.”

American Airlines has since apologized to the family and have launched an investigation into the porter involved.

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Image credit: WSFA

Frontier Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Cover Blows Out

30 Nov 2018

During the takeoff roll at Las Vegas International Airport (LAS) on Friday morning, a portion of the Frontier flight 260 aircraft’s engine cover “came loose and separated from the aircraft,” according to a statement from Frontier. The pilot called for an immediate emergency landing, and no one was injured.

Chicago-based news anchor Dan Ponce tweeted a photo that his aunt took of the engine in flight, gaining public attention.

The cover around the engine doesn’t have any direct role in the engine’s operation, but what happened posed the risk of engine damage that could have escalated if the captain hadn’t decided to land immediately.

Frontier praised the efforts of their staff in a statement:

“Our pilots followed procedure and immediately returned to the airport. The engine continued to operate normally and the aircraft, an Airbus 320, landed safely. Safety is our top priority at Frontier Airlines and we would like to acknowledge the professionalism of our pilots and flight attendants. We are working to get our passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible.”

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Image credit: Twitter

Airline Agent Mocked 5-Year-Old Girl 'Abcde's Name

30 Nov 2018

A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight says an airport gate agent mocked her 5-year-old daughter Abcde’s name while they were preparing to board a flight in Southern California.

Traci Redford says as the family was pre-boarding the flight due to her daughter’s epilepsy, the gate agent laughed at her name and shared pictures of her boarding pass on social media.

The girl's name is spelled with the first five letters of the alphabet and is pronounced "AHB-sih-dee."

Southwest has issued a statement apologizing to the family, and the airline says it has followed up with the employee.

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Image credit: D Magazine

Budget Airline Primera Air Shuts Down, Stranding Passengers

05 Oct 2018

Earlier this year, Primera Air became the latest budget carrier to begin offering budget no-frills flights from the USA to Europe, with starting fares drastically cheaper than airline giants like Delta and United. Unfortunately, Primera faced several setbacks within its first few months of offering transatlantic flights, and they suffered a cash crunch that management couldn’t solve, causing them to announce a sudden bankruptcy last week.

This left many ticket holders stranded at the airport, some thousands of miles away from home. One woman at the Washington Dulles International Airport told the New York Times that she was waiting on a Primera flight that would take her back home to Britain when she found out the airline was closing. Apparently there were no staff on hand to help any of the passengers who had been left grounded, and calling the customer service desk provided no response.

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Image credit: The Northern Echo

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