ALPA, The Pilots Union, Watches Clerical Employees Strike

Alpa logoIn one of the  funnier stories to emerge from the saga that is Delta Airlines and its bankruptcy is the story coming today out of ALPA offices. ALPA is the union that represents the Delta pilots. They will not be firing on all cylinders over the next few days as they are in the midst of a strike.

Strike you ask? Sure, but this time ALPA is not striking anyone, but is being struck by its clerical union workers. With the paycuts across the industry, the union is in fierce negotiations with its clerical union raising health care costs and lowering pay raises.

“The irony isn’t lost on us,” said Pete Janhunen, a spokesman in ALPA’s national office. “We’re a union, but we’re also an employer.”
Representatives of the Union of ALPA Professionals and Administrative Employees, Unit 2, could not be reached for comment.
Janhunen said ALPA’s Washington headquarters, along with local ALPA offices for pilots at Delta, Atlantic Southeast Airlines and numerous other carriers are affected. Union lawyers and other professionals are working from other locations on “core” issues such as Delta’s bankruptcy proceedings, he said.
ALPA’s clerical workers rejected a three-year deal with “modest” pay raises but higher health care costs, according to Janhunen. The 62,000-member ALPA has had to tighten its belt after its dues declined about 20 percent during the industry’s hard times in recent years, he noted, adding that ALPA can’t afford to budge much from the rejected pact.via ajc.com.

ALPA Website

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DMXLooks like rapper DMX decided to cause trouble on a flight between New York and London and ended up arrested when the flight landed at Heathrow International Airport.

Police arrested rap star DMX after he refused to put on a seat belt and became abusive on a flight from New York to London, authorities said Monday.
The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, received a caution and was released after his American Airlines flight landed at Heathrow Airport on Saturday, police said on condition of anonymity in line with departmental policy.
A caution means a person has accepted responsibility for the offense, and a record will be made.
The artist has had brushes with the authorities in the past. via AccessAtlanta.

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ArchaeariumHistoric Jamestown in coastal Virginia is celebrating their 400th anniversary with the opening of its  newest attraction, the Jamestown Archaearium. The archaearium will showcase the findings of the world-renowned archaeological discoveries at the first permanent English settlement in the New World and the birthplace of America.

Developed by APVA Preservation Virginia, the innovative $4.9 million facility opens Saturday, May 13, on the 399th anniversary of Jamestown. Elizabeth Kostelny, executive director of APVA Preservation Virginia, said the Archaearium (pronounced ark – ee – air – ee – um) links history, archaeology and a sense of place to tell the story of Jamestown from 1607 to 1699. “Every American should visit here. This is where our nation began,” she said.

The Archaearium and the archaeological research are the APVA Preservation Virginia’s signature contributions to Jamestown’s 400th anniversary in 2007. The Archaearium is also the centerpiece of the overall $63 million master plan, created in partnership with the National Park Service, for new interpretive experiences and that will open at Historic Jamestowne during the next year including a new visitor center that will tell the history of Jamestown and the Indian, European and African peoples who lived there. Plans also include a riverside restaurant, enhanced visitor transportation opportunities and outdoor exhibits.

Official Jamestown Settlement Website.

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Air New Zealand Will Be the First to Fly the Boeing 787-9

787_smThe Airline Hub is reporting that Air New Zealand  is going to be the first to fly 787–9 in 2010.

Being the first airline to introduce the 787-9 aircraft will enable Air New Zealand to provide a superior, first-to-market experience for our customers and is a most desirable position for us to be in given the unprecedented sales success of the Boeing 787 model,” said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe.

The 787-9 is capable of carrying 250-290 passengers on routes of 8,600 to 8,800 nautical miles (15,900-16,300 kilometers).

The 787-9 has unprecedented fuel efficiency and economics, which make it an ideal choice for ANZ,” said Roland Ramirez, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Sales director, Asia Pacific region. “The -9 has all the right attributes to serve ANZ profitably and provide its passengers with a new flying experience.”

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El Al Says To Newark Airport, Let Us Screen Our Own Baggage

ElalThe indictment of TSA is complete. The Israeli airline, El Al, is asking permission to screen it’s own baggage instead of the TSA agents. The underlying question is, are the TSA agents so incompetent that a foreign airline will not trust our agents to check their baggage for bombs?

There is one word for that. Yikes!

“This was strictly at the request of El Al, and we want to be sensitive to the security threats they face in their particular part of the world,” said Amy von Walter, a TSA spokeswoman.
The arrangement, which also allows El Al Airlines to use its own screening personnel, points to a continuing problem in the U.S. government’s ability to safeguard commercial airliners. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, undercover tests at U.S. airports, including Newark Liberty, have consistently shown that TSA screeners miss a significant number of fake explosives.
“El Al knows our security isn’t worth a hoot,” said Michael Boyd, an aviation industry consultant from Colorado and a longtime TSA critic. “It’s a heck of an indictment for the TSA when a foreign airline says they want to screen their own luggage. It says they don’t trust us.”
Aviation experts agree El Al has the toughest airline security system in the world, including intensive training of its personnel, extensive luggage searches, tough questioning of passengers and armed guards on board every flight.

Israeli airline gains control over screening.

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Emotional Support Animals Showing Up More Often

EmotionalsupportdogIf you see someone with their dog or pet on your next flight or at your favorite restaurant do not be surprised. The person is probably not pulling a fast one. They are using a new provision in federal policy that allows emotional support pets on flights or in restaurants, and their is nothing the companies can do to stop this. So if you think cell phones are annoying, wait till you are seated next to a person with a yappy dog for a 4 hour cross country flight.

Health care professionals have recommended animals for psychological or emotional support for more than two decades, based on research showing many benefits, including longer lives and less stress for pet owners.
But recently a number of New York restaurateurs have noticed a surge in the number of diners seeking to bring dogs inside for emotional support, where previously restaurants had accommodated only dogs for the blind.
“I had never heard of emotional support animals before,” said Steve Hanson, an owner of 12 restaurants including Blue Fin and Blue Water Grill in Manhattan. “And now all of a sudden in the last several months, we’re hearing this.”
The increasing appearance of pets whose owners say they are needed for emotional support in restaurants — as well as on airplanes, in offices and even in health spas — goes back, according to those who train such animals, to a 2003 ruling by the Department of Transportation. It clarified policies regarding disabled passengers on airplanes, stating for the first time that animals used to aid people with emotional ailments like depression or anxiety should be given the same access and privileges as animals helping people with physical disabilities like blindness or deafness. via New York Times.

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Interested in a Cruise on the Maine Coast?

Maine cruiseTraveling in Maine is probably not a great idea 9 months of the year, but during the summer months it can be a great place to visit. As opposed to staying on the coast, a great alternative is staying off the coast on a mini cruise ship.  The three diminutive ships of American Cruise Lines – American Eagle, American Spirit, and American Glory — carry no more than 100 passengers apiece. They poke along the Atlantic coast, slipping into historic, sleepy ports and letting passengers explore the quirks of these salty towns.

The Cruises visit some of the seaside towns of Maine showing the beautiful coastline during its travels.

So it goes all week, as American Eagle threads its way among the many islands and lighthouses dotting the mid-Maine coast. The journey starts and ends on the Penobscot River in Bangor, pausing in Bar Harbor, Bucksport, Rockland, Camden, Castine and Belfast. The comfortable, if not luxurious, ship provides such low-key entertainment as kite-flying and cocktails on the open top deck. via CNN.com

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Tachinomiya, or Standing Bars, Newest Rage in Japan

TachinomiyaTachinomiya, or standing bars, are bars in Japan that offer low cost drinks but no seats. They are designed for a quick drink on your way home from work. An interesting concepts as they are becoming popular in Japan, but growing up in New York, Penn Station and Grand Central Stations were full of tachinomiya. They just were never called a fancy name beside bar.

IN Tokyo, where cafe floor space is at a premium, some bars are abolishing tables and chairs altogether and stacking customers vertically along a bar.
They are known as tachinomiya, or standing bars, and they are sweeping Tokyo. Their popularity is fueled by low prices and the opportunities they offer many young, shy Japanese to mix and mingle with whoever is standing next to them.
“It’s easy to go in, easy to go out,” said Sachiko Tabata, who was sipping and snacking with another young woman at a new bar in Shinbashi called Gohiikini, or Nice to Meet You (2-8-9 Shinbashi Minato-ku; 81-3-3502-3132; www.3cs.co.jp). Standing at one end of a polished wood bar, they were discussing their reactions to the movie “Sayuri,” known in the United States as “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
Generally found close to Tokyo’s major commuter rail stations and open from 4 . to 11 p.m., tachinomiya are ideal for an end-of-the-day stop. A visitor can sip a glass of imported wine, nibble on tapas and rub shoulders at the bar. Many of the tachinomiya are literally holes in the wall. But some, like Gohiikini, have Web sites with maps that can be printed out for an evening of hashigo or bar hopping. via the New York Times.

More on Tachinomiya from Japan Today

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easyCruise Plans On Ordering 4 New Cruise Ships

Easycruise

In another amazing move by the EasyGroup founder, the cruise line easyCruise is doing very well with their low cost formula, and the proof is in the pudding. The company is negotiating for 4 new 500 passenger cruise ships.

EasyGroup, the holding company of Greek entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said Monday it planned to order four cruise ships from a Greek shipyard for use by its low-cost cruise business easyCruise.
The deal, which was signed by Haji-Ioannou and Neorion Participants, states the intention of easyGroup to buy four ships with a passenger capacity of 500 passengers each.
Haji-Ioannou, the founder and chairman of easyGroup, said the contract, for an undisclosed sum, was awarded to Neorion Participants ahead of rival offers from shipyards in Spain, Italy and Germany.
Resolution of several outstanding issues in the next few months would lead to a firm order for the ships, Haji-Ioannou said.
EasyCruise is aimed at younger passengers, offering low-cost holidays off the Mediterranean coast of France and Italy and in the Caribbean. The company hopes to begin operating in the Greek islands. via USATODAY.com

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Delta40sAs many of us noticed, the threat of the strike by the pilots cost the airline millions of dollars per week. The end result of all this posturing, more damage to the airline and not much difference to the long term future.

Delta, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, previously agreed to $1 billion in annual concessions, including a 32.5% wage cut, in a five-year deal in 2004. It then sought an additional $325 million in cuts from its nearly 6,000 pilots, who threatened to strike as an April 15 deadline for an agreement approached.
“Even the threat of a pilot strike was costing Delta millions of dollars per week in lost sales, as concerned passengers and shippers booked flights on other airlines,” Delta said in its filing, adding to its argument that the court should accept the pilot agreement. via USATODAY.com

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