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Charter Flight Websites / Services? 1020

Posted by Cliff
from the alternative-travel-desperately-needed dept.
X86Daddy asks: "TSA's latest announcement banning all fluids (toothpaste even) from carry-on luggage is the icing on a very sour cake. Many passengers are growing tired of the invasive security screenings, the increasing prices, lost and stolen luggage, and the decreasing quality of service with commercial flights in the United States. However, given the geographical size of this country and the lack of rail options, flight remains the only practical method of travel for most destinations. Can anyone suggest alternative flight services? Are there websites that connect Cessna or other small scale air charter services with interested passengers? I've found CharterX and CharterHub but they seem more geared toward executives looking for jets. Does anyone have experience traveling this way? Is the price point a lot higher, making this a dumb idea (just resign myself to buying toiletries at every destination and prepare for the mandatory anal probes in '07)?"
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Charter Flight Websites / Services?

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  • by radiotyler (819474) <(tyler) (at) (dappergeek.com)> on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:39PM (#15885976) Homepage
    I was on a flight to Kuwait deploying with my unit. We were waiting to fly out of Ft. Campbell and these guys are running around telling us we have to pack our Gerbers, Folding knives, and lighters in our stow bags and that they cannot be on your person or in your carry on.

    All of our guns though - no problem. We didn't even take out the bolts.

    I understand that a military flight vs a civilian flight is totally different, but c'mon. You let me bring my GUN on the plane?
  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:42PM (#15885995)
    If you do enough flying to seriously consider a solution like this (a chartered Cessna) then go ahead and learn to fly. You can buy a safe, serviceable used plane for about what you'd pay for an average new loaded SUV (~$50,000). You can learn to fly it for $5K-$6K. Park it at your local general aviation field and just fly it where you want to go.

    My brother-in-law and his family live up here in Vancouver. When his father-in-law comes up to visit from the Bay Area he just flies his own plane. No security, no lines, and he can even smoke a cigar.

    Source:

    eBay Motors> Other Vehicles & Trailers> Aircraft> Airplanes - Single-Engine

  • by Latent Heat (558884) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:51PM (#15886052)
    The coffin corner of the flight envelope is where you fly so high that V_DNE approaches V_stall, and well, you just fall out of the sky and crash and burn.

    Forget about toothpaste. What about, like, packing a lunch -- bottled water, yogurt, some energy bars? Its not like you get anything to eat on the plane anymore, and if you load up on fluids so you don't dehydrate (an issue in the dry, thin cabin air), well, they don't let you go potty on the approach to Washington National.

    So I guess the flight experience will be like the Ramadan fast -- no fluids, no food -- for X hours, only X may be unpredictable and open ended given flight delays. A multi-hour no-fluid no-food fast is doable for multi-hours, but we are talking about in an environment where you don't want to be dehydrated because 1) dry-thin air, 2) the cramped seats where you are vulnerable to deep-vein thrombosis, 3) you are packed in with strangers sharing their nasal viruses. So it will be like Ramadan combined with the Hadj.

    So the coffin corner is you can't pack lunch, and they won't serve you lunch, so you can sit there and be hungry and thirsty.

  • More to the point... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MadDog Bob-2 (139526) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:52PM (#15886056)

    Who do we complain to about this? And how quickly will such a complaint turn into a spot on the no fly lists?

    I mean, honestly, this is just insane.

    I'm trying to put together a coherent thought or two about this, but I just can't wrap my brain around the scale of the disconnect between what they claim they're trying to achieve and the means they're employing. Either they're lying to us about their goals, or they have absolutely no sense of perspective, or they're viciously incompetent. Or some combination of the three. I just can't come up with any other explanations.

  • by babbling (952366) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:53PM (#15886060)
    Had they (terrorists/freedom fighters) succeeded would this article be here complaining about we cant bring on toothpaste, or would we be talking about the 10-20 planes and thousands of people who died today?

    Thousands of people did die today... Due to car accidents, cancer, and poverty. If we're just trying to stop deaths, we should focus on making safer cars, researching cancer, and helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

    I suspect, however, that all of this terrorism hype isn't about stopping deaths. We don't even know for sure that there was going to be a terrorist attack. The US and UK governments are far from being trustworthy. The US government has contemplated "simulated" terrorist attacks to change public opinion. [wikipedia.org]
  • by Skater (41976) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @09:59PM (#15886095) Homepage Journal
    Right now, even though gas prices are high, I'm loving my motorhome. If my upcoming vacation (the week after next) was based on air travel, I'd be pretty bummed right now, but with the motorhome, the only security check I have to worry about is to make sure the doors are locked when I stop for breaks. :) It's freedom!

    Unfortunately, next week I have a business trip which will require air travel. I'm hoping the delays at security checkpoints reported today are resolved by Tuesday (yeah, I know, not much hope of that).
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:18PM (#15886192) Homepage
    You might as well get used to staying around home. The security and safety problems with air transportation are just part of the problem with long-distance travel. There's also the problem of decreasing fuel supplies/increasing costs, and the ecosuicidal problem of pollution and climate change. Has anyone else noticed that air carriers keep going out of business? Maybe it simply isn't a viable business anymore.

    In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, within the current generation's lifetime, long-distance travel again became fairly uncommon, and the late-20th-century jet-set boom turned out to be an historical blip. Fortunately we now have global communication, so people wouldn't exactly be cut off from the rest of the world like in the 19th century and before... but physical travel may become a luxury. And the global manufacturing economy? Could be strictly a short-term phenomenon, with it eventually becoming cheaper and safer to make things in Toledo rather than ship them in from Thailand. P.S. Be nice to your local farmer; you may end up depending on him to produce food for you.
  • by JetScootr (319545) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:21PM (#15886211) Journal
    In SE houston, we had a small start up airline called "Metro Air". They flew twin and 3-engine craft, seated about 20-40 passengers, went Houston-San Antonio, Austion, DFW, New Orleans, a few other closeby destinations, cheaper than you could drive a car, and about half the time. They flew out of small airports, the kind that can't take jets. Their planes were always full, and they were expanding flights, etc. They were seriously cutting into the big jet/big airline's market space because of simple efficiency: prop planes use less fuel, less ground support, require less technology, etc.

    Continental bought them out and shut them down.

    I heard (but can't verify myself) that these "puddle jumper" airlines were popping up all over the country because of this, and the big airlines were buying them like Continental did.
  • by vought (160908) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:26PM (#15886239)
    Right on target, good citizen. Predictably, after almost 6 years of Bush, al Qaeda is larger than ever (some say it has grown by over 1,000%), and Osama is living the high life, occasionally giving public testimonies on the Osama Broadcasting Network (OBN).

    And yet just over 1/3 of American citizens approve of how Bush the younger is handling the war on terra.

    Bush the younger, who thinks that Al-Quada are "Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation," - that's a direct quote from today.

    So, Mr. Bush - Al-Quaeda are adherents of this philosophy?Fascism is a radical totalitarian political philosophy that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism. [wikipedia.org]

    Good God, our president is a fucking moron - who regurgitates the worst talking points from Fox News in-house pundits, of all places.

    Someone save us. Please. 2/3ds of American citizens need your help. We're fucking serious here.
  • How about this: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:30PM (#15886267) Homepage
    If everyone who was fed up with this whole "war on terror" thing decided to vote their conscience, things could be very different. We could...

    * Get rid of the so-called "Patriot Act",
    * Protect our troops in Iraq -- by bringing them HOME (and apologizing to the Iraqi people for the mess we've made; two wrongs don't make a right),
    * Restrain the TSA,NSA,CIA,FBI,FAA,FCC, and their kind before we have no freedoms left,
    * Employ a two-prong approach with respect to terrorism: Be very willing to talk to any nations and groups who want to open dialogue -- as long as they renounce terrorism. Truly work with them to address their concerns. (Reducing our dependence on military action to keep the oil flowing would help here.) On the other hand, be very forceful when dealing with terrorism. Determine the responsible parties, and make them and their supporters pay. No theatrics -- just quick, effective measures with an absolute minimum of so-called "collateral damage".
    * Reduce our dependence on oil. This would help on many fronts, by reducing our need to ensure the oil supply is uninterrupted; to cut funding to these radical groups; and to no longer be the massive consumerist empire in the eyes of the rest of the world.
    * Finally, elect a government (from whichever party) that will recognize that neither are all of the world's people Christians -- nor do they want to be. We need to elect ourselves a more secular government that won't treat this whole mess as a jihad from the other side. Hezballah and Al-Qaeda aren't the only ones fighting a so-called "holy war" here. Let's keep our religion personal. Above all, let's have the courage to say -- and really mean -- those four important words: "I might be wrong."

    (Sorry to rant, but this seemed to be the place for it.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:31PM (#15886271)
    You freakin' idiot. You're more likely to die in a non-terrorist flight disaster than a terrorist related one. If you fly then you "take your chances". Period.

    How many planes have fallen out of the sky? How many have been due to some terrorist act? Yeah, that's what I thought. Now shut up and go back to your flag-waving bible study.

    How many times does it have to be said! You shouldn't trade freedom for safety. You will wind up with a jackboot on your neck, a rubber glove up your butt, and a terrorist laughing all the way to his 72 virgins anyway.

    Freedom is expensive. It means risk. It means tolerance. It means sacrifice. It means having to put up with morons like you. It means that people will die just so you can have a good quality of life. That's the ugly side of it. Freedom to travel across states unhindered is one of those fundamental rights. Why do you think your drivers license is valid in other states?

    Do you think that barring cokes and toothpaste from air travel will stop the terrorists? Well, I guess so - We've already established that you are stupid.

    I'm so sick of explaining fundamental concepts of freedom to people like you.
  • by strangedays (129383) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:44PM (#15886356)

    I am often amazed by the real blind spot America has to the advantages of rail.

    I put it down to the unbelievably negative effect of any Amtrak travel experience, I can understand anyone having a negative opinion if Amtrak is all you have had opportunity to experience. They are a freight network. Please do not judge modern commuter rail travel by their miserable example.

    The second barrier of course is the political influence of the airlines and car/road makers.

    The fact is there are three, not two, integrated forms of transport. High speed rail is a major utility between cities and towns in most modern nations, except the US.

    The lack of rail in the USA, is in fact a big opportunity to do it right. For example, if we used Maglev, we could run fast (300 mph plus trains) between cities, bridging the transit gap between (gasoline dependent) short haul cars (good up to a few hundred miles) and security infested terror target aircraft (good for long haul). Fast trains neatly fill the 50 mile to 1000, mile middle range. Imagine new york to washington in 40 minutes. Downtown to major airports in 10 minutes. Less traffic and city congestion. Less car pollution. Fast, smooth, safe, cheap. Whats not to like? Trains themselves are also a low pollution option (Initially building a rail network, however, is not so green , a necessary trade off).

    Electric surface level trains are an inherently poor terrorist target, if anyone hijacks one, just turn off the power and call SWAT. They have no-where to go. If we want to talk about strategic security, I imagine that a high speed transcontinental alternative to air travel just might be a national asset in a real war. Are the people who calmly veto this, really the patriots they claim to be?

    The lack of a decent network of high speed rail in the US is, IMHO, a clear example of the negative effect of corrupt political lobbying preventing any form of purely public benefits in long term planning. It seems to me that if it doesn't benefit an existing power-bloc, it simply can't happen anymore. This defeats real progress and innovation. Not a good thing.

    Train networks are certainly not perfect, they tend to break even at best and in most countries seem to oscillate between inneficient government operation and efficient but overpriced and fragmented private operation.

    High political maintenance not-withstanding, I submit that having a good inter and intra city commuter rail network, is a major public benefit, its simply a huge advantage to have a third travel option.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @10:52PM (#15886409) Homepage
    Get a grip. In the seventies and eighties there were terrorists from all over the place, Germans, Italians, Japanese, Irish, Spanish, Arabic, Amercian (from both continents), Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, Israeli as well as Palestinian. There was none of drive to instill the public with a ever pervasive sence of fear.

    What will you do if they say the terrorists will swallow the explosives prior to boarding flights like drug mules (If you think they can't because they won't be available in time, they can swallow them the day before).

    This while the upper echolons of the US administration have come up with a new name for waterboarding, 'Cuban Surfing', the old euphamism had just become too recognisable as torture.

  • by JakartaDean (834076) on Friday August 11, 2006 @12:12AM (#15886782) Journal
    Thousands of people did die today... Due to car accidents, cancer, and poverty. If we're just trying to stop deaths, we should focus on making safer cars, researching cancer, and helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
    Yes, obviously. The people in the US government, perhaps understandably, want desperately to be seen to "do something." That is what they're doing. If we trade off the risk that a crazed lunatic is going to kill himself and perhaps a planeload of others, against the inconvenience millions of us will be regularly subjected to, I'm not sure I think we've hit the right point of balance. But, nobody is even raising the question.
    When they design roads, they don't make them perfectly safe (impossible) or even as safe as humanly possible. We have speed limits that balance convenience and economic efficiency against loss of life. Engineers and decision-makers have to balance risks and convenience in many things. BUT, in the case of terrorism there is no balance -- everything humanly possible must be done. It doesn't make sense to me.

    I suspect, however, that all of this terrorism hype isn't about stopping deaths. We don't even know for sure that there was going to be a terrorist attack. The US and UK governments are far from being trustworthy. The US government has contemplated "simulated" terrorist attacks to change public opinion.
    Well, I'll leave that to you. Discussion of how trustworthy governments are just leads to tinfoil hat discussions.
  • by TheUglyAmerican (767829) on Friday August 11, 2006 @12:15AM (#15886796)
    I got a pilots license years ago but stopped flying. Until 9/11. After standing in security lines for hours for a 45 minute flight I realized I didn't need to do that. So I got my pilot's license up to date, bought an airplane and use that for flights under about 800 miles. Now I drive 5 minutes to my local airport instead of an hour to the airport that services airlines. No security lines, freedom to come and go as I please, and faster door-to-door times for shorter flights. Yes it is more expensive. But owning and operating a car is more expensive than taking the bus. Anyone can get a pilots license in 50 to 60 hours of flight training. Check it out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, 2006 @12:42AM (#15886921)
    You are right , we should just let them blow up the planes when we have a known specific threat. People's capacity to use a computer without a brain still continutes to amaze me.

    Here's a known, specific threat: every year 10 times as many people are killed in motor vehicle accidents as died on 9/11. Another 10 times as many are hospitalized. Should we let people drive?

    Now I'll add that that is backed up statistically and the figure has been rising every year. Your "known, specific threat" is something along the lines of "someone, somewhere might try to blow up a plane". Unless, of course, you are referring to the people who have already been identified and imprisoned.

    I will agree with your assertion about brainless computer users however.
  • by nolife (233813) on Friday August 11, 2006 @01:16AM (#15887072) Homepage Journal
    Smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient jets, going to more localized airports (further removing some of the terrible centralization our system suffers from now), are probably the best way of limiting the consequences of an attack.

    I agree to some point but what about "overall" safety. I do not have statistics in front of me right now but I know there are many times more general aviation accidents then commercial planes accidents. I would assume that if the percentages stayed the same, many more people would die on those small less structured, less maintained, and less experienced airlines then with the big carriers even with terrorism added in. On that note, you could consider the amount of people that die in car accidents yearly per mile traveled and come up with some really interesting results. I guess mentally, we feel safer dealing with true accidents then wondering about what could be done by someone on purpose. Imagine the impact on lives if the money and effort we put into fighting terrorism went into fighting some common diseases or cancers that thousands of people die from every year. I would actually consider that based on how our war on terrorism appears to be going, I think we would have a better progress on some much needed cures.

    I'm not against fighting terrorism, just throwing out some thoughts and trying to look at this big picture.
  • This is of course quite true; however, people seem willing to trade security against dying accidentally, for security against dying at the hands of terrorists. For whatever reason, we seem to care more about getting killed by someone else intentionally than we do about dying in a perceived accident. My suggestion more or less took this as a premise: that the increased risk inherent in having more planes in the air would be a good tradeoff for having smaller targets for terror.

    Given the political destabilization that can occur as a result of terrorism, this might actually not be a bad thing: look at the chain of events that we can extrapolate out from 9/11, and from the responses to it, and to the responses to them. If an equivalent number of people had died accidentally, many of those secondary and tertiary deaths would not have occurred, the government would probably be less powerful, in general the world would probably be a better place, etc.

    While it may seem stupid to say that we should increase our risk of dying in one way to prevent dying in another, when looked at as a society, it may be preferable to have more people dying in airplane crashes than to have a system that is susceptible to terrorism, because of the destabilization that occurs as a result of it.

    Indirectly, we do this already: as we make it more and more of a pain to fly, we encourage people to use other, more dangerous methods of transportation. Although I've never seen anyone actually investigate the number of highway accidents as a function of the wait times and security screenings at airports, common sense dictates that when people don't fly, they either don't travel or they use some other method of transportation, and driving is undoubtedly popular. Given that we know driving to be a dangerous way of moving oneself around, we are in effect raising a person's risk by causing them to use the roads instead of the airlines, by making the latter less attractive.
  • by Stinking Pig (45860) on Friday August 11, 2006 @02:19AM (#15887260) Homepage
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/20 06/08/08/MNGGTKD03A1.DTL [sfgate.com]

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375725806/002-89 62410-6073658?v=glance&n=283155 [amazon.com]

    but that out of the way, the scale of the US makes it a bit less than feasible. For instance, here in California we've been arguing on and off for several years about a high-speed rail between SF and LA. It's only 500 miles, and it could follow the course of the old El Camino Real (now Highway 101)... only that's through mountainous territory all the way. Okay, so it could follow Highway 5... but now it's a 600 or 700 mile journey, and it still crosses a mountain range (the Grapevine). Either route is sparsely populated between the suburban outreaches, reducing the pull-through... and before you claim that the new transit corridor will produce new cities, bear in mind that the highways have been there for 40 years (or 300 if you're counting El Camino Real). There also won't be a train stop every where that there's a freeway on ramp.

    On the other hand, you can fly down for a day trip for about $100, and on some days it's actually faster than driving to the other side of LA or the Bay Area. The fact is that trains are great for 9-5 commuting where people have 9-5 office jobs, but they kind of suck at flexibility.

    Worse, the hub-and-spoke model that gives air travel its flexibility is not replicable with rail because the rail has to be built and maintained, which takes a lot longer than upgrading or building an airport terminal. Even if that problem were overcome, say by a massive government building program that connected all the major and minor cities of the country, it still wouldn't be successful because of the economic requirement to put lots of passengers onto each train and stop relatively infrequently. Greyhound buses on Interstate highways are the proof.
  • I figured as much; obviously if the economies of scale weren't there, then the airlines wouldn't invest in such huge jets.

    What my suggestion assumes is that the airlines would have to be forced to abandon those cost savings, and switch to smaller jets, and try to recoup the losses through higher rates and by hopefully making more efficient planes in the future.

    The cost per passenger-mile would certainly increase; however, with more flights, you might be able to reduce the number of miles flown. Right now to get between many destinations, you have to go to a major hub and back. With smaller planes you can have more direct flights, and with more airports and less security-for-the-sake-of-appearances, you have shorter wait times. In combination, you might be able to make flying on the newer, smaller aircraft as attractive to the passenger as it is now, on the longer ones.

    But you're right, it's not something that's just going to happen without pressure from an entity above the airlines; if the companies had their way, we'd all by flying around stacked like cordwood in the bellies of super-jumbos, from one huge regional airport to another. But the airlines don't put any value on the lives of their passengers, besides the bad PR that seems to follow killing a bunch of them, and the loss of income secondary to that. Sometimes it takes government action in order to force a change that's not economically preferable, but is desired because of the value that people place on their lives. (Although I'm small-government, I think it's within the scope of the proper role of government to do things like this from time to time, because corporations can't be expected to do anything except whatever's maximally profitable; thus we rely on government to set up the landscape in such a way that pursuing profit leads us to the outcomes we want to have happen.)
  • by btempleton (149110) on Friday August 11, 2006 @03:31AM (#15887472) Homepage
    There are various figures, but most studies conclude that trains get no better than twice the energy efficiency (BTUs per passenger mile) of air travel or cars. A DoE study in 2003 rated planes, trains and automobiles as almost all exactly the same in BTU/passenger mile.

    But rail requires a huge expenditure in dedicated land. Land that is has a train roll over it often quite infrequently in the USA, and requires expensive crossings. Trains can only go where rails go.

    Planes require just the airport, and planes can go, if there's demand, nonstop from any airport to any airport, far faster. If we didn't put all the security requirements on planes, and had quick trains from the downtowns to the airports which clear you and whisk you right onto your plane, nobody would dream of comparing the downtown-to-downtown times -- the plane would win handily on all but the shortest of routes.

    The energy efficiency of course depends on how loaded the vehicles are, a lot of factors can affect that.

    Overhead electric trains are more efficient, and so are newer plane designs.
  • by AGMW (594303) on Friday August 11, 2006 @05:24AM (#15887746) Homepage
    If we didn't put all the security requirements on planes, and had quick trains from the downtowns to the airports which clear you and whisk you right onto your plane, nobody would dream of comparing the downtown-to-downtown times

    But "start to finish" is what we compare, and as there are few people who live at airports it will always be the comparison. A race was organised from the (recognised) centre of London to the (recognised) centre of Paris, one person flying and one using the train (via the Channel Tunnel). The train did have the advantage because the line starts right near the centre of London and ends right near the centre of Paris, and it won by a considerable margin. That was using the current rail lines, and half an hour will be shaved off once the terminus changes from Waterloo (using the old slow south London lines) to Kings Cross (using a new dedicated fast link). The advantage goes if you want to travel much further, but the high speed European lines do and are competing with the airlines for the shorter journeys.

    I'd like to be able to go to Kings Cross (actually, Waterloo is easier for me, and it's going to take me another 1/2 hour to cross London negating the time saved by the faster line, but they didn't ask me, oh no, just went right on ahead and planned the new route!) and hop on a sleeper train to any of the European capitals and be able to wake up in Madrid, or Rome, or whereever. That'd be marvellous! Make it the cost of a reasonable hotel and provide a good food and a comfortable bed and I reckon they'd cleanup!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:47AM (#15887909)
    Doesn't work so well for longer distances, such as my having to fly from Hawaii to Boston for school :P. On a Trip from Hell(tm) to the HQ of a company I was working for for in order to give a presentation, I ended up making 7 layovers over the course of 3 f*cking days[1]. Luckily I hand-carried 2 changes of clothes (I'm pessimistic like that when it comes to air travel) and my toothbrush/paste and shaving kit (sans razors and 'stache clippers), etc. Under these new regs I'd have had to buy most of that crap at least 4 times, only to be thrown away before I boarded my next connecting flight. The return trip wasn't quite as bad[2], but I'd have been pissed about having to buy toothpaste about 6 times in total.

    Top all that off with the fact that as both a student and employee I have to travel on fuel-laden cross-continent flights alone, that I have a beard, and am not caucasian, and apparently I set off all sorts of flags set by the DHS. I even had one ticket agent who looked up at me after handing me my ticket, asked for it back, then proceeded to mark it and notified me that I had been 'randomly selected' for additional screening. On the aforementioned trip from hell, I was 'randomly selected' for additional screening 3 times on the departing leg alone (once passing through security after checking in, twice at the gates to a connecting flight). My flight back to Boston for the fall semester ought to be loads of fun thanks to the heightened security levels.

    [1] And this was domestic travel. I'd hate to think about an international trip to Europe. Thankfully it's not really possible to be diverted for extra layovers between Hawaii and Japan, so my travel there is still bearable.

    [2] You know it's sad when you're happy that the only incident is that you have an additional 5 hour layover at LAX in the middle of the night when none of the vendors are open.
  • by Secrity (742221) on Friday August 11, 2006 @08:01AM (#15888098)
    I used to live in a small town about 200 miles from the capital of the state. The small town was served by a small commuter airline and had an FBO that chartered small airplanes, including a Piper Aztec that could carry 5 passengers (plus pilot). It was cheaper for four people to get together and charter the small airplane to fly between the small town and the big city than it was to buy four tickets on the commuter airline. The air time was about the same and the fifth passenger was a bonus. Another factor was that the morning commuter flight was frequently canceled due to fog; the chartered plane (which just had to be wheeled out of the hangar) could take off, but the commuter plane (which was flying in from another small town) could not land in the fog.
  • by Ors (9168) on Friday August 11, 2006 @08:49AM (#15888288)
    However, all too often, the first sign a pilot has strayed into restricted airspace is when a blackhawk helicopter pops down next to them, or they get buzzed by a fighter jet. Radio problems are a recurring theme in the encounters- military aircraft with semi-working civilian-band radios, or military pilots not knowing what frequencies the pilot is on/should be on.) You can't really lean out the window and say "hey, officer, what's the problem?", and GA pilots are faced with a terrible conundrum- clearly someone is pissed, but what to do? Change flightpath, possibly becoming more of a threat? Keep going straight, inadvertently continuing towards whatever everyone is hot and bothered about, and get shot down once they cross some 'line in the sand'? Nevermind that when you've got a guy with a very big machinegun trained on you, flying the plane suddenly becomes the least of your worries, and that's VERY dangerous...
    I'm not a licensed _anything_, but what about following the AIM [faa.gov] ?
  • by rabel (531545) on Friday August 11, 2006 @09:07AM (#15888387)
    Of course there was mass panic, but it was short-lived in society after 9/11, but purposefully stoked, even to this day, by the government. The mass panic is a result of calculated encouragement by the government. If you don't believe that, you are not paying attention to the statements made by republican elected officials even this week.

    Economic instability? Again, only short-lived because of the 9/11 attack and the disruption in financial services. The long-term financial instability is a direct result of failed Republican policies, never-ending war (yes, NEVER-ENDING. You cannot "defeat" an idea like you can a state).

    Choas? What choas did 9/11 bring that lasted more than a day or so that wasn't put in place by idiotic Republican policies?

    And for crying out loud, who the *HELL* said to "letting terrorists bomb planes easily" ?? Where do you get this crazy-ass idea that someone wants to let terrorists bomb planes easily? I just don't understand why you would think that's the goal. Why would you think that's a solution anyone is suggesting? Why? WHY?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, 2006 @09:20AM (#15888468)
    (1) all luggage travels in a separate aircraft from the passengers, so cannot blow passengers up if it explodes

    (2) to avoid the need for complex and unreliable searches, passengers will travel not only without carry-on luggage but also without clothes.

    The latter has the added advantage that fundamentalists of both religions seem to be the most opposed to public nudity, so this will help to discourage from them travelling to where they can fight each other.

    Unfortunately, the former is probably not ecologically sound; that's two airframes to be kept in the air.
  • by SpecTheIntro (951219) <spectheintro&gmail,com> on Friday August 11, 2006 @09:41AM (#15888590)

    From the most informative link provided:

    Trying to humanize Islam is like trying to humanize Nazism.

    That's not a counter-argument. That's a wholescale denunciation of everything Islam could possibly stand for. You have essentially equated the world's second largest religion with a philosophy that single-handedly caused over 6-9 million in the slaughter of innocents alone. This is not counting the war casualties.

    I don't know what to make of people like you, or people like the creator of that website. In a lot of ways you remind me of Muslim extremists, (whom I have actually met), because there is an overwhelming sense of hatred, of aggression, that no amount of victory or destruction can ever pacify. The OPs statement wasn't about religion, it was about people. Every Muslim is a human being first. (Or do you deny that too?) And human beings, or at least the vast majority of them, don't want to see their brothers and sisters die, or watch their children grow up in a warzone. The problem with the Middle East, (and I am an Iranian-American, so I have some personal perspective on this), is that they don't yet understand that they have to let go. There are decades of humiliation and occupation that spur the extremists to hate the West, to hate everything the West is associated with. And the average Muslim in the Middle East is ambivalent to the actions of those extremists. They refuse to condemn the atrocities that happen in their countries, because they too hold on to the pain and anger that centuries of hostilities between the Christian and Islamic world has inspired. But it's pointless. They have to let go, and consciously reject Bin Laden's embrace of death. (I am not saying every Muslim follows the bullshit that spews from Bin Laden's mouth, but there is a tacit acceptance of that lifestyle in every Islamic nation--if there was not, then extremists would find no quarter anywhere.) Once Muslims (and more generally, Arabs and Iranians, because not all of them are Muslims) make that decision--that they would rather build infrastructure than strike back at aggressors--then things will change. But that sort of shift in philosophy takes decades in and of itself, and will probably involve lots of bloodshed. But the only hope the Islamic world has is itself. No amount of Western intervention will ever "fix" the it--and it does need fixing. But it has to come from inside. Inshallah, it will happen. Or my culture, my religion, and my people will die out, and they'll have no one to blame but themselves. (Although I doubt they'll see it that way.)

  • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Friday August 11, 2006 @09:50AM (#15888644)
    Yes, I'd rather keep my laptop and camera gear within arm's reach. Luckily I don't have to carry any liquid, since the flight attendants are always willing to serve up water for free.


    My camera/laptop won't leave my sight. I'm willing to check batteries, but I'm betting that the "new improved regs" will make that impossible as well.

    So I won't fly if I have any choice in the matter until these regs are gone. FYI: I've already experienced the joy of mistakenly checking valuables once. Let's just say that my baggage arrived, sans valuables. And this was before they checked everything.

    As for the water, you should check the stories about water. I'll only accept bottled water, and that's usually $3. (unless you're flying in enhanced classes) If they included free bottled water, or at least just @ cost water and drinks, that would make at least the no drinks part more acceptable.
  • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Friday August 11, 2006 @01:06PM (#15889986)
    You are suggesting a "point-to-point" model vs. the traditional "hub-and-spoke" model of air transportation. It's got much to be recommended for it, but the only way to make it economic is generally lots of short "point-to-point" flights, so if you want to go any distance, you still have to transfer flights at least once; often several times. Southwest does it in exactly that fashion. The problem is this - consider the following fictional scenario: 20 cities, each with 380 pax a day, 20 of whom want to fly to one of the other 19 cities. If you ran point to point service once a day to get all 380 * 20 = 7600 pax to their destinations, that's 20 departure cities * 19 arrivial cities = 380 flights!! If you chose one city as a hub, you could run 19 flights into it, and 19 flights out, and that's 38 flights - 1/10th the number of flights to move the same number of people to their destinations. Of course, as you note, that hub city would have 38 flights a day and all 7800 people move through it (congestion), and the failure of any one flight to go (mechanical, wx, etc.) would cause far more pax not to reach their destination (200 vs 20), etc. Also, assuming these 20 cities are in a four by five grid (the computations start getting interesting here), with one side = 100 miles, the total airframe miles flown by the point to point system would be...(whips out Python) 914,000 miles. The hub and spoke system (taking one of the four center-most points as the hub) would only need 35,000 air-miles (less by a factor of 30). The majority of the cost of running an airline is/are HOURLY costs, so moving the maximum number of pax with the fewest number of air-miles is paramount.

    This model, though, ignores the fact that some cities have a LOT more traffic than others - these larger cities make the most sense to locate hubs at, since people who live at a hub city only need to take one flight rather than two to get to their destination. That is pretty much the situation today.

    The problem is the number of point-point combination scales with the square of the number of cities, whereas the hub-and-spoke is linear with it. Ultimately, there are just not enough people who wish to fly at the present pricepoint to make point-to-point viable for all except the largest cities. As costs go up, the point to point model becomes even LESS competitive as pax traffic goes down. This only begins to change when there are SO few people flying that scheduled service no longer makes sense, and you begin to go to a charter/air-taxi model, where (obviously) point to point is the way to go.

    Yes, I do feel that this is an example of where government needs to set up the rules of the game so that maximizing profits doesn't lead to such awful service. I've always felt that there should be much stricter limits on how many aircraft are allowed into and out of hub cities and into the ATC system, so there is more slack - right now, it's like a glass of water that is just about to overflow the rim - it just takes the slightest disturbance or one extra drop of water to cause a large number of problems. All of these suggestions would have the effect of raising airfares dramatically, though, and that is politically unacceptable right now.

    I think it WILL wind up that way one day - air transportation will again be only for the quite well off - but the transition will be very messy.

Gee, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

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