Friday night I was sitting at home part-listening to the national news when I heard the anchor say this: “A United Airlines flight from Munich to Washington was diverted when a passenger complained of a runny nose.”
I had to wonder whether this was the news or a Saturday Night Live skit. A runny nose?
Perhaps this was a result of the Vice President‘s ill-considered comments the other day on plane travel or not. On the whole, most utterances on this topic from the U.S. government have been reasonable and President Obama has handled it very well. The media? Not so much in my view.
By the way, the folks at Baltimore’s BWI airport handled their own swine flu situation with great skill last week. Turned out it was a couple of passengers who couldn’t handle their liquor, but an emergency had been declared and the BWI staff went into action. This is emblematic of the proactive steps being taken by airports, a fact recognized by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke‘s invitation to ACI-NA to join an industry roundtable on the topic.
Also last week, I heard a speech by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The first words out of his mouth were: “Flying is safe, flying is healthy.” He is right and deserved the response those words received.
He also announced he was appointing Jane Garvey to oversee a mediation effort designed to resolve contract issues between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the air traffic controllers union. I view this as a positive step and truly hope that this will result in a resolution of these matters so that the FAA and the controllers can turn full attention on making NextGen a reality. My best wishes go to Jane and her team.
I spent a couple of days at the Canadian Airports Council meeting in Ottawa. There is a lot of concern there over comments made by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the “dangers” posed by our northern border and comparing them to those faced along the southern border. These comments were wrong and harmful. There is a lot of good work we ought to be doing with Canada on security, leading some day to a single perimeter around the two countries. Such an effort would enhance security for everyone. Such comments put achievement of that vision much further off into the future.
Before I got to Ottawa I visited the “new” Comiskey Park in Chicago, also known as Cellular One Field. It was my first visit. It does not have the charm of “old” Comiskey, but was better than I expected. I was pleasantly surprised I must say.