I titled my first blog here for this semester’s independent research on the commercial aviation industry “the stories behind the metal birds.” The past few months were a blink. Now, at the end of May, I am sitting in front of my laptop composing my last blog entry. But before I revisit the “stories” I have looked over the course of my work, I want to first share a story about how I personally came to be fascinated by the airline industry.
Afternoon view of the Hollywood Hills (picture taken by myself in January 2017)
It has been nearly a year since I last opened Xcode, Apple’s development environment for iOS and watchOS. One day, when I was rushing to an early morning class, I subconsciously patted my left pocket and realized that I had left my phone in my dorm room. I also took notice that I was wearing my Apple Watch, the device that I frequently use to ping my iPhone when I misplace it. While the watch does help me find my phone by allowing me to play a ringing sound on my phone, it doesn’t do so proactively. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an app on my Apple Watch that notifies me when the iPhone is out of range, I thought.
As a continuation of my previous discussions about United Express Flight 3411, Part II includes a closer examination of the incident from perspectives of both United Airlines and today’s commercial aviation industry.
The end of Part I seems to suggest an easily-reached conclusion: since clauses regarding overbooking are specified in the contract of carriage, airlines could as easily deny a passenger to board if they see a greater economic interest in selling more tickets or accommodating other last-minute top-tier frequent flyers or VIPs. As long as airlines see a smaller marginal cost to denying a “regular passenger” onboard, they are free to do so within the legal frame. And in the case of United Express Flight 3411, the “VIPs” were four “deadhead crew” who needed to fly from their base in Chicago to Louisville to serve another flight. Again, what the crew on that flight did was perfectly legal: after 9/11, for security reasons, on U.S. commercial aircrafts, crew members are given the absolute authority and failure to comply with any of their instructions could result in the intervention of law enforcement. But this time, with the rapid spread of this incident’s footage on the Internet, the marginal cost of denying David Dao skyrocketed.
Lufthansa 747-8 at Frankfurt Airport (picture taken by myself in March 2017)
Part I: From Event Recap to the Common Practice of Overbooking
Monday, Apr.10, in the afternoon. I was waiting in line at Washington Dulles Airport, ready to board a United Express flight back to Philadelphia. The TV screen near the boarding gate was showing some CNN sports news, which I often pay the least attention to. Suddenly, I noticed a few people raising their heads almost unanimously from their private tiny screens, casting anxiously surprised looks onto that CNN channel. A video of a wounded passenger being dragged off a plane was shown on the screen, with that male passenger screaming. The caption was: United forcibly dragged a passenger off an plane in Chicago. The gate agent stood in front of me, not at all unnerved by the small commotion, and spoke into her microphone with professional smile: welcome to United Express flight 6138 with service to Philadelphia. We are now pre-boarding customers with disabilities, uniformed military personnel, family traveling with children under 2, and our Global Services members.
United aircrafts in Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) (picture taken by myself in November 2016)
In my previous blog post, I briefly mentioned the differences between a Virtual Private Server (VPS) and Shared Web Hosting service and cross compared the three major VPS providers. In this blog post, I will continue my tutorial by detailing the process of setting up a Droplet (DigitalOcean’s way of calling their VPS instances) with DigitalOcean.
A friend of mine and a regular reader of this blog recently requested that I write a tutorial on setting up a web server. To honor his request, I will devote this week’s blog post to the subject of web hosting. I will not, however, cover the programming aspect of web development as I assume that the readers of this tutorial already know how to write a website in HTML, CSS, PHP, Java, etc. I will also not be writing about the all-in-one website builders such as Squarespace and Wix for the same reason.
This week I continued working on my film and edited mostly. Editing is not fun and I do not enjoy doing it. My favorite part of this project is piecing together pictures and other content and seeing what fits best. It is satisfying laying out new material and working fresh on it after editing the same material for so long. Editing is tiring and much more technical than I expected. I talked to some people about my film and many have encouraged me to consider using video clips from other sources in my film. I’ve thought about this a lot this week and I decided I would save the copy I am working on with just pictures and try it out. I wonder if it will make it more engaging. I am planning on doing this next week and showing a clip to two people, one being my mentor and another being a friend of mine. Ultimately, though, if finding and editing video clips takes a long time I may not do it just for time sake. Continue reading →
At this point in my Independent Project, I’ve started to draft my actual piece of legislation titled “The Pennsylvania Healthy Youth Act” amending the PA Code of Schools of 1949, an antiquated piece of legislation that needs sex education updates. I’ve learned how to fundraise, network, market my brand, engage on social media, access scientific research primary sources, and more. I’ve also obtained the fictitious name through the state of Pennsylvania. In addition, I’ve been doing work updating my annotated bibliography with the help of Teacher Betsy and T Victoria, our amazing librarians. Continue reading →
We live in a digital age that relies on social media for business and social outreach. The internet has allowed for a regular conglomeration of millions of people per day on the same platform connecting and engaging with friends, advertisements, businesses, and public figures alike. For anyone creating a nonprofit, business, or awareness campaign, Facebook is a key tool that should be utilized to the fullest. Here are my top tips and tricks for using Facebook’s various features to the fullest. These tips will allow you to increase engagement and reach more people.Continue reading →
Maybe it is too early for me to make a dinner dance proposal, but I did receive an invitation from T. Carrie Brodsky, the senior class advisor, who asked me to create a ticketing system for the 2017 Dinner Dance. In this blog post, I will explain what the ticketing system was like in 2016 and briefly introduce the new ticketing system I am currently developing. Continue reading →