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)
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)
This week has been a lot of tedious work. I have been editing my first draft of the Pennsylvania Healthy Youth Act 2017, fixing my citations, and adding to my annotated bibliography. I touched base with the lawyer who is helping me fill out the paperwork for incorporation and finally have a reliable graphic designer. Hopefully by mid-may the design aspect, including the logo and coloring, of Keystone CASE will be complete. Another goal of mine is to have all the filing paperwork complete by the end of the year. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
Polaris began its beta testing on February 22, 2017. Over the past two weeks, over 250 students, duty crew members, duty administrators (DA), and weekend coordinators have started using Polaris. From such as diverse group of users, I have received much valuable feedback and made adjustments to Polaris accordingly. In this week’s blog post, I will detail some of the user responses and how they are addressed.
It’s been a long time since my last post…Good to be back here to talk about commercial aviation. I have previously mentioned, in my first blog, that different airlines can be seen as distinct agents that represent the cultures of their home countries. I made this point totally out of my observations. When I boarded my first few flights almost a decade ago, I started to notice different seat decorations of different carriers. It was not until later years that I figured out some meaning out of these ostensible differences. For example, hidden behind the cloud-shaped figures imprinted on seats of Air China is the oriental philosophy that promises happiness and tranquility; ANA’s signature boarding music Another Sky brings a taste of traditional Japanese music, ongaku, to its passengers. Yet as I think about the subject deeper, I have found out that the footprint of an airline’s culture extends far beyond explicit manifestations of national symbols. As you will see in the three case studies below, both the indigenous, regional culture and the internal corporate atmosphere have huge impacts on almost every dimension of an airline’s operation and the product it delivers. The cumulation of every little cultural detail, in turn, shapes the identity of airlines and helps them differentiate from their competitors.
ANA Onboard Japanese Meal Selection from Tokyo Narita to Shanghai (Picture taken by myself) Continue reading →