NC Aviation Law Attorney


The cruise ship industry’s spin on the Costa Concordia’s grounding makes the tragedy worse.

A spokesman said that compared to the airline industry the cruise ship industry death rate is lower.  Even if true, we  have been sailing for centuries and we should have figured it out by now.  And although I would never say the sea is without peril, it somehow seems wrong to me to compare a vessel cruising on the earth’s surface at a relatively slow speed to an aircraft hurtling through the air at a high rate of speed.  Plus, what is the ratio of cruise ship operations vs. airline operations and what is the total number of ship passengers vs. airline passengers on any given day?

The comment that was especially offensive was the one that came close to calling the ship’s evacuation successful by saying that “almost all of the 4,000 people onboard the ship got away … safely…But in the scale of the event, the evacuation was achieved.” “Almost all” is not good enough—not this close to shore, or anytime. The fact that “almost all got away” is not the measure for a safe, efficient evacuation. Passengers are not supposed to just “get off” from a ship in distress. They are supposed to be evacuated safely and orderly by the crew. The crew of this ship, without its Captain, failed in providing this most basic of services.

This is an industry with even bigger boats and even bigger profits.  This will happen again and will be worse unless the industry and government address these issues.

Posted by 2:19 pm

Delta Air Line Jet And Fuel Truck Collide On Runway

CNN reports a fuel truck crashed into a Delta Air Line MD-88 at New York’s LaGuardia airport Sunday afternoon with about 106 passengers and 5 crew members were on board.  Fortunately, no one was injured in the mishap – the plane was not moving at the time.

The fuel truck driver was treated at the hospital for a cut on the head. Flight 2979 was on the tarmac preparing for a flight to Ft. Lauderdale but had to be because one of the jet’s wings was damage in the collision.

Until the investigation is complete, authorities are not releasing how fast the fuel truck was traveling when it hit the aircraft.

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Posted by 5:41 pm

Another Abuse Of Our Youngest Travelers: Sky West/United Airlines Denied Mother Use Of Protective Car Seat

A California mother was almost in tears when she was given the ultimatum from Sky West flight attendant to take her baby out of the car seat and hold her during takeoff or get off the plane.  She feared for her child’s safety and claims her daughter’s safety rights were violated.

The 11-month-old is already a seasoned traveler with trips including the Caribbean and Hawaii and has always been safely buckled up in her FAA approved Graco car seat.  The FAA recommends children under 20 pounds – like this 11-month old girl – be in a rear facing car seat.  The flight attendant insisted the child should be facing forward.

In my article, Protecting Our Youngest Travelers on the Crouse Law Office sponsored Aviation Safety Blog–dedicated to safety in all areas of aviation–I point out the FAA’s website states the safest place for children during turbulence or an emergency is in a CRS (child restraint system) – NOT ON YOUR LAP.

The mother wants flight crews to have better training when it comes to kids and car seats, stating, “I think it’s each passenger’s right to be able to be safe regardless of their age.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Everybody needs to get together on this one to protect those who can’t protect themselves.  What’s stopping the Federal Aviation Administration, the airlines, and the seat manufacturers from making this situation right?  Why are we in this current mess, which only means frustration and possible tragedy?

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Posted by 1:31 pm

Lost Luggage News For Airline Travelers

NEWS TO AIR TRAVELLERS:  Beginning February 28, 2011, the United States government is requiring the airlines to pay a MAXIMUM of $3,000 for lost luggage on domestic flights.  This is an increase of $200 over the amount the Department of Transportation established seven years ago. 

That does not mean, however, that you will get this amount if your bag is lost.  The government will still leave the final determination as to amount to the airlines for lost or damaged luggage.  Further, the procedures for recovery are complicated, time-consuming, and work in favor of the airlines.  Additionally, on many items—the more high-priced items, such as cameras, computers and jewelry, for example—the airlines are especially stingy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by 1:37 pm

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