It's a Bird! It's a Plane (Which Isn't Safe)!

These days, air travel ends up in the media quite frequently for various reasons: bankrupcy, terror threats, and new regulations about what we can and can't take with us on planes. It's nice knowing that another sky terror plot has been foiled and that it's now even harder for terrorists to get explosives on our planes. It makes many of us feel very safe on these flights. Well, isn't it nice to know that instead of fearing the person sitting next to us on the plane or what's in their bag, we now have to fear the plane itself.

The New York Times reported back on March 7 that Southwest Airlines might be fined up to "$10.2 million" over its continued flying of "older Boeing 737"s which they had failed to inspect for cracks in their fuselages. FYI: the fuselage is the body of the plane, shown flashing in green below:

Boeing 737 fuselage

If there are cracks in a plane's fuselage, the plane might rupture in flight. Think about it: Southwest allowed for these planes to take off with passengers on board. According to the article, "At least one F.A.A. employee was aware of the Southwest's misrepresentation...", and one F.A.A. supervisor has been fired.

A similar problem occurred with America Airlines when they had to ground 3,000 flights for safety issues. Their excuse was that the F.A.A. had "...unfairly changed rules for how airlines must comply with safety orders... making unreasonable demands about how much interpretation is allowed..." and that the company was unsure on what the rules were. Now, I don't really know what the F.A.A. regulations are, but it definitely seems that the airlines should know them. If there is confusion around the regulations, it would seem logical for the F.A.A. to collaborate more with the airlines so there is no confusion regarding the regulations.

Personally, these findings do seem quite worrying. I mean, I've flown in airplanes numerous times and have never had a problem. But it worries me that the planes I've flown in may have had problems, but no one did anything about them or the technitions had not been properly trained to know about the problems. As to the problems with Southwest Airlines, they should put more time and care into inspecting their planes. They seemed so worried with making sure everything going on the plane is safe, you'd think they would be concerned about the plane itself.