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Old 02-10-10, 02:51 PM   #1
jfoobar
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Frontline: Flying Cheap

I am always quick to DVR new Frontlines as they come out. There have only been 2 news episodes since November, both within the past couple of weeks. Flying Cheap was by far the better of the two.

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One year after the deadliest domestic airline accident in seven years, "Frontline" investigates the crash of Continental 3407 in Buffalo, NY, and discovers a dramatically changed airline industry, where regional carriers now account for half of the nation's daily departures. The rise of the regionals and arrival of low-cost carriers have been a huge boon to consumers, and the industry insists that the skies remain safe. But many insiders are worried that now, 30 years after airline deregulation, the aviation system is being stretched beyond its capacity to deliver service that is both cheap and safe.
Watch it free along with related content here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/flyingcheap/

While I do believe that the actually air safety record for the few years prior to 3407 does speak for itself somewhat (~2 billion domestic passengers in a row with no deaths), it was certainly a worthwhile endeavor to pull the covers back on the regional contract carrier business and question the level of actual constructive oversight of this industry.

Seasoned air travelers expect to get a regional carrier flying in or out of small places like Santa Barbara or Topeka, but (and admittedly this is anecdotal) I am seeing their use from some pretty big airports as well recently. I have gotten an "express" carrier under contract on recent trips into O'Hare from St. Louis (admittedly a short flight) and Houston just in the past 2 months.
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Old 02-12-10, 10:53 AM   #2
Nick Danger
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Re: Frontline: Flying Cheap

I liked the story about the sloppy business practices of Colgan, and the lax oversight by the FAA. But Frontline failed to demonstrate their larger point that Colgan was typical of the regional carriers. They stated that point at the beginning and at the end, but produced no evidence for it at all. Instead, it looked like they were tarring everyone with the same brush.
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Old 02-22-10, 05:31 PM   #3
foggy
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Re: Frontline: Flying Cheap

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Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
I liked the story about the sloppy business practices of Colgan, and the lax oversight by the FAA. But Frontline failed to demonstrate their larger point that Colgan was typical of the regional carriers. They stated that point at the beginning and at the end, but produced no evidence for it at all. Instead, it looked like they were tarring everyone with the same brush.
I haven't seen the show but I have to agree with you about Colgan. They have a very poor safety record individually. They had a crash several years ago that was big news locally on the Cape but got little national attention since the plane was carrying no passengers and only the crew died as a result. The crash was traced to improperly deferred maintenance.
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Old 02-26-10, 09:13 PM   #4
Pistol Pete
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Re: Frontline: Flying Cheap

You're missing the bigger picture. It is a bait and switch. You think that you are buying a Continental ticket backed by Continental reliability and safety, but you are really buying a ticket on another carrier. Any problems, and you are told to handle with them.

Colgan's safety record is incidental to the manner that the major airline have outsourced the regional routes.
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Old 02-27-10, 12:22 PM   #5
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Re: Frontline: Flying Cheap

The major airlines either need to take complete responsibility for ensuring the safety and maintenance practices of their contract carriers or they need to take their names off the side of those planes. One of those two things to happen.
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Old 02-28-10, 06:32 PM   #6
Nick Danger
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Re: Frontline: Flying Cheap

...or they can let their reputation be damaged because some cut-rate company is allowed to use their logo.
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