Welcome to Episode 066 of the #PaxEx Podcast, which tracks how the airline passenger experience is evolving in a mobile, social, vocal world.
In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss the crisis of confidence that Boeing is grappling with in the wake of the MAX grounding; whether pilots should receive fresh MAX simulator training before the type is re-introduced into revenue service; and the conundrum faced by passengers who are afraid to fly the aircraft. They also consider the wisdom of Southwest Airlines’ single-fleet strategy, and explain why The Air Current’s recent report that Southwest management has kicked the proverbial tires on the Airbus A220 is giving some passengers reason to celebrate.
Next, another Boeing aircraft has found itself in the news headlines. The New York Times is reporting that the FAA received whistleblower complaints from workers at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, ranging from allegations of finding tools and debris inside new 787s to employees facing pressure to put speed over safety. Max outlines the claims, and Boeing’s response, and both he and Mary discuss whether the report underscores the need for change at the FAA, whose oversight and certification processes are already under scrutiny following the two MAX crashes.
Lastly, in a topic not related to Boeing specifically, but one that speaks to the US regulatory environment – a lawsuit has been filed by the legal action group Democracy Forward on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) which might finally prompt the DOT to issue rulemaking on accessible lavatories for single-aisle aircraft. The lawsuit is being warmly received by disability advocates, who have long been pushing for accessibility on aircraft. Mary provides on update on where industry stands on the issue, and both she and Max make the case for why the current paradigm needs to change.