#PaxEx Podcast Transcribed: Why people and profits must be balanced

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Runway Girl Network is pleased to now provide transcripts of the #PaxEx Podcast. Please, if you use and appreciate this transcript, email us at info@runwaygirlnetwork.com to tell us that you’re using them, whether the formatting is suitable for your use, and whether there are changes that you would like to see.

Mary Kirby: Welcome to the PaxEx podcast, available on Apple and Google podcasts, and sponsored by Jetliner Cabins ebook App. This is episode 66 of the show, where we talk about how the airline passenger experience is evolving in a mobile, social, vocal world. I’m Mary Kirby, and I’m joined by my cohost Max Flight. Max, how are you doing?

Max Flight: Hi, Mary. Doing well. I’m just back from a giant road trip, that included a week at the Sun ‘n Fun international fly in and expo in Lakeland, Florida, so it was a solid week of avgeek total immersion. It was fun. We did a live episode of Airplane Geeks podcast on the radio.

Mary Kirby: Nice.

Max Flight: I flew a Pipistrel motor glider. There were daily air shows. I met many fascinating people, so I’m going back next year.

Mary Kirby: Oh, that sounds great. I love avgeek immersion. I got a little taste of that at the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo, Max, that we’ll talk about here in a moment.

Max Flight: Yes.

Mary Kirby: But before we get started, I would like to thank the Jetliner Cabins ebook App for sponsoring this podcast. Jetliner Cabins is the story of how scientists, designers, engineers, maintenance and marketing specialists have transformed the stark tubular interiors of typical airliners into unique settings. This ebook app invites readers to explore the expertise, discover the details, and enjoy the fascinating world of jetliner cabins. Visit jetlinercabins.com to learn more and to download the app.

Max Flight: Well, Mary, the number one PaxEx news story making headlines continues to be the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, and how Boeing is now facing a serious crisis of confidence. As outlined in an opinion piece by Marisa Garcia for Runway Girl network, the significance of the events leading to this grounding have cast doubt on the foundations of regulatory harmonization between the FAA and its global peers. Now experts from nine civil aviation authorities will participate in a 737 Max joint authorities technical review, JATR, which the FAA established in early April. The JATR team will conduct a comprehensive review of the certification of the aircraft’s automated flight control system and this work is expected to take 90 days. Meanwhile, airlines are already canceling summer Max flights, American Airlines going so far as to cancel all Max flights through August 19th, 2019.

Max Flight: There’s so much to unpack here, Mary, but first, what are you hearing from travelers about their Max concerns?

Mary Kirby: Well, Max, the hard reality is that many passengers are very afraid to fly the 737 Max. Even though airlines in the United States and elsewhere are expressing continued confidence in the type. We’re of course seeing it play out on social media with, for example, some American Airlines frequent fliers vowing to pivot to Delta, even if it means a longer commute and one-stop flying. The notion that American Airlines may bring the Max back on line as spares to supplement its operation after August 19 is also super concerning to some people, as they don’t want any surprises when they reach the gate or on boarding and Max, you can imagine how it might play out. “I thought I was on a 737-800, I’m on a Max, get me off this plane.” I mean, will we see live streaming of passengers seeking to exit the Max? This has to be a real concern for airlines, obviously, especially in this mobile, social, vocal world that we’re in.

Mary Kirby: Now of course some passengers are seeking to change their future Max flights, and they’re not necessarily always receiving the answers they want to hear from airlines. Personally, I know of a traveler who was booked on a WestJet Max flight for this fall, and WestJet has encouraged her to wait and not change her flights, but has noted that if she does change them then applicable fees will apply. For this particular instance, luckily for her, her ticket is not a Basic Economy flight, because if you would be in Basic Economy on WestJet, you’d be paying over $100 to make a change. But because she’s on an Economy Flex ticket, the fee is a lot less. But even so, she’d be swapping a daytime flight for a red-eye flight just to avoid the Max. And if you call WestJet right now, you’ll hear a lot of troubleshooting from their agents and they’re seeking to assure passengers that this aircraft is safe. They clearly have talking points when people are calling. So they’re clearly getting a lot of calls.

Mary Kirby: And WestJet, of course, is just one example. We can expect that all Max operators are dealing with similar or the same. So a long-time aviation industry analyst, whose work I really respect, Richard Aboulafia – Max, I think you’ve talked to him as well in the past – Richard Aboulafia?

Max Flight: Yes. Oh, yes.

Mary Kirby: He’s been around for a long time. He’s well respected. And he noted in an interview with the Seattle Times that there’s a narrative that has gained ground outside of aviation circles, that the engines are simply too big for the Max. And he’s right that that’s the narrative. And we’re seeing a lot of commentary about the engines, with travelers saying they’re concerned that the plane has systemic design problems. And of course they’re saying this is the reason why MCAS software existed in the first place.

Mary Kirby: So some frequent flyers want airlines to ditch the Max entirely. But Max, as you mentioned, Marisa Garcia wrote a very powerful opinion piece for us. Now, just a little bit of background on Marisa. She is a former CEO of an aircraft interiors company and she is what I would call a moderate individual, whereas some people might call me a liberal progressive, Max, and I really appreciate Marisa’s voice on Runway Girl Network. It brings great balance. As I do yours, of course, Max, I mean I kind of consider you a little bit more moderate as well, but I don’t know if you agree with me there. That’s how I kind of see you as well. But Marisa makes the case for why it’s important that Boeing goes above and beyond to assure passengers and in her view – and I happen to agree with her – that should include simulator training for all Max pilots, which is a costly proposition. So I’m curious, Max, do you take a position on simulator training? And do you think that would be enough to calm passenger fears?

Max Flight: Well I think sim time might be overkill, but it might be advisable anyway as a confidence booster. But I would ask what awareness and training did the Ethiopian pilots have after Lion Air? Mary, a lot of us thought after Lion Air that every 737 Max pilot would pay attention and know how to react to this situation. But if the Ethiopian pilots received training, then clearly that’s not enough. And if this is the situation, then that may bolster the argument for sim time. But I think in the end, public confidence can maybe be best restored by a communications plan centered around the pilots. Put a 30-year veteran pilot on TV talking about having no qualms flying this family, and that’s powerful. If the pilot talks about sim training, maybe so much the better. In fact, maybe they should film the communications program from the sim cockpit even.

Mary Kirby: Oh I like that.

Max Flight: But I think it’s hard to say. When I talk to many pilots, many experienced pilots, some of whom fly the 737 or the 737 Max, and they describe a relatively easy process for dealing with this issue. So again, it’s hard to say if sim time is really, really required, but it might be a good thing to do in terms of how it’s communicated to the public.

Mary Kirby: Interesting. And of course, the Allied Pilots Association or the Air Line Pilots Association could play a big role here in the United States to boosting passenger confidence as you say. So maybe we’ll see them turn to to union messaging as well, Max, which would make a ton of sense.

Mary Kirby: Now, among the recent stories to emerge about the Max fallout is, of course, Jon Ostrower’s Air Current piece about how the grounding is testing Boeing’s relationship with Southwest Airlines and how Southwest is proverbially kicking the tires of the Airbus A220. And of course Southwest has orders for 737 Max-7s in the books, so this wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. But the revelation that Southwest is, if nothing else, keeping its eyes open on other types comes as Airbus suppliers admitted to me at the Aircraft Interiors Expo that they already see signs that they will stand to gain from the Max’s woes, in terms of new business as operators eye the A320 family and the A220 family. But as you can imagine, none of them are celebrating in any way, shape or form.

Mary Kirby: And so the last day of the exhibition, the preliminary report from Ethiopian Airlines hit, and the Max really became the buzz of the show, much to the chagrin of many vendors at AIX, who really know what’s at stake, not only if the Max stays grounded beyond the summer, but for industry at large if the FAA is seen, after this review, as being inept or if it’s seen as being firmly in Boeing’s back pocket. So we discussed this issue in depth on the In Conversation podcast, with Runway Girl deputy editor, John Walton, and indeed with Marisa, who also attended the Expo. But the long and the short of it is that vendors are concerned about even talking about the issue.

Mary Kirby: So the CEO of aircraft interiors, of aircraft seatmaker Recaro, Mark Hiller, for instance said flatly, “Overall, I think it’s not good for industry in general that there is, I would say, a focus on the topic, and that there is a lot of uncertainty.” And he really encapsulated what a lot of other vendors felt.

Mary Kirby: But therein lies the rub because we’re not doing our job here if we don’t talk about it, Max, we have to talk about it. But in talking about it, do passenger fears grow? And it’s a conundrum also of course for many people who are attached to the aviation industry, and rely on it for their livelihood. So it has been interesting to see some people go completely quiet on this issue because it affects their life. And that’s among the reasons why I’m in the camp thinking simulator training would help allay some of the fears. But of course, Max, Southwest followed a single fleet strategy. So what are your thoughts on Ostrower’s piece that Southwest might be A) looking elsewhere, and really whether the single fleet model makes sense for carriers going forward. Do you have some thoughts on that?

Max Flight: Yes. Well first, Jon does a really good job of explaining the close relationship between Boeing and Southwest, the relationship that they’ve had historically. But, in the end, money talks and this whole issue is getting very, very expensive. We saw in the earnings report that Boeing just had that they’re adding $1 billion to program costs, as a result of these issues with the Max, and that’s just so far.

Max Flight: But the single fleet model obviously has efficiencies that make it a very cost-effective approach. You have efficiencies of training, support equipment, volume discounts, administrative support, all that is more efficient with a single fleet, but it does introduce some risk. It has worked for the 737 and that airplane only has one engine, which you might argue increases the risk. The A320 family has two engine suppliers, but then the A220 has just one engine supplier. So in that regard it’s similar to the 737. So it’s really hard to say, I think, if the, the relationship between the companies is damaged or if it’s an opportunity for Southwest to consider other relationships that maybe they wouldn’t have in the past because of that strong relationship [with Boeing]. Maybe another way to say that is … I’m wondering if it’s a convenient excuse to “break” the coziness of the two companies.

Mary Kirby: Yeah, that’s possible. And of course, it’s not unheard of that airlines often pit one airframer against the other to get the better deal, and Qatar Airways obviously comes immediately to mind in that regard.

Mary Kirby: But in this whole discussion we’re seeing a lot of folks, especially on Twitter, talking about liking the possibility that Southwest would break from the single fleet model and of course liking the idea that has been suggested in this piece that Southwest might be eyeing the A220 which is considered kind of a very passenger pleasing aircraft right now. The notion that Southwest might be eyeing it is giving passengers reason to celebrate. Whether they’re eyeing it seriously I suppose is another question, but it’s certainly interesting to see how everything is playing out. But also at the same time incredibly concerning – concerning for the entire industry, concerning I think also on the regulatory front which we’ll talk a little bit more about. Yeah, it’s difficult times right now, Max.

Max Flight: It is. It is. My prediction is that 12 months from now we’ll be back to normal. I think by that time the changes that Boeing is planning to make which are really not dramatic changes when you look at the scope of them, at least in my opinion, when those happen, when we have hopefully a very skillfully done communications program for the general public, as well as to the customers of Boeing, I think that it’ll be back to business as normal. That’s my prediction. I hope that’s the case. I really don’t think the airlines are going to suffer any lasting ill will towards Boeing as a result of this. Assuming that Boeing comes through with whatever contractual compensation guarantees and so forth, remedies that they’ve agreed to. But unless Boeing kind of steps back from their obligations as viewed by the airlines, I don’t think that they’re going to lose confidence long-term.

Mary Kirby: Okay. Well, from your lips to my avgeek god’s ears, Max I guess. Here’s hoping. Here’s hoping. Fingers crossed.

Max Flight: All right. Well next, another Boeing aircraft has found itself in the news headlines. This comes from The New York Times. They’re reporting that the FAA received whistlerblower complaints from workers at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner plant in Charleston, South Carolina. These ranging from allegations of finding tools and debris inside new 787s to employees facing pressure to put speed over safety.

Max Flight: The New York Times speaks in fairly strong language. They reported that their investigation has revealed quote “shoddy production and weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety” and they found quote “a culture that often valued production speed over quality. Facing long manufacturing delays Boeing pushed its workforce to quickly turn out Dreamliners at times ignoring issues raised by employees.” Some of the examples that they give from 787s produced at Charleston are pretty damning. They talk about metal shavings found close to wiring, a ladder that was left inside a plane, even chewing gum holding together a part of a door’s trim. Maybe most concerning is some employees reported that parts that had been segregated because they were damaged ended up missing and the fear is that maybe those got installed on aircraft.

Max Flight: What has Boeing have to say about all this? Well, they say the Times story “painted a skewed and inaccurate picture of the program,” also that “it features distorted information, rehashing old stories and rumors that have long ago been put to rest.” On that topic, one thing that caught my eye was that the whistleblower complaints were as “recent as 2017”. That’s what The New York Times said. That’s a couple of years old. It doesn’t feel really fresh though.

Mary Kirby: Yeah. It’s interesting. When we have a President constantly talking about fake news, I feel like one has to be very careful about judging major news titles because I don’t want to fall into the world of the fake news narrative either. On one hand, of course, we want to take The New York Times piece very seriously. But I also hear what you’re saying Max in terms of kind of how old is this revelation. And also, it’s also true that The New York Times hasn’t always gotten everything 100% correct.

Mary Kirby: I can just speak very specifically to a topic that I’ve covered very, very closely and that is the inflight entertainment sector. There’s kind of a running joke in IFE that every few years The New York Times rolls out a piece about how seatback IFE is going the way of the Dodo bird or the death knell is ringing for it. And in fact, they have been wrong on that and it’s actually not the case, and there’s lots of reasons for that that we’ve talked about in past episodes. But my larger point is this. This is a serious piece. It’s obviously one that’s being taken seriously, but at the same time we’re also hearing Boeing hitting back and saying that this is a safe aircraft and of course there’s evidence that the aircraft has flown safely for years. We have to look at both sides.

Max Flight: Now we do have the recent case of the US Air Force halting the acceptance of Boeing KC-46 tankers also over these FOD issues, that’s F-O-D, foreign object debris. Now those tankers come from Washington State, so [a] different location, but the similarities are a little bit eerie. So it does perhaps raise a question about the strength of Boeing’s quality system.

Max Flight: And then with the Charleston facility, I mean this is a relatively new facility in a job market that doesn’t have the skill and expertise that are found in Washington State. It was a bit of ramping production volumes. And maybe these are more startup issues, especially if these are a couple of years old. If they’re current issues, that’s a different matter altogether I think.

Mary Kirby: That’s a good point actually. I mean, of course Boeing’s choice of Charleston was made in part because South Carolina is a ‘right to work’ state, right?

Max Flight: Yes.

Mary Kirby: I mean that Boeing wouldn’t have to grapple with unions. Is the fallout of that, then, that employees complaints fall on deaf ears? Is that part of the fallout? I will say I have to suggest that there is some level of irony in both talking about the Max and the 787. There’s some level of irony to think about the fact that pilots and pilot unions might actually play a role in helping to instill confidence in people to fly the Max again. But whilst we’re talking about a situation where this [787 factory] is a factory that doesn’t have unionized labor, and that is being cited in this New York Times piece, is being among kind of the factors where employees feel like they’re not being listened to. So I just, I see some irony in all of that.

Mary Kirby: But I do think the 787 report speaks perhaps more broadly to the concerns that people have about the regulatory environment right now, Max, and whether the FA has farmed out too much oversight and whether it’s falling down on the job. I have to say personally, I ran into these issues when I tried to understand how and why the FAA was approving these really high density seating configurations on aircraft, just as we’ve talked about in the past, based on computer simulation versus real world data. When push came to shove and the FAA was forced to explain how it arrived at its conclusions to approve high-density seating layouts, forced by a court by the way, it didn’t show video evidence from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA pointed to videos that were provided by Airbus and Embraer and others in industry.

Mary Kirby: So the FAA’s processes kind of are duly under scrutiny in my opinion because there has to be a balance between profits and people, and you cannot put profits over people. If the FAA isn’t going to knuckle down and ensure that, then who will? I think that’s one of the broader issues that are emerging, both from the Max grounding but also this 787 report, is that – are regulators, are the safety regulators really doing what they should do? I think that’s a fair question and I think it’s a question mark right now.

Max Flight: It is a question mark right now. And I agree. It is a valid question to ask. In fact, one might argue that it should be asked periodically anyway, just because the implications for a breakdown or a failure of that relationship to provide for the safe flying environment is so key.

Max Flight: I think that it also has implications internationally because of the reputation that the FAA has enjoyed around the world in terms of being the leader when it comes to aviation safety issues. If that position that the FAA has held for all these years is damaged, then it has significant implications, and we’ll see potentially other regulatory agencies maybe rise to fill a vacuum.

Max Flight: That’s why I think that one reason why this joint meeting plan for the FAA and the regulatory agencies to take a look at the 737 Max issues is such a good thing to do. I think that when it comes to restoring confidence and getting the fleet flying again, I think that is a great way to help facilitate that.

Mary Kirby: Oh yeah. It’s so nice to see NTSB and NASA participating in this. This definitely gives me a bit more confidence as well Max.

Max Flight: Yes, yes. Well, let’s talk about a topic not related to Boeing specifically, but this one speaks to the US regulatory environment. And this is about a lawsuit that’s been filed by the legal action group Democracy Forward on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America, PVA, which might finally prompt the Department of Transportation to issue rulemaking on accessible lavatories for single-aisle aircraft. As you might imagine, the lawsuit is being warmly received by disability advocates who have long pushed for accessibility on aircraft. Mary, what’s the latest on making aircraft more accessible for persons with reduced mobility and disabilities?

Mary Kirby: Well Max, much to the frustration of disability advocates, the Department of Transportation has dragged its feet on improving accessibility of lavatories for single-aisle aircraft and on improving accessibility of IFE for deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers. Now this Access Advisory Committee which in fact the Airline Passenger Experience Association participated in, so it was kind of a negotiated rulemaking type of committee … It was kind of a negotiated rulemaking type of committee that brought together stakeholders across the industry, Max. They reached an agreement to improve the accessibility of lavatories on single-aisle aircraft and to improve IFE accessibility back in 2016. It’s a few years ago. But because of Trump’s two-for-one executive order, which puts the DOT and the FAA in the position of finding at least two regulations that should be removed in order to add new regulations to the books … because of that, the DOT is understood to have removed the single-aisle lavatory accessibility rulemaking from its agenda, which prompted this PVA to effectively file suit.

Mary Kirby: Now, this takes us back again, really to the regulatory environment and a direct result really of the Trump administration, this idea that you’ve got to get rid of regulation in order to add new ones, which is kind of backward thinking in my opinion, but I’m sure there’s those that disagree with me there. More broadly, as we know, you know passengers of reduced mobility and disability have been fighting for accessibility on aircraft for many, many years and when this Access Advisory Committee finally came back with its recommendations, again, this is a few years ago, there was kind of a collective, ‘oh thank goodness’ from the disability community saying things were finally going to get done and then it didn’t. I mean, the DOT just didn’t move on rulemaking and we’ve just kept waiting and waiting and I know that there’s a lot of frustration out there and that frustration is building.

Mary Kirby: Now, the good news is that it looks like they’re finally putting some rulemaking on the docket here. They’re under pressure to do so. But even the head of the DOT, the transportation secretary has admitted that this hasn’t been a top priority for the DOT. I think pressure, because it is mounting, is going to help to change that game, but it’s still not coming fast enough for a lot of people because not only do we hear of nightmare scenarios of individuals who are not able to get into these bathrooms on board and nightmare scenarios of how they have to dehydrate themselves Max, in order to fly … In tandem with that, as we have talked about in the past, they’re not able to stay in their own mobility devices, so they’re getting on board these aircraft and they’re having their mobility devices taken away from them, they’re thrown into the hold and sometimes they’re not coming out completely whole and not working and that takes away, effectively a disabled person’s legs when you’re taking their wheels away, so I think what we’re seeing is these two issues go hand-in-hand.

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Mary Kirby: You want to ensure that disabled passengers have a dignified experience and to ensure that dignified experience, we need to figure out a way, and if that means bringing wheelchairs into the cabin – how to do that and how to get that certified – or to have a very good answer to that issue for the disability community and also, of course, to be able to ensure they have access to lavatories on aircraft and it’s kinda stunning that we’re still talking about it in some ways because disabled passengers deserve a dignified experience and aviation cannot be the last bastion of discrimination here. It just can’t. It shouldn’t. It’s wrong. Something needs to change and you know, if we’re finally gonna see movement, if it has to happen via this lawsuit, you know, I can understand why the disability community is so frustrated, Max.

Max Flight: I can too. It is surprising that it’s taken so long and I’m almost surprised that the airframers haven’t taken a more visible role in working these issues. I mean, I think this could have a pretty significant implication for the design of aircraft and as an airframer, I would think they would be interested in helping form that change, rather than just sitting back and hoping it’ll go away or waiting for regulatory agencies to define what they have to do. I’m kinda surprised. I mean, maybe Boeing and Airbus have been internally looking at this, talking about it, planning for it, but I haven’t seen that visibly.

Mary Kirby: Yeah, there’s definitely suppliers out there standing at the ready to provide accessible lavatories on aircraft. Bombardier offers one, believe it or not on the CRJ, in the new Atmosphere cabin. It offers it and it’s up to the airlines to buy it. Of course, Airbus offers accessible lavatories for the A320, although there’s some judgment as to just how accessible one of those solutions are, but in any case, there are solutions on the market.

Mary Kirby: Of course, ironically enough, the 737 Max has come in for a lot of heat for the passenger experience side of the equation because they’ve gone with the very modular, very small, tiny lavatories that also throw into question whether or not passengers’ humanity and dignity is being respected because we’re seeing reports of passengers saying that they have to walk backwards just to get into the lav, because they don’t fit and of course, flight attendants saying that these tiny lavs are creating a real conundrum for them to get their work done in the galley and having passengers milling around and it’s just very tight quarters, so there’s all sorts of repercussions here to the industry going in the opposite direction of accessible lavs. Rather, they’re going to inaccessible lavs for many people and the more inaccessible you make a lav and indeed a seat, the fewer body types that can fly comfortably.

Max Flight: Yeah.

Mary Kirby: I mean and that’s where we’re at. We’ve talked about it so many times, but that is where we’re at and how many people are you willing to proverbially leave on the table here because they don’t fit into the lav or they don’t fit into the seat and when is that line gonna be drawn? We’re waiting the see when that line is gonna be drawn, but those lines are also gonna be drawn, obviously by litigation. We’ve seen it on the seat issue because the FAA is now forced to create minimum size standards for seats, that’s a direct result of Flyers Rights and other consumer advocacy groups pushing for a line in the sand on the seat size issue, and we also see that now on the lavatory side. I think we’re seeing that obviously with this Disabled Vet lawsuit and we could see it with others as well. Change is afoot, but it may mean that industry goes kicking and screaming into that change.

Max Flight: As you mentioned Mary, the transportation secretary is arguing that they are starting to take some action on this.

Mary Kirby: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Max Flight: That they intend to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking, an NPRM no later than December 2nd, 2019 they say. Of course, the FAA doesn’t generally create rulemaking without going through a process …

Mary Kirby: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Max Flight: … and the NPRM processes, they can be very lengthy. If the NPRM comes out late in the year, then that’s followed by a period of public comment and collection that’s followed by the FAA then analyzing the comments, drawing some conclusions, making some changes potentially to what they would propose. All that happens before the final rulemaking.

Mary Kirby: Yep.

Max Flight: This could take quite a while. The other aspect is, don’t know what the Judge will think of the DOT’s argument that the lawsuit should be dismissed because they are, in fact, working this process. Don’t know who the Judge is or if the Judge will accept that or take a different look at things and say, ‘well, this is just taking too long’, and take some other kind of action.

Mary Kirby: Well, the NPRM process has resulted in change in the past, Max.

Max Flight: Yes.

Mary Kirby: I would expect to see a flood of responses once this is opened up to public comment. I would expect to see some dedicated campaigns. This has been done in the past on other issues. I recall, gosh it must have been a decade ago when it was opened up for a discussion about whether or not to allow inflight voice calls and the flight attendants’ unions came en masse with comments saying they did not want that. That played a material role in ultimately disallowing inflight voice in America and so there is an opportunity then when this is opened up for comment for the disability community and for, truly, I think this benefits all passengers. I mean, having a lavatory that you can actually move around in is a positive for everybody on board that aircraft. I’m kind of hopeful that we’re going to see a wave of responses that really nudge change and I think it’s going to be imperative that we weigh in.

Max Flight: Yes, yes.

Mary Kirby: I personally am going to share a few comments myself.

Max Flight: Yeah, you make a very excellent point Mary, in that many people, I think, assume that they are not part of the regulatory rulemaking process …

Mary Kirby: Right.

Max Flight: … when in fact, the opposite is true. There are many examples in the past where comments received through the NPRM process have dramatically and significantly affected the final rule and I think the obligation of journalists and others who have the ear of the public is to communicate. The ability of the public to provide these kinds of comments when the NPRM opens. I think we should make a lot of noise about that.

Mary Kirby: I have a feeling we will. I’ve got a feeling that’s exactly what’s gonna happen. But alas, we’re rapidly coming to a close. We want to thank our listeners and our sponsor Jetliner Cabins’ E-Book app and remember you can find us online at runwaygirlnetwork.com and on Apple and Google podcasts. Be sure to follow all the Runway Girl Network activity on Twitter at @Runwaygirl and remember to use the PaxEx hashtag when tweeting about the passenger experience. Join in the conversation, we would love to have you.

Max Flight: Please join us again next time as we talk about the passenger experience on the PaxEx podcast.

Mary Kirby: Take care everyone.

1 Comment

  1. I would still fly on a 737 Max if it was flown by an American Carrier. Perhaps it’s risky but I suspect that the additional $80,000 safety equipment that most American airlines bought, and the quality of most American pilots, would lead to a successful outcome.

    Even so, it is disgraceful the way in which Boeing has acted. I used to say if it ain’t Boeing I ain’t going. I suspect that I’m have to modify that quip.

    Always enjoyed your your show and your comments, Mary. Keep up the great work.

    Cheers, Jamie

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