Bags Fall Free!

I love flying Southwest, including the fact that they operate out of Hobby, Houston. The landing route into Houston is just awesome. But what I have always loved the most about Southwest is the bags fly free offer. Paying almost $50 for checked in baggage on a return trip on other airlines is outrageous, however, on Southwest all you have to do, is give the check-in staff gratuity. Never in my childhood would I have imagined giving the check-in staff gratuity, they were supposed to be people who made good money. But the check-in staff is not what this post is about. This post is about the Southwest plane losing part of its roof, and cancellation of almost 700 flights, subsequently followed by the ongoing investigations and the consistent finger pointing.

Critics are quick to question Southwest and their maintenance practices. One can’t help but wonder if that is the correct approach. Out of all products that are known to mankind, Aircrafts and Marine vessels arguably have the longest product development life cycles, and therefore the longest product life cycles. To provide a big picture of the domain consider the following characteristics. The Airbus A380 has 445 suppliers. The Airbus A300 was launched in 1969, entered into service in 1974 with the last aircraft being delivered after 33 years in July 2007. The long production times of aircraft are complemented by long usage times of aircraft and consequently long maintenance periods. For example the A380 has been subjected to fatigue tests covering 25 years of use. A quarter of all Boeing aircraft currently in service have exceeded their minimum design life of 20 years.

The aircraft manufacturing industry has always been a consolidated one, however, over the past three decades there has been further consolidation. There are only two engine manufacturers, and only two craft designers, while the number of operators has been increasing exponentially. There are over a total of 17,000 operating airlines in the world. All of them continuously under the pressure of rising fuel costs, and figuring out ways to cling onto something that is a hint of a profit. Faster turn-around times, increased efficiency and lowered down time at the expense of lesser time in the hangars is one of the main stays of low cost carriers. Air bus and Boeing had not designed these air crafts for over 10 takes offs and landings in a 24 hour period. No amount of maintenance or part modification can sustain this pressure. What obviously is needed is a new product that has the hydraulics and the joints designed to sustain the impact over a dozen times in a 24 hour period. The 15-year-old Southwest jet in Friday’s incident had logged 39,000 pressurization cycles, a measurement of the number of takeoffs and landings. That’s 7.2 cycles every day for every year it has been in service. Planes that have 30,000 cycles or have been in service for 15 years are considered about halfway through their useful life

What that means essentially, the safest way to travel, is no longer the safest way to travel. The increased number of aircraft accidents in the last decade is a critical proof of the hypothesis. Add to the argument the fact that Pilots make meager wages these days compared to the days when Frank Abagnale Jr. walked through the airports feeling proud and privileged and the flight attendants thought they were the shit. That era is long gone, for the moment, I hope the roof stays intact, and it’s just the bags that fall free!


9 thoughts on “Bags Fall Free!

  1. Probably this is your very first blog which I fully agree with and which is least controversial…:) A couple of years ago I heard Ryanair was planning transatlantic flights and their marketing slogan for this planned route was “Fly to the US in 10 euros”. This incident with Southwest airline plane makes me wonder as to what sort of comfort Ryanair would offer to its customers if they were to really offer transatlantic flights at 10 euros!

  2. It would be interesting to see if they used a short haul carrier to cross the atlantic, but 10euros, wow!
    You think I should get rid of this post?

  3. >>You think I should get rid of this post?
    I think you should come up with more such posts which are less or not controversial at all.

    1. Lol, yes sir, any thin you say sir…
      You have to realize my struggle against organized religion is very close to my heart and one that I am most passionate about!

      1. But with your struggle what you actually are doing is putting yourself in higher risk area where chances of success are 50% at best. Lets assume there is no god, as you claim, then there is no point in doing any virtues in this life. Why not start doing all the bad things like raping women, robbing banks or rich people so on and so forth! Since most of the people who follow abrahamic religions have some sort of fear in mind that they will be held accountable for what they do in this world, they try not to commit sins. They believe that even if they evade punishment in this world, they won’t be able to do that in the hereafter. This very belief makes some of them not do such crimes. You could call this attitude whatever but they do it in the name of their religion. Now there are people around who don’t believe in any religion or they at least pretend not to follow any religion. They also do good things, may be because they believe that doing good things is morally correct.
        Now, lets assume that there is a God which made everything and whatever the religion says about the hereafter is true. Then what will happen to the guys like you who are struggling futilely to prove the non-existence of God! The people who do virtues but don’t believe in God, their virtues will go wasted too. I believe the ones who don’t believe in God and promote atheism will have a real tough time in the hereafter for sure.

  4. Hope and fear are the fuel for dogma! Consider this, as per Transparency International, the least corrupt countries in the world are the scandanavian countries, who are predominantly agnostic and atheist, Singapore, Hongkong (Budhist and hence agnostic), Followed by Canada, Australia, most of post modern world Europe, societies that are beyond active religion. A God fearing country like US does not make the top 20. All the G man fearing muslim countries are actually the most corrupt countries. (Qatar is an exception.) So please dont tell me that the fear of God makes you a better person! Indeed it is on the contrary, it causes bloodshed, makes classes, causes socieities to go into a limbo! You dont need a scripture to know what is right, you know what is right in your heart, and when you do something good, you feel good about it!

    1. >> the least corrupt countries in the world are the scandanavian countries
      Corruption doesn’t depend on what religion you follow. On the contrary it depends on the level of prosperity of a country. Bring prosperity to Pakistan and you will see corruption sinking automatically to lower levels.

      My point is that the religion doesn’t tell you to do bad things. Just like good and bad is in your heart, the religion is also in your heart and so is the God. He lives in the hearts of the majority of mankind and this majority will one day make practicing atheism illegal….:)
      Lets make it simple:
      Person-A doesn’t believe in God and still he does good things in his life or doesn’t do good things in life.
      Person-B does believe in God and does good things in life for whatever reason, fear or love of God.
      If there is no God, both Person-A and Person-B have nothing to lose. But if there is God, then the person-A will be in serious trouble in the hereafter. Even if the person-B doesn’t do good things in life but believe in God, he will still be better off than the person-A in the hereafter.

      1. So you believe in god because you would rather believe than not believe! I believe…we are making serious progress here!

  5. hahahahaha…no no, I believe in God because I know it is He who created everything and He is the one to whom we will all return to answer what we did in our lives. what if someone comes to you and say, Mr. Sohail, this house that you live in is not built by anyone and it somehow automatically came into being. Would you believe him? if not, then how can you believe that everything that exists around us has no creator and it came into existence automatically!

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