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Transportation Nation

Computer Failure Grounds Entire American Airlines Fleet Tuesday

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m. ET -- American Airlines is flying airplanes again after hours of delays due to computer problems. "Our systems have been fully restored, however we expect continued flight delays and cancellations throughout the remainder of the day," the company posted on Facebook.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: After Loose Airplane Seats and Salmonella, Why isn't Deregulation a 2012 Issue?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It’s daunting and depressing not to see more storytelling in this election campaign of the tragedies of not having robust and sufficient regulation of services and products

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The Takeaway

American Airlines Seeks to Lay Off 13,000

Thursday, February 02, 2012

On Wednesday, American Airlines declared that it would lay off 13,000 workers or 15 percent of its workforce. The company is attempting to emerge from bankruptcy, which it filed last November. Along with the layoffs, the company is seeking to cut employee pensions and some health benefits. AA CEO Tom Horton called the decisions "painful" but said in the end, the moves would preserve tens of thousands of jobs that would have otherwise been lost.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Sales of Hybrids and EVs Slower Than Expected; Public Sector Workers on Strike in U.K.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top stories on TN:

In Its First Season, Boston Bike Share Exceeds Projections; Will Expand Next Spring (Link)

A Federal Grant Encourages Denser Development in San Francisco (Link)

New York DOT / Uses Haiku with Graphics / to Tame City Streets (Link)

VIDEO: Secrets of Grand Central Terminal (Link)

Striking public sector workers in the U.K. (photo by NASUWT Union via Flickr)

House leaders could hold a press conference Friday on their drilling-for-infrastructure proposal and unveil legislative text on Monday. (Politico/Morning Transportation)

Analysts see hope at American Airlines. (The Takeaway)

And: is bankruptcy 'business as usual' for domestic airlines? (NPR)

Sales of hybrid cars and electric vehicles haven't met automakers initial projections. (Marketplace)

The Port Authority won't be using new toll revenues to fund the WTC redevelopment after all. (The Star-Ledger, Record)

Public sector workers are staging a huge strike in the United Kingdom, affecting transportation in Northern Ireland and cancelling some flights in London. (BBC)

The funding plan for California's high-speed rail project is faulty, according to a new report released. (Los Angeles Times)

A recovering U.S. auto industry should add more than 150,000 new jobs by 2015, and most of them will be located in Michigan. (Changing Gears)

Four snowstorms and a hurricane kept more drivers off of the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, leading to $47 million drop in projected revenue. (Bloomberg News via NJ.com)

DC's Metro will unveil some new escalators today. (Washington Post) (Note: read TN's previous coverage of DC's broken Metro escalators here.)

Check out a map of the 643 transit projects nationwide. (Reconnecting America; h/t Politico MT)

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The Takeaway

Analysts See Hope at American Airlines

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Though it sounds like bad news, some analysts are saying the bankruptcy filing by American Airlines and its parent company could be a good thing. On Tuesday, Fitch Ratings said American Airlines' bankruptcy opens "yet another window for structure change" in the flailing U.S. airline industry. Can an industry facing skyrocketing fuel prices, increasingly complex security procedures, and growing concerns about air traffic control safety find its wings?

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The Takeaway

American Airlines Files For Bankruptcy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American Airlines' parent company, Texas-based AMR, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday morning, making it the last major airline in the U.S. to do so. American, the nation's third largest airline, will continue operations during the restructuring, which it hopes will reduce labor costs and $29.6 billion in debts. AMR has lost $982 million since the beginning of the year, and has posted annual losses for the last three years. In recent years, American has struggled to compete against United and Delta, both of which merged with other airlines after going through their own reorganizations.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy, Pittsburgh's Transit System Faces a 35% Cut, DC's Metro Considers a "Tourist Zone"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Building the Second Avenue Subway: the sandhog tradition stays in the family. (Link)

Choose your own rail adventure -- via computer games. (Link)

Audio tour: the worst road in California's wine country. (Link)

(photo by caribb via flickr)

American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection. (Bloomberg, New York Times, Marketplace)

DC's Metro is considering a 'tourist zone' to make buying fare cards easier for non-residents. (Greater Greater Washington)

Pittsburgh's public transit system may be facing a 35% service cut if elected leaders don't resolve a state transportation budget shortfall. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Following two separate battery fires, GM is reassuring Volt owners that the car is safe. (Detroit Free Press)

Troy's new mayor wants to send back $8.5 million in federal aid to build a transit center. (Detroit Free Press)

The Wall Street Journal doesn't like Governor Cuomo's plan to use pension funds to repair infrastructure. "As an "investment opportunity," the Tappan Zee isn't Google." (Wall Street Journal)

But: the governor now says he won't use pension funds as an investment vehicle to fund the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Wall Street Journal)

Researchers found a link between Houston's buses and tuberculosis. (Atlantic Cities)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed: a unified transit system will lift the Metro Atlanta region. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

One former resident's account: I lived in Los Angeles for eight years without a car -- and you can, too. (The Source)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Cuomo to Allow Hydrofracking, American Airlines Deep in Red, and Transit Agencies Want Tweets About Hot Subway Cars

Friday, July 01, 2011

Machine used for hydrofracking (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)

New York Governor Cuomo announced a plan to allow -- and regulate -- the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking. (WNYC)

Ray LaHood is siding with Virginia's above-ground station idea for the Dulles Metrorail extension. (Washington Post)

Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans buy more Toyotas than any other car brand. (NPR)

American Airlines has lost money eight out of the last ten years. (AP via St. Louis Today)

California is recycling roads to repair them. (Good)

Federal transportation officials shut down a Pennsylvania bus company involved in a fatal crash after finding the two drivers involved never took required drug tests and falsified records. (AP)

The transit agencies in Boston and Washington DC want customers to tweet them about subway cars with broken A/C. (Transit Wire)

The Port Authority of NY and NJ is studying traffic near the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal to prepare to accommodate a 50 percent increase in shipping container traffic over the coming decade. (The Star-Ledger)

More on the opening of the Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed rail line in the Los Angeles Times.

Brookline wants to join Boston's bike share program. (Boston Globe)

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Transportation Nation

US DOT Fines American for Undisclosed Voucher Fees

Monday, February 28, 2011

UPDATED: With response from American Airlines

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The U.S. Department of Transportation fined American Airlines $90,000 Monday for charging passengers undisclosed voucher fees. Airlines routinely offer free flight vouchers as an incentive to give up a seats on oversold flights. A DOT investigation found that American was not telling passengers about restrictions, including a $30 ticketing fee, on the use of those flight vouchers.

This is the first time the DOT has issued a fine on an airline for failing to disclose fees.

“When passengers volunteer to give up their seat on an oversold flight, they are entitled to be fully compensated – not to find out later that they’re getting $30 less,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  “Passengers deserve to be treated fairly when they fly, and especially when they’ve volunteered to give up their seat because the airline overbooked their flight.”

In a statement the DOT explained the rules for "bumping" and vouchers this way: "an airline must first seek volunteers willing to give up their seat on an oversold flight before bumping passengers involuntarily.  The carrier may offer any type or amount of compensation agreed to by the volunteer, in contrast to involuntary bumping situations, where DOT rules require airlines to pay passengers cash compensation in most cases."

An investigation by the DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office found that American offered travel vouchers valued at specific dollar amounts as compensation for voluntary bumping.  However, when awarding the vouchers, the DOT found, American did not tell passengers about a ticketing fee required to redeem the vouchers, nor that the vouchers could not be redeemed on the carrier’s internet site.

The DOT stresses that the process for redeeming oversales flight vouchers remains more cumbersome and complicated than purchasing a ticket or redeeming other flight vouchers.

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Transportation Nation

NYC Doesn't Grind to a Halt in Storm

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Jersey Transit riders disembarking at Penn Station during Northeast Snowpocalypse 2.

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Joyce and Bob Fliegel decided last night that the snowstorm would not keep them from getting to the city from their home in Merrick, Long Island. They’re due on a Caribbean-bound cruise ship departing from a Manhattan pier at 4 p.m. today. Taking no chances on missing it because of a snow-stranded train, they left yesterday and spent the night in Penn Station.

“We spent it with a lot of homeless people,” Bob Fliegel said with the good cheer of a man leaning on a suitcase full of sunscreen and Hawaiian shirts. He and his wife napped on chairs in the Long Island Railroad waiting room until station cleaners kicked them out at 3 in the morning. They then bought train tickets to Newark, which was the cheapest way to gain access to the all-night Amtrak waiting area.

“It was pretty creative,” he said.

Airline passengers were not so lucky. Read more on WNYC.org.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: LA's Westside Subway Gets Federal OK, JSK is Compared to Robin Hood, and New Version of OnStar Is Essentially Omnipotent

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(photo by Dre Batista/Flickr)

Federal officials okay preliminary engineering on LA's Westside subway and light rail line. (Los Angeles Times)

Profiling the grid: Nashville utility planners use research and census data to try to determine who will be buying electric vehicles.  Where should they build substations? In the neighborhoods of female Democrats who live close to work.  (AP via New York Times)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 85% of U.S. adults now wear seat belts. "Only 11 percent wore them in 1982, before the first state law requiring seat belt use."  (NPR)

The Guardian calls NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan "a modern day Robin Hood." And regarding congestion pricing, she says "I do think it's a matter of when, not if."

Two New York City Council members have introduced bills that shrink the no-parking zone on either side of a fire hydrant. (New York Times)

Planned construction on New York's F and G subway lines has been postponed due to the last snowfall. (WNYC)

Brooklyn bicyclists who don't obey the law: the NYPD is coming for you. (Gothamist)

The web war of American Airlines vs. travel sites continues to heat up: now, a company that provides ticket information to travel agents has ended its contract with the airline. (CNN)

A former CEO of Amtrak is the latest addition to the board of DC's Metro. (WAMU)

This could be Ray LaHood's worst nightmare: at the Consumer Electronics Show, General Motors and Verizon unveiled a new version of OnStar. Among its features: Exterior cameras that can detect and record hit-and-runs, and then send the video to the car's owner via a secure server. The ability to watch what's going on in and around the car using a smartphone or home computer. Access to social websites such as YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia using voice commands. Video chatting via Skype through a dashboard-mounted video display. Remote-controlled home appliance and energy use using an application accessible through the car's video console. Live video images from traffic cameras, to view in real-time congestion. (Detroit News)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Rise in NYC's Transportation Costs Outpaces Inflation, American Airlines Breaches Protocol, and Did WI Gov Set Transit Back 20 Years?

Monday, January 03, 2011

(Michelle Thompson/Flickr)

NYC transportation costs rose 3.7% in last 12 months, outpacing inflation. (New York Times)

The New York Daily News has some suggestions for the MTA about how to handle blizzards. Step one: admit your mistakes. "A series of screwups before and during last week's blizzard contributed significantly to the stranding of scores of bus and subway riders."

If Fort Worth doesn't want its $25 million in federal streetcar funding, Dallas will be happy to spend it on its own ambitious efforts. (Dallas Morning News)

NJ Transit's "quiet commute" program "significantly" expands today.

The Examiner says Governor Jim Doyle set back transit in Wisconsin by 20 years.

NPR follows one man's illegal journey into New York's subterranean infrastructure.  Remember: "The big thing here is not to get killed. So don't touch the third rail. If a train's coming, get out of the way. That might mean — in the worst situation I can imagine — that might mean standing in between two third rails and two pillars with trains coming on either side of you."

The NTSB says American Airlines breached protocol, and takes the unusual step of barring it from inquiry proceedings. "The National Transportation Safety Board ...said the airline improperly downloaded information for its own use from the flight-data recorder of a Boeing 757 that rolled past the end of a runway at Jackson Hole on Dec. 29.....It is the first time in decades that a major U.S. carrier has been kicked off an investigation into an accident or incident involving one of its own aircraft." (Wall Street Journal)

Much to the chagrin of mountain bikers, Los Angeles bans bikes from trails designated for hikers or horses (Los Angeles Times). "A comprehensive update of the city's bicycle plan still gives precedence to hikers and equestrians."

The Takeaway looks at the year ahead for the auto industry -- and Studio 360 looks at the future of car design.

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Transportation Nation

The New Math of Tarmac Delays

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Department of Transportation levied heavy fines against airlines that leave passengers waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours, which led to a decrease in long tarmac delays -- but increased flight cancellations. -- Marketplace

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WNYC News

AA Apologizes for “Unexpected Stop” (a.k.a. Emergency Landing)

Monday, March 23, 2009

(Getty)

(Getty)

What’s the best way to apologize to customers when instead of flying them to Chicago, they must brace for impact and pray to survive an emergency landing? Well, if you’re American Airlines, you “take the opportunity to apologize” for “disrupting [their] travel plans” and provide an e-voucher for $250. Below, we have the letter sent to passengers on board the March 11th flight that was supposed to be a simple flight from LaGuardia to Chicago, but – thanks to an engine malfunction – ended with an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport with fire trucks and ambulances at the ready. No one was hurt, though many were “inconvenienced.”

What’s the best corporate apology letter you’re ever received? Add a comment.

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WNYC News

Everyone OK after Emergency Landing at JFK

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

There was an emergency landing at JFK airport this morning, but officials say there is no sign of a bird strike. American Airlines Flight 309 took off from LaGuardia, but quickly lost power in one engine and was forced to land at JFK. No one was injured. We spoke to ...

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