Ruining Things for Everyone

Yesterday Delta Air Lines announced an update to their policy on support animals. The short version is that starting March 1st, passengers traveling with service or support animals will have to provide documentation that the animals are healthy and vaccinated, and in addition to showing a letter from a doctor or mental health professional, they must also sign an affidavit that the animals are able to behave on airplanes. These new regulations come in response to a significant increase in “support animal”-related incidents, including biting, urinating and defecating on planes.

This new policy is causing a fair amount of division among the traveling public. Predictably, a large number of frequent travelers appreciate Delta’s efforts to clamp down on people taking advantage of service animal access laws. Equally predictably, there has been an outcry about making travel more difficult for people with service animals. Delta’s news room claims that this policy was drafted after receiving input from their Advisory Board on Disability, which consists of a number of frequent fliers with a range of disabilities. So why am I calling this piece “ruining things for everyone?”

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My mobile toolbox

Thanks to the nature of my job, I have to deal with a lot of logistics, a lot of scheduling, a lot of unfamiliar cities and a lot of having to adapt on the fly. To help deal with this, I’ve built up a nice little suite of apps for my phones. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but I wanted to share some of the more valuable tools I’ve discovered. While some of these apps mirror the functionality of other apps, each one proves useful in its own way. Most of these are available for both iOS and Android

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Ruminations on the United Incident

It’s been a rough few weeks for United Airlines. First, they got a bunch of flak for refusing to allow passengers wearing leggings to fly on an employee/family pass. Then, just this past weekend, a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight in order to make room for flight crew who absolutely had to make it to their destination on that flight. The latter situation was filmed by other passengers and posted to various social media sites – and unlike many forcible passenger removals from flights, in this case the other passengers were quite displeased by the airline’s act. United initially defended its actions, citing its contract of carriage and specifically the clause allowing them to bump passengers for pretty much any reason. As can be expected, public commentary was swift, loud and divided.

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Planning for failure

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Part of the reason is that I’ve been crazy busy, and part of the reason is that one can only write so many words about in-and-out business trips where things basically go according to expectation. But it occurs to me that this “successful routine” is not some sort of passive thing that happens to go right: it’s the result of a combination of the management of expectations, the hope for success, and the planning for failure. In this context, “failure” can have a wide range of meanings: a missed flight, a delayed flight, missing luggage, landing at the wrong airport, getting bumped, having to pay extra money you didn’t plan on… any of these things can – and often do – happen.

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