Having two new aircraft of the same type involved in tragic and fatal accidents in the space of five months is a very unusual state of affairs but, without any solid information from the authorities investigating the crashes, it's important that we resist the urge to start apportioning blame for those disasters.
An article in yesterday's Seattle Times makes for worrying reading if you're a flyer, a Boeing shareholder or a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) manager because it suggests that the certification process for the Boeing 737 MAX was hurried, botched and, to a significant degree, passed back to Boeing engineers to do themselves.
The European Union, Australia, China and India are just an example of the regions and countries where the 737 MAX aircraft may no longer operate (temporarily) but the US airline regulator (FAA) and the US airlines who operate the aircraft are, at the time of writing, sticking firm in their stance that the aircraft is perfectly safe. Why?
I'd like to get some opinions on something that I'm seeing more and more of as I travel and I'd like to know what you guys think, whether I have a point or whether I'm way off base....and I'd like to hear what your recent experiences have been like too.
There's no doubt that Boeing has a big issue on its hands with the rapidly growing perception that all may not be quite right with its 737 MAX 8 aircraft but, right now, all we have is speculation and commentary from (mostly) uninformed sources and people demanding that Boeing makes reassuring noises in the direction of the general public.
Some you may have noticed that there weren't any posts on Traveling For Miles on Thursday and Friday last week and, as I've had a few emails asking what's up, I thought I'd quickly explain what I've been doing and the reason for a few days silence on the blog.
I'm a big fan of not telling people how they should be using their miles and points, and I'm already on record as saying that there's no one right way to use your airline or hotel balances, so I thought I'd share how I'm about to use some points in a way that a lot of people will probably consider sub-optimal....but that would be missing the point.
With so many carriers now offering a Premium Economy option across the Atlantic I recently took the decision to start reviewing some of these cabins to see what they offer and to see if they're worth the premium they charge.
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I view my miles & points balances as just another set of currencies I have at my disposal to pay for trips. I don't view them in quite the same way as I view cash (cash is clearly a lot more versatile and less prone to devaluation) but, because of the time and effort I put in to building up my miles and points balances, I'm anything but flippant when it comes to using them....and here's where I encounter a contradiction.