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Are Airshows Worth the Cost for the Military?

So the sequester is here, and it is already starting to have an impact on the world of aviation.  In fact, some of that impact took place before the sequestration actually hit.  Last week, the Indianapolis Air Show cancelled their show “due to the wide-ranging impact of sequestration.”

Shortly thereafter, the Air Force cancelled not just air shows, but all aviation support at public events.  That includes “tradeshows, flyovers (including funerals and military graduations), orientation flights, heritage flights, F-22 demonstration flights and open houses, unless the event includes only local static assets.”  So unless it is already based at the air show, don’t plan on seeing any Air Force assets at those wonderful airshows we all love.

I love airshows as much or more than the next guy.  I love just being at the airport watching planes land and take-off, so watching aerial demonstrations is that much better.  That being said, I think the Air Force is making a very wise choice, and one that I expect the Navy will follow, though as of right now the Blue Angels’ official website doesn’t mention any cancellations.

When you consider how much these demonstration teams cost, it just makes sense to cancel their shows with the current financial mess that Congress has put us in.  According to the Department of the Navy Budget Estimates for 2013 from the Finance Department the Blue Angels’ budget was approximately $40 million.

Now as a percentage of the Navy’s total budget $40 million is less than 0.1%, which is clearly not very much.  That being said how can you justify sending these crews all over the country putting them up in four and five-star hotels, while at the same time telling other sailors and airmen that they can’t get the training they need to protect our country because it just isn’t in the budget.

As someone who is being directly impacted by the sequester, I am happy to see that the Air Force is capable of making some common sense decisions.  Put me in the group of people who hopes this whole thing is short-lived and we can quickly go back to enjoying the “sights and sounds of freedom” at air shows all over the country, but until we can come up with ways to take care of the airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines that are directly supporting the fight, there is no reason for us to be blowing money on extra things.

One could argue that things like air shows and flyovers are important to maintain public support, and aid in recruiting, and I would agree with you.  However, it does no good to garner that support and recruit those people if you have no way of accomplishing the far more important mission that you have been tasked with.

What’s your take?  Do you think we should continue to fund this extra public support while we are having such major budget problems, or is military leadership making a wise choice to cancel these events for the time being?

March 3, 2013 I Written By

I’m Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

United Expands BagsVIP Baggage Delivery Service

About a month and a half ago I wrote about a new baggage delivery service that was going to be offered by United Airlines at selected locations.  Well apparently it has been pretty successful because United is expanding this offering to 30 new cities.

According to the press release below, the airline intends to expand the service to all of their destinations, but for now it covers about 80% of their domestic airports.

It is great to see airlines come up with simple, effective, and worthwhile offerings that can turn a profit, and provide a good service for the customer.  Options like this will become increasingly important for airlines that want to turn a profit.

What kind of other simple options would you like to see airlines offer?

United Airlines Expands Baggage Delivery Service

AIRLINE ALSO OFFERS NEW PREMIER ACCESS OPTION

CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines has expanded its new baggage delivery option, enabling customers to skip baggage claim upon arrival and have their checked bags delivered directly to their final destinations – within 100 miles of their arrival airports.

Baggage Delivery by BagsVIP is now available to customers departing from any domestic airport and arriving in 36 cities:

Albuquerque

Aspen

Austin

Boston

Bozeman

Chicago

Cleveland

Dallas-Fort Worth

Denver

Ft. Lauderdale

Fort Myers

Honolulu

 

Houston

Jackson Hole

Los Angeles

Miami

Montrose

New Orleans

New York/Newark

Orange County

Orlando

Palm Beach

Palm Springs

Phoenix

 

Portland

Reno-Tahoe

Salt Lake City

San Antonio

San Diego

San Francisco

Sarasota

Seattle

Tampa International

Vail-Eagle County

Washington/Dulles

Washington/National

The airline plans to expand the service to more than 190 domestic airports.

“Following positive customer response after our first month, we’re pleased to expand our baggage delivery service to 30 additional cities,” said Scott Wilson, United’s vice president of merchandising and eCommerce. “Just in time for Spring Break, the service is now available for customers flying on 80 percent of United’s domestic flights.”

Standard rates for bag delivery within a 40-mile radius of the arrival airport are as follows:

1 bag $29.95
2 bags $39.95
3-8 bags $49.95

Delivery is available up to a 100-mile radius for an additional charge that varies by distance. Delivery pricing is in addition to any standard checked-bag charges that might otherwise apply.

Customers can order the service online, or by calling 1-877-847-0045.

Premier Access
Separately, United has begun offering Premier Access benefits for customers interested in speeding their way through the airports.

Customers may now purchase, where available, access to expedited check-in and security checkpoint lanes along with priority boarding, for prices beginning at $9 per segment.

United limits the number of customers who may purchase Premier Access benefits to ensure the benefits are available to the airline’s premier-level frequent flyers and eligible United MileagePlus credit cardmembers including MileagePlus Explorer and Club Visa cardmembers.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,472 flights a day to 381 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on nearly 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United’s MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

I Written By

I’m Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.