Aviation

American Airlines screws us over baggage transit

American Airlines is rapidly sinking down our list of airlines for leisure flying.
We checked 2 bags into DFW on Monday for the trip to Belize
When we arrived in Belize city, only one bag came off the conveyor
Hmmmm.
So once it was clear from talking to the baggage handlers that there were no more bags to be unloaded it was off to the AA office.
It soon became clear that no, our bag had not made it onto the flight. It was still at the departure gate in DFW. There was no reason advanced for the bag having not made it onto the flight However, we were not alone, a whole bunch of people were also in line for the same reason.
AA said that they would send it to BZE via MIA overnight,, which meant it would arrive at BZE at lunchtime today.
They said they would send it down to Plancencia later in the day via one of the regional airlines (Maya AIr or Tropic Aiir) that flies to Placencia.
This is our biggest bag, containing our snorkelling gear and most of mary’s shoes.
As of now, we still do not have the bag. It is still at BZE, awaiting space on a feeder fight. Missing bags can only be sent down on a space available basis, and the bag only cleared customs at 4.45 pm today, which was too late for a flight with baggage space.
So we will not get the bag until tomorrow at the earliest.
This is not good. We have had to shuffle trips around because of this. The AA agent at BZE told us that there are nearly 100 bags that have been lost that they are trying to route to the owners.
I am pissed. This was a stateside SNAFU in DFW and now our Chrstmas is being impacted.

UPDATE – The bag finally came down from BZE to Placencia on the 11.30 TropicAir flight and we picked it up from the airport at 12.30 CST. Only 2 days later than we should have taken possession of it…

UPDATE 2 – To add insult to injury, our medium sized bag came off the conveyor at DFW on the return leg missing a wheel. The missing wheel is on the wrong side, so it makes the baggage non-wheelable in any orientation i.e. unusable. GRRRRRR.

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A quick word about drones

The word “drone” is being used in a debatably incorrect way when people talk about quadcopter RC devices. Those devices are merely, for operational purposes, updated versions of RC aircraft that have been flown by hobbyists for decades. Hobbyists have flown RC helicopters with hovering ability for a long time. They are nowhere near as sophisticated or lightweight as the current generation of quadcopter devices, but they perform the same function.
The paranoia (and yes it is mostly paranoia) about the new generation of RC air devices is fuelled by the use of the word “drone” to describe them. That word has acquired a very sinister meaning because of its use to describe larger, long-loiter military devices used elsewhere in the world to engage in surveillance and targeted assassination.
A quadcopter RC device is not a “drone” in any military or malevolent sense. They cannot carry any military payload. They have extremely limited personal surveillance capability, since they mostly contain GoPro or other cameras that have next to no zoom ability. They also have a flight time of 20 minutes at best, and require line of sight to the operator for reliable flight control.
Do quadcopters have the ability to cause problems? Well yes. RC aircraft and helicopters have the same ability, but there are regulations applicable to all of these devices under FAA rules. If a quadcopter strays into controlled airspace, that will be a safety issue, and the FAA has the ability to sanction the operator and possibly have him charged with serious offenses.
Quadcopters are regarded at this time by the FAA as aicraft, subject to many of the same rules and protections as aircraft. Hence people are being arrested and hit with charges for trying to shoot quadcopters down. The airspace above your property does not belong to you. It never has. If you don’t like that you need to campaign for a change in the Constitution. (BTW, there is no right to individual privacy defined in the Constitution, so if somebody threatening quadcopter vandalism says “It’s my constitutional right”, you can dismiss that claim. It’s horsepuckey).
The paranoia and unconstitutional attempts at restraint by local districts and counties in the USA are making the US into a laughing stock worldwide, and the results are going to be a lack of aerial device development in the USA, and loss of commercial opportunities.

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