Airline pilot Kathy Dulson tells us about the National Gay Pilots Association, and we discuss the recent flurry of airline public relations disasters. Also, an all-female UPS crew, the Blue Angels touch in the air, some airlines are dropping the “two persons in the cockpit” rule, and runway safety problems at Santa Monica.
Kathy Dulson is a Boeing 757/767 pilot for a major legacy airline based in Los Angeles. She has been involved in aviation for 29 years with four different airlines, starting in customer service and airline operations before pursuing her dream of flight. Kathy has been an airline pilot since 2002 flying the Saab 340, Canadair Regional Jet, Airbus 320, and now Boeing 757/767.
Kathy is also on the Board of Directors of the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), a non-profit organization that promotes advocacy and outreach, pilot careers, aviation safety, and social and professional networking. She is also a member of Women in Aviation International, the Ninety-Nines, and ISA+21.
Our conversation includes a discussion of the advocacy the NGPA provides on behalf of LGBT members of the airline community. We look at the sponsorship provided by airlines and the scholarships offered, as well as the local chapters with flight schools and universities, membership in NGPA, and the role of allies.
The writer attributes incidents like the violent removal of a United passenger to a procedure-based industry that prevents a culture where frontline employees are empowered to make situational decisions.
That airline customer relations issues are prevalent in the news is evidenced by this list of stories that came up on the first page of a Google News search for the word “airline.”
- Pilot hits person involved in fight; airline finds he de-escalated incident
- Virginia woman sues airline over spilled coffee
- United Airlines customer kicked off flight instead of cat
- Airline tells newlywed to pay thousands over last name change
- America’s Least Favorite Airline Is…
- United Airlines Reaches Settlement With Passenger Who Was Dragged Off Plane
- Airline loses wheelchair belonging to disabled passenger visiting S.A.
- How Did a Giant Rabbit Die on a United Flight? Experts Weigh In
A pilot for Delta Airlines was caught on video hitting a passenger at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The passenger was brawling with another woman at the time.
George Hobica says overselling makes air travel look bad, and “It’s time for the airlines to stop this or for the DOT or Congress to do it for them.”
Thunder Over Louisville is an annual airshow and fireworks display that kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival. UPS was an event sponsor and a UPS 757 was part of the airshow. What makes this unique is that this was the first UPS crew flying in Thunder Over Louisville comprised of all women – flight and ground crew.
Two United States Navy Blue Angels airplanes touched during a flyover with the Air Force Thunderbirds near Pensacola Beach, Florida.
After the 2015 Germanwings crash where the pilot flew the plane into the ground, a “two person in the cockpit” rule was widely discussed. A rule change was advocated by the European Aviation Safety Agency, but last year EASA changed the requirement and allowed individual airlines make their own determination. The German aviation association BDL has announced that effective June 1, 2017, airlines will return to their original cockpit safety procedures.
Plans to shorten Santa Monica’s Runway 03/21 per the city’s January agreement with the FAA may create a number of potential safety issues.