formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

Be sure to read your weekly Liberty Gazette newspaper, free to Liberty area residents!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14, 2017 Mrs. Douglas

The Liberty Gazette
November 14, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Helen Elizabeth Burgner Douglas Hart was the only child of a newspaper owner. She had a pony and a cart and could be seen trotting about Charleston, Illinois, circa 1900. Helen was educated at Wellesley College, a classmate of Soong Mei-ling, who became Madame Chiang Kai-shek, First Lady of the Republic of China.

But that’s about enough of the things Helen probably wouldn’t care if you never knew. Helen was so full of life and love that her giving meant far more to her than how gifted she was.

She moved to nearby Mattoon and married Clarence Douglas, an attorney and judge, and then Maurice Hart, whose death made her a widow for the second time. Establishing the Douglas-Hart Foundation, Helen built an art gallery, a cultural center, Friendship Park and a nature preserve, all for the benefit of everyone in Mattoon.

Helen supported local businesses, but she was also well traveled. Before their trip to The Hague at the end of WWII, she and Clarence stopped by my grandparents’ house and asked my mother and her sister if they would each like to pick one of their pen pals for the Douglases to visit. My mom chose her pal, Reit Lambrechtse, a Danish girl with five younger siblings. Mom and Aunt Marge’s Girl Scout troop had sent care packages to a Girl Scout troop in war-torn Europe. Each kit assembled was intended for one girl and contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a washcloth, and soap. But the recipient scout troop had more members than the one Mom was in, and she and her friends learned from the Danish thank-you letter that the gifts were divided among the girls to be sure no one was left out. Reit got the comb my mom sent. Her thank-you note expressed gratitude from all six Lambrechtse children, who were very happy they could now comb their hair. One comb—for six grateful children in a family trying to make it through the tragedies of war.

When Helen and Clarence visited the Lambreschste family, they were so impressed with the children they offered to sponsor every one of them who wanted to come to the U.S. Eventually, five of the six emigrated to start a new life. Reit stayed to take care of her parents.

Helen passed away in 1991, but from her vision flow the peace and beauty of Shakespearean gardens at Friendship Park; from her compassion Lambrechtse descendants enjoy freedom. But that only gives you the tiniest peek into Helen’s life. I wouldn’t want you to get the impression she was too humble and peaceful to be exciting. Helen was a renaissance woman, ready to take on the world and the next adventure right around the corner. She never stuck her nose in the air except when she was flying. The first female aircraft owner and licensed pilot in Coles County, Illinois, just made the world a better place.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7, 2017 A Mixed Bag

The Liberty Gazette
November 7, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Last week we brought you a cool story about the toy manufacturer, LEGO®. After press time, I received a reply to my inquiry about whether the biplane kit they created in 1967 was the first LEGO airplane. I learned from the LEGO team there were two planes before the biplane. The first was created in 1964 and was called 303-2 Aeroplane. The following year, they made the 320 Airplane, and then “the amazing 328 Biplane” in 1967.

So in eighty-five years of making toys, it looks like the airplane models are rare. They should be real collectibles! Of course, they’ve made an airport set, jets, Star Wars, and NASA models. But the nostalgic airplanes take us back to an interesting era of flight, when LEGO built a real airport.

As an aside, at the bottom of their company email, below the representative’s signature line, is this: “Did you know? The LEGO Group is one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, making more than 675 million tyres in 2015!”

Having stepped on many a LEGO in the dark, I can believe that number!

Mike: Speaking of old airplanes, the showroom-quality Stearman belonging to long time rice sower M & M Air Service is safe in a hangar at the Beaumont Municipal Airport. M & M lost five airplanes in the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, but the Stearman was unscathed. The five that flooded were at the Chambers County airport in Winnie, right along I-10. When the levee was breached, that airport became a basin for four feet of rushing water. Up to eight feet was trapped in the hangars.

Water reached the bottom of the windshields on four crop dusters—Air Tractor 602s—and the top of the windshield of their Cessna 182. They also lost fifteen loader trucks and other equipment, and parts stored in the hangar. On the upside, the company has already replaced those four Air Tractor 602s with three Air Tractor 802s. Now three airplanes can do the job that once required four.

Linda: Reducing the number of airplanes without reducing output should help, given the severe pilot shortage these days. Mike has been busy training pilots to fill vacancies in corporate and charter flight departments. Regional airlines that feed the major airlines are in a hiring binge, competing fiercely for the small pool of prospects. They’re getting creative with incentives so attractive it’s caused a trickle-down shortage of pilots in other flying jobs. Sign-on bonuses are over $30,000 at the regional level.

Mike: Because many pilots at major airlines are reaching mandatory retirement age (sixty-five), there are more openings at the top of the pilot job pyramid. For each pilot moving up, there’s an increase in demand for new blood at the bottom. However, there aren’t enough new ones in the pipeline. This is a major cause of the delays in air travel. The hiring trend shows no sign of slowing down. One could consider this a good time to be a pilot.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com

October 31, 2017 Godtfred's Airport

The Liberty Gazette
October 31, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

The airport in Billund is Denmark’s second busiest (Copenhagen, the busiest). Its 10,071-foot-long runway serves airlines and private aircraft. Scandinavian Air first provided airline service there in 1964, when the runway was only about half as long.

Billund’s robust economy is thanks in large part to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, who knew an airport was vital for businesses and communities. He had guaranteed the first five years’ financial needs to turn his little grass landing strip into a community airport. Godtfred had been using his Piper Apache, a four-seat, twin-engine propeller airplane, to travel to his father’s many business locations.

His father was Ole Kirk Kristiansen, the tenth son of an indigent Danish family. Hard times followed when Ole lost his job during the depression. For his family to survive, he put his master carpenter skills to work building stepladders, ironing boards, stools, and wooden toys. But too soon, his lovely wife, Kirstine, passed away, leaving him to raise four boys on his own.

It was 1932 when twelve-year old Godtfred came to work for him. Two years later, Ole had seven employees and decided it was time to brand the business, so he ran a naming contest.

The following year, the company introduced their first construction toy, a wooden duck proven by Ole’s boys to bring joy. They named the duck “Kirk´s Sandgame”.

There were good times, and bad. Ole and his company survived the German occupation of Denmark in 1940, and a fire that destroyed their factory a couple of years later. But his success in the toy business continued and he decided to make wooden toy bricks. Plastic was available, too, so Ole purchased a plastic injection-moulding machine that same year, 1946, and three years later, Ole’s company made their first “Automatic Binding Bricks”–sold exclusively in Denmark. The bricks came in two sizes–with four and eight studs–and four colors.

When Ole ran that company naming contest in 1934, he had declared himself the winner. His entry was a combination of the first two letters of the Danish words for “play well”: leg godt, and in 1953, Automatic Binding Bricks became LEGO Bricks.

A warehouse fire in 1960 ended wooden toy production, but the company was growing, entering the U.S. market in 1961, thanks to a licensing agreement with Samsonite Corp.

From what we could glean from their nicely organized website, it wasn’t until 1967 when they came out with their first airplane kit, a biplane.

LEGO is now sold all over the world, providing jobs for more than 18,000 people, and the company operates its aircraft fleet from the LEGO hangar at Billund Airport, once the grass strip with a wood hangar where Godtfred took off to help sell his father’s toys.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen passed away in 1958, inducted posthumously into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 1989. The man who started with nothing, faced setbacks and heartaches, still brings smiles to millions of children, while his son’s airport brings millions of dollars into their community.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com 

October 24, 2017 Gorilla Flying

The Liberty Gazette
October, 24, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Do you remember the movies and television series, Planet of the Apes? In some scenes, the apes wore space suits. I suppose this was so they could visit other planets, with or without other apes. Their spacecraft was undoubtedly more advanced than those of the golden years of aviation, the first half of the twentieth century. On board their spaceship were complex systems run by sophisticated computers. In their time, they didn’t need a flight engineer. But only a couple of decades before those apes went shooting through the galaxy, on real airplanes with complex systems, flight engineers were an essential part of the flight crew.

The flight engineer was like a mechanic, specially trained to monitor and operate the airplane’s systems. These engineers were essential for safety, operating electrical, pneumatic, fuel, and hydraulic systems. Of course, today, that position has been automated out of most cockpits. In modern jets, pilots monitor computers, which manage all the aircraft systems. But there was that one time, that one close call, when the world wondered if the apes, or gorillas, had taken a step back in time, perhaps jealous of those who had the opportunity to serve as flight engineers.

It happened on an airline flight, from somewhere over there to somewhere over here–the place doesn’t matter, really. Some airline companies had installed video cameras inside the cockpits so passengers could watch as the pilots took off and landed the plane. The trouble was no one could see all the important work the flight engineer did, only an occasional appearance of his hand moving controls. Pilots got all the glory. Perhaps that’s what drove the flight engineer on one flight to purchase part of a gorilla costume. Only part–just the left arm. The camera turned on as the plane came in to land and those passengers watching the closed-circuit TV saw a gorilla arm reach in to view and flip switches.

The flight engineer was suspended for his joke and the camera feed from the cockpit was terminated.

Mike: I flew once with an airline captain whose hair was eighteen inches long. He braided it and hid it down the back of his uniform, camouflaging his inner rebel during his day job. But word got out and after completing a flight, as he exited the airplane, the airline’s chief pilot greeted him in the jet way with a smile on his face and a pair of scissors in his hand. The captain kept the braid and had it sewn into a baseball cap. He kept the hair-braid-cap in his flight bag, and when the cockpit door closed, he put on the cap and flipped the braid out, maintaining his individuality, if even in a limited way.

The world is full of characters, and pilots are known to possess personalities prone to practical jokes. Our humor won’t be at the expense of the safety of flight, but it will be amusing.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017 Aerial Firefighting

The Liberty Gazette
October 17, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: Our college flying team gathered on the flight deck as the air tanker pilot spun tales of derring-do in aerial firefighting. He explained the little button on his control yoke, the airplane’s steering wheel. Behind him, the instrument panel was dark in comparison to the light shining through a virtual greenhouse of windows. Most airplane cockpits are too small to fit more than two or three people, even in big airliners. But the spacious cockpit of the C-119, a Korean War era plane nicknamed the Flying Boxcar, held our group of ten with room to spare.

The little button, which got more than a little attention, was a release button, like those used by bombardiers. This one opened doors on the belly of the airplane allowing up to eighteen hundred gallons of fire retardant to fall from a tank. That’s ten thousand pounds. The entire load could be dispersed in less than a second, or the drop could last up to ten seconds. One member of our group got a little too close to that button. The pilot quickly blocked her itchy fingers to prevent spilling expensive, gooey fire retardant and painting the entire ramp bright red.

Years ago, the airplanes dropped a yellow-green type of fire suppressant called Borate, which earned them the nickname, Borate Bombers. Borate was made from Borax mined from the California desert. It not only smothered the fire, it killed all the vegetation. The weight of impact was enough to cut off oxygen to the fire so the Department of Agriculture looked for something that could do the same, but wouldn’t be so harsh on plants. Phos-Chek is the suppressant used today. It’s usually dyed red with iron-sulfate so pilots can see where they have dropped their load. Once the fire has been put out, the sulfate and phosphate salts act as fertilizer to promote regrowth.

One of the airports where our flying team practiced precision landings was an air attack tanker base. Hemet Valley Flying Service operated a number of aircraft including several Flying Boxcars. The airplanes were old even then and have since been retired from service, replaced by DC-10s, 747s and others. The 747 “Supertanker” carries more than ten times the load the C-119 was capable of lifting.

While I marvel at their forms as they glide across lakes to scoop up water, and sweep down valleys with seeming grace to disperse their cargo, I do not forget the reason they exist. They are frontline weapons in a fight to save lives.

Dozens of helicopters and airplanes have been dispatched to help put out these fires that have devoured much of Napa Valley, California’s wine country. The two Canyon fires near Anaheim have claimed over 8,000 acres. The Palmer, Atlas, and Tubbs fires have burned more than 20,000 acres, and resources are stretched. This has been a tragic year of natural disasters. With each event, aviation has provided significant rescue and support.

ElyAirLines.blotspot.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 10, 2017 St. Exupery and the Palms

The Liberty Gazette
October 10, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Of the books written by Frenchman, Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince” (1943) is probably best known among non-aviators. In the minds of prop heads and turbine cowboys, however, the writer-poet-aristocrat-aviator is to this day one of the most often quoted flyers, with relatable declarations like, “I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.”

Natural disasters and those brought about by the will of evil remind us that many of our everyday concerns are tyrannized by petty things. The antithesis to the oppression of wretchedness is born in people such as those who rush to the aid of people in need. We’ve seen a great deal of that during emergencies, and praise the heroes who put others first. Among many aviators who commit beyond the emergencies to the long term welfare of the less fortunate are Mark and Kirsten Palm, serving in the East Sepik province of Papua, New Guinea.

With only one hospital in the province to serve over 500,000 people spread out over millions of acres, medical care is either for those in luxury or luck. For most, the hospital is three to five days travel along the 700-mile Sepik River.

Mark founded Samaritan Aviation to use his sea plane to transport medical staff, patients, medicine, and supplies all over the country. Saint-Exupéry may have appreciated the association of his quote to the selflessness of the Palm family: “Life has meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself.”

One of Mark’s favorite experiences in bartering life came when he was called to fly out to a remote part of Papua to pick up a pregnant lady whose water broke three days prior. Her husband presumed what he’d been told was true–the baby couldn’t still be alive–but he hoped someone would save his wife. Mark flew her to the hospital, while the husband paddled up the river for three days. When he arrived, he found not only his wife alive, but their newborn son as well, and named him Samaritan.

Mark and Kirsten want their three children see things that are bigger than themselves. We think Saint-Exupéry would agree.

Samaritan Aviation was born out of the impact of need when Mark went on a mission trip with a friend during college and considered what he could do to participate in life. From his vision are now two sea planes, three more pilots, a medical director, ministry and support staff, working to fill the medical void.

With Mark’s vision, it is easy to hear Saint-Exupéry saying, “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” (from “The Little Prince”)

Click here to see the interview with Mark and Kirsten.

But you can see so much more if you go directly to Samaritan Aviation’s website.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com 

October 3, 2017 Elder Travel

The Liberty Gazette
October 3, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Here we are into autumn, and soon we’ll be thinking about holiday travel–Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's. Now’s the time to consider a safe travel plan for our elderly loved ones, because preparation can make a substantial difference in a healthy trip.

On a recent airline flight, an elderly woman suddenly felt like she was about to pass out, and got the attention of another passenger, who pushed the call button. No doubt the flight attendants were relieved that a doctor was only two rows away and rushed to the side of the vacationer-turned-patient.

The elderly woman did pass out, her arm muscles spasmed, and her breathing was labored. As the doctor massaged her chest bone she came to. His diagnosis was dehydration, which brought quick action by the crew to get water for her. Unfortunately, the water didn’t stay down, and the scene was repeated four times. Pass out, wake up, drink water, throw up, pass out again… Not a great way to start a vacation.

After a few hours, the episodes subsided and the doctor returned to his seat next to his wife.

Unfortunately, this startling situation isn’t uncommon among the elderly. To learn more on flying at advanced age, we consulted the Journal of Travel Medicine, where Dr. Iain B. McIntosh, a Scottish physician who lectures on geriatric medicine, explains the physiological disadvantages of the older traveler, and what can be done in preparation for travel. If this applies to you or someone you know, you should read Dr. McIntosh’s article, and follow up with a physician.

As we advance in age, Dr. McIntosh explains that decreases in cardiopulmonary and renal function can affect us at altitude. An airplane’s cabin air pressure depends on the altitude flying, but can be as high as the equivalent of eight thousand feet.

With age and altitude, we are less able to handle hypoxia, and our body’s ability to regulate water, sodium, and body temperature is affected.

When we have trouble regulating temperature, including sweating, hyperthermia and dehydration become a greater concern, especially in higher temperatures. In lower temperatures, our body’s poor regulation can cause hypothermia and exposure. When Dr. McIntosh considered temperature extremes, he cautioned that the possibility of stroke increases, and stress in general can increase the risk of heart attack.

Lots of walking and carrying luggage can put an unusual amount of stress on muscles, including the heart, while sitting for long periods brings concern of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean our older family members should stop flying. The doctor’s advice is to get a health check before travel, stay on schedule with medications, and consider extra insurance and/or the availability of medical care on the trip. Our recommendation is to read his article: Iain B. Mclntosh. Health Hazards and the Elderly Traveler. Journal of Travel Medicine. Volume 5, Issue 1, Version of Record online: 28 JUL 2006.

Wishing you healthy holiday planning.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September 26, 2017 The People of Liberty, Texas v. Hurricane Harvey

The Liberty Gazette
September 26, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

We had planned to bring you wonderful stories from Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, but unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey’s deluge ruined that. Ten days of Vacation Croatia turned into four days of Vacation Rodeway Inn, Humble. Trapped on our way to the airport shortly before it closed, thinking we’d get out just in the nick of time, there was no place to go but the next hotel parking lot. We have nothing to complain about. While so many lost so much in the floods, our house was untouched. That fact is due to the superheroes who saved Liberty from becoming part of an enlarged San Jacinto river bottom.

Breaking from the world of aviation, we want to thank those we know of who spent days saving the levee around Travis Park, and ultimately the city.

These are the people to whom we are grateful that we had a house to come home to when we could finally escape Humble:

Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) #5 members, James Poitevent, Skeet Raggio, and James Leonard. James Poitevent was at the levee from Sunday morning on through the week. He oversaw the entire operation like Mel Gibson in the middle of the firefight in “We Were Soldiers”. With his contacts in construction and the oilfield, he raised up a mighty army to face down Harvey’s attack.

The other two WCID members, Walt Patterson and Victor Lemelle, held the fort in Ames, watching over ditches affecting Ames and the Liberty Municipal Airport.

Alton Fregia, of Daisetta, brought five tractors and numerous men who worked twelve-hour shifts. They made a formidable team.

We were in trouble, folks. Serious trouble. Had it not been for the community coming together, bringing equipment and manpower, most of the city would likely have been under water.

Arnold Smart, of Smart Oilfield Service, brought pumps, as did Curtis Hudnall of Curtis & Son Vacuum Service. Dwight Lumpkins, of Clay Mound Sporting Center, brought two pumps. Dwayne Johnson, of Johnson’s Trucking brought a track hoe and himself. John Hebert, lifetime superhero, supplied fuel for all these vehicles.

Oscar Cooper, of Cooper Electric, was there from Sunday morning on, trying to keep an ailing pump running, one of two owned by the city and the WCID.

David Chandler, of Oilfield Welding and Fabrication in Daisetta, brought his expertise and equipment, and we’d have been bad off if he hadn’t. David used a plasma cutter to cut steel plating to cover a grated hole so the water wouldn’t blow up through a drain.

Tim Killion, of Texas Armory, flew drone reconnaissance for an aerial view of water levels.
City Manager, Gary Broz and City Engineer, Tom Warner were just as dedicated to the safety of Liberty and stayed on the scene during the critical time.

Surely there are others unnamed here, but no less heroic. Thanks are inadequate for what our neighbors did to save our city.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com 

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 19, 2017 How the Coast Guard Watered Their Roots

The Liberty Gazette
September 19, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: The United States Coast Guard began as part of the Treasury Department and was tasked with stopping rum runners and moonshiners during the prohibition era of the 1920’s and ‘30’s. I know of a Coast Guard pilot who flew back then. Once while searching for illegal stills in the hills of Kentucky, he let his airplane get too low. The corn whiskey makers shot him down. He climbed out of the wreck and spent two weeks on the run and finally escaped the area. Had he been caught by the mountain dew peddlers, nobody would have known what happened to him.

The Coast Guard was created out of two other entities: The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, and the U.S. Life-Savings Service, which helped shipwrecked sailors. The origins of these groups date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, respectively. In 1878 the U.S. government took over and merged them in 1915 to form the U.S. Coast Guard.

While the USCG focus is on the water, its aviation roots reach back to the beginning of powered flight. Four members of the Life-Saving Service were on the team that helped Orville and Wilbur Wright move their Wright Flyer to the top of Kill Devil Hill during each of their historic flights in 1903. They couldn’t have known the extent to which their group would be involved in important aviation efforts in the future.

Cementing their reputation as training some of the finest pilots and sailors was the famous rescue on New Year’s Day, 1933. Lieutenant Commander Carl Christian von Paulsen, head of the Miami base, received notice that a severe storm near Cape Canaveral had caught a boy in its clutches and swept him and his skiff out to sea. Paulsen gathered his crew and took off in the amphibious aircraft named Arcturus to save the boy.

Even with strong headwinds, heavy rain affecting visibility, and twelve to fifteen-foot swells, Paulsen and his crew found the boy over thirty miles from shore. As they landed on the tumultuous waters the Arcturus’ wings sustained damage, rendering the aircraft un-flyable, but they pulled the boy aboard to safety. Lt. Cmdr. von Paulsen taxied through the raging ocean with amazing skill and determination. What was left of the wings ripped away from the aircraft, leaving only the boat-like fuselage when they beached. All survived, and the dramatic heroism set the course for the future of the Coast Guard, and the critical role of aviation in search and rescue missions. Lt. Cmdr. von Paulsen received the Gold Life-Saving Medal.

My cousin, retired USN Rear Admiral Jack Trum, graduated from Annapolis in 1940, survived World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, while serving thirty-two years in the Navy. He held people like Lt. Cmdr. von Paulsen in the highest regard, proclaiming, “The Coast Guard, now those are the real sailors. When everyone else is heading to port, they are putting out to sea. They save people’s lives.”

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com

September 5, 2017 Get it Write

The Liberty Gazette
September 5, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: When advising writers, Mike’s favorite topic is how badly Hollywood gets things wrong when portraying anything aviation. There’s no shortage of examples.

Mike: When it comes to credible airplane scenes, one of the most egregious transgressions is Die Hard 2. The fails in that movie are many, like when one of the bad guys takes over air traffic control. We’re supposed to believe that by refusing to clear them to land he can hold planes hostage in the air until they run out of fuel. That’s ridiculous. In reality they would fly to another airport.

Linda: In preparation for a presentation to writers on writing believable aviation scenes, we welcomed questions in advance. One of our guest writers was concerned about the plausibility of aviation scenes in her story. She had some interesting questions, some fueled by incidents that happened earlier this year. That is, can airlines remove a passenger due to overbooking?

Yes, and here’s why. As an airline customer, you are only buying a journey from here to there. Not a seat, not a flight. Carriers spell this out in the contract of carriage to which you are bound when you buy your ticket.

Most airlines overbook by five to fifteen percent, depending on several factors which are decided upon with very serious statistical analysis to serve the profit goals.

This, of course, begs the follow-on question, what rights do bumped passengers have? In a word, compensation.

The more complete answer is if an airline overbooks, they must first ask for volunteers to give up seats before yanking paying passengers off the plane. If they don’t get enough volunteers, they will offer money or free tickets. If they reach the maximum they’re willing to tender and there still aren’t enough volunteers, they can remove people from the flight.

Here’s what you’ll want to know if this happens to you. They’ll have to provide a written statement of why you were bumped. They must also re-book you, and if you will be significantly delayed, you’re entitled to payment up to $1,350. You don’t have to accept a voucher. They must cut you a check if you request it.

These rights won’t apply if you relinquish your seat voluntarily. They also aren’t valid unless the removal is due to overbooking. Any other reason, such as a change in planes, problems with weight and balance calculations to ensure a safe flight, or a delayed or cancelled flight, does not come with promises or reimbursements.

If you’d like to know more about your rights as an airline passenger you can go to
https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/flights-and-rights.

Mike: One more thing. If you buy a business class ticket you will not be removed due to overbooking. You might not get to sit in business class, but you’ll get a seat. The ticket price buys this benefit, and you don’t have to be a celebrity to receive this special treatment. But you might not want to watch Die Hard 2 on your flight.

ElyAirLines.blogspot.com