April 3rd, 2008
05:56 PM ET

How safe do you feel when you fly?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.southwest.gi.jpg caption=]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Think about this next time you climb on an airplane.

An FAA whistle-blower testified before Congress today that his bosses repeatedly ignored his reports of inspection requirement violations by Southwest Airlines.

He also says his bosses, who were leaned on by Southwest to remove him from the case, knew the planes were flying illegally and did nothing about it.

You may remember a congressional investigation found that Southwest kept dozens of aircraft flying without mandatory inspections, and it turns out some of them had possibly dangerous cracks. The airline is facing a record $10.2 million fine.

There's more: an American Airlines pilots' group says regulators have mostly ignored several dangerous incidents where cockpit windshields have shattered during flight, sometimes even forcing emergency landings. The pilots claim these safety issues exist because the FAA is too close to the airlines.

For its part, the FAA says 4 U.S. airlines – it doesn't name them – are being investigated for failure to comply with federal aviation regulations. A government agency that knows of four airlines that are not in compliance with FAA regulations but it won't say which airlines? That is beyond outrageous.

Officials say three of the airlines have missed inspection deadlines. But, the FAA still insists people should feel safe despite all this. They say, "Flying is safer today than at anytime in the past."

Here’s my question to you: How safe do you feel when you fly?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Chuck from Eugene, Oregon writes:
Jack, I am a retired U.S. Army air traffic controller. The last time I flew was in Dec. ‘96 going into San Francisco… Do I feel safe? No way, especially with this inspection thing going on and the obvious poor working conditions of the FAA controllers.

David from Lexington, North Carolina writes:
With the gazillion other problems associated with flying, I am rarely able to focus on my safety while in the air. Being herded like cattle through security, rude service from airline employees, plane delays, overbooked flights, service carts scraping people's knees, absolutely no leg room, the smallest seats outside of a Broadway theatre, the screaming child in 17-A, etc.

Scott from Wichita, Kansas writes:
Jack, I work for a major aircraft company, and have a bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering. I know what is going on pretty much every second during a flight, and know how much redundancy goes into everything a plane does. I feel perfectly safe, just as I hope everyone flying in our planes does.

Nora from Texas writes:
I have always flown Southwest; I am just glad I am here to post a comment!

Ed from Twin Bridges, Montana writes:
Jack, I'm a member of the million mile club, which means I've flown over a million miles in my travels for work. I gave away my frequent flyer miles, and now fly only when I have to. I say a prayer before every one of those flights, and I'm an atheist.

John writes:
I feel safer flying than when I board a train, ride a bus, and get in the car every morning before I head into work. I feel safer flying than when I take a cruise ship, go sailing, swim in the ocean or, for that matter, swim at the local pool…. The fact is that flying is safer than all of these – and it's never been more safe.

Teddie writes:
I don't fly. I stand and bitch at the pump when it is already past $50 but if I am going to die I want to be grounded.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Harry

    Very safe, as long as Naomi Campbell is not around.


    April 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  2. Jim Galvin

    How safe do I feel when I fly? Very. I stay in Canada, The only place outside of this great land that I have flown to since the establishment of Homeland Insecurity has been Cuba... another great land with superb people.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  3. tom tyskiewicz


    April 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  4. dave

    I wouldn't feel safe if I had to fly, but I don't fly so I don't worry about it. But this is just another example of how the feudual government and it's agencies are more intrested in the bottom line, than the people they are there to serve.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  5. Mike from Syracuse NY

    My head tells me it's the safest form of travel. My gut tells me to order another rum and coke.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  6. Tanilan


    I haven't been on a plane since 1996. I can't even go to the airport. I didn't feel safe then; and I don't think I will ever get over my fear anytime soon.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  7. Gigi in Alabama

    I have always been afraid of flying. My friends tell me that if it's my time to go, then that's it. But, I counter with "What if it's the pilot's time and he takes me with him?" I know that has absolutely nothing with security, but 9/11 didn't scare me any more than before. In fact, my family and I flew to Seattle less than two weeks after that fateful day.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  8. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    Every time the Homeland Security folks test the screeners they fail. When Obama is in the White House, and Richard Clark is back doing the president's daily briefing I'll feel safe.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  9. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    I don’t fly. I haven’t since that other genius fired all the Air Traffic Controllers who went on strike for better equipment to keep us safe. I find it’s cheaper, I ride in first class comfort and can take anything and everything I want with me, I get door to door service with no waiting on lines or any other hassles. Then when I get to my destination, the “rental car” is free! Why would anyone fly today for anything less than an emergency?

    April 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  10. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    I do not fly anymore! I can't tolerate the stress and the crap. If I did,I would be afraid of the TSA,the examiners and our own government. Since 9-11 the incompetence has been spectacular as the idiotic rules keep changing and every airport interprets them differently. In some areas of the U.S. it is quicker to take the train then it is to fly. You don't have to wait hours in line,be subjected to an insulting search and have your luggage lost. For the most part,I just stay home.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  11. James in Cape Coral, FL

    Sorry but I stoped flying when the airlines decided to make a three hour process closer to fifteen hours. Even with gas prices where they are it's still cheaper and more convenient to drive. It's better than the stress caused by flying. Plus, nobody holds me in my car for upwards of ten hours without food, water or a place to drop a deuce.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  12. Nuwan Sam

    Better than driving a car. I know there are major safety issues with airline industry. But at least there are no crazy drivers in the sky.

    Nuwan from Houston, TX

    April 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  13. Ben from D.C.

    Jack, I have flown over 200 times on an airplane. Not once have I felt in danger. I have experienced short little jumps for whatever reason. When that does happen my mind sometimes drifts to all of the movies and media stories about airplanes crashing. In the end I still feel safe because I'm so use to it. However, it's people like you, Jack, that make me feel unsafe.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  14. Julia Hays from Pitman, NJ

    Safer than I feel driving around my home state of New Jersey, that's for sure.

    -Julia Hays from Pitman, NJ

    April 3, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  15. james hoffman, Prescott, MI

    The truth is that there are far fewer accidents, injuries, and deaths then there are from guns in America. I feel safer on a Plane than I do walking into a 7/11 at 3 in the morning.

    Jim, Prescott, Michigan

    April 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  16. Karen - Branson MO

    I haven't flown for awhile...used to love it and even took the long trip from St Louis to Australia, but today I'm not sure if really want to get on a plane again. Not so much because of terrorism, but more because of airlines trying to cut costs just a weeeee bit too much.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  17. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    I feel safer today than I did 5 years ago as I quit flying when I retired. The lack of quality of the mechanics and the cutting corners of the people who make the planes is one of the many reasons as well as wondering if the pilots are sober.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Mike S., New Orleans, Louisiana

    I don't feel safe when I fly, but it has nothing to do with the planes. I think September 11th gave the airlines a license to treat passengers like garbage. I'm tired of being held hostage on runways, in lounges, and paying outrageous prices for the privilege of being humiliated. The airlines' attitude toward their customers is the biggest danger.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  19. Terry from North Carolina

    When its your time its your time. I never felt safe flying but then again I dont feel safe driving to the corner market.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  20. Dan, Washington DC

    I believe that flying is still safer than driving. When something goes wrong in the air, it tends to be devastating, but way more people die or are injured on the road. At least in the plane you know the person operating the vehicle is a trained professional and not just some idiot who got a license 30+ years ago and has never had to prove their ability to drive since then, who doesn't understand the concept of signalling or what a merge lane is to be used for. I'd much rather put my life in the hands of a pilot than your average driver.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  21. S, Dearborn, Michigan

    Flying is still the safest mode of transportation. Having said that, what are the names again of the domestic carriers I should probably avoid? What am I paying those clowns at the FAA for? It appears, they don't do anything to improve air-traffic volume, nothing to improve ATC workload, nothing to train/recruit more personnel, nothing to upgrade technology, nothing to improve safety- and now allegedly they are cozy with airlines on safety violations; F.A.A.- you're F.I.R.E.D.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  22. Brad in Oregon

    Safe from what? Terrorists, long lines, flight delays, lost luggage, crashes, or germs that might be on the plane. There are many things to be worried about when flying. Take the train. It is much more relaxing and the views are better than they are from 35,00 feet.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  23. Patricia

    I've never felt safe on a plane. 'Cause what goes up shall surely come down
    Palmdale, Ca.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  24. Brad in Oregon

    35,000 feet

    April 3, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  25. Boureguard McKinney, Texas

    I don't fly. Too expensive. Too time consuming to wait, get frisked, have my nipple rings removed and my socks soiled by the last 25 thousand peoples feet that have stood in the same line. Too dangerous. Too risky. And last but not least, there are too many better and safer ways to get some where. With a computer and a Web Cam I can go virtually anywhere around the world and never leave my office. Why waste time and money on a greasy head rest, high priced peanuts, smelly passengers and to be confined in either lines or an aluminum tube for any length of time. None of that is productive. I have but one life and I don't want to spend it in and airport or in an over stuffed flying hotdog at 35,000 feet with whining babies, flue ridden people, cranky flight crews all for an empty promise of on time performance. No Thanks, I'll pass!

    April 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  26. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    When you have someone in your family who has 21 years employment as a domestic and international flight attendant and comes home safely, I feel very safe flying. However, riding in a car when she's driving, that's a whole different story.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  27. R. Lopez in South TX

    I feel safe enough to walk to my seat and then pray silently that no one is taking their job responsibility lightly, maintenance or pilots or security or engineers or safety inspectors or quality assurance or construction crews or the people in the control tower. It takes very little to change the outcome and everybody has to be 100% on their game every minute they are on the job. Impossible... but I like my vacations so I just hope and pray my "number" isn't up when I get on the plane.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  28. Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: If I make it back..........then I feel real safe......Otherwise, God himself is not secure, having given man dominion over his work.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  29. Joan

    Bush has done away with all regulatory practices, whether it be the FDA, the banking system, employer safety etc, and we know how that went – poisoned food from China, sub prime loans, mine collapses etc, why would the FAA be any different, so the answer is 'I don't feel safe at all'
    Joan North Carolina

    April 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  30. Martin (La Paz, Bolivia)

    Safer now that I know that the airlines and the FAA are doing the job that they should have been doing months ago. So it's probably best to fly now before they once again let their standards drop, which I suppose is inevitable.

    April 3, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  31. Dan in Goodyear, Arizona

    I am one of those people that feels anxiety when I am on airplanes. I have taken a few of those long flights from Phoenix to see my family in Chicago and I get nervous. In order to calm down my anxiety I drink ginger ale when I am on the airplane. However I feel that flying is actually the fastest and safest way to travel. Also with Southwest even though they have been in the news lately I have always felt safe flying with them.

    Goodyear, Arizona

    April 3, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  32. JoAnn in Iowa

    I feel lots less safe than I used to feel! Safety should be more important than profits. If flying becomes more dangerous, we stop flying.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  33. David Kinney from Lexington, NC

    With the gazillion other problems associated with flying ... I am rarely able to focus on my safety while in the air. Being herded like cattle through security, rude service from airline employees, plane delays, overbooked flights, service carts scraping people's knees, absolutely no leg room, the smallest seats outside of a Broadway theatre, the screaming child in 17-A, etc.add up all of this and you can't worry about the safety concerns that are beyond my control and often hidden from me. I feel as safe as I feel comfortable. HA!

    April 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  34. Don Blue Springs, Missouri

    Since I lived overseas for years I have flown around the world several times over. There have been some near misses especially in Asia that got everyone on the flight excited. Now I only fly when I have to get somewhere that I can't go some other way. I don't think flying is as safe as my driving since I have driven for over 50 years and have never had a accident, I don't think the airlines have that good a record.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  35. Ken Mattheis

    The Bush Administration and its Republican sycophants in congress have made it unsafe for us in every aspect of our daily lives, including flying. Bush has put people from, owing to or sympathetic to the very industries they are supposed to be overseeing on our behalf in charge of overseeing them. This is all done out of corporate greed and with unprecedented corporate influence over a president, his administration and his party. These greedy unprincipled administrators will all got back to or find cushy jobs in the industries they were supposed to be overseeing. They will become wealthy, or more wealthy, because they sold their souls to the highest bidder. There should be a large section in the hottest part of hell reserved for these folks.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  36. Jerry, Fayetteville Tennessee

    I've never been comfortable in the air despite the statistics indicating air travel being much safer than private automobiles – I can only hope the airlines don't see that difference as wiggle room for lax airline safety.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  37. Ralph at NYC

    If the airlines are not checking their planes and making necessary repairs and/or adjustments as is recommended by the manufacturer and our government, then this adds to my worries about flying on planes, especially from US companies. Previously, my greatest worry was from terrorism, and because they are so strict about security and protecting planes from being shot down, as well as necessary repairs, etc., perhaps Israel should run the airlines of this country.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  38. Eugene in Northern California

    Jack since we began outsourcing aircraft maintenance, to the lowest bidder, for several years now, I refuse to fly. Out of my last three flights, I only got off the ground, on two. One blew an engine last year, at 20.000 feet and we were forces to land, at Salt Lake City, with one engine. The worst is yet to come Jack. You can't cut corners, when it comes, to aircraft maintanance, or the planes will start falling out of the sky.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  39. Ronald

    Safer than my luggage . . . and I've never been through Heathrow in London!

    April 3, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  40. Leevaughn Brown

    I don't fly anymore, because of the problems they have now. In 1994 I took my last commercial flight. I was in the Army, so I figured the airlines were doing the same thing that the Army was doing. Using the same machines over and over again.
    I asked myself, "Would Delta or any of them have any problem with me flying in a plane with old parts and new screws?" "Would they do a thorough inspection of the plane or fill it up and get it flying again?"
    The answer I came up with made me stop flying.
    When airlines are cancelling flights for maintainence, that tells you all you need to know!
    Cinti, Ohio

    April 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  41. mitchell martin ark.

    who the hell can afford to fly?and why would anyone want to?i don't even like going to the airport to pick someone up.i wonder how much greenhouse gas we could save,if we got rid of commercial airlines?why would anyone want to be frisked,have their personal belongings gone through,have someone poking their nose in your 3-years old sneakers,and having x-ray porno -shots of themselves taken by strangers?jack?did you know they won't even let you take your marijuana with you ,on vacation?why even go?

    April 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  42. Bruce St Paul MN

    I try not to think about it while I am actually flying. When I am on the ground, it seems pretty risky to fly. A few years ago while I was visiting Arizona, the airline I flew in on was scolded for not doing routine maintenance inspections. Although my flight in had been easy as pie, my flight out was chaos. We changed gates three times, we finally had a plane, but no crew, we left and then returned, deboarded and waited for a different plane at a different gate. I guess they were trying to get their inspections done. On a different airline, we were stranded on the runway becuase the plane would not start. I watched through the window as a pickup truck pulled alongside and jumped the plane with jumper cables. The FAA, like all oversight agencies, is more accountable to the industry than to the public. How can we undo the government/corporate merger?

    April 3, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  43. Les Young Oklahoma

    Jack since I have retired I don't have to fly any more and would fly only on a special occasion. However I think most people feel some what uneasy when flying. Before all this crap going on with the FAA.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  44. Scott L. - Wichita, Kansas

    Jack, I work for a major aircraft company, and have a Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering. I know what is going on pretty much every second during a flight, and know how much redundancy goes into everything a plane does. I feel perfectly safe, just as I hope everyone flying in our planes does.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  45. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    as safe as I can knowing that the bolts are connected with safety wire and the faa doesn't do their jobs

    April 3, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  46. Richard Sternagel

    This is an outrage that airlines would sacrifice safety over profits! What feelings I had over safe flying have now disappeared!

    April 3, 2008 at 3:29 pm |

    Not safe at all. To the extent that to fly anytime in the predictable future I have to be fitted with wings so my destiny will be in my hands, not in the hands of a drunk pilot, playing Russian roulette in the cockpit of an unserviceable airplane. This scenario is a recipe for disaster which is exactly what air travel promises with all the news coming from the industry. Why all the airport screening if airlines, apparently, have taken over from Al Queda as sources of terror in the air. Grey hound for president.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  48. Deb

    Not very safe. Cutbacks and not inspecting cargo underneath the plane from companies that have questionable employees scares me alot. Flying is such a hassel nowadays who wants to fly anywhere. It takes a whole day to just get to point A to point B. It's frustrating, scary and just plain repulsive

    April 3, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  49. Nora. South Texas

    I have always flown Southwest, I am just glad I am here to post a comment!!!

    April 3, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  50. Chuck in Eugene Oregon


    I am a retired US Army Airtraffic controller. The last time I flew was in Dec 96 going into San Francisco. Knowing what I do as to Aviation Safety, and the FAA Rules, I had the crap scared out of me one too many times. On three separate flights there were three incidents that now keep me from flying, near collison while taxing for departure (SF), and near mid air collision with a smaller aircraft (Chicago), and finally a disgruntal passanger that decided to take it out their frustration on passangers and flight staff (Atlanta). Do I feel safe NO WAY, especially with this inspection thing going on and the obvious poor working conditions of FAA Controllers. In my day there was a mandated maximum number of hours that could be worked during a shift, minimum number of hours in between shifts, maximum hours per week that could be worked, as well number of consecutive days that could be worked before a mandated 24 hour break came into play. Now from what I am hearing those requirements have gone out the window due to shortages of controllers and lack of budget to hire more.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  51. Greg - Indiana

    After 20 years as an aircraft mechanic, I still find it amazing Congress, the FAA ,the NTSB or anyone else thinks they can intelligently discuss Airline Safety without input from mechanics. But yes, airplanes are safe. Are their oversight concerns especially where overseas maintenance is concerned, yes. Is congress or anyone else going to do anything about it, no.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  52. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    I don't fly much anymore since I got downsized in my job. The last time I flew in 2003, I felt safe. I guess ignorance is bliss or at least you have to take less blood pressure medicine. The only time I flew that year that I didn't feel real safe was on a flight from Charlotte, NC to Gainesville, FL on a relatively small airplane that took over 2 hours to do this flight. The flight attendant sat behind a little curtain in the front and enjoyed a dinner while we were served cold drinks. Can't say much for the hospitality either.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  53. Bill in St. Cloud, FL

    Not as safe as I did a week ago! And hey, the prices keep going up and quality of service keeps going down.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  54. kb from Iowa

    I worry more about getting to the airport with the crazy cell phone talking , road rage, automobile drivers, than I do about taking off in the plane.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  55. Terry From California

    I don't feel safe at all. I don't enjoy flying now that the airlines can hold you hostage. Whatever, happened to customer service?

    April 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  56. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    This case is just one of many organizational and governmental failures we've encountered in the past couple years where it is becoming more and more disgusting to see red tape and bureaucracy get in the way of the safety and well-being of millions of American people.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  57. Johnny 5 in Oak Lawn, IL

    I use to fly all of the time, Jack. I drive now, it's faster.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  58. Paulette Dallas,PA

    I don't feel safe at all. Fire all FAA staffers and replace them with qualified people rather than political hacks! Impose expensive and rigid fines on the airlines. Bring back the policy they used during WWII. My Dad was a machinist and worked on the planes brought to Pensicola Florida from the European theatre. The crew that fixed the plane was the first crew to test drive that plane. Very few errors occurred when responsibility for their own safety was placed upon the repair crews.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  59. Andre / Florida

    Jack – I'm a nervous flyer who never "feels" safe. But statistics don't lie, flying is the safest form of travel.

    Esculating fuel prices and economic issues will cause this industry along with many others to cut corners so it's never a good policy to rely on company officials to protect you at their expense.

    Flight safety ultimately is in the hands of the flight crew and your personal faith, and not necessarily in that order.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  60. marie in sc

    Never have – But now it's even worse because my fears were well founded!

    April 3, 2008 at 3:47 pm |

    safety doesn't seem to be a concern with the faa or the airlines. they're more concerned with terrorists in short skirts or nipple rings. i quit flying now because the stupidity level of even boarding a plane is idiotic, let alone feeling safe. i liked it better when flight attendants were stewardesses and the pilots didn't join the party. it was more fun.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  62. April in texas

    Well if I could afford to fly I would tell ya but if I were to fly I wouldnt feel too safe with all these issues the airlines are now having.

    April in Austin Texas
    Obama 08

    April 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  63. Terry in Hanover, VA

    I never fly any more. Between the crowds at the airport, the nightly news reporting on the latest airline crash, lack of oversight by the FAA, cracked windshields, terrorists, lack of air marshalls, the FAA, small planes landing on busy highways, the FAA, planes crashing into homes, drunken pilots, the FAA, underserviced aircraft - forget it. If God had wanted me to fly, I would've been born with wings and a rudder and the FAA wouldn't have to keep explaining its incompetence to Congress.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  64. earl illingsworth

    I've always felt safe, until this report came out. Finally, I'll have a reason to drive, or take a train, a more relaxing, and scenic venue to begin with! No more long lines, and getting frisked. What's even more worrisome/freightening is the fact ,that one of these flights crashing because of negligence, and the government (pin the tail on the donkey) blaming the terrorist?

    April 3, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  65. Tyne from Colorado

    Well I guess I feel just about as safe as anyone who rides in a big metal machine that hovers several thousand feet in the air. I guess the good thing is that people are coming forward and admiting there is a problem. If only we could get Bush to do that about the economy...or Iraq.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  66. Kevin- Webster, MA

    I have no problem flying. It's crashing that scares the hell out of me. I am not crazy about old planes with shoddy maintaince, and a zillion miles. I hate airlines and the way they treat you from the ticket counter to baggage claim. Give me a car, boat or train any day.

    April 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  67. Laura

    Anyone notice that there have been less inspection ...and less crashes ... is there a correlation maybe?

    April 3, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  68. Scott

    As long as it's built in France, I feel safe.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  69. Steve W., EHT, NJ

    Never was crazy about flying and seeing how our government cares less and less about the public, I am even more afraid. I like driving more; there may be more accidents, but you're more likely to survive an automobile accident than an air traffic accident.

    The air traffic control system has needed an overhaul for years now, yet hasn't been done.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  70. W B in Las Vegas

    as a retired captain for one of the original "legacy" airlines, I can assure you that IF the flying public knew even HALF of what I saw during my years of service, which included a two year period after 9-11, they wouldn't get NEAR an airliner. the FAA is nothing but a "lap dog" of airline management going back to the Reagan administration when Frank Lorenzo was allowed to bust the unions during the Continental and Eastern Air Lines strikes. he was cheating on maintenance (you thought this is a NEW thing?) and used foreign "green card scabs", that could barely speak English, as pilots while the FAA LOOKED the OTHER WAY. the "Fuzz", as we called them, are more interested in busting some pilot or mechanic for some minor paper work violation than truely inforcing safety rules that might cost their corporate masters money.

    my wife and I have lifetime retirement passes with our former company but we only fly if it's a family emergency.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  71. Velle In Halifax

    Jack, I first flew in 1962...loved it! I've traveled alot by plane and always enjoyed it. I last flew in 1995 and felt like I wanted a refund. What a joke the industry has become. Trying to run airlines like busses is the stupidest business move I've ever seen. They used to not schedule more flights than the occupancy could pay for...they made profits. Now they try to cater to frequent fliers and schedule flights so often that not enough seats are sold to pay for the flight. So they try to "homoginize" their profits by overcharging "lesser flights" to pay for their business shuttles. Distance and weight are no longer the price criteria for tickets. Also, running "shuttle flights" less than half full still produces the same amount of pollution...but hey, let's not let fresh air stand in the way of profits.
    When my parents came to visit for a vacation 3 years ago, my dad's stories of "airport security" gave new meaning to "hire the handicapped". The morons hired to maintain security should be first tested for personality disorders. My father didn't know whether to laugh or cry after giving 26 years to the FAA. Me...I just don't trust people with my life who show so little functioning grey-matter.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  72. Maggie Gaucher

    The FAA and Southwest Airlines should be ashamed of themselves knowing that their planes were not safe and putting the public in danger. When I fly I feel that the airline and the crew are doing their best to get me to my destination safetly. I think about those pilots and the brave passangers that day on 9/11 they did everything to make sure that the passengers would be safe and they had no control. Today The FAA and Southwest or any other airlines that cover up dangerous situations when it impacts the publics safety should hang their heads in shame.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  73. Chryssa

    I recently flew to Austin, TX on Southwest Airlines. Just before landing, the pilot announced part of the plane's landing gear wasn't working. His solution? "Give those seatbelts an extra tug, folks, and keep your cell phones handy." We had a scary landing and fuond a dozen firetrucks, police cars and ambulances waiting for us.

    To answer your question, Jack: Not safe at all.

    Boise, Idaho

    April 3, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  74. Brian in West Hollywood, CA

    I always feel safe! The amount of training and experience each pilot and co-pilot has to go through just to have the privilege of sitting upfront in an airliner is tremendous.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  75. James S. Lenon - TN

    Even if I were willing to put up with being treated like cattle, seated in a space 33% too small, subjected to crying children, and hordes of passengers trying to stuff the weight of another aircraft into the overhead while using their cell phones to demonstrate their importance, I somehow can't get past the feeling that somewhere yet another CEO has traded maintenance for profits. Truthfully, I recall It was safer and less noisy flying into a hot landing zone in VietNam than flying courtesy of today's American aviation industry.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  76. Fred from TN

    Well.. this is a scary one Jack. They're seaching passengers.. but not the plane! I'm going Greyhound!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  77. Ann, Newton, New Jersey

    This is one of the reasons I do not fly and probably never will. I'll take my chances on the road. At least I know my car has no safety or luggage problems and God willing, will get me where I'm going.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  78. Paul

    If I ever have to fly I will be saying my prayers.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  79. Roger Beck

    add me to Dave's comment. I don't fly. I won't fly. I don't care about any statisitics; they PROVE nothing except that a bunch of people can be hoodwinked into believing that they are safe, suspended 30 thousand feet in the air in some metal, rubber and plastic tube that only temporarily has managed to defeat the law of gravity. Have a NICE day!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  80. Linda, Vancouver WA

    My husband travels constantly due to his job. Recently on one airline carrier, four of his flights were cancelled on one round trip due to mechanical failures. At the time he was upset over the delays and changes in flight schedules, but looking back now, I am thrilled one carrier cancelled those flights instead of putting him on a plane that might fall apart in the air!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  81. Ellen from Berlin Connecticut

    The candidate I would least like to see in the White House is Hillary Clinton. When her claws come out, she scares me. In addition to the "witch" factor, I don't trust her - or her husband! They would say or do anything to get back in the White House - they are trying to make history, not just as the first female president, but also the only married couple to have held the presidential post.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  82. Anthony (An American in England)

    I read an article a few days ago about the severe lack of air marshals on board a large majority of commercial flights. Now planes aren't safe because the FAA won't do it's job? You know, I never did buy that "flying is the safest form of travel" line. I travel back to the States from the UK in June...I'll check the docks for any ships going my way.

    London, England

    April 3, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  83. Jim

    After 8 years of Bush, neither of these candidates will be able to fix this mess. We need Moses. Maybe he can lead us out of the captivity Bush has put America in.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  84. Paul T

    Jack, the FAA doesn't name the 4 U.S. airlines it is investigating yet your column includes a photo of Southwest Airlines. Hmmm...I must have missed something. Not too mention the United Airlines fiasco and the cancelation of all flights on 777 yersterday. Does the FAA think the flying public is stupid because both airlines listed this information on their websites. I need calgon.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  85. Joe in DE

    About as safe as walking down the street at night.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  86. Tony - Rhode Island

    Jack –
    How safe do I feel when I fly?? It's all a gamble. You would think by now that the FAA would understand that safety is the number one priority and not the promotion of air travel. The government can place all the regulations it wants for air worthiness, but if the people charged with enforcing those regulations don't do their jobs it's all for nothing. Heck, maybe the TSA will allow us to bring caulk on the planes so we can fix any cracks ourselves! If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  87. T Brockman Chicago

    Jack, I haven't flown anywhere in over two years. It's too much of a headache. There's no guarantee you will get where you are going in any reasonable length of time. And being held hostage by long waits in security lines, on an airplane or at an airport by mechanical problems has taken all the joy out of air travel for me. For now, at least, my husband and I are driving – despite the high cost of gas.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  88. Darren S.

    I feel perfectly safe when I fly ... it;s the landing I worry about.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  89. Bob in Houston

    Jack – I have to travel out to California on business in 2 weeks. I've got tickets on Southwest. You want to go in my place???

    April 3, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  90. Louis Ray


    I feel very safe when I am flying my own airplane, where I am responsible for adherance with all ADs (Airworthiness Directives) and other maintenance requirements.

    I do not feel particularly safe flying in the back of an airplane run by a company which is trying to survive by cutting every corner they can. I fly commercially, when I must, but it is not as safe as it could be.


    April 3, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  91. judi

    This is SO Bush! FEMA, FDA, wiretaps with telecom complicity , Toys from China with lead, and on and on. So, it really doesn't make a bit of difference if I take off my shoes, sweater or jacket, dump any cosmetics into plastic bags (the appropriate size only), and board the airplane with 2 million other travelers (that's a feel like number, but close), because we are not safe...the flippin planes have cracks and holes and incorrectly applied wiring and windshields that shatter all known by the airlines and the FAA....just not the poor fools who bought the ticket to ride.
    Thank God for whistleblowers!!! We need to put these criminal agencies and airlines out of business and we better do it quickly ! Bush et al in the dock at the Hague is the answer!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  92. Brian


    I feel pretty safe, even though my inner paranoia is constantly trying to convince me that the wings are going to fall off every time we hit some turbulence. Maybe with all of the reports of failing airplanes I should listen to the voices more?

    Moscow, Idaho

    April 3, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  93. Doug

    Over 40,000 people die in automobile accidents in the U.S. each year. Roughly equivalent to 2 fully loaded jumbo jets crashing and killing everyone on board .... each week.

    Let's face it, if the airline industry had that kind of safety record there would be such a public outcry that not only would people refuse to fly, the Government would shut them down.

    Perhaps we're asking the wrong question. Perhaps we should be asking how safe do you feel to drive?

    April 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  94. Rick

    I feel extremely safe, especially on Southwest Airlines. This situation may seem serious, but I know that Southwest Airline's safety record is unparalleled in the USA, and the world. I wonder how many of the other airlines have secrets in their maintainence closets...Stop picking on the best airline in the skies today.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  95. Ken in Pinon Hills,CA

    I haven’t felt safe about flying or any other regulations meant to protect the safety and health of our citizens. Unsafe toys, unsafe prescription drugs, unsafe food, unsafe water and air, is a result of the conservative politician willingness to turn their backs on us when regulation inhibits profit. Wasn’t it a conservative President Reagan who fired the air traffic controllers over wages and jeopardized the flying public’s safety? Didn’t he serve notice and give permission to disregard public safety?
    It is criminal to knowingly ignore regulations that have possibly injured thousands, maybe millions of citizen’s health, and caused countless unnecessary deaths.
    Then there is that Yahoo in the White House telling us how he is keeping us safe from terrorism.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  96. john marlton, nj

    I feel safer in the airplane than in the airport. Our airports look like paramilitary staging areas. I am afraid with all these paranoid want-a-be Rambos walking around with machine guns sooner or later some of these people are going to blow a fuse and the term going postal is going to be replaced with the term going “airport” or “terminal” if you know what I mean. .

    April 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  97. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    It isn't so much a matter of feeling safe, which I do, but of feeling . . . well, mistreated. Unwanted. Misused. Mishandled. Like the airline is doing me a favor by letting me fly.

    TSA is very unprofessional, rude, arbitrary, highly political. The airlines – yes, each and every one of them – are unprofessional, rude, arbitrary, highly political. They both exist simply because it takes too much time to drive from Portland to Charlotte, and we are all in too much of a hurry.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  98. Ted, Beaverton, OR

    Flying is by far the safest mode of travel. In spite of the failings of the FAA and contrivances with the bottom line of Airlines. If you drive, you're probably more likely to drive over a bridge or overpass that will collapse due to lack of maintenance dollars. These are all compliments of the non regulated borrow and spend Bush GOP that has also grabbed your house through non regulated lenders. And people ask why the Democrats have to tax and spend....dduuhh... Hello GOP, you can't borrow your way out of debt. See how it's all relative?

    April 3, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  99. Lauren

    Terrified. This is why I have to take prescription medication to set foot on a plane!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  100. yiayia

    hey jack..i do not fly unless no other choice..we drive, have all our luggage, and do not have any annoying people in our car..we also have garmin..so jack, come along with us..oh i forgot, "annoying people not welcome"..JUST KIDDING, JACK! GET YOUR OWN SHOW!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  101. john from Canada

    Most of you guys are pathetic! Everyone knows its a heck of a lot safer to fly than to drive. The airport hassles come with the territory if you don't want Osama and his cronies on your plane. Driving in Canada/U.S. is fine if that's your choice, but if yor mum lives in England or your job takes you to Hong Kong you have NO CHOICE! And by the way the most exilerating times of my life have come travelling abroad in beautiful countries I got to . . . ON A PLANE!!! No other way! Try driving to Barbados! A few weeks of ecstacy are worth a few hours of hassle.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  102. Carl

    You're more than likely going to die from cancer, an automobile accident or a heart attack than a plane crash.

    Where's the testimony on chemical polluters that must answer to Congress? Where's the testimony on automobile safety that must answer to Congress? Where's the testimony on the food and advertising agencies that must answer to Congress?

    It seems we're far too concerned about what "could happen" instead of "what has happened" or "is happening."

    April 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  103. Ralph

    Don't fly. Couldn't afford it until recently. Disabled, can't travel. The air fleet is very old (average plane 14 years old), need for new planes which means lots of jobs if we can finance them. Like everything else today, it is falling apart. Drastic need for leadership in the White House. We need to "renew" America. Rick, Yakima, Wa.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  104. Matt

    This one incident doesnt mean airplanes are unsafe. The FAA mandates that airplanes be totally redundent, and that they are built with the highest quality parts and equipment. This one incident refering to the planes sheet metel pass the AD just means that it needs to be checked for corrosion, and cracks. If it does have a crack or corrosion and isnt checked, It's not going to fall out of the sky, the worst that would happen is the plane would depressurize. Im a pilot on the Boeing 737 and there safe. If they were not, I would not risk my life or my passengers life.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  105. Bill in New London, CT

    Very safe, Jack. Nothing is going to get through after 9/11. I'm almost possitive. Almost. Even if it did, we are no longer ignorant of the intentions of terrorists. If a hijacking did occur, it would be Flight 93 all over again. The terrorists know that, so I can't imagine them trying the same stunt again.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  106. Mark in Nashville

    This year I'm giving up flying for many of the reasons previously stated and because of another startling fact I heard recently on NPR. Apparently, since Reagan fired ALL the air traffic controllers twenty-sum-odd years ago, they were all replaced at the same time and all those that are still with the FAA are about to retire...all at once. Since the FAA got the upper hand back then, apparently they have been real pains to work for and no one feels like sticking around or doing them any favors. Low pay and poor working conditions are making it hard to find or train replacements. I sure don't want to put my life in the middle of that mess and be humiliated, treated like garbage and overcharged to boot.

    April 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  107. EBC

    Pleeezzz if Americans think we are MORE safe then before, we are fooling ourselves. The government will NOT spend the monies needed to insure our safety. They would rather WASTE the millions of dollars on their stupid Earmark pet projects than spend it on protecting Americans. That's just how ignorant our politicians are!!!

    April 3, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  108. Ralph, Long Island, NY

    Considering that I never fly anymore, I feel very safe when I don't fly.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  109. James

    Sorry I was putting some of the "blame" on the media...I stand corrected. A quote from above "This is SO Bush!" What was i thinking...when all else fails blame it on Bush. The paint on my house is peeling, can I blame that on Bush too?

    James in Wichita Kansas

    April 3, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  110. Thomas

    I feel as safe as I can. I've been involved in many automobile accidents, those of which I was driving and those of which I wasn't. Even had bicycle and motorcycle accidents. I've had accidents playing sports, while working and even sitting in a dentist's chair. I've had accidents running, walking, and if fact, one time I almost choked to death while eatting. The only accident I had in an airplane was when one was run into by a baggage cart. We had to switch to another plane. So, I give airplanes a thumbs up. If I could fly to the airport and forget the auto, I would.

    Yo.town, OH

    April 3, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  111. Adam from Dallas


    Flying is a luxury. Try taking a boat to Hawaii or Europe. If you have to fly for work and you don't like it, get another job!

    There are so many other things to be affraid of like thousands of drunk drivers in EVERY city and town, lots of idiots with guns and lots of (INSERT FANTICAL CAUSE HERE) people.

    Security: Play by the rules and be prepared. Check as much as you can and be ready to get frisked, it's not a big deal.

    Food: Whoever said the airlines have to feed us. If you fly coach buy food in the terminal. If you want a semi-decent meal with unlimited alcohol pay for the upgrade.

    Always get an exit row seat for space…also if you wait until the last minute to book your flight don't get upset when you ask me to switch seats (and I won’t) to a middle seat so you and your wife can sit together on our flight to Hawaii.

    When all else fails just order some more wine and watch another DVD on your laptop. It's funny how quickly you will forget about it all!

    April 3, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  112. Patricia

    I feel completely safe flying, Jack. Just look at the statistics!

    Oh, and regarding my two grown children who responded before me today (see "Brian and Chryssa")–they should feel lucky they have the money to fly and just relax.

    Boise, ID

    April 3, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  113. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Federal regulation has been completely abandoned by the Bush Administration.

    I don't feel any safer flying than taking a pill or going outside for some 'fresh air'.

    George W. Bush has completely destroyed our government. Any one who 'blows the whistle' is ignored, fired or forced to retire –
    US attorneys who prosecute Republicans;
    Generals who say we need more troops, body armor...;
    weather men who alert us to a category 4 or 5 hurricane;
    Admirals who disagree and send out alarms;
    scientists who warn of 'global warming';
    border security agents who go to jail for shooting drug dealers at the border:
    intelligence officers who report no Iraq WMD...

    ... now, it is FAA workers.

    Who is next?

    291 more days.

    That's what we all have to wait to get rid of this administration that believes greedy US corporations will be ethical and police themselves.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  114. Jim - Orland Hills, IL

    I have an excellent comment to share after this quick break and a word from your local station. Stay tuned.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  115. Allen von Hartwell

    Jack, regarding our dangerous skies, people living in California are in far more danger from earthquakes and other natural disasters, yet no one is running around like Chicken Little telling them they have to move or die. Who is the media trying to screw this time?
    Hartwell, GA, USA

    April 3, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  116. Alfie --- Palmdale, Cal.

    I will not fly anywhere until the screeners can do their job effectively. Now we find out that the planes are not inspected or repaired as needed? I will stick to driving Jack. I have no faith in the aviation industry as it stands today, and doubt I ever will. I would be more likely to let Mr. Scott lead me to the transporter room, and 'beam' me somewhere, then to fly in any of those 'garbage scowls'.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  117. stephanie

    Jack, after looking at the news since the Southwest Airlines story broke, I'm not feeling that more people get killed driving than flying applies to truth being told anymore. Looks like the Train wins! stephanie/houston,tx.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  118. Tony,.......Lou, Ky.

    Jack............Since its overseen by our govt, I dont feel safe at all! Do you know of ANY govt agency that has actually done its job for the people? I'd rather walk than to be a statistic!

    April 3, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  119. John in San Diego

    Jack, I feel very safe when I fly, but that's in spite of government safety and security oversight, not because of it.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  120. Scott L. - Wichita, Kansas

    As an engineer for a major aircraft design company, I have to say I'm perfectly safe on an aircraft. I know what I have to put into my work, and don't understand why people WOULDN'T feel safe on an aircraft. They're overdesigned in every aspect in order to significantly decrease the chances of anything going on. You are more likely to be eaten by a shark than die on a plane. No one asks if you feel safe in a bathing suit, do they?

    April 3, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  121. Todd

    Jack, that depends upon whether or not you're on the plane with me. I'll allow you to decipher that for yourself.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  122. R.L. Featherly

    Flying is, in general safer today than ever before, but this does certailny not excuse SW Air for trying to circumvent the very system that keeps flying safe! When linked with Bushies in the FAA, who appear to be typically selected for their past favors/relationships vs ability to do the job you get a deadly formula... and road (flt?) to disaster. – Bob

    April 3, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  123. PMH

    America can't complete globally, that's the reason and justification for awarding contracts to overseas companies, the reason telephone companies can't find enough qualified workers to provide customer service. Notice the alarming graduation rates are in the largest cities, where the largest group of minorities reside. It's amaziing that the elected officials in these states voting for change for all americans, don't care enough about the education of the minorities in their state. Maybe officials belief Obama is a different kind of minority. America hasn't changed. Poor minorities still receive less funding and education than white suburban schools in the same state. No one cares about bringiing this kind of CHANGE!

    April 3, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  124. Taj

    Now that we are made aware of many problems, I am a bit concerned. Can we trust FAA, Airlines, drunken pilots, inspections etc.
    I prefer to drive & avoid the trips I do not have to make. I only fly if I have to. I never liked South-West but I will fly the one's with good record.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  125. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    I havn't flown since 9-11, and I hope I never have to. I have 2 artificial hips, and some other problems. I guess I am more afraid of being detained than I am of terroist plots. Flying is a worse hassle than it's worth to me. So I just don't do it. California has everything, Mountains, Beaches, Desert, my family, my friends, my horses and pets. Why leave? I can go anywhere I want in my little Prius, and still have enough money for dinner wherever I go.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  126. Vern Willan

    Not as safe as we should be entitled to feel. The problem is deep rooted in that most FAA maintenance inspectors are not qualified on many fronts:
    1. Have minimal qualifications
    2. Have little or no real maintenance experience (low level or high level)
    3. Are not prepared to think and act critically
    The above listed shortcomings result in inspectors that lack the confidence to take or defend positions that don’t support Airline management’s desire to stay on schedule at all cost.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  127. Vince Stein in Galesburg, IL

    I've never felt unsafe flying, except on September 8, 2001 when I went to Dallas, but that was the first time I ever flew.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  128. Andy Fairfax, VA

    Once the aircraft is at cruising altitude I'm all right with flying. When the aircraft is either executing take-off or landing manouvers I develop an intensely religious liason with God. I pray, admit my regret for my sins, and make promises I will never be able to keep. In short, I'm terrified.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  129. Mark Oklahoma City, OK

    Jack, I feel perfectly safe in the air, it's when I get back in my car with all the other idiots on the road, that's when I feel UNSAFE!

    April 3, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  130. stephanie

    Jack, After looking at the news(since the Southwest Airline story broke), scarry. I'm not feeling that more people get killed driving than flying applies to the trurth being told anymore. Looks like the Train wins! stephanie/Houston,Tx.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  131. Dave in Astoria

    Jack, I often think of the Twilight Zone movie that has a man in a plane, deathly afraid, looking out the window, and seeing some sort of monster sitting on the wing, throwing pieces of the plane into the engine while mocking the frightened observer. All the while, the man is trying to get someone to believe him that there's a problem. A striking resemblance, it seems to the current administration that can't see that THEY are the problem.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  132. Tim

    Are there drunk drivers in the air. In other words as safe flying as i do driving.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  133. Jpinion

    as a person who plans to fly continential air line on April 25, –May 14,08 ; I think I have the right to know if my airline is one of the (4) US airlines to be investigated.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  134. Tim

    There are a lot less aircraft accidents than in the past and that is a fact.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  135. johnny

    I feel pretty scared Do you know what steps are being taken to certify our safety?
    Do you see how TSA people treat you at the airport?
    They are a bunch of rude people. I do not think they are qualified enough to do their job.

    Keyport, NJ

    April 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  136. Yasir

    How safe do you feel when you fly?

    Hi Jack, nice concise devise but no dice. The formulation of the circulation was a miscalculation. The question implies ability to measure the felt level of safeness. Since how was used as a measure of extent. Would 73% be OK? Another blather is the incorrect retrospection of time. Sense of tense is immense lens into dense. Asking about the unknowable is unswallowable. Nevertheless, complicity in eccentricity is febricity.

    April 3, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  137. Faye in Ohio

    About as safe as John McCain would feel having David Letterman as his campaign manager...

    April 3, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  138. Deb from Lancaster, PA

    Well, it's like this...airline after airline is grounding planes to check for maintenance dereliction, courtesy of an FAA that is sleeping with the airlines (How about an investigation here, CNN?). In my experience, the degree of scrutiny depends upon where you are and at what time of day. In January, one airline permitted my 6 ounce bottle of foot lotion while another confiscated it on the return trip. What makes me nervous are the blatant inconsistencies in the system. I'm just a little 55-year-old wife with four kids and a grandchild, so their inconsistencies are safe with me. But what about the dangerous one whose lotion was not confiscated...and it turns out to be explosive?

    April 3, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  139. Carol Geissler

    Dear Jack,

    Orson Welles said "there are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror. The FAA is not boring me these days.

    New York

    April 3, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  140. MadPlato

    I feel safer once the plane has landed or has taken off. It's those two times when something bad could happen. The few times that I have been onTrans-Atlantic and Tran-Pacific flights were heavenly. No bumps. Very quiet. And, yes, I liked the airline food. I wasn't in First Class, either.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  141. Cal Barton

    i did before i knew that commercial airlines are much more interested in running a successful and profitable business rather than insuring the safety of its passengers. its amazing how some would rather endanger peoples lives than lose money.

    Cal B
    Columbia, SC

    April 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  142. Christi, Carlsbad CA

    Oh great, Thanks Jack.
    I have been flying around afraid for years. Now, I am flying to PA on Wednesday to volunteer for Barack Obama and I would like to know if the airline I am booked on is one the FAA is investigating, so I could switch airlines.
    I am not thrilled to have heard this news.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  143. John

    I feel safer flying than when I board a train, ride a bus, and get in the car every morning before I head into work. I feel safer flying than when I take a cruise ship, go sailing, swim in the ocean or, for that matter, swim at the local pool. I feel safer flying than when I ride a snowmobile, pedal my bicycle, hike a mountain, walk down the street or take a shower in the morning. The fact is that flying is safer than all of these – and it's never been more safe. Your sensationalism and tongue-wagging from these recent minor incidents is enough to scare anyone from ever flying again. Until tomorrow and the next day and the next, when they once again perilously take their lives into their own hands and board a flight for the safest period of time they will experience all day.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  144. Raymond from VA

    Jack, I already avoid flying whenever possible due to the ridiculous lines, hold-ups on the tarmac, and scrutinizing security – I'll keep my shoes, thank you very much. This news about an obvious collusion between the FAA and major airlines is just one more issue that makes me even more apprehensive about flying.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  145. Tess

    The FFA dropped the ball with security, they dropped the ball with airline plane safety, and the are dropping the ball with understaffing the controllers. We should all be outraged.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  146. Jaycie, Los Angeles

    Safe? I'm afraid to even go near an airport, much less fly! At this rate, we won't have to worry so much about terrorists shooting one of our passenger planes out of the sky; we can bring 'em down ourselves courtesy of poor maintenance, no outsourcing required.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  147. Nomad Janet

    I feel safe when I fly. There are more defective unsafe vehicles on the road than there are plans in the air. The thing that bothers me about air travel is the thing that bothers me about everything in our country, out sourcing everything from maintenance to scheduling to customer service. I travel 6-10 times a year for business and every trip I am amazed by the declining condition of customer service and civility.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  148. Christopher Quintana

    The airlines loose so much luggage every day that all airlines have offices staffed with personnel in all luggage claims who handle nothing but lost luggage...and I am supposed to feel confident that they can get ME from point Ato point B????? Let us not forget also that the airlines are so poorly run by their fat -cat CEO's who make tens of millions of dollars a year that the terrorists of 911 preyed upon their many weaknesses to kill all those innocent people and wreak havoc on our way of life. NO!!! I do not feel safe on airlines!!!!!!!

    Chris Quintana
    Santa Fe, NM

    April 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  149. Norma

    I used to feel safe flying and even looked forward to it. Now I'm not so sure. My trust has been given a good boot in the pants and I haven't made up my mind if I'm going to fly very soon or not.

    San Diego

    April 3, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  150. Ryan

    Jack, there was a time when I did feel safe, but not anymore. When the organization that is suposed to protect me from this is not doing their job, and I have no idea which airlines are safe and which are not, it's downright scary to even think about getting on a commercial airliner now days.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  151. Darryl

    About as safe as I do when I vote... blind luck. Businesses and politicians say one thing to get our business or votes and ultimately do another to save a buck or further their own interests. Unfortunately, we don't usually know about these things until its too late. After all I voted for Bush twice and flown Southwest many more times than that. Blind luck or injudicious following... like sheep.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  152. Roni Morgan

    Flying today is like playing Rushen roulette,a 50-50% chance the bullet might hit you, afterall they always give you the impression that the peanutts will taste better this time when you know they have probally baked them 2 years ago (according to the stewardess) but meanwhile the pilots are just gonna forcast the great whether without telling you a bad storm is comin up. I rather have them telling me the truth and giving me the facts in that case i might decide if the flights are still worth the strech?! Eventually they will say it's still far safer then riding a car but when I'm the driver at least I have the responsibility to say to my passengers, hey the car is not running properly so we have to take the bus this time around:-)

    April 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  153. Christine

    I did feel pretty safe until that story. How could a windshield of an airplane shattering in mid-flight make me feel safe?! What else are they skipping? Your motto cannot be be 'if it's not broken, don't fix it' when you are a member off the FAA! I haven't heard something that ridiculous in a really long time. And they are leaving out the names of 4 airlines in SAFETY violations.... ?#$!!

    April 3, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  154. Nick, Milwaukee

    Jack, the only thing that i worry about when i fly is weather or not airport security will think my computer is a bomb.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  155. Nick, Texas

    Jack, I'm a retired FAA employee that will not fly commercial airlines and hasn't flown on one for at least fifteen years. Safety is not and has not been the #1 priority for a long time. The "cozy" relationship between the between the FAA and the airlines is nothing new and has been going on for decades. If I can't get there by car, boat, or bicycle I stay home.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  156. John


    As safe as Hillary was dodging sniper fire. Safer...yes, now that someone finally came forward and the FAA is being held accountable. Knowing what's going on behind the scenes doesn't make it any less safe. It's this kind of courage (the whistle blowers) that brings about change. I'm flyng to Maui in May, hope it all goes well.



    April 3, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  157. Dean Grant

    I don't fly, but that's because I don't want the government to invade my privacy and keep my in their databases. I do feel sorry for the FAA though. It's hard for any agency (FAA, FDA) to inspect, enforce, and promote an industry. They are really set up to fail. Why do they have to promote an industry anyway – isn't that what a companies advertising budget is for?

    April 3, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  158. Chris

    I feel very safe when I fly my own aircraft that I know is properly maintained but when I get on a comercial flight I always wonder if the mechanic that last worked on the plane had extra parts left over, maybe put the wrong bolt on an engine mount or just left one off.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  159. ls


    As an international captain on a US major carrier –I can vouch for the safety of my airplane and my carriers willingness never to dispatch a broken or unsafe airplane. I wouldn't fly if asked to compromise. I would have trained as a plumber if there was any doubt!

    LS-Jacksonville Florida

    April 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  160. Nick, Milwaukee

    This is outrageous, if airlines are loosing money they should focus on passing FAA regulations. I was just starting to feel safe from terrorism and then you report this story. Thanks allot Jack.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  161. Charles Reese

    Well jack I dont feel very safe at all but it doesnt have anything to do with the recent FAA investigations. I use to work at the Louis Armstrong International AirPort in New Orleans after the 9-11 attacks. During the first 3 weeks of my employment I did'nt have my security identification because it takes a while for the background information to come back. For those first 3 weeks I was able to gain access on several airplanes and not one single TSA or air port police ask me to show ID. It was very easy to gain access all I had to do was exit out of the luggage claim and go to the turnstlye gate which you needed a badge to get threw and piggyback my way in. I had no problems doing this and my supervisior authorized me to gain entrance this way by the way it was a contract job. I dont work for this company anymore but if I can do it so can anyone else.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  162. Superman

    I’ve never felt safer. But I am concerned about my fellow flyers.
    I mean, how many more broken planes am I going to be expected to hold up?


    April 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  163. Katie

    I *don't* feel safe when I fly, Jack. When a commercial airline values an $80 bolt more than it does my life and feels it's an acceptable risk to fly with that bolt worn as far down as it can go before catastrophic failure is predicted, how can I be expected to trust that airline? As for the FAA, a major government agency meant to serve my interest is instead bowing to the whims of the very corporations it's sworn to police? The deuce, you say. I'd roll my eyes, but I think the force of it would expel them from my head. Keep up the good work, Jack. Somebody has to.

    Katie D.
    Los Angeles

    April 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  164. Dot MO

    Everything man made finally wear and breaks. It will wear and break if SW is in good with the FAA because if the two are in cuhoots with each other-wear gets worse. I've always flown SW, but who in their right mind would fly on that red and blue airline now until all of the planes are inspected right. I bet all of those candidates planes are up to snuff, but again who are we, just plain old travelers trying to make a living-this sucks.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  165. Gary from Hillsborough, North Carolina

    When they put in the extra screening of passengers and luggage after 911, I stopped flying. If I have to go 800 miles I put in my 8GByte flash full of MP3 music and drive. By the time my friend goes to the airport waits through security , waits to board, flies and transfers and flies and waits for luggage and gets a car or cab I have just about arrived.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  166. Nick, Milwaukee

    I have never liked flying, now i'm just scared

    April 3, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  167. Jay

    Jack, as a pilot I would feel much safer if the airlines would quit outsourcing their maintenance to other companies....especially to those that are overseas! Maybe that is part of the reason the FAA has such a "difficult" time keeping up with the way the the airlines are maintaining their aircraft! On the other hand, maybe that is part of the reason the airlines are doing it....not to mention cheaper labor, less US employees, less ability to be monitored by the FAA, and larger income for the CEO's!! It all makes perfect sense!!

    April 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  168. lee kearney

    Hi Jack, I don't feel safe in an airplane anymore. Nearly went down on a small commuter a couple of years ago and swore never to fly again. I have been flying since the 1950's, have had several near misses. Don't want to push my luck now, you know. However, I did use up half of my skymiles in 2006 on a trip to Hawaii. Thought I was going to have an anxiety attack before I got on the plane but my friend was there to help me. She is a flight attendant and Hawaii was her run. She has been flying almost 30 years so I used logic to get on the plane. I have to admit I was anxious going over and coming back and haven't flown since. What keeps me grounded is the extreme weather fluctuations and wind shears. I think the pilots are very skilled and the crew very knowledgeable. Wish I had their courage. Lee

    April 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  169. George


    Let look at it this way,when its time go,Chap we all have
    to go.


    April 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  170. Dee Richmond,VA

    Jack, I'd rather take my chances riding a bicycle on I-95 at the DC Mixing Bowl during rush hour or the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel on a Friday night during the summer than fly with some of these airlines. Like everything else in this Country, money first and safety last. These Safety Boards are playing with our lives everytime they look the other way when it comes to bridges, highways, airlines, railroads,and buildings that we have to work and shop in. It's pathetic. And all these Congressional hearings we see, will amount to Senators shooting off their mouths and doing nothing, after all they don't have to wait at airports,or fly on those planes.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  171. Randy Jones Sr.

    I feel perfectly safe on Southwest, probably more so than any other airline. Your lack of knowledge about aircraft maintenance and the FAA is obvious from your comments. The FAA inspectors barely know what a wrench looks like and I mean that literally. They only inspect an airline's paperwork; they do not inspect the airplanes. Most would not know what they were looking at if they were shown a defect other than a skin crack. This has been the case for decades. The public and the media have been and still are ignorant of the reality. The truth is that most all older airline airplanes have cracks and many have been determined by the manufacturer not to compromise safety and are simply monitored to insure that they don't compromise sturctural intergrity. I have been a pilot for forty five years and an aircraft mechanic for forty thre years.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  172. Dumbo

    Sure, I feel safe when I fly.

    And, I believe we're winning the war in Iraq. The economy is sound. George W. is doing a great job. Ten trillion dollars of debt isn't a problem. Gas and health insurance are good buys. No Child Left Behind is a roaring success.

    Next question, Jack.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  173. Al Vazquez - Dallas City IL

    I started flying for work in Feb. of 1989; I missed getting on board a fatal plane crash in Dryden, Ont. on 10 Mar 1989 by hours. It was only my second time out.
    I figured missing that bullet would keep the odds in my favor for many more years. But in the last few years, the vertical clearance between planes was reduced from 2000 feet to 1000 feet, followed by allowing landings and takeoffs from intersecting runways simultaneously.
    Air Traffic Controllers are increasingly overworked and now pilots are saying they’re worried about the aircraft they’re flying. What, me worry? Time for a new job.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  174. Frank in Staten Island

    Jack, I live in NY, otherwise known as the vapor zone 'cause when the nuke goes off we're not even gonna know it. Life is a crapshoot, flying is just a faster and higher game. I'm more concerned about why the FAA doesn't think we need passanger rights.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  175. not very

    How can you trust the airlines when they're not keeping up with maintenance the way it should be. Safety should be their main concern not money, which is at the root . Let's face it you can replace a plane easier than people.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  176. Yez Kaoosji

    I flew home from a conference last night, and am mad as hell about the report that FAA shuts a blind eye to airline negligence and puts our lives at risk. No, I do not feel safe today....whether I am in the sky or on the ground!

    I wonder how many years it will take to undo the impact of the Bush Doctrine that has wreaked eight years of cumulative havoc on American life, by protecting corporate profiteers, at home and abroad, under the false rhetoric that it is supporting free enterprise!

    April 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  177. Kim Georgia

    Well good.........that is up until today.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  178. ED

    Jack, the Airlines are not being watched close enough, Wall Street is not being watched close enough. I have worked at a Nuclear Power Plant for over 26 years and I can say the NRC is not watching close enough. Some things are too important to be left up to the Corporate whores that are controling everything today. The Bush Administration believes that whatever is good for big business is ok for the country and its just not so. Wake up America there are some thing much more important than Corporate Bottom Lines.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  179. Richard from Minnesota

    I have never felt 100% safe flying ever sense the Bush administration put so much fear into it but none the less i know that flying on a plane is a lot safer then driving a car. The problem here was that a business wanted to cut some costs but at the price of safety. To me that tells what kind of company it is. So do i feel safe flying on planes? Yes, would i ever fly on Southwest again? No.

    April 3, 2008 at 6:39 pm |