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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.
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.
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.