He's worried, too

Man, if there was an award for the most cringeworthy video of the decade, this would be a prime contender. It's a six-minute speech that came by email yesterday, wherein the CEO of Alaska Airlines, Ben Minicucci, talks about his company's fiasco with the Boeing MAX jet, on which they have foolishly doubled down time after time.

It's a massive blast of insincere hot air from a guy who should be hanging his head in shame. He looks and sounds like a used car salesman. But what do you expect him to say?

It must be tough when a fellow realizes that his $6-million-a-year job, for which he is no more qualified than thousands of other people, is about to end. Not to mention the hit he just took to his stock and options. It probably makes it hard to read the cue cards.

Ya gotta love the turtleneck, though. He's well insulated for when he's shown the door, which I'm sure will happen in short order after the MAX-9s take off again. He and the goofball running Boeing are going to be spending more time with their families before too long. Well-deserved family time.


  1. I got that video in my inbox as well. I try to make it a habit to not click on these things as the amount of data they start to suck up gives me the heebies. Not only that, but there are marketing folks measuring everything from location to engagement time to who knows what. My policy annoys a volunteer organization I work with, who ping me every time I fail to view a video. "There's nothing bad in there, we promise!" Then how do you know I haven't watched it?


    Anyway, back to Bob. I mean Ben. Alaska took a major hit 24 years ago this month when Alaska 261 killed 88, including 35 employees and family members. The issue then was an improperly maintained screw and nut which were responsible for moving the horizontal stabilizer; once horizontal stability was lost, there was only one axis left in control. The Wiki details the systemic failure at Alaska that lead to the issue. It has eerie echos of that initial inspection Alaska completed after the panel blew off over Portland, where they completed their inspection and deemed the things airworthy within hours only to find that OOPSIE, we've got a problem.

    In the years since, we've had a number of face cards holding down the position of Transportation Secretary. From Mineta to LaHood to Chao to The Boy Wonder, each less qualified than the last to oversee our air transportation system. The "what, me worry?" approach to regulation and oversight have been particularly worrisome under Chao and Buttigieg. The Boy Mayor hasn't said much about changes after the whole Southwest fiasco last year and even less after the Ohio train derailment in the spring. He can't wait for this to go away too so he can get back to enjoying the Adams Morgan happy hour scene in peace.

    Time to support a couple of trade magazines because they're the only ones doing any actual reporting on this. The big boys are too busy pumping The Orange One and speculating on what's up with the Princess of Wales than worry about something like airline safety. 2024 is fixin' to be a wild one.

    1. You’re rewriting history when it comes to the initial inspections of the MAX 9’s. It amazes me how people just run with false information like it’s fact.

    2. Nobody factchecks anymore. I think it was media influence.

    3. The timeline according to ABC News (and we all watched this happen in real-rime):

      Saturday January 6
      Midnight: Alaska Airlines temporarily grounds its Boeing 737 Max 9 fleet, totaling 65 planes, stating the aircraft will return to service "only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections."

      9 a.m.: Alaska Airlines returns the 737-9 aircraft to service after inspections on more than a quarter of its 737 Max 9 fleet is complete "with no concerning findings."

      3 p.m.: Alaska Airlines removes 18 planes from service until details about possible additional maintenance work are confirmed with the FAA, the airline announces.

      4 p.m.: The FAA issues an emergency airworthiness directive, temporarily grounding certain Boeing 737 MAX 9's while operators conduct specific inspections before returning the aircraft to service -- more than 170 planes worldwide.
      Pretend all you want, my anonymous friend, but that's what happened.

  2. When a corporate CEO leans on a Public Relations officer to develop what to say, it’s an indication that the Peter Principle has been achieved.

  3. The initial issues with Max line was software not hardware. Now it’s a hardware issue. Seems a little harsh to hit CEO for a QC issue with Boeing. When you take possession of a new plane you don’t take it apart part by part to make sure everything is there and you surely don’t remove panels to double check a door plug.

    As for those who note there were pressurization issues preceding the door coming off the investigation so far has not found that was related to the door plug. This is mostly likely because flight crew and passengers didn’t notice pressurization issues while the plane was flying.

    1. Sorry, but when your boys decide a plane isn't safe, but that's okay, they won't fly it over the ocean... well, that's on you. It's also on you when you refuse to buy any Airbuses despite the constant quality control lapses at Boeing.

    2. You know all airlines use speed tape on airplanes and fly them right? Not a common occurrence but you will see it.

      The only reason w even know about the restrictions on flying long routes over water is because of this accident. Merely having a warning doesn’t mean there is an actual issues. They have redundant systems built in. That was why they continued to fly it. Not all of the systems were registering pressurization problems.

      As for not buying Airbus, that was a fleet decision for costs. Southwest and Iceland Air flies all Boeing airplanes too - Iceland Air bought a large number of Max 9s.

      Boeing has problems no doubt but I disagree with knocking Alaska.

    3. Tell me more about the redundant system designed to keep that plug attached to the fuselage.

    4. No kidding. This commenter reminds me of the one who told us all years ago that Roundup couldn't possibly cause any health problems.

  4. Randy Newman should write a song about Tall People. USA airlines keep reducing the leg room to the point of absurdity. Screw all these companies.


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