Yay, a New Year!

As much as I love the year-end holidays, especially Christmas, I’m always happy to see the first full week of a brand new year.  While I worked through the holidays, with the exception of the actual Christmas and New Year’s holidays themselves, many of my colleagues have been on vacation since the middle of December.  Many more were out last week.  Nothing wrong with that at all, but I can’t pretend that it didn’t impact production for me.  I did get a lot of random administrative work accomplished though, and that makes me happy.  But beginning Monday, everyone suddenly reappears, and we press on into the new year.  I’m anxious to get going.

I have quite a bit of work travel in the pipeline, but my travel year actually begins with a personal trip.  On Friday, Mrs MJonTravel and I wing our way to Tampa for a long weekend with her parents.  Tampa should be a heck of a lot warmer than DC!  We are flying Southwest nonstop from BWI, and I’ll post a trip report when I return.

Delta – Northwest Receive Single Operating Certificate

Delta and Northwest received clearance to merge operating certificates on New Year’s Eve.  That means that when you see a former NWA jet in Delta colors, it will really be a Delta flight.  For example, all those shots of a Delta painted airplane from the foiled Christmas Day crotch bomb attempt were actually of a Northwest airplane wearing Delta colors and operated by Northwest Airlines.  When the operating certificates merge, NWA will be a memory, and all flights will be Delta flights.

I’m sure Delta would love to combine flight attendant groups, but they can’t proceed pending an election.  The former NWA flight attendants are represented by AFA while Delta’s attendants are non-union.  AFA has been slow to call for an election pending some changes to National Mediation Board rules that might make it easier for them to win the election.  I may be wrong, but I would bet 5 bucks that AFA would not win the election under current rules, and they know it.  Note: that’s not an endorsement or indictment of unions in general or AFA in particular.  Just stating what I think would happen if the election were held today under current rules.

TSA – What Next?

I predict TSA gets a permanent adminstrator soon after the Senate gets back to work.  The nomination for President Obama’s choice to lead the agency, Erroll Southers, is being held up by South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.  Senator DeMint put a hold on the nomination because he wasn’t satisfied that Mr. Southers was well enough opposed to unionization of the TSA screener workforce.  Mr. Southers got some mildly bad press over the weekend in a Washington Post article detailing his admitted misuse of federal databases many years ago.  I won’t weigh in one way or the other on my opinion of screener unionization, Senator DeMint, or Erroll Southers.  But I have to wonder how politically palatable it is to stand in the way of the nomination given the Christmas Day events when the nominee appears to be very well qualified, and the Agency has been without permanent leadership for nearly a year.  It’s time to move on this one or find a new nominee.  I expect Mr. Southers gets confirmed soon.