United Airlines Delays Flight To Replace Missing Ashtray Like it’s 1972 [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Flight still made it Denver – Washington Dulles within 5 minutes of scheduled arrival, but definitely an unusual one.

  • I plan to wear a mask in the airport during flu season, and frequently wash and sanitize hands, totally non-Covid related. I always thought about it before the pandemic, but felt like it would look like too weird of a thing to do outside of Asia (people would assume I was sick, rather than trying to keep from getting sick, then again that has its advantages when flying Southwest).

  • “Fare thee well, Spirit Airlines. In your honor, I raise a non-complimentary glass of unrefrigerated orange drink.”

  • Why Can’t America Build Trains?

    In our case study of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Green Line Extension (GLX)…we discovered that the early conceptual planning for the project called for spartan stations with an estimated cost of just over $535,000 per station.

    In fairness, these early designs aren’t detailed enough to estimate costs accurately, but the dollar amount and drawings show that the initial plan was to build simple open-air stations with canopies to provide protection from rain and snow—even these barebones stations would have been an upgrade over existing Green Line “stations” along Commonwealth Avenue.

    By the time GLX worked its way through the project-development phase, secured nearly $1 billion from the FTA, and began construction, the average station cost had soared by more than 109 times to $58,500,000.

  • Marriott guest finds Asian slur on their bill, company deflects by blaming franchisee when you let another company use your brand for money it’s your reputation on the line.

  • Boeing can resume deliveries of 787s

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. They ashtrays have to be there by law , you will even find ashtrays on new planes by the lavs. Incase someone lights up we have to have someplace safe to put it out.

  2. Like Tim said….ashtrays are required by the FAA because not all people obey federal laws and try to smoke on an airplane and if they try, the FAs have to have a place to put a partially used cigarette and not have it create a fire hazard.

  3. As a side note, the original post of the ashtray article was by CrispusAttucks1775. One doesn’t see that name all too often. Crispus actually died in 1770 in the Boston Massacre, the event that initiated America’s path to independence . . . and he was the first casualty . . . and he was black. A few years later was the first battle in America’s war of independence at Lexington and Concord. The first casualty of that first battle was Prince Estabrook . . . and he was black. Now, back to our regular programming . . .

  4. Marriott story is just weird – they know who did it, but don’t want them punished, they want corporate blood. Because the person who did it is a “person of color”. “Victims” are from Brooklyn, which explains a lot. A quick Google search finds they’re insufferable hipsters who are very woke. Sorry, but you don’t get to pass the blame on from the person who did it to the “white” corporation, when the corporation has offered to do the right thing by firing the person who did it and offer you a token amount of compensation. Marriott has correctly told them to go pound sand – we all need to stand up to this sort of bully.

  5. I was born in Brooklyn and don’t understand how being from Brooklyn “explains a lot”. There are 3 million (more or less) people in Brooklyn ranging from the Williamsburg hispsters the poster is porbablyu referencing to the immigrant communities of Sunset Park and Brighton Beach, to the Hasidic communites of Williamsburgh, Crown Heights and Boro Park and the largely black and brown communities of Bed Stuy, Bushwick and East New York and the largely white middle class communities in Brookly Heights, Park Slope and most of South Brooklyn. Point being; it’s much too diverse to explain much of anything in a ridiculous generalization.

  6. @Jerry – You are correct, but when we now say Brooklyn (complete with eyeroll), we don’t mean the diverse community of Brooklyn as it once was and still is, it’s the hipsters. I appreciate the artisan food scene, I don’t appreciate the attitude that looks the other way as Hasids (annoying as they can be) are constantly attacked on the street by people who must not be named in the NY Times. Even other Brooklynites (and I know a few) know who we’re talking about. They give the place a bad name, even while they’re doing a lot of good.

  7. Regarding the Marriott story, in what way is a failure to do the right thing in this situation a surprise to anyone? Until the revenue needle moves, don’t expect anything to change.

  8. @Reno Joe – What would be the appropriate response? To fire the offending employee and offer some comp. Or to roll over to the Woke intimidation? Read the attached story – they’re trying to extort the company with unreasonable demands.


    The couple noted that the front desk clerk was a person of color themselves, and the couple was willing to forgive the front desk clerk and even asked that they not be fired.

    Chung contacted Marriott and the person they spoke with apologized and reportedly offered hotel points. However, they were unwilling, according to Chung, to answer questions about the sensitivity training the firm claimed to have implemented. Furthermore, they suggested the issue was a result of a typo or clerical issue leaving the couple feeling that Marriott didn’t take the issue seriously.

    “The response that we received from Marriott executives was disappointing,” Chung and Oberhammer said to NextShark. “They tried to shift blame and give excuses rather than take responsibility for what happened on their watch, under their roof. They have tried to distance themselves from the incident by pointing out that it occurred at a Marriott franchise.”

    In a statement submitted to NextShark the couple stated, “Marriott is a big, powerful company that employs and provides services to a lot of people. What they do and say matters. They need to do better. This is about company culture, training, accountability, basic human decency, and the hypocrisy of Marriott’s inadequate response to racism within their organization, especially given their stated company values.”

  9. Jezze…I love all of the conjecture. Yes, an airplane can be delayed because of a lousy ashtray. Every commercial aircraft certified under FAR Part 25 has what is called a MEL or Minimum Equipment List. This list is compiled primarily by the manufacturer. That list is kept in a big orange book (BOB for short) in the cockpit. BOB is about 5″ thick and covers items inside the aircraft (seats, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and hundreds of other items. It also covers outside the aircraft (missing fuel door, screws, Zeus fasteners, static wick discharge, and hundreds more items. If an item is LISTED in BOB, there is a list of solutions, dispatch requirements and performance penalties all with minimum dispatch requirements. Here’s the kick…if it IS NOT IN BOB…IT IS REQUIRED! When smoking was allowed, the ashtrays were located in the arm rests. It is NOT in the MEL! Thus, if it was missing…the entire flight was grounded until such time as a replacement was installed. Once smoking was banned, the ashtrays were tack welded shut and no longer considered an MEL item. BOB is now on the pilot’s EFB.

  10. Armrest Ashtray? This is 2022, the little closet thingy with blue swirly water works much better.

  11. To Gary and Flying While High: Granted, there are probably few ashtrays in armrests anymore but the point remains the same. The manufacturer puts the ashtrays in the lavatory doors and in the lavs of some aircraft, too. Aircraft lavatories are one of the few items that are not always customized like the passenger seats. They are pretty much stock. Other countries might allow smoking so…the restrooms might have an ashtray. If the restroom ashtray is missing AND it is not listed in BOB…IT IS STILL REQUIRED.

  12. @Reno Joe – Very good. I was being a bit more generous, they were taking the proverbial mile.

  13. The ashtrays on the doors of the lavatory are required by Airworthiness Directive 74-08-09R3. AD’s are mandatory regulations (Part 39 of the FAR’s) that all airlines under US registry must follow. So yes even it sounds stupid almost 50 years after the AD was issued (1974) an airline can be found in violation of the regulations and fined $10000 for each instance (flight) of being out of compliance. The AD applies to all transport category airplanes.

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