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Delta Air Lines Sued Over Alleged E-mail Hacking 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the down-and-dirty-delta dept.
alphadogg writes "Delta Air Lines is being sued for allegedly hacking the e-mail account of a passenger rights advocate supporting legislation that would allow access to food, water and toilets during long delays on the tarmac. Kathleen Hanni, executive director of Flyersrights.org, alleges Delta obtained sensitive e-mails and files and used the material in an attempt to derail the 'Airline Passenger's Bill of Rights of 2009,' of which four versions are pending before Congress. The suit was filed on Tuesday in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas and seeks a minimum of $11 million in damages. Flyersrights.org, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, had been investigating surface delays in air travel."
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Delta Air Lines Sued Over Alleged E-mail Hacking

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  • According to TFA:

    Flyersrights.org, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, had been investigating surface delays in air travel. According to the suit, Hanni exchanged information with Frederick J. Foreman, who worked for Metron Aviation, which was hired by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to study surface delays. The suit says Foreman provided information to Hanni with permission from Metron, including a report that fingered Delta as having excessive surface delays. Metron is also named in the suit.

    During the correspondence, AOL informed Hanni that her e-mails, spreadsheets and lists of donors were being redirected to an unknown destination. Also, files on Hanni's computer became corrupted, the suit says. The hacking began in 2008 and continued through this year.

    This does not constitute "hacking" (or even cracking, as it should be termed). Unless I've missed something here, the actual allegation is that information was improperly disclosed, but not that an email account was broken into.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sopssa (1498795) *

      Somehow the redirection got added there and files became corrupted. Since he's also specifically suing Delta Air Lines, it surely sounds like hacking took place.

      • Redirection can be accomplished by any number of means, one of which is simply telling a mail client to BCC an email address for all outgoing mail. File corruption happens all the time, and doesn't necessarily mean the accused had anything to do with it. In fact, outright mass file deletion would be more suspect in my book.

        Of course, the odds are extremely good that nobody on Slashdot actually knows the full story, but the "evidence" as presented is absurdly weak for a hacking accusation.
        • by Romancer (19668) <`moc.roodshtaed' `ta' `recnamor'> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:57PM (#29751563) Journal

          Not that weak really...

          From the article:

          Gaughan (Delta) asked Foreman what information he had shared with Hanni, and Foreman said he sent Hanni information that was already public, according to the affidavit.

          Foreman said in the affidavit that Gaughan showed him what appeared to be "hacked and stolen e-mail communications" since the material involved the private e-mail accounts of both himself and Hanni. The e-mails also included correspondence between Foreman and Gary Stoller of USA Today and Susan Stellin, a freelance reporter. Foreman was fired on Sept. 25, according to the affidavit.

          Private email account correspondence in the hands of a Delta manager with no legal access to the account is not weak evidence. To be corroborated of course like all other claims, but it's not a weak claim if it can be proven. There have been more "hacking" cases like this lately that blur the term to mean "unauthorized" access more than gaining computer access by advanced technological means.

          To change the forwarding on an internal company server, sure, fine. But to do it on outside accounts that you do not own, not so fine.

        • outright mass file deletion would be more suspect in my book

          ...probably why they went with file corruption. Duh!~ ;)

    • by tonywong (96839) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:03PM (#29751203) Homepage
      I don't see a smoking gun either.

      From the article,

      1. *someone* was apparently hacking into Hanni's account.

      2. Foreman works for Metron.

      3. Foreman exchanges emails with Hanni.

      4. Senior VP of Metron calls Foreman into office and shows apparent emails of Hanni and Foreman.

      5. Hanni accuses Delta/Metron of being the hackers from point 1?

      Kind of a leap to jump from point 4 to point 5. Metron's email policies may give up any reasonable privacy if Foreman used a Metron email account. Then again, the article is a bit light on details.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Kind of a leap to jump from point 4 to point 5. Metron's email policies may give up any reasonable privacy if Foreman used a Metron email account.

        You missed a big point in 4 - Foreman believed something nefarious was going on, because among the emails shown to him by the Metron SVP were emails from and to Hanni from parties other than Foreman/Metron, as in:

        "How did Metron come to be in possession of email correspondence between Hanni and other people?" Foreman, we get - he could have been using his work a

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          You missed a big point in 4 - Foreman believed something nefarious was going on, because among the emails shown to him by the Metron SVP were emails from and to Hanni from parties other than Foreman/Metron, as in:

          No, they were e-mails to Foreman from parties other than Hanni. Big difference.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rahvin112 (446269)

        You make huge leaps in judgement in Lawsuits so you can justify Discovery to find out if your allegations are true. She will use the suit to get subpoenas to use against ISP's so if possible she can track the origin of the intrusion and other subpoenas so she can read emails exchanged by Delta and Memron to see if there was a conspiracy. Depending on the servers used the logs may indicate where the hacking came from. If it can be traced to a Delta or Metron IP address she's going to win a LOT of money, if n

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099)

        So you allege that the someone in step one sent the mails to the Senior VP of Metron just for the hell of it? In general, when you want to know who committed a crime, you look first at whoever benefited from it. Sometimes that doesn't pan out (and then you should look at who benefits if the obvious suspect is prosecuted), but the vast majority of the time it proves out.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:12PM (#29751281)

      Foreman said in the affidavit that Gaughan showed him what appeared to be "hacked and stolen e-mail communications" since the material involved the private e-mail accounts of both himself and Hanni.

      Emphasis Added.

      This isn't a case of the CEO having access to Foreman's company email account, this was his personal account where he was (apparently) sharing more information that the company wanted him to. He was subsequently fired because of those disclosures. Again, disclosures made through a private, non-company owned channel which the company somehow (presumably illegally) had access to.

      • Or the company simply was watching everything he was doing online and keylogged him or logged his internet traffic and thus never needed access to his private inbox.

        Not sure how [il]legal THAT would be, though the computer is a company resource and presumably the employee's contract would inform him of the monitoring being done while he is using his computer there.

        • Or the company simply was watching everything he was doing online and keylogged him or logged his internet traffic and thus never needed access to his private inbox.

          I'm pretty sure most people would call a Man-In-The-Middle attack 'hacking' or 'cracking', depending on pedanticism*.

          Not sure how [il]legal THAT would be, though the computer is a company resource and presumably the employee's contract would inform him of the monitoring being done while he is using his computer there.

          Yes, there is a good chance that this guy's contract had some disclaimer about company property being monitored - maybe moral, maybe not, but you'd have to be pretty dumb to use a work computer, at work, to conspire against the company you work for, justified or not.

          *Yes, that is how it should be written, look it up.

          OK, so it isn't, but I will have gotten some grammar Nazi's heart racing just

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:13PM (#29751291)

      TFA isn't that in-depth. Here's another source

      http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/10/consumer-activist-kate-hanni-a.html [dallasnews.com]

      Mr. Gaughan proceeded to show me on his computer monitor what appeared to be hacked and stolen email communications within the last six (6) months or more between Kate Hanni and me, me and Gary Stoller of USA Today, me and Susan Stellin, a freelance reporter, and Kate Hanni and a number of people concerning the Passenger Bill of Rights, excessive surface delays, and other private communications. It was clear that they had email transactions from both of my private email accounts: Hotmail (eckmaster12@msn.com) and Yahoo (eckmaster@mmi-gov.com). It was also clear that these emails were from Kate Hanni's private and personal email account (katcrew4@aol.com), as well as from Gary Stoller's (gstoller@usatoday.com) private USA Today account, and Susan Stellin's (stellin@earthlink.net) private and personal email account. There were no emails communications from Metron Aviation's email system only communications from information that I gave her as fuel for getting the Passenger Bill of Rights passed in Congress. He said that Delta Airlines sent this information to them.

  • They'd also be entitled to clean air and access to medical treatment.

    Who does she think she is, the Pope?!
    • by El Torico (732160) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:10PM (#29751263)

      I'm old enough to remember the days of air travel before deregulation. It was very expensive and you had to dress well, but you were treated with respect. There were even SST sticker books for the kids.

      It would be interesting to see an airline with only business class and first class. How long would it stay in business?

      • Air vs. Rail (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei (128717) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:52PM (#29751541) Homepage

        My parents are bringing our whole family to Cimarron, NM for Christmas, and already booked flights. To get there, I'm going to have to leave my home in the middle of the day and drive 25 miles to the airport. I'll have to get there an hour early and go through an intrusive security check. They'll also make me pay more for my bags at the airport. I'll then have to walk to the gate and wait there, then board in a line, then settle into my cramped seat and wait on the tarmac. I'll have to keep my electronics off until we reach cruising altitude. We'll then have to fly to the hub in Chicago, doing all of the previous stuff in reverse for landing and disembarkment, layover, and re-boarding. We'll then fly to Amarillo and do everything in reverse. I'll be landing in Amarillo after dark. Then I'll have to get a hotel because it'll be too late to reach Cimarron. So the next day I'll then be renting a car and driving 250 miles to Cimarron (no sizable airports near it) and get there in the afternoon. On the return trip, all of this will happen in reverse.

        Well, I decided to check, and sure enough, there's an Amtrak stop 85 miles from my house and another 40 miles from Cimarron, with a direct line between them. So instead, I could leave my house at shortly before 6 in the evening, get on a train at around 7:30 with almost no waiting at the station, settle into whatever comfortable seat I want (I find rail travel to be *much* more comfortable than air travel), have a power outlet for my laptop, recline way back and sleep from 11 to 9 AM, get off at 11:30 AM, and get to Cimarron just after noon. With all costs added in, significantly cheaper, way more comfortable, saves six hours of driving, no hellish airport experiences, and faster. And way less environmental impact.

        This may be an extreme case, but most people don't ever bother thinking to check to see whether a train can get them to their destination reasonably. A lot of people use the argument that as a less population-dense country, the US can't support rail. Well, population density arguments apply to *every* mode of public transportation, including air. Less population dense areas means fewer airports and fewer flights.

        I loved riding the rails around Japan. Back in the US, get the speeds up and add more tracks, and at least I personally will ride them most places I go.

        • by khallow (566160)

          Well, population density arguments apply to *every* mode of public transportation, including air.

          Air travel is not a public mode of transportation. And contrary to your assertion, it is a beneficiary of the lower population density of the US. For example, the low population density helps reduce air traffic clutter. And it meshes relatively well with the automobile. If you want to get same day travel anywhere in the US, then airlines are a good choice. It fills a niche that cars can't cover properly, that is fast travel over around a few hundred miles. Conversely, if you want to travel short distances w

          • by Ichijo (607641)

            Air travel is not a public mode of transportation.

            Is it not "available for use by the general public, as opposed to modes for private use such as automobiles or vehicles for hire"?

          • by Rei (128717)

            Air travel is not a public mode of transportation.

            Commercial aircraft are glorified flying buses.

            And despite your assertion of how great air travel works with our system, I can assure you, it certainly sucks in terms of getting to where I'm trying to get to. And flying these days is, as mentioned, a rather miserable experience, while train travel is relaxing.

            • by khallow (566160)
              Ok, I can grant that. I just understood public transportation to mean publicly owned transportation like the usual metro systems (bus, light rail, subways, etc).

              And despite your assertion of how great air travel works with our system, I can assure you, it certainly sucks in terms of getting to where I'm trying to get to. And flying these days is, as mentioned, a rather miserable experience, while train travel is relaxing.

              That's because you had a fluke situation where you actually had a better alternative that was competitive with air/car travel in terms of time and cost. That usually isn't the case in the US in my view. And contrary to your assertion, I merely stated that it works well with automobiles and low population density regions, which it does. I said nothin

        • Re:Air vs. Rail (Score:4, Informative)

          by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @09:00PM (#29752101) Homepage
          I'm emotionally partial to trains, live in a railroad town, and prefer the train to driving or flying. However, there's one big problem with Amtrak for long-distance travel, which is that they have serious problems with arriving on time. They don't own the tracks, so when any other traffic is coming through, the Amtrak train has to pull over on a siding and wait. For the itinerary you found, an 18-hour trip, you should probably expect to add a random number of hours from 0 to 6 into your arrival time. This kind of thing can be especially unpleasant when your train was supposed to arrive at, say, 11 pm, and instead it arrives at 5 in the morning.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael (484)

          We have trains in the UK - for cities less than 100 miles away, it's definitely quicker than taking a plane, as the journey will only take around 3 hours, less time than checking in, security and picking up baggage at an airport. Though there are some disadvantages to long distance train journeys in the UK - some passengers, particularly oil workers, seem to treat trains like public bars, and get drunk before and after coming the oil rigs. Whenever this happens, the air conditioning will seem to be "broken"

          • by Rei (128717)

            Wow, your experience with trains is totally different than mine (a few trips in California and three weeks spent travelling across Japan on trains). I've found them to be clean, quite, comfortable, and relaxing.

            • After privatisation the UK has achieved a particularly bad system. It seems to be due to the structure of the privatisation which separated the track from the trains so investment by companies can't be coordinated and isn't wanted. This is nothing to do with private vs. state ownership as such. You can get both great private and state trains in Switzerland. It's just a particular stupidity of the way Margaret Thatcher did privatisation.
            • It used to be that trains in Britain mostly worked, but the food aboard them was ghastly. Since privatization, the whole service has been transformed utterly. Now it's all reminiscent of those expensive mouldy greasy cardboard sandwiches.

              Inter-city trains in Finland are much better - fairly comfy with non-poisonous food. Also, they are never over-booked; if you reserve a seat, you get it. Alas, despite the trains being subsidized, it's not always cheaper than flying. In particular, for travel between Hels
            • by dkf (304284)

              Wow, your experience with trains is totally different than mine (a few trips in California and three weeks spent travelling across Japan on trains). I've found them to be clean, quite, comfortable, and relaxing.

              It's variable. Some lines have rather old rolling stock in use, but others are really modern. But most of the problem is due to the sheer number of people using the service; UK trains are very busy and the peculiarities of how the whole system works makes upgrading the number of carriages difficult. (Not sure why.)

              OTOH, for comparison I commute by train. My route requires the use of two trains in each direction with a transfer, and the endpoint stations are about a mile from my destination in each direction

          • a price of around 200 pounds due to the "travelling through London at peak times" (This would be enough for a weekend holiday from London to New York

            Citation urgently needed. £200 for a holiday to new york? It might get you a holiday to York. £200 would hardly pay for hoStel accommodation and food/drink over a 3 or 4 day trip from Britain to New York.

            If you need protection from the oiks (toliets messy, drinking!!) you could pay for first class? I myself have had very little trouble on trains in

          • by Malc (1751)

            London to Edinburgh by train, every time. It's faster, it's more convenient, and it's more comfortable. I can get to King's Cross faster than LHR, LGW, or any other London airport, I don't have to check in early, baggage is easier to deal with (even on the Tube and it's shockingly poor access) and I arrive in the centre of Edinburgh.

          • for cities less than 100 miles away, it's definitely quicker than taking a plane

            I should certainly hope so. Would you seriously even consider a plane for a 100 mile trip?

            • by mikael (484)

              IF you are traveling an island locations surrounded by water, there might not be a train or ferry to get you there.

        • by khallow (566160)
          There's a simple example. Earlier this summer I worked in Yellowstone National Park and had to help with an aerospace project in Black Rock Desert. I drove out of the park (about 120-150 miles) to Bozeman, Montana and flew to Denver, Colorado and then to Sacramento, California where the workshop was. We (I joined up with the rest of the group) then drove out to Reno and then Black Rock Desert (about 100 miles northeast of Reno). We rented a moving van and two SUVs for the project. Pickup trucks would have b
          • by jimicus (737525)

            Eyeballing a map of Europe, I suppose the first half of my trip would be a bit like starting in Birmingham, England, driving to Heathrow (with elk instead of London drivers),

            Flights from Birmingham to Budapest only cover about 1,000 miles.

            Though to be fair, Yellowstone Park to Sacramento, CA is only about 800 miles and Google Maps reckons it's driveable in 15 hours. I've no idea where your "3-4,000 miles of flying" comes from unless it's a typo - Anchorage to New York is only about 4,300 miles.

            • by khallow (566160)
              I flew through Denver from Bozeman which is northwest of Yellowstone (and further away from both Sacramento and Denver). A lot of my travel isn't optimal from a mileage sense.
            • by khallow (566160)
              I was speaking of round trip travel too. Eyeballing google maps, it appears that air travel between Bozeman and Denver is 600 miles while it is somewhere around 800 miles from Denver to Sacramento. Reno would be shorter, so my total air travel (Bozeman -> Denver -> Sac, Reno -> Denver -> Bozeman) is probably somewhere around 2.5-3k miles and I overstated it in the original post.
          • by Malc (1751)

            Starting near Birmingham is like starting near LA or Chicago. Birmingham is the country's second biggest city and hence has plenty of other travel options. Try Exeter, or Keswick or Inverness, etc, or better, the Scilly Isles or Orkney.

            • by khallow (566160)
              My point was to attempt to illustrate the difference between travel in a low population density area and a high population density area, using stops that people in other countries would actually be familiar with.
        • by mjwx (966435)
          This isn't so much of a problem with air travel as it is with the US.

          I'm going to have to leave my home in the middle of the day

          Not flying the red eye, luxury.

          drive 25 miles to the airport.

          40 KM, you are complaining about 40 KM. any decent city planning will have an express-way or rail line to the airport. 40 KM is less then an hour on a freeway and the middle of the day (10:00-15:00) is not peak hour.

          I'll have to get there an hour early

          I dont know about you but I like leaving on time, this requires e

          • Re:Air vs. Rail (Score:5, Informative)

            by Rei (128717) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:02AM (#29753277) Homepage

            drive 25 miles to the airport.

            40 KM, you are complaining about 40 KM. any decent city planning will have an express-way or rail line to the airport. 40 KM is less then an hour on a freeway and the middle of the day (10:00-15:00) is not peak hour.

            Typical big city tunnel vision. I live in eastern *Iowa*. The airport is between a city of 60,000 and a city of 100,000. And that's pretty much it in the area apart from small towns, corn, soybeans, and hog farms. There are usually three active gates at the airport. There is no practical "peak hour".

            Sit in a comfortable seat with individual IFE in the seat back plus laptop and USB power.

            A seat like that costs ~$600-$900 cross-country, and wouldn't be available for my first leg at all. Who do you think you are, criticizing me for not taking the red eye and then talking about your first-class style seating? Not taking the red-eye is just a matter of booking well in advance and not insisting on direct flights. Perhaps you have unlimited money, but most of the world doesn't.

            • by mjwx (966435)

              Typical big city tunnel vision.

              -1 not doing your research. Perth, Western Australia (IATA: PER) is one of Australia's smallest cities, 1.8 Million.

              City size is irrelevant, planning is what counts. Perth International airport is situated off two of our main highways Tokin and Leach highway. You can be expected to get to the airport within an hour from 90% of the metropolitan area. Singapore Changi International Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airports each have a dedicated rail line, Bangkok Suva

              • by smoker2 (750216)
                Perth is not a good example. You can almost walk around the city in a day. I never saw a traffic jam there in 2 weeks and I was walking the streets most every day. City size is relevant, because you can't have good retrospective planning. There is fuck all surrounding Perth. London on the other hand is saturated with roads, buildings, and traffic. You can't just knock them all down and start again. The biggest queue I saw in Perth was in the arrivals building at the airport. Leaving was a dream, coming bac
              • by Rei (128717)

                -1 not doing your research. Perth, Western Australia (IATA: PER) is one of Australia's smallest cities, 1.8 Million.

                1.8 million. Vs. perhaps 200,000 scattered across a rural countryside. You honestly don't see the difference here?

                40 KM is nothing

                Again, I don't know why you're focusing so much on the trip from my house to the airport so much, when it's the 400 kilometer trip on the other end that's the killer. Or did you want me to leave out certain parts of the trip out of fear that you'd decide to use t

        • Air travel is less expensive than rail in most cases for me. I'd love to take a train to my most common destinations of Dallas and Kansas City, even a straight shot on the Texas Eagle from Union Station in Los Angeles to Dallas is showing up as a 48-hour trip costing $118 each direction using a AAA discount. The seats do look more comfortable than an airline seat, but being cooped up on a train for two days won't sit well with me.

          Even going up to San Francisco is difficult. Taking a train from Union Stat

          • Even going up to San Francisco is difficult. Taking a train from Union Station to Oakland is 11 hours, followed by a bus to San Francisco running almost an hour, and costs $52 each way. I can drive up there and back for less than the cost of a rental car and gas, or I can fly up for about the same price while landing in SFO, with a flight time of barely over an hour.

            I have no idea if this example was picked because it's particularly bad, but I hope you're not deducing that rail travel as an idea is bad beca

            • They were examples of travel that I sometimes undertake that are not at all unusual. The trip from Union Station to Oakland is on a single train (the Coast Starlight). Amtrak has other offers, but they involve either being on a bus for three hours from Los Angeles to Bakersfield before taking a six-hour train to Oakland (with only 15 minutes to get from the bus to the train) or a five-hour bus ride to San Luis Obispo before taking a six-hour train ride to Oakland.

              I'm not aiming at the concept of train tra

        • by adavies42 (746183)
          I've tried trains, they just don't make sense on most trips. Even in what's supposed to be the best train area in America, the "Northeast Corridor", a Delta Shuttle flight booked in advance is still half the price and half the time of a train ride (regular or Acela) from New York to either D.C. or Boston. I'm sure there are specific scenarios like yours where trains are awesome, but even today, planes are usually better.
          • by dkf (304284)

            I've tried trains, they just don't make sense on most trips. Even in what's supposed to be the best train area in America, the "Northeast Corridor", a Delta Shuttle flight booked in advance is still half the price and half the time of a train ride (regular or Acela) from New York to either D.C. or Boston.

            Are you doing a door-to-door analysis? This matters because trains often win for reducing the non-train parts of the journey; there are a lot of overheads at an airport. (Of course, if you're going real long distance, flying makes huge sense, overwhelming the airport costs. If you're going intercontinental... flying is the only practical option at all unless you like multi-day boat trips.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nomadic (141991)
          This may be an extreme case, but most people don't ever bother thinking to check to see whether a train can get them to their destination reasonably. A lot of people use the argument that as a less population-dense country, the US can't support rail. Well, population density arguments apply to *every* mode of public transportation, including air. Less population dense areas means fewer airports and fewer flights.

          I check, and without fail the train tends to far more expensive than a flight. Or, takes 12
          • For shorter trips (say, up & down the east coast), train travel is the way to go. But cross country? I thought about booking an Amtrak trip from Northern VA to Des Moines one time. It would have taken days, and was more expensive than the equivalent airline ticket.
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Back in the US, get the speeds up and add more tracks, and at least I personally will ride them most places I go.

          They're working on it. Right now in Illinois there are plans for high speed rail service from Chicago to St Louis. In Springfield they're fighting over using the 3rd street corridor or the 10th street corridor. The railroad wants to use the 3rd street corridor because it's more money for them, everybody else wants the 10th street corridor.

          But eventually we'll have it. Of course, their idea of "hi

        • by CompMD (522020)

          The Southwest Chief is a nice train, I live in Kansas and have taken it to both its terminal cities, as well as Cimarron/Raton. It can get going pretty fast out west, I clocked it going 100mph on my GPS. Now I'm a pilot though, so if I need to go somewhere in an emergency, I can just rent an airplane and fly without all the TSA crap.

      • by Tanman (90298)

        About one quarter until they had to release their earnings and all the investors pulled out.

      • by adavies42 (746183)

        It would be interesting to see an airline with only business class and first class. How long would it stay in business?

        Singapore Airlines [wikipedia.org] is doing pretty well. They don't match your requirements perfectly, but they do fly some business-only flights (e.g. the Newark->Singapore non-stop), and their "economy" service beats most American carriers' business for comfort.

      • See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxjet [wikipedia.org]

        And: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverjet [wikipedia.org]

        For possible answers to your question....

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        It was very expensive and you had to dress well

        The last time I flew was the early eighties, and I wore blue jeans and a t-shirt. Same as when I flew commercially in the USAF in the early seventies. On one occassion I actually wore dress blues instead of my customary blue jeans, and they upgraded my ticket from coach to first class without charging me.

        I don't remember it being expensive, iirc a one way ticket from St Louis to DC was about $100. And you could pay cash, didn't show ID, and didn't have to take

    • by identity0 (77976)

      Am I the only one who thought that the obvious solution to this is to simply shit in the aisle?

      If enough people do it, I'm sure the airlines will change their minds ;-) --you

      XP
      X(
      X(

      ^^^ The people in the next seats

  • by Creosote (33182) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:04PM (#29751211) Homepage

    Another story on the lawsuit currently circulating on the wires includes this nugget: "Through a spokesman, Delta denied that it was involved in any hacking. 'Obviously, the idea that Delta would hack into someone’s email is clearly without merit,' spokesman Trebor Banstetter wrote in an email."

    Without prejudging the facts in the case, I'm not sure that "clearly" and "obviously" are adverbs that belong in any statement relating to wrongdoing on the part of a huge corporation.

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:10PM (#29751257)

      But they certainly belong in the statements of anybody speaking on behalf of the corporation. The originators of these types of comments are always PR, marketing, legal and executive people. Which is also why I think that there a special place in hell that should be reserved for them.

      • by maharb (1534501)

        They only speak this way because our legal system awards ridiculous sums to people who claim a corporation did them wrong regardless of the real damages done. Hopefully there is an even better place in hell for these crazies that get rich off of bullshit lawsuits. The corps are just trying to protect themselves so they don't have to shut their doors tomorrow. Clearly you would understand if you have seen the shit companies get thrown at them. Maybe this case is a legit one, maybe it is not, but the corp

        • I've directly seen the lawsuit that are thrown at companies. I've also seen everyone in my list speak internally about cases I was intimately involved in. I found that that kind of talk was always there, regardless of how blatantly bad the situation might be.

          As for your comment about irony, it is possible to dislike frivolous lawsuits as much as corporate double-speak. Just as an FYI.

      • by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:05PM (#29752609) Journal

        "Obviously" has drifted into everyday corporate parlance, and it's very irritating to me. It is the audible equivalent of the long-running lose/loose spelling issue across the Internet -- I just notice it every time. We have sales people come in that are demonstrating products we've never seen before, and they talk about how their product can "obviously" perform some function. If it were obvious that it did all of these things, we wouldn't have them here. And it comes across as demeaning, because we didn't know those features were included, but by saying that they "obviously" were there and yet we were ignorant of them, it comes across as suggesting that we didn't do our homework or weren't bright enough to realize how superior their product was.

        I have stopped one in mid-sentence and pointed out this problem. To his credit, he tried to avoid the word, and caught himself using it several more times, correcting himself each time. I should try that on more of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jimicus (737525)

      Another story on the lawsuit currently circulating on the wires includes this nugget: "Through a spokesman, Delta denied that it was involved in any hacking. 'Obviously, the idea that Delta would hack into someone’s email is clearly without merit,' spokesman Trebor Banstetter wrote in an email."

      He's quite right. There are outside companies you can pay to do that for you.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Without prejudging the facts in the case, I'm not sure that "clearly" and "obviously" are adverbs that belong in any statement relating to wrongdoing on the part of a huge corporation.

      In the case of corporations, prejudging the facts in the case is almost always warranted. "Clearly" and "obviously" are always adverbs that belong in any statement relating to wrongdoing on the part of any huge corporation.

  • High Speed Rail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:13PM (#29751287)
    I'd like to point out that we may suffer many fewer flight and road delays if our country had a well-developed passenger rail service.

    Busy routes like LA-SF, LA-Phoenix, and Miami-Atlanta could easily be replaced by fast trains [wsj.com] and therefore take a lot of load off of our air and highway infrastructure at a relatively small price.
    • by lewiscr (3314)

      Californians thought so, that's why they approved the California High Speed Rail [ca.gov]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Martin Blank (154261)

        Yep. It's a $40 billion, 30-year project to build a train that will get from San Diego to San Francisco in under four hours.

        Except that San Francisco has said that it can't terminate there, and land prices and structures may force it to go around the Los Angeles area. And there are stops on such a frequent basis that the train will be spending as much time in acceleration/deceleration as it will be at cruise speed, possibly extending the trip to as much as ten hours -- a little slower than the eight hours

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      Train vs. plane is certainly an option, except for track right-of-way.

      Train vs. car has major problems in that once you are there, you need your car to get around. Usually this is the whole reason for taking the car in the first place.

      Then there is the right-of-way problem. Trains were replaced by trucks for most freight in the US around 1960 or 1970. I believe there was some major deregulation that changed the cost structure for trucking about that time. This pretty much ended passenger rail service in

      • by clickety6 (141178)

        Train vs. car has major problems in that once you are there, you need your car to get around.

        If there was more demand for hire cars, they would get cheaper.

        And there's no reason not to have trains that you can drive on to and drive off so you could take your car with you.

  • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:13PM (#29751293)
    I'd be sure to "accidentally" leave my password lying around in plain sight.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You forgot about the part where you would also have to start an advocacy group and work hard enough to piss someone off enough to care about.

  • Back to the future (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @07:24PM (#29751361) Homepage Journal
    Thinking back to Nader v. General Motors Corp., 307 N.Y.S.2d 647 (N.Y. 1970) and overzealous surveillance.
    Larger corps have a few game plans:
    1. Pay off and you stop.
    2. Discredit with a "past", real, hyped or almost created.
    3. Useless busy work via infiltration and re directing. Or a personality implosion of the groups eg COINTELPRO.

    A fishing expedition? Looking for leaks, press contacts and members.
    The planting of logger.
    • A fishing expedition? Looking for leaks, press contacts and members.
      The planting of logger.

      At first I thought it was a haiku, but then I counted syllables.

      Momentary confusion on what you meant by "the planting of logger"... for some reason I thought it had something to do with environmental activists in the PacNW. Must be past my bedtime.

      Anyway, I've cleaned up your haiku:

      Email - leaky boat
      A fishing expedition
      Planted keylogger

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        A messy break in covers a deep software log application.
        HP showed the reaction if its an internal leak.
        If they are getting raw docs from the corp, it will have to be stopped.
        If consumer rights group are using public info, is more easy to let it slip in the press.
  • The Industry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:16PM (#29751717)
    I work in the industry and I believe that a Bill of Rights for passengers is long overdue. Will it necessarily cost the airline more in revenue, no. But, the demands need to be reasonable.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No offense intended, but I've read the article, and the bill of rights items are things I consider to be an extremely low bar.

      Three hours of sitting on the tarmac, knowing that even after the plane takes off you have to endure the flying time as well, would be very stressful to me. For a short flight, it could double or triple the time spent in that can. For a long flight, it could turn an eight-hour flight into eleven hours.

      The others are just absurd to think of being missing. Air? Medical attention?

  • So all this aside, does this mean I can sit up and use the bathroom when I need to , if we are grounded, because we all know the expert training it takes to be an airline stewardess, and the amount of hours spent walking on a wobbly surface.
    I mean seriously, if they stoop this low to get an advantage against this bill, I think they should be put in their place.

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