A Reply From Cunard

Dec 2, 2000
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>>There have been plenty of reasonably new planes which have encountered problems in recent times as well, it's far from being a problem which plagues older aircraft only.<<

How many of these new aircraft have encountered problems from excessive airframe fatigue due to overage and sometimes poor maintainance?

How many of these new aircraft have fallen victim to simple systems...such as the outward opening doors of the DC-10 which Jim described...which turned out to be dangerously flawed?
 

Jim Kalafus

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>There have been plenty of reasonably new planes which have encountered problems in recent times as well,

Indeed. But at a rate of perhaps once in 200,000,000 air miles. Planes, for all the "comfort" horrors now associated with them, are phenomenally safe way to travel.

Which is why the multiple hull ruptures, which began in the late 1980s, were such a shock. Because multiples of the same aircraft accident are so rare that I have trouble coming up with examples, beyond the deHavilland Comet hull ruptures and the DC10 cargo doors. So, when the clean and well maintained but aging planes of major airlines began rupturing in midair, people took notice.

>I am 6'6" and I absolutely despise flying in an airliner.

Try imagining yourself in a 70 square foot inside cabin. At 6' 6" you are close to touching the ceiling, and are not going to fit comfortably into a berth. All the claustrophobic qualities of a prison cell, PLUS a moving floor.....and up to five cellm....cabin mates.

The $250 minimum first class fare in 1935, for instance, represented almost 20% of one year's wage spent on a 5 day crossing.

Adjusted to today's money, you are looking at close to $18,000 for 5 days.

Most of us could not buy even a bare minimum first class cabin in the glory years.

SO, we are beginning our voyage in the world of third class. 70 square foot cabin, with multiple room mates. Potentially flatulent room mates. Room mates who might not be shy about saving a walk down the hall by defecating into the chamber pot behind his bed curtain. Room mates who, struck by claustrophobia and seasickness, throw up into the cabin sink. NO PORTHOLE, and of course, fewer stewards, so unlike in first class there will NOT be someone on scene to immediately swab up the vomit while apologizing to you for the inconvenience of the rough ride.

Sound fun?

LUSITANIA: Winter 1914/15. First class. The ONLY organized entertainment for the entire crossing, the charity concert, is derailed when the severe rolling of the ship leaves one celebrity bedridden and breaks the ankle of another. Subsequently, half the show is Broadway star Elsie Janis singing, and the other half is a well traveled naturalist lecturer who does animal calls.

Okay. Could you imagine having to spend a half hour listening to a man imitating elephants and cheetahs and howler monkeys"? And that being the HIGH POINT of the trip? And that was in FIRST CLASS. In third class, they really didnt care if you were bored, and so the entertainment was less stellar.

Crossing was not a vacation. It was how you got to your vacation. Which is why crossing by ship, as a means of mass transport, will never happen again. Most people, if they are lucky, get two consecutive weeks of vacation. 7 days to, 7 days from, leaves you with no time at all when you hit the other side. Sail over/fly back is marginally better, but only just.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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When it comes to oversea travel of ship vs. plane, I will always choose the ship over the plane all the time.I have read on a Cunard message board of the Cruise Critic website, that many people have wrote that if they have plenty of free time available they would rather cross both Eastbound and Westbound aboard the QM2 than cross one way by plane and then the other way by QM2.When it comes to sharing a ship's stateroom with unpleasant passengers, Did any of you watch the Princess Cruise Line TV commercial that I posted the link in my last post in this thread? That poor guy who had to sit in the middle seat in between 2 unpleasant passengers aboard a plane.Those 2 unpleasant passengers behavior was disgusting and then there was that annoying little boy sitting in the seat in front of that poor guy aboard that plane.I know that it is just a TV commercial but I would not be surprised that incidents aboard plane like depicted in that TV commercial happens in real life. Regards,Jerry
 

Adam Went

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I'm not sure what news reports you guys are watching/reading, but I'm constantly hearing about faults with aircraft causing scares among the passengers, forced landings, having to turn back, faulty equipment, and what not - not necessarily crashes, but technical faults are quite common. It is testament to their good design and stability that the likes of the famous Boeing 747 are still in service even now. An aircraft that comes from the same era as the Saturn V rocket, interestingly enough!

Excellent post, Jerry. Am in complete agreement with you.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Airline travel is not the panacea it used to be.<<

He never said that it was. What he did was explain why it was a necessery change even with the negetives. He also pointed out that there were some drawbacks to oceanic travel, particularly in the "Old Days." A lot of the 1st Class accomadations weren't as great as they were often made out to be, and what was that great was horribly expensive.

Most people didn't travel 1st Class because they couldn't afford it and often had to endure conditions which would horrify any of the authorities responsible for enforcing health and safety codes.

>>I'm not sure what news reports you guys are watching/reading, but I'm constantly hearing about faults with aircraft causing scares among the passengers, forced landings, having to turn back, faulty equipment, and what not - not necessarily crashes, but technical faults are quite common.<<

Yes, and they were to be found just as often if not moreso among old aircraft as they can be found on modern machines.

>>It is testament to their good design and stability that the likes of the famous Boeing 747 are still in service even now. An aircraft that comes from the same era as the Saturn V rocket, interestingly enough!<<

What you're missing is that a lot of the older airframes have long since been retired. What few haven't found another life in cargo carrying roles or as exhibits and attractions in museums have long since been scrapped. While the basic airframe has shown itself to be a sound design, the new production machines have incorperated numerous updates, modifications and design changes over their production run. So many in fact, that the resemblance between the prototype and a new production machine is purely superficial.
 

Adam Went

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Michael:

The number of fully operating Boeing 747's in the world is still in the hundreds. I mean it's pretty obvious to say that older aircraft that have done many tens of thousands more miles than new aircraft are going to have issues here and there - however, they aren't called the "Queen of the skies" for nothing!
 

Jerry Nuovo

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The living standard conditions aboard the Lusitania and other passenger ships of that era of the early 20th Century that Jim described in his last post most certainly would not be allowed aboard today's passenger ships.The living standards conditions aboard today's passenger ships do require that every single stateroom does have its own bathroom. Regards,Jerry
 

Jim Kalafus

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>The living standard conditions aboard the Lusitania and other passenger ships of that era of the early 20th Century that Jim described in his last post most certainly would not be allowed aboard today's passenger ships.

What, shared cabins for 6 or 8?

Got news for ya, Jerry. Those cramped cabins were what allowed the ships to make money- not First Class. And, if by some...catastrophically bad planning...shipping lines decided to enter the transatlantic run again full out instead of as a niche market item, they'd have to make a comeback.

You do know that the current breed of liners are money losers, as far as paid fares go. The profits are generated by the on board gambling, drinking, shore excursion fares, and shopping. Which is why you can get a 7 day cruise for $199 if you wait til the last minute~ it's better to GIVE the cabin away and have the cabin occupant run up a $2000 bill partying, than it is to keep the room closed up for the voyage.

Keyword; partying.

Cozumel= party.
Cancun= party.
Aruba= party.

Southampton,Cherrbourg/leHavre/Bremerhaven....uhhh...although perfectly nice places, do not translate to PARTY or VACATION HOT SPOT to the majority of the disposable income set.

People on transatlantic voyages do NOT get crazy-drunk and blow the bankroll buying rounds, as they do en route to the deep Caribbean. People who wish to begin a European vacation with a crossing are a different breed; a niche market; and there already enough crossings to fill it.

So, you'll never see the PARTY BARGE style of ship, with 4000 passegners in large cabins enjoying Vegas style luxury, on the North Atlantic. Thy need every bed filled, and passengers who spend money like drunken sailors on shore leave, to generate profits.

Since FREEWHEELING PARTY BOAT isn't going to happen, the only place where transatlantic ships can hope to compete is VALUE FOR THE MONEY. An all first class ship COULD be profitable, but are there 2000 people a week who want to spend $20,000 on a cabin? No, so VALUE FOR THE MONEY VERSUS AIRLINES is the only option. And, how can the shipping lines achieve that? By returning to the old form: lots of space for relatively few passengers, and very little space, and no-frills amenities, for most passengers. Just like at the airlines.

So, you are going to be looking at shared cabins for six, unless you can afford to blow $20,000 and up for first class.

What's that, you say, the last generation of superliner, those of 1952-1965, had low density tourist classes, large inexpensive cabins across the board, and the full range of amenities for even the poorest traveler? Well, yes, they did, and the majority of them had massive government subsidies to compensate for the fact that they were money losers. If you check the passenger figures for the Italia giants, and the France, you'll see that as late as 1973 they were carrying high passenger loads. They didnt disappear because no one was using them. They disappeared because the government subsidies which allowed them to turn a profit while maintaining a high space-to-passenger ratio were withdrawn.

So, if a ship which carries 4000 in the Caribbean is only marginally profitable when sailing at 100% capacity unless everyone gets into crazy-party mode, you can IMAGINE what the passenger density for that ship would have to be to generate a profit on the North Altantic, where people DONT crazy-party. 8000 passengers?10,000?

It would be very unpleasant. Who would want that? People tolerated prison-cell accomodation when they had no option. The second there WAS an option, jet crossings, you saw the old ships' passenger loads tank, as people deserted. You saw the introduction of new ships with LUXURY TOURIST, that could not make money without government funding. And, in the end, you saw one ship with high passenger loads doing ALL the transat business. It's a niche market, and will always remain one.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>The living standard conditions aboard the Lusitania and other passenger ships of that era of the early 20th Century that Jim described

Actually, Jerry, the conditions I was describing were those in tourist class aboard the Queen Mary, 1965.

My ONLY specific reference to the Lusitania was in regards to the 1915 charity concert in which all but one of the celebrity entertainers got flattenned by a storm, and a lecturer ended up entertaining the assembled crowd by doing animal imitations for a half hour.

>most certainly would not be allowed aboard today's passenger ships.

As far as I know, there are no regulations involving bad entertainment at sea. A lecturer COULD spend a half hour imitating howler monkeys and baboons aboard ship, and ye'd have not aingle legal recourse.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>however, they aren't called the "Queen of the skies" for nothing

Hmmmm....well.... they paled in comparison to the L-1011, the ultimate swinging 1970s luxury widebody:

http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?album=3646

Which were liked by both crews and passengers, for both comfort and ease of service.

Attrition, alas, has driven them out of the skies. I think a few are still serving in the third world, but since the oldest are now approaching 40 years I'd suggesting "RUN" if you are about to board a flight and see the sleek form of an L-1011 waiting at the gate.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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Jim, I think you are misunderstanding what I wrote in my earlier posts on this thread.You wrote about living conditions aboard early 20th Century Atlantic Liners such as bathrooms for only 1st Class staterooms which would not be tolerated today.Yes I would not want to share a stateroom with NO bathroom and with 3 other people.As for the passenger who in the middle of the night who is too lazy to use the bathroom so he defecates into the chamber pot behind a curtain yes that is disgusting behavior that would not be tolerated aboard ship today.All the ships I have been from the ocean liners built in the 1950s such as the Seabreeze of the Premier Cruise Line formerly the Frederico C of the Costa Line,the Regal Empress of Regal Cruises formerly the Olympia of the Greek Line to the Cunard Line's QE2 and QM2 all the staterooms aboard all those ships had their own bathrooms.If you have seen the Princess Cruise Line TV commercial that I have linked in my earlier post on this thread, You would have seen that airline travel also can be quite annoying when you have to sit with annoying passengers. Regards,Jerry
 

Adam Went

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Jerry:

Thanks for the comments! Good posts by yourself as well.

Jim:

How about replying to your e-mails and doing something constructive? ;-)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>The number of fully operating Boeing 747's in the world is still in the hundreds.<<

I'm not disputing that. It's no less then what you would expect when the airframe continues in production to the present day. However, you're still missing the point.

The point being that the older airframes...such as those which don't continue in service as cargo carriers...have long since been retired, and that new production airframes have so many modifications to keep them up to date, that the resemblance of the newest to the oldest is purely superficial.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>How about replying to your e-mails and doing something constructive? ;-)<<

He's not under any obligation to do either, but in the context of this forum, he is doing something constructive in that he's taking part in the public debate.

When he's not doing that, he's doing some cutting edge research on the Lusitania and publishing what he finds.
 

Adam Went

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Michael:

Well it's pretty obvious to say that the newer things are, the more safety features they're going to have. That doesn't necessarily make them stronger. The same applies to cars.

This might come as a bit of a shock to you, but you don't know everything about everything, and certainly not as much as you think you do, and it's absolutely none of your business to comment on correspondence that doesn't involve you.
 
As far as I know, when things are too strong, they could be dangerous as well. In the sixties, when cars were made of tons of steel and had really powerful engines, the survival rate of a car crash was much lower than today.
In fact, today´s cars are able to deform in order to absorb the impact. So I agree with you. However I don´t think you should have replied to Michael in that way, it makes the rest of the board feel uncomfortable.
 

Adam Went

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Augusto:

Yes, I've learnt from experience that modern cars just about fall apart. I own one. Driving at night time, there have been wildlife which has jumped out in front of me on a couple of occasions that I've had no choice but to hit - not even at high speed, and it has just about ripped my entire front bumper off.

That's fine if it saves your life in a head-on car crash. Not so fine when the front bumper costs $1500 to replace and you're having to fork it out every time you hit a small object. Atleast in older cars, it would cause nothing more than perhaps a very small dent.

As for Michael, I don't see why anyone should have to take any rubbish, and Michael constantly dishes it out. I for one will not, and neither should you or anybody else.