Heat wave: How hot is too hot to fly?

This weekend's heat likely will not  heavily impact airport operations in Southern California. But it might be a problem in Phoenix, hub for US Airways

This weekend’s heat likely will not noticeably impact airport operations in Southern California. But it might be a problem at US Airways’ Phoenix hub.

It’s a warm weekend in Southern California. And it’s even hotter in Phoenix, where Saturday’s high should reach 119 degrees. 

Most frequent fliers know airplane performance is impacted when the temperature rises. That problem is further compounded at higher-elevation airports, like Mexico City, Denver and even Phoenix.

The basic idea is that the air becomes less dense as temperature and altitude increases. The lighter air means airplanes have more difficulty climbing. Often, airlines deal with the problem by making planes lighter — taking off cargo, bags and even passengers.

Jess Romo, airport manager at L.A./Ontario International Airport, where Saturday’s temperature is predicted to reach 103 degrees, told me operations there shouldn’t be impacted this weekend. The airport is located at around 975 feet above sea level — not considered high altitude by aviation standards.

“It would have to get pretty hot – in my opinion a temperature we’ve not seen – to have an impact,” Romo said in an email. ” Keep in mind that we get hot weather every summer. It’s just that we are getting an early dose.”

But it could be a different story in Phoenix, which is hotter and slightly higher than L.A.-area airports.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher told the Associated Press the airline’s Boeing planes can fly in temperatures up to 126 degrees, while its Airbus fleet can fly in up to 127 degrees. Its fleet of regional jets require slightly cooler temperatures.

“The hotter is it, your performance is degraded,” Lehmacher told AP. “We’re monitoring this very closely to see what the temperatures do.”

In 1990, Phoenix temperatures hit 122 degrees and some airlines, including America West — which later became US Airways — had to stop flying for several hours, according to AP.

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TSA officers at Long Beach Airport find 12 knives in bag


A man tried to bring 12 throwing knives with 3-inch blades and an 8-inch long bayonet through security this week at Long Beach Airport, officials said.

The man, who intended to fly Wednesday on Delta flight 2448 to Salt Lake City, told screeners that he forgot to check his bag, officials said. The incident happened at about 6:40 a.m.

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Star Alliance lounge at LAX features outdoor seating, fire pits

Last week, we were first to report that some premium customers at the new LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal will have access to a special outdoor lounge, complete with a bar, lounge chairs and fire pits.

It took a week, but we finally secured renderings of the space, which will be used by first and business class customers, as well as some elite frequent fliers, flying on most Star Alliance airlines. It should open later this summer, when a key piece of the new building is finally opened.

The airlines using the lounge are: All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI and Turkish Airlines and Air New Zealand.

Will you be using this lounge? What do you think of it? Do you think airlines cater too much to premium customers?

The outdoor terrace at the new LAX international terminal.

The outdoor terrace at the new LAX international terminal.

The bar at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX.

The bar at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX.

Inside seating at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX

Inside seating at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX

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Cathay Pacific flight attendants: A day in the life

Once again, I’m a bit wary of giving airlines free advertising here on the blog. But Cathay Pacific has put together an impressive vignette of “A Day In the Life” of one of their flight attendants.

Does it make the airline look a little too perfect? Maybe.

But it also shows the difference between flight attendants in the United States and those in Asia. For many of the Asian carriers, the job is about far more than safety. And being an international flight attendant in some places is still a big deal.

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Burbank Bob Hope Airport: Security breach leads to flight delays

UPDATE: TSA Spokesman Nico Melendez explain what happened in the security breach at Burbank Bob Hope Airport. “The walk through metal detectors were operating improperly so … they had everyone evacuate the sterile side of the airport.”

ORIGINAL POST: Every passenger at Burbank Bob Hope Airport was re-screened by security officials late Thursday morning after officials discovered a security beach, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

“We had a terminal evacuation at about 10 minutes after 11 today due to a termination by TSA that there were probably several passengers that were not properly screened,” Gill said. “The re-screening of the passengers began at 11:32. All of them have been re-secreened.”

Gill said somewhere between 200 and 300 people had to go through security again after officials required what is known as a “terminal dump.” He said five or six flights were delayed as a result, but only for 15 to 30 minutes.

Gill said he did not know specifically what caused the issue.

“They don’t got into their procedures too much about what went wrong,” Gill said of the TSA. “But they determined that several passengers may have been improperly screened and once they got though it was impossible to find them.”

Gill said security issues require evacuations at the airport about once or twice each year.

“They are very infrequent,” he said.

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