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FAA Hearings on Airline Safety

Flying the Scary Skies? The Airline Industry Hits Turbulence

Suddenly those gross, germy, blankets are the least of air travelers worries. The FAA is answering to Congress today over whistle-blower information surfaced casting doubt over Southwest Airlines safety practices.

The tip came from an FAA inspector who called out his bosses saying, "I'm here today because I'm concerned of the safety of the flying public which has been jeopardized by the abusive authority in violations of the federally regulations." He says Southwest pressured the FAA to hide safety problems. Insert the small tab into the buckle of your seatbelt, there's a ton more airline news, just

.

Also today, United became the latest major carrier to ground planes unannounced after failing to make required checks of the planes' fire-suppression system. (Southwest and American have both also grounded planes recently.) Aloha Airlines lei-d off 1,900 employees when it was grounded this week, and ATA skidded into bankruptcy, quitting today.

What's behind all the sky-bound turmoil? Is the FAA too easy on the airlines? Are consumers, constantly after bargain-basement fares, partially to blame?

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