Patterico's Pontifications


Oakland International Airport Update

Filed under: Air Security — DRJ @ 3:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Following up on these Oakland I and Oakland II posts, the Oakland International Airport has apologized:

“Oakland International Airport officials apologized for prohibiting a planeload of U.S. troops, just back from Iraq, from entering the passenger terminal during a layover Thursday, prompting conservative pundits and bloggers to hold up the incident as an example of the Left Coast dishonoring soldiers.

“We apologize, I apologize to any members of the military that were on this flight and may have experienced some discomfort or perception of disrespect,” said Omar Benjamin, executive director of the Port of Oakland, which operates the airport.”

In addition, here’s some perspective from the charter airline:

North American Airlines regularly flies military charters to and from various locations and it uses Oakland International Airport for some flights because of logistical requirements.

On this charter, the Marines and soldiers were allowed to deplane in Germany and at JFK because both airports have secure areas that have been designated and made available for military use. For whatever reason (cost, space, security, etc.), Oakland has not made available a facility for military use.

This charter was scheduled for a stopover in Oakland to get a new crew, refuel and resupply from catering. It takes about two hours to refuel, resupply, and put a new crew on board. If the passengers had been allowed to deplane in Oakland, go through screening, and enter the main terminal, then the stopover would have lasted substantially more than two hours. Had the airline realized the troops wanted a longer stopover, it could have been arranged but North American Airlines believed the troops wanted to get to their home base in Hawaii as soon as possible.

I doubt anything wrong or ill-intentioned happened here. The problem is that, unlike the other airports with military traffic, the Oakland International Airport does not have a facility available for military use during stopovers and the troops end up sitting on the plane or the tarmac.

However, I remain concerned about this situation, if not with this specific incident. With the number of military transports traveling through the Oakland area, there should be some facility available to let military passengers deplane for a few hours. Hopefully the Oakland International Airport, the community of Oakland, and interested citizens can work to address this in the near future.


34 Responses to “Oakland International Airport Update”

  1. Or maybe our troops could be flown home on real airlines?

    Ones that have planes that can fly New York to Hawaii nonstop?

    Or Baghdad-Hawaii nonstop, for that matter.

    alphie (99bc18)

  2. I was at OAK the same day as this incident, but I did not know troops were there so I missed my chance to spit on them.

    OAK is a small airport: two terminals, 30 gates (including some that just opened), another terminal is under construction but there isn’t a lot of empty space since it became a Southwest hub. It was even smaller when I moved here: one terminal, about 10 gates.

    For southern CA readers, I think OAK is larger than Burbank and ONT, but not much.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (ffabc2)

  3. I was at OAK the same day as this incident, but I did not know troops were there so I missed my chance to spit on them.

    Let me guess…okay, you’re a caricature!

    Tom (5ad58f)

  4. Or maybe our troops could be flown home on real airlines?

    Maybe the Democrat’s War Congress will provide the extra funds so the troops can fly on a “real” airline.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  5. PS,

    Why do I get the feeling that Crony Air is charging more than regular airlines would to transport our troops 3rd class, steerge style?

    That’s the way socialism usually works.

    alphie (99bc18)

  6. Actually, Alphie, I think Oakland International Airport has the best deal. It probably charges for take-offs, landings, and parking planes but doesn’t have to provide any services for the military passengers. The only people who lose are the concession vendors and, of course, the troops.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  7. alphie is a moron, on its best day.

    JD (7da151)

  8. Well, DRJ,

    I’m sure SFO, right across the bay, has facilities for the military.

    Why didn’t Crony Air spring a few extra bucks to pay for landing and a gate there?

    alphie (99bc18)

  9. It’s my understanding the airline’s refueling and catering contracts are with vendors at the Oakland International Airport.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  10. Haha, okay,

    Crony Air saves a few bucks by refueling the ancient planes they use to transport our troops at a small airport that has no military faciliies.

    Some troops complain…and Crony Air blames the small, less expensive airport they use to make a few extra bucks.

    Who is to blame here?

    Can’t be the people who are getting rich off the war, so it must be…libruls!

    alphie (99bc18)

  11. I didn’t blame liberals, Alphie, but I hope the airline charter company will reconsider flying into Oakland if it doesn’t have the facilities to handle troops comfortably. Who knows? Maybe someone from the airline reads this and will consider it.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  12. I have read from several sources that the Marines were pre screened by TSA so there was no excuse for how they were treated. The airport was so rude to them that they did not even have a place to sit down nor any sanitary facilities. An apology is not good enough. This type of conduct ceases if its cost becomes prohibitive. The airport should be sued and held liable in punitive damages if the trier of fact finds the airport’s conduct was deliberate, wanton or gorssly negligent.

    William Garland (fdb45d)

  13. I have read from several sources that the Marines were pre screened by TSA

    Not even TSA says it “pre-screened” them.

    steve (6cffea)

  14. Reference the use of charters by the military. These are contracted out by bid and often times the low bid gets the offer. Hopefully the next time they field a contract for bid, some mention of how the troops will be managed at stopping points will be included.
    The alternative to charters is to have the troops flying through Europe and then the US on commercial carriers. If anyone went through Baltimore’s Airport when the Iraq war was winding down from the significant combat in late 03 you probably remember seeing the endless piles of dufflebags circling around the conveyor belts and the troops lugging the things to the next flight or connection as they made their way home.
    The charters eliminate much of that frustration and are a good thing. The units can often travel together with little chance of getting separated and for some flights are able to transport weapons. That it may be a no frills deal is the tradeoff and most GIs are happy to be able to avoid much of the aggravation flying as a regular commercial traveler.
    I’m not saying that excuses the mistakes at Oakland but it may help some readers understand the GI travel in a little different context.

    voiceofreason (ab690e)

  15. I never once got to utilize commercial travel. Alphtard – Any idea what the line item for military travel would be if we put everyone on a commercial flight?

    JD (7da151)

  16. North American Airlines gets $1 billion a year, JD.

    I imagine that number would be lower if real companies competed for the contract.

    alphie (99bc18)

  17. What Alphie fails to realize (or won’t) is that the alternative to charter travel is not regular commercial, it is (what in my ancient day was called) MATS. Except, the Congress in its’ infinite wisdom, does not see fit to allow the Air Force to purchase large quantities of transport aircraft anymore (they wouldn’t have the pilots to man them either).
    The AF is scraping the barrel to finance the C-17 troop carrier as it is. Where would the money come from for enough to transport all of the troop rotations that there are in just the limited force we have now?
    BTW, when I rotated to a from the SoAsia theatre back in the Jurassic age, we rode in a C-135. Originally designed as an aerial refueling tanker, it had no windows, what seats there were faced backwards for safety, and all of our cargo/luggage was on the same deck we were – under the deck where civilian planes had cargo, was nothing but fuel tanks. But, if required, these little beauties would fly for about 18-22 hours non-stop.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  18. Alphie,

    Shows that the contracted flights for NAA was 47 million of a 73 million dollar contract for one year, ending 30 Sep 07.

    voiceofreason (ab690e)

  19. More travel…
    Earlier (Korean War years), individual PCS travel overseas was sometimes done by sea. My cousin was an Aircraft Mechanic in the AF, and did a PCS to Japan on a Navy troop transport, along with a couple thousand Marines. He lucked out when coming back to the States, they booked him on an Aircraft Carrier – instead of hammocks five and six high, there were just three bunks, and the food was much better.
    Of course, that would be impossible today, as the Navy barely has enough transport for itself, without lugging entire units of the Army and Air Force around the world. Everybody goes by air today.
    When I did a PCS into and out of Alaska in the 60’s, I went from WA to Anchorage on an Alaskan Airlines flight as stand-by. That was nice – rode first class. Came back on a mililtary charter: 265 all GI’s and family, and we were all very glad to be coming back to the Lower 48.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  20. SFO is a crowded airport with a high risk of weather delay and landing fees much higher than OAK, although it may have better facilities.

    Comment #3 gets my Black Hole Density Award for 2007.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (3bc172)

  21. Alpho makes excuses for the idiotarians all the time based on his unique knowledge and grasp of reality. He sounds like a third rate OJ explaining how he is going to catch the real murderer on the golf links as soon as he can get back his autographed boodle.

    Sad Alpho, really more proof that you and the dinosaurs lived concurrently. Only the exoskelton provided by your lack of a brain enabled you to survive when the asteroid impacted.

    The Bay area is idiotarian central. If one wants to see the charms of an open urinal go to SF; if you want to see perversity watch their city council.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  22. Thomas,

    It look like quite a few soldier from the Bay Area have died in Iraq:

    I suppose your kind would carve “phony soldier” on their tombstones.

    alphie (99bc18)

  23. alphtard – You really are tiresome.

    JD (7da151)

  24. The reason the US military uses contracted commercial flights is that, in the broad view, it’s cheaper, faster, and easier.

    Chartered flights can carry what, close to 200 or so troops. Military transport planes fly a fraction of that. Moving more troops faster means that it’s done cheaper, saving pilots to fly the cargo planes with useful stuff, like ammo, vehicals, and other supplies.

    Too bad Staunch Brayer has no idea what he’s talking about.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  25. Alphie:
    When we talk about a “phony soldier,” we are talking about people like the Democrat Mayor of Atlantic City. He lied about being a Green Beret and he lied about being award medals. He is Hillary VP material for sure.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  26. Sue (ef5212)

  27. Guess the computer ate it? But, what I said was “let’s ignore Alphie and those of his kind. Waste of total time>

    Sue (ef5212)

  28. Alpo:
    I guess this means we can count on the MSM to showus the picture of the war dead to “honor” them just as the Bay area honors our living servicemen.

    Can we question their patriotism yet?

    By the way Alpo tell us about your service to the country. We all like to know what you did besides play in the sandbox of your parents basement with your GI Joe.

    Tell us is it just an urban legend Alpo that when a leftwing troll bites you, you become a raving loon too?

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  29. For southern CA readers, I think OAK is larger than Burbank and ONT, but not much.

    I flew into Burbank over the Labor Day weekend. It’s tiny. According to Wikipedia, Oakland is almost five times larger, and laid out better than either the cramped BUR or SFO, which is like a labyrinth.

    L.N. Smithee (5b909c)

  30. Gates: OAK 32, ONT 26, BUR 14. Interestingly, 20 years ago all three were in the mid-teens.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  31. Actually, Thomas,

    I think of you guys as self-hatin’ leftists.

    You’re for big government, but you’re too ashamed to admit it.

    Why don’t these flights land at Travis AFB, just a few miles north of Oakland, btw?

    Plenty of services available there for military folks, and it would keep congestion at civilian airports down.

    alphie (99bc18)

  32. You’re for big government, but you’re too ashamed to admit it.

    For that line, your name is temporarily changed to Staunch Projector.

    Paul (8dc031)

  33. Andrew, if you really want to spit on the returning Marines and Army troops I strongly suggest that you do so from behind an 8′ tall plexiglass wall with no way around it. You spit on me and I will most likely make it very difficult for you to even open your mouth for a month or two.

    K Ray (835816)

  34. Oakland Airport’s management SUCKS! They don’t know shit how to treat human beings. They are treating all taxi drivers who works their ass off at this airport day & night as well in hot, cold or rainy weather but don’t provide adequate amenities to them. Ask any airport shuttle or taxi driver and they will tell you more about their Ground Transportation management who ignore them and treat them like “Third Class Citizen”.
    Go and check their shitty location where they have been moved to park their vehicles and also check their portable urinals which smells & loaded with shit.

    Lester Patilla (10ebf1)

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