UACO to re-certify Koito seatsvi

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by HaveMilesWillTravel, Sep 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Via Frequently Flying

    http://www.flightglobal.com/article...-submits-plan-to-faa-to-re-certify-koito.html


    United-Continental is looking to re-certify all Koito-manufactured seats on the Continental portion of its fleet, and has begun testing its Boeing 757s, Air Transport Intelligence can exclusively reveal.
    The US major has tapped engineering house Northwest Aerospace Technology (NAT) to handle the certification process.
    A NAT executive confirms the company is working with Continental's engineers on the project, but declined to provide further details.
    Koito falsified test data on some 150,000 seats in the world fleet, resulting in EASA and FAA airworthiness directives that require airlines to determine if Koito seats and seating systems are compliant with certain regulations and remove seats shown to be unsafe.

    ...



    Are those the seats often described as very hard?
     
  2. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    Yes it is the hard seats, should be be hoping/praying for total failure?
     
  3. Flyer1976
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    I personally prefer the Recaro seats over the Koito seats...
     
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  4. rggale
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    Any day of the week. No brainer.
     
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  5. TravelerRob
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    I'm curious...why is this the airlines fault if the manufacturer falsified data? I would think the FAA and other agencies would be directing Kioto to re-do their data with FAA oversight.

    If nothing else I'm sure CO is suing the manufacturer for at least the costs to go through this certification again.

    -RM
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    At this point Koito barely exists as an entity, much less a company that has money to spend on redoing all the work. The FAA/EASA have indicated that the seats can still fly if they are re-certified. The FAA is even being generous enough (to the airlines; questionable value here to the customer if there is a crash) to limit the number of tests required on the seats to wall less than the normal cert process.

    CO is, by far, the largest single customer in the USA with these seats. Replacing them would be an incredibly pricey undertaking. So they're taking the prudent path which is to get them inspected and hope that they pass. I'm sure that they are also pursuing claims against Koito, but they cannot wait for those to settle to figure out what to do with the seats. They have to start now or there's a decent chance the seats won't be legal while they're still inside the planes and that would be catastrophic for the company.
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    What happens if, as part of the re-certification, it is determined that the seats don't meet the requirements? And to make things worse (and less likely, I admit), if it's a flaw that's not easily fixable with some superglue or duct tape?
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Ka-ching!! They'll have to replace the seats. It will be incredibly costly.

    Based on the fact that the requirements are now a limited subset of the full tests the cynic in me says that CO must've known what tests the seats were likely to pass and lobbied to have those be the required ones so they're pretty confident that they'll pass inspection. But that's mostly just because I'm a horrible cynic and believe that the government is in the pocket of the businesses rather than actually serving the populace.
     
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  9. From NYC
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    This is yet another example of Smisek penny saved pound foolish thinking. He’s gonna make damn sure the money already spent on uncomfortable and, possibly, unsafe, seats goes towards those seats rather than stepping back and doing something right for the company he runs and the customers served.

    Tests? We don’t need to pass no stinking tests!
     
  10. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    I'll take concrete over the Koito seats. Not by much, but still I'll take it.
     
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  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Do you have any idea the volumes of cash you're talking about here? The price per seat is somewhere in the $1,500 range, and that's before you get to the cost of swapping them out and the maintenance/spares impact of the decision.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I guess the mistake of picking an uncomfortable seat (if it was a mistake; I don't have personal experience with it, i think) was made a longtime ago, and unless they could get Koito and/or their insurance to cover the cost of replacing them due to the certification issue, it's something that can't be changed now.

    I wonder if it is possible to fix the "hardness" through installation of different cushions, though. But you probably can't get those at Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon :-(
     
  13. From NYC
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    I do understand. I meant it in terms of continuing to flog a dead horse rather than letting it go and getting better seats or doing nothing at all. Perhaps the wrong expression to use, given that.
     
  14. scott6067
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    The way I understand this issue is that it includes current seats in use plus new seats? If this is the case this could lead to fleet wide groundings that is not good for consumers or the airline. This recert would thus be the best business decision in terms of less customer disruption and dollars spent. I see nothing wring with that kinda of thinking.
     
  15. From NYC
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    But they’re already designing new seating for planes, what with E+ on CO metal and new F seating, so planes are going out of service anyway. Besides, it seems that these seats are very widely disliked from a passenger comfort standpoint. So, is it better to bull their way through to getting the seats certified, possibly endangering lives, along with keeping butts unhappy, or is it better to start over with an already-certified seat that people like? If they’re gonna be taking planes out of service to put in Koito seats, what’s the difference if they’re out of the same service for Recaro seats?
     
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    E+ just means removing a row or two or E- and rearranging the others. UA did this stuff literally overnight. Not sure how much more difficult it would be on CO aircraft with IFE.
     
  17. From NYC
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    True. But if you’re going to swap out the old seats for new Koito seats, what’s the difference if it’s a different seat instead that takes the plane out of service?

    Did CO actually put big money down in advance on a seat that ended up not getting certified, and now has no way to get that money back given the non-certification? Is it that much that it’s better financially to stay with the Koito’s?:confused: If Koito’s financial situation is that flimsy that it can’t return CO’s money, how stable will it be in the future for servicing these seats?

    I don’t know the answer to these and other questions. But I’d rather UACO picks a comfortable Y seat over one that ain’t, and I’d prefer one that’s been through the full set of certification tests without cheating or dropping some of those tests, thank you very much.

    But that’s me. Others may think differently.
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Is that the plan? On how many aircraft? Somehow I was under the impression that the vast majority of uncertified Koito seats are already installed on CO aircraft today, and that they only put new (temporary) seats on newly delivered aircraft after the falsification was discovered. But I am by no means an expert in Koito seats and CO aircraft, so I am sure someone will clarify.
     
  19. QSG
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    That is not correct ! Koito very much exists it was a subsidiary which has taken it on the chin (and rightly so). Koito was profitable in the latest reporting period despite impairment charges associated with the seats.
    http://www.koito.co.jp/english/pdf/ir/ar_pdf/ar2010_e.pdf
     
  20. From NYC
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    Don’t know either if that’s what CO’s already done or planning. But even if so, the uncertified seats give CO an opportunity to get out of them and they should get the money back, along with installation costs, though it may take some time to actually get it, and assuming Koito doesn’t declare bankruptcy to get out of paying. They could then replace unliked seats with better received and already-certified seats.

    I just think it’s very bad customer relations when you start putting in seats that have only been through some tests after having failed to be certified. But that hasn’t stopped other companies from going the financial route instead of the customer satisfaction route.
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    This is not what is happening. There are no new Koito seats going into planes right now. Removing a couple rows and sliding things around isn't a huge deal nor expense.

    There's no way that the smart business decision is to spend tens to hundreds of millions of dollars and hope that you might eventually get your money back from the first time you spent that same sum.
     
  22. From NYC
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    Agree.

    [/quote]There's no way that the smart business decision is to spend tens to hundreds of millions of dollars and hope that you might eventually get your money back from the first time you spent that same sum.[/quote]

    Never implied that “hope” was involved in getting their money back. I have no idea how much CO laid out in the first place in the “hope”/expectation that the seats would be approved. But if “hope” is truly what is needed to get the money back, then Koito’s future doesn’t look good. After all, did Boeing do right by airlines waiting for the 787?

    But I’ve written my piece and I’m now done here.
     
  23. UAL4life

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    Wait I'm confused- Didn't PMUA put in the Koito seats in their new config intl 777s? They were/are comfortable! IAD-DXB-IAD
     
  24. Wandering Aramean
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    All the manufacturer does is make seats to the spec of the airline. If the airline orders crappy seats then the manufacturer will make them.
     
  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    If they were those uncertified Koito seats, I'd think they wouldn't be allowed to put them in the aircraft that were/are reconfigured after the fraud was discovered.
     

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