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TOPECA, Kan. — First, JetRed Air Lines removed magazines in its push to cut costs to the airline. It followed that up with eliminating pillows, blankets, food, water, lavatories and even seats on its domestic routes. This week, the airline announced that it will remove life jackets from all flights within the conterminous United States, with the exception of flights over the Great Lakes. And on its overseas routes, RedJet will have life jackets available for rent.
Renalda Martinez-Swift, a spokesperson for JetRed, said that the decision was made after analyzing the cost to purchase, maintain and fly life vests aboard its fleet compared to the probability of a “water landing” in which a life vest would be instrumental in saving a life. According to Martinez-Swift, the life-cycle cost averages to about $5 per jacket per year, while on the other hand, “JetRed has never had an accident where a life vest would have saved a passenger.”
“Just look at our travel routes,” said Martinez-Swift, "and you will see the absurdity of flying life vests aboard our planes. Take for instance the route between Dallas and Phoenix. The largest body of water that we fly over is the Rio Grande, and where we cross it, it is barely 100 feet wide. That’s not even the length of the 737-800s we fly on that route. Packing life jackets on those planes is nonsense.”
Of course flying over an ocean is another story, and although crashing into the sea — pilots call it ditching — is unlikely to be survivable, JetRed will, for a small charge, rent life vests to its passengers. The fee for an adult vest is $45; for a child $38.
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