This subsection is about the long lines, general inconvenience, low average
travel time, and health hazards facing airline passengers. Baggage
handlers are cause for concern, not to mention the likelihood of sitting next
to someone who's wide enough for two seats.
Note: All the information about cell phones on airliners has been
flutes destroyed by US Customs. Before you whine about an airline temporarily losing your luggage, think of poor Boujemaa Razgui.
The flute virtuoso who performs regularly with The Boston Camerata lost 13 handmade flutes over the holidays when a US Customs official at New
York's JFK Airport mistook the instruments for pieces of bamboo and destroyed them.
The Air Boehner Tax. He is the new tax collector for the
welfare state. And House Speaker John Boehner's latest gift to the American people — a 124% tax increase on air
travel — can aptly be called The Air Boehner Tax.
Tragic security snafu: Man dies at JFK after doors
delay responders. A man died after suffering a heart attack at Kennedy Airport after two teams of first responders failed to reach
him — because their electronic ID cards couldn't open secure doors at the newly renovated Delta terminal, The Post has learned. [...] A
call went out for help, but what happened next was a massive mix-up.
You will watch a movie, whether you want to or not. Flight
diverted after family raises concerns over PG-13 inflight movie. A family's criticism of inflight entertainment allegedly
prompted a United flight to be diverted over "security concerns." In a story published in The Atlantic, one family recounts
traveling from Denver to Baltimore with two young sons, ages 4 and 8. During the flight, the PG-13-rated detective
film "Alex Cross" was shown on drop-down monitors across the plane. The family worried about their young children seeing
inappropriate content in the film.
Wife called in bomb hoax to prevent husband from flying to Paris without her.
A whacked-out New Jersey woman sent police rushing to Newark Airport yesterday after falsely accusing her husband of plotting to blow up a plane, authorities said.
Eunice Ukaegbu, 50, called cops about her hubby, Okieze Ukaegbu, 58, because she didn't want him to leave the country without her, authorities said.
Another TSA Agent Accused of iPad
Theft. A TSA agent was arrested this week and charged with stealing from passengers traveling through New York's John F.
Kennedy Airport, adding to the long list of TSA officers accused of theft of passenger belongings.
Woman Says TSA Agent Stole
Jewels At Logan Airport. Terri Ivester was on her way to a family christening in Chicago when she ran into a snag at the
security checkpoint at Logan Airport. Terri Ivester says, "The TSA agent holds my backpack up, and um, says there's a water bottle
in this backpack, I'm going to have to take that." That's when Ivester says the agent left the area with her bag.
TSA Worker Steals $500 From Traveler As
Punishment For Complaining. A former TSA worker has pleaded guilty to stealing over $500 in cash from a man who complained about the
TSA's invasive pat down procedure, with the TSA agent admitting the theft was a punishment for the man's lack of obedience. 60-year-old
John W. Irwin pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny following an incident in November 2011, during which a man asked that he be given a
pat down rather than face a body scanner due to a medical condition.
TSA Confiscates Camera, Deletes Footage of Checkpoint.
Despite the TSA admitting on its own website that there is no law which prevents people from filming TSA checkpoints, a man traveling through San Juan
airport in Puerto Rico had his camera confiscated and footage deleted. [...] Tom McCormack explains how he was repeatedly harassed by TSA officers and
then police simply for filming at a body scanner checkpoint, before TSA agents violently grabbed his camera from him and disappeared, a concerning
development given the fact that TSA workers are routinely caught stealing expensive personal items belonging to travelers.
ABC News Tracks Missing iPad To Florida Home of
TSA Officer. In the latest apparent case of what have been hundreds of thefts by TSA officers of passenger belongings, an iPad left behind
at a security checkpoint in the Orlando airport was tracked as it moved 30 miles to the home of the TSA officer last seen handling it.
Confronted two weeks later by ABC News, the TSA officer, Andy Ramirez, at first denied having the missing iPad, but ultimately turned it over after
blaming his wife for taking it from the airport.
Convicted TSA Officer Reveals Secrets
of Thefts at Airports . A convicted TSA security officer says he was part of a "culture" of indifference that allowed corrupt employees to
prey on passengers' luggage and personal belongings with impunity, thanks to lax oversight and tip-offs from TSA colleagues.
JFK Booster Shots. A
gang of 18 JFK Airport workers really could have used a stiff drink yesterday after they were busted for stealing thousands of the tiny
liquor bottles served on airplanes to resell at bodegas around the city, officials said. The airport insiders allegedly grabbed
the mini-bottles — at a total value of $750,000 — that were left over after American Airlines flights landed
at the airport.
saggy pants booted from plane after dispute. A man was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight at O'Hare International Airport over
the weekend after he became "verbally abusive" to flight attendants who asked him to to pull up his sagging pants, an airline spokeswoman said.
The man and the woman he was traveling with Sunday morning became "verbally abusive," threatening physical harm to flight attendants who had
asked him to pull up his pants, which were "excessively low," hanging below his buttocks, Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said. The man was
boarding the Orlando-bound plane when flight attendants spoke to him, she said.
50 airlines collect $22.6 billion in extra
passenger fees in 2011. Fifty airlines throughout the world collected $22.6 billion from bag fees and other extra passenger charges
last year, according to a study released Monday [7/23/2012]. The fees that air passengers pay to check bags, change reservations, upgrade to
roomier seats and buy food and drinks, among other fees, have grown steadily for the past four years, representing a major share of total revenues for
most airlines, according to the study by Wisconsin-based IdeaWorksCompany, a consultant on airline revenues, and Amadeus, a travel technology firm
based in Madrid.
sicken 1 in 10 Alaska Airlines flight attendants. Hundreds of Alaska Airlines flight attendants say their uniform
is making them ill. The Association of Flight Attendants — which represents roughly 2,800 Alaska employees — says
the company's recent uniform makeover has prompted itching, hair loss, and other adverse health reactions.
Best seat on the plane is 6A. Flying, as we all
know, is not always fun. Along with long delays, disappearing services and creeping costs, choosing the right seat is always a gamble.
But one survey claims there is a perfect seat — one that combines maximum comfort with convenience.
Air Canada pilot mistook planet for plane, report finds. He had indulged in a lengthy mid-flight nap, denied himself a hit of
caffeine and was suffering from the sleepiness experienced by North American pilots flying overnight to Europe. So it was in a groggy
haze that an Air Canada first officer flying over the Atlantic initially mistook the planet Venus for another aircraft, then plunged his
Boeing 767 — with 95 passengers on board — 120 metres to avoid an imaginary crash with an oncoming U.S. C-17
military cargo plane.
than 200 items stolen every day from checked baggage at JFK airport. It's one of the busiest airports in the
world, but it's fast earning a tarnished reputation. More than 200 thefts occur daily at the New York City
airport, law enforcement officials told CBS New York. What's worse is that these thefts are not being reported — rather,
the airlines involved write the stolen items off as 'lost luggage.'
Update: JetBlue pilot who had midair
meltdown to plead insanity-filing. A JetBlue pilot whose midair meltdown prompted a cross-country flight
to make an emergency landing in west Texas last month will plead he was insane at the time of the incident, his lawyer
said in a federal court filing on Wednesday [4/18/2012].
Airplane air: Does it really make you sick?
Despite literally millions of passengers being crammed daily in tightly sealed, industrial flying tubes like sardines in a can, research
has shown that the risk of infectious disease transmission aboard a plane is very low. In fact, the risk of airborne transmission is
probably higher in the departure lounge, where air isn't rigorously filtered.
Out Below! Do airplanes ever dump their waste while in flight? Not intentionally.
female TSA agents means no flight for Denver woman. A Denver woman claims she couldn't board a flight from
Wyoming to Denver because of her gender. Jennifer Winning makes the flight from the small airport of Rock Springs,
WY to Denver often, but on January 29th it was different. "They wouldn`t let me get on the plane because I`m
female," Winning said. She said she checked in and arrived at security about 35 minutes before the scheduled
departure of her United flight.
screener arrested for swiping $5K from passenger. A TSA screener was busted for allegedly stealing
$5,000 from a passenger who was going through a security checkpoint, the latest in a string of snafus by the
federal agency at the city's three airports, authorities said.
JFK, La Guardia and
Newark terminals among worst in world. Three [New York] area airport terminals were cited as among
the worst in the world yesterday — with Kennedy's Terminal 3 earning the dubious distinction as
the most miserable layover location on the planet. The former Pan Am terminal — which now
houses Delta Air Lines — took home the dubious dishonor for its "endless immigration lines," crummy
food and shopping options, and dank environment, according to the travel Web site Frommer's. "JFK's terminals
range from the awful to the mediocre, but Delta's hubs take the rotten, worm-infested cake," according to Frommer's.
Europe's Unfriendly Skies.
Flying to and from Europe just became more expensive thanks to the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme
(ETS). The ETS was instituted in January 2005, in an attempt to control greenhouse gas emissions,
specifically carbon dioxide. Initially the scheme applied to power-generating facilities, oil refineries,
steelworks, and other heavy industry in Europe. Now, as of the first of the year, the regulations have
reached the airline industry, including aircraft based in the United States.
began descending very sharply'. A British Airways jet was forced to make an emergency landing
after two women pilots 'almost passed out' at the controls. The captain and first officer had to put
on oxygen masks as the aircraft, which had just taken off from Heathrow, was climbing at 20,000 feet.
Ways to get thrown
off your holiday flight. You may not know this (but probably should, in case you need to remind flight
attendants that the rule does, in fact, exist) airlines have the right to boot you off the plane if you smell bad:
Several airlines state in their policies that it can remove a passenger with an offensive odor and the language varies.
trapped on plane: 'We were all slowly losing it'. JetBlue Flight 504 had been a perfectly
normal flight right up until it wasn't. And then it stayed that way — a strange, surreal
experience that trapped passengers and the flight crew on board for nearly seven and a half hours amid one of
the worst October snowstorms on record.
FAA romance led to $970 million contract award, increase in ATC errors.
A recent spike in air traffic control errors is likely attributable to a change in the Federal Aviation Administration's
chosen contractor for training air traffic controllers, The Daily Caller has learned. That change was likely
the result of a government contracting shuffle orchestrated by an FAA official and her lover — a
former FAA official who worked for Raytheon at the time the contract was awarded. Raytheon won the contract,
worth nearly $1 billion. Potentially deadly aircraft incidents attributable to control tower mistakes
have increased dramatically in recent years.
workers stole my baptismal cross! Laura Ingraham's baptismal cross went missing from her checked
luggage at the Newark airport this weekend, and the syndicated radio host says either a Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) worker or a Continental Airlines employee is responsible.
Agent Caught With Passenger's iPad in His Pants. The Broward Sheriff's Office says 30-year-old
Nelson Santiago stole around $50,000 worth of electronics over the past six months from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood
International Airport's Terminal 1. Santiago — a TSA officer since 2009 — was
caught earlier this week by a Continental Airlines employee taking an iPad out of someone's luggage and stuffing
it into his pants, the cops say.
TSA agent accused of pilfering from passengers.
A Transportation Security Administration employee accused of stealing from passengers at a South Florida airport
has been arrested. Nelson Santiago, 30, of Hollywood, Fla., was arrested Monday on two counts of grand
accused of stealing from passengers. A TSA screener in Fort Lauderdale Florida was arrested and
charged with stealing from passengers, deputies said. Sheriff's deputies said Nelson Santiago stole
items out of passengers' luggage and sold them online.
TSA worker arrested
on suspicion of stealing from passengers at LAX. A Transportation Security Administration
worker has been arrested on suspicion of stealing from passengers' luggage at Los Angeles International
Airport, police said. Paul Yashou, 37, was arrested Thursday for burglary. Yashou posted
$20,000 bail and is set for arraignment on July 14.
TSA Supervisor Sentenced for Bribery. A former supervisor with the Transportation Security Administration
has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to taking bribes from a TSA officer
who was stealing from passengers.
Sex, Lies & the TSA. [Scroll
down] Recent studies have shown that naked body devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher
than expected. Despite this statistic, the government has assured their workers and the flying public
alike that the scanners are perfectly safe. Given the incestuous involvement of government with the
scanner manufacturers, would anyone expect a report to the contrary? Where are the journalists who
should be actively investigating this issue?
Doctors sound TSA germ alert.
Syphilis, lice, gonorrhea, ringworm, chlamydia, staph, strep, noro and papilloma viruses all are part of
the possible fringe benefits when airline passengers next go through a full hands-on pat-down by agents of
the federal government's Transportation Security Administration, according to doctors.
Spreadin' the glove: TSA infecting
U.S.? Those latex gloves Transportation Security Administration agents wear while giving
airline passengers those infamous full-body pat-downs apparently aren't there for the safety and security
of passengers -- only the TSA agents. That's the word being discussed on dozens of online forums
and postings after it was noted that the agents wear the same gloves to pat down dozens, perhaps hundreds,
of passengers, not changing them even though the Centers for Disease Control in its online writings has
emphasized the important of clean hands to prevent the exchange of loathsome afflictions.
on Flight 547. An American Airlines plane had to be diverted today after four passengers
fainted and two flight attendants complained of feeling extremely dizzy. The flight made an
emergency landing at Dayton, Ohio, after a suspected problem with the plane's air conditioning system.
Passengers may have suffered 'aerotoxic syndrome' caused by breathing in contaminated air.
blood boils over in-flight. A vegetarian air passenger was so disgusted by the food she was
served on a Newark-bound Continental Airlines flight that she threw the loaded tray at a flight attendant.
The New York Post reported that things came to a boil somewhere between the Dominican Republic and Newark Airport
after the 30-year-old passenger complained that her special meal did not meet her expectations.
employees admit to repeatedly stealing money from passengers. A TSA supervisor stole money
from passengers who went through his security checkpoint and accepted bribes and kickbacks from a colleague.
Michael Arato, a supervisor at Newark Liberty Airport, admitted on Monday [2/14/2011] that he regularly
took money from passengers during security screenings and deliberately targeted foreigners who could not
speak much English.
Worker Avoids Prison After Stealing Travelers' Laptops. A 37-year-old former Transportation
Security Administration officer has been sentenced to three years' probation for stealing laptop computers
from passengers' luggage at Philadelphia International Airport. Federal prosecutor Arlene Fisk says
defendant Troy Davis, upset about a demotion and lost pay, admitted stealing five laptops and a Sony
Radiation risk from flying trumps body
scanners. "Most people are unaware about the fact that there is significant radiation exposure
associated with air travel because they are well above the Earth's atmosphere," said Robert J. Barish, a
radiological and health physicist in New York City. "You'd get as much radiation in a whole-body scanner
as you'd get in two minutes at 30,000 feet."
Petite woman bumped from plane for
hefty passenger. It's irritating enough to get bumped from a flight. If you are already
seated on that flight, having to walk off the plane adds a little indignity. But to be told to leave a
plane because a too-large passenger needs two seats? It turned into a seeing-red, head-scratching
moment for one frequent flyer.
Dude Where's My Gun?
No one can escape the experience of lost luggage when traveling by air, not even the Israeli Secret Service.
The Israeli Secret Service confirmed to Fox News that a suitcase belonging to the Israeli Secret Service entourage
traveling with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, was accidentally (or not) sent to Los Angeles
instead. When it was located and opened in L.A a box with 4 guns were missing.
Airline Food Health Threat:
Roaches, Rat Feces, Horrors, Says FDA. Airline meals are notoriously unappealing, but newly
disclosed reports from the FDA suggest they could pose a serious health threat. The reports, obtained
by USA Today via the Freedom of Information Act, say that some kitchens where the meals are prepared use
unclean equipment, employ food handlers who practice poor hygiene, and store food at the wrong temperatures.
on airplanes: Your seatbelt may hide a lifesaving surprise. The perception persists among
many passengers that a commercial airline accident is all or nothing — either disaster is averted or
everyone succumbs. And while many aviation professionals have long known that surviving an accident is
not only possible but increasingly likely, educating the public remains a serious challenge.
While you're standing in line at the airport... Reid,
Boxer flying high on Feinstein's private jet. Hey, who wouldn't like to travel by private jet?
It's a treat few of us get to enjoy, including members of Congress. Financial disclosure forms released
Wednesday [6/16/2010] show that Sen. Dianne Feinstein let Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Barbara
Boxer hitch a ride Christmas Eve on her private plane after they had trouble booking commercial flights
because of a blizzard, reports our colleague Paul Kane.
causes taxiing plane to return to gate. A caged, 2-inch turtle traveling with a 10-year-old
girl caused a crew to turn around a taxiing plane, take the girl and her sisters off the flight and tell
them they couldn't bring their pet along.
radiation a concern, but not from scans. Passengers may be suspicious of the low-level
radiation doses coming from full-body scanners being deployed at airports, but a far greater threat
comes from the radiation that creeps into airliners while in flight. The phenomenon has been well
known in scientific circles for years but has never gained much mainstream attention.
Europe extends flight bans as ash
cloud spreads. Millions of people faced worsening travel chaos Saturday [4/17/2010] as a volcanic
ash cloud from Iceland moved further south and east, forcing European countries to extend flight bans into next
week. France decided to shut the three airports in the Paris area and others in the north of the country
until 8:00 am (0600 GMT) on Monday [4/19/2010] due to the ash cloud that has caused the biggest
airspace shutdown since World War II.
brush with ash now aviation lore. When Speedbird 9 ran into trouble on its way from Kuala Lumpur
to Perth, the pilots had no idea why their engines had stopped. They were flying in the dark and the crew saw
only a bright light on the windshield as the glass was being sandblasted. There were fumes and a smell of
sulphur in the cabin and the passengers could see fire as unburnt fuel ignited behind the stopped engines.
Only later did the crew hear that the nearby Mount Galunggung had erupted days earlier and that its ash had choked
Dead man kept off plane. Two
women were arrested at a British airport on suspicion of trying to smuggle a dead relative onto a flight bound
for Germany, police said on Tuesday. The 91-year-old deceased man was pushed in a wheelchair through
Liverpool's John Lennon airport wearing sunglasses before check-in staff became suspicious on Saturday and he
was prevented from boarding the plane.
16-hour flightmare. They were supposed to be taking a direct flight from LAX to JFK —
but wound up on a 16-hour nightmare tour by air and bus of New York state. Before finally arriving at
their destination, the starving passengers of jinxed Virgin America Flight 404 had been stranded on a
tarmac for seven hours and forced to ride a bus for another 2½ hours.
A no-fly list?
Count him in. Over the weekend, an idiot walked the wrong way through a secure exit for
arriving passengers at Newark airport. An entire terminal was shut down so that everybody on
the "sterile" side of the security barriers could be herded back out and rescreened. The entire
process took just under seven hours. The cascading delays disrupted air travel worldwide.
It doesn't help if the pilot is insane. Pilot:
I kept having urges to crash. Bryan Griffin, a veteran Qantas pilot, had a problem. During
flights he experienced overwhelming urges to crash his plane. Once he had to pin his arm behind his seatbelt
to prevent himself switching off the engines.
The airport is a police state. Military Blogger Michael Yon Detained, Handcuffed by TSA in Seattle
Airport. [Scroll down slowly] Yon described the TSA officials as noticeably frustrated
by his refusal to answer their questions: "I always assume everything is being recorded. I was
trying to be professional." Yon continued, "They said I wasn't under arrest, but I'm handcuffed. In
any other country, that qualifies as an arrest." ... "TSA people are out of control," he said. "They
are not doing their jobs, they are harassing people, creating animosity. They ask you 'what time is
your connective flight?' and they bully you until you miss the flight."
From Hell. The Obama Administration is rarely careful about what it wishes for, and right in
time for the holidays it has decreed there shall be no more flight delays. If you happen to be reading
this editorial stuck in an airport, we sympathize, though the new regulations will almost certainly result in
longer waits, more cancellations, higher ticket prices and even greater inconvenience.
Flying Barely. I, like
most frequent flyers nowadays, am mentally ready to hurl myself at some guy with a weapon or who acts like a
terrorist. But I was totally paralyzed by the naked man.
You never know when some of your fellow
passengers may exhibit remarkably poor judgment. Arabic-language
flashcards don't fly with TSA. Nicholas George planned to brush up on his Arabic vocabulary
during a flight in August from Philadelphia to California, where he was to start his senior year at Pomona
College. So he carried some Arabic-English flashcards in his pocket to study on the plane. But
those flashcards changed George's life far beyond the classroom.
Passenger Kicked Off Plane. Few people would argue that air travel doesn't stink on same days,
but what about their fellow passengers? Well, the smell of one passenger was so bad that he was
apparently asked to leave a recent Air Canada regional airline flight.
asks passengers to use the toilet before boarding. A Japanese airline has started asking passengers
to go to the toilet before boarding in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. All Nippon Airways (ANA) claims
that empty bladders mean lighter passengers, a lighter aircraft and thus lower fuel use. Airline staff will
be present at boarding gates in terminals to ask passengers waiting to fly to relieve themselves before
boarding, The Independent reported.
for Salem man. A man whose "concerning" behavior aboard a flight from Portland to Hawaii today
caused the plane to turn around was released without being charged. The plane's captain decided to turn
the plane around after the man "made threatening remarks and refused to store his carry-on bag," said Dwayne
Baird, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.
Crying babies and overflowing toilets.
When Link Christin boarded a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Minneapolis on Friday night [8/7/2009], he
expected to be on the ground in about three hours and ready for a comfy bed. Instead, he was among 47 passengers
who spent the night trapped inside a small airplane, parked at the Rochester, Minn., airport, complete with crying babies
and the aroma of over-used toilets.
47 Spend 'Surreal' 6 Hours on Grounded Plane.
By its sixth hour sitting on a deserted tarmac, Continental Express Flight 2816 had taken on the smell of diapers
and an overwhelmed lone toilet. What should have been a 2½-hour trip from Houston to Minneapolis
had moved into its ninth hour, and the 47 passengers on board had burned through the free pretzels and drinks
handed out early in their Friday night [8/7/2009] flight from Houston.
Nightmare on a plane — the
Flight 2816 fiasco. The latest infamous incident of Major Airline Tarmac Dysfunction occurred in
Minnesota last weekend when a severe storm curtailed Continental ExpressJet Flight 2816. The flight,
bound from Houston to Minneapolis-St. Paul, was redirected to Rochester, Minn., and landed around midnight.
Then, because some person or persons made an unconscionably stupid call, the airline did not release the
47 passengers until 6 a.m.
New kiosks at SFO
first to sell carbon offsets. Travelers flying out of San Francisco International Airport
can be the first in the nation to wipe away some of the damage their flights wreak on the planet by
swiping their credit cards.
The Editor says:
There's a sucker boarding every minute.
When Skies Become
Unfriendly: Should rowdy airline passengers be prosecuted under the USA PATRIOT Act? On the
surface, the question seems to answer itself: PATRIOT, enacted by Congress in the wake of 9/11, was intended
to protect against a terrorist attack, not the drunk in seat 16A. Dig a bit deeper, however, and there are
good reasons to hold people accountable when they prevent pilots or flight attendants from doing their jobs.
Three luggage handlers
convicted of stealing. Three baggage handlers at San Francisco International Airport have been convicted
of stealing from luggage during an undercover sting begun after the theft of a retired police sergeant's gun, authorities
said Friday [7/31/2009].
Turtles on runway delay flights in New York.
The speed of the world's biggest jets was no match against the slow and steady pace of a group of turtles who delayed
flights at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning. A runway that juts out
into a bay was closed for 35 minutes while 78 diamondback terrapin turtles, each weighing 2-3 pounds, were
removed, said a spokesman for airport operator The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
United Airlines Song Background (short
version): In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour
and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I
discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn't deny the experience occurred
but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage
on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss.
nabs sticky-fingered JFK airport workers going through luggage. A sting captured by security
cameras nabbed two sticky-fingered airport workers who swiped electronics planted by authorities, officials said.
[Two suspects] stole a laptop and cell phone from the decoy luggage as it moved through Kennedy Airport, Port Authority
business, Clear may sell customer data. Three days after ceasing operations, owners of the Clear
airport security screening service acknowledged that their database of sensitive customer information may end up in
someone else's hands, but only if it goes to a similar provider, authorized by the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration. Until this week, the Clear service had given customers a way to skip long security lines in
to ensure safety of customer data after Clear closing. For a $199 annual fee, New York-based VIP
offered a service called Clear that was designed to help air travelers get through airport security checks
faster by vetting their identities and backgrounds in advance. VIP was the largest of seven private
companies approved by the TSA to operate a registered traveler program. VIP announced it was ceasing
operations on June 21 because of financial reasons. The announcement prompted immediate concerns
about the privacy and security of the detailed personal identity information, including fingerprints, iris
scans and digital images, the company had collected on its approximately 260,000 customers.
Ryanair may charge for toilet
use on planes. Irish carrier Ryanair, Europe's largest budget airline, might start charging passengers
for using the toilet while flying, chief executive Michael O'Leary said on Friday. "One thing we have looked at
in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that
people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future," he told BBC television.
who stripped naked on L.A.-bound jet held by FBI. A passenger who stripped naked aboard a Los
Angeles-bound US Airways jet, forcing its diversion to Albuquerque, will be arraigned Thursday [7/2/2009] and
possibly be ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination, the FBI confirmed today.
Cops: Late passenger claims to be air marshal.
A man running late for a flight flashed a fake police badge to airline workers and claimed to be an air
marshal so they would let him through the gate, authorities say. Miami-Dade police said a 49-year-old
man was booked on a flight to Los Angeles Wednesday night [2/25/2009], but the gate had already closed and
the plane was departing.
Corporate Jets and
Congress. Most of us seem to hate the idea that our corporate executives are able to fly without
the normal burdens of lines, delays and bureaucratic hassles. We resent the whole business and our
politicians know that so they pile on. Corporations are so intimidated that no corporate jet carries
any form of public identification. It is impossible to tell from looking at these planes who owns them.
Little Flight Attendant. It's been a little while since I talked about the horrors of contemporary air
travel. Either I've become so desensitized to the situation or it's gotten better in the last year or so, I don't
know. Either way, my head hasn't flown off my shoulders in quite some time. Which made my experience of
JetBlue the other day all the more rich and surprising. I'll just tell it to you as it happened.
Qantas probe laptop
link after 300 foot plunge. Passenger laptop computers are now being investigated as a possible
cause of the Qantas mid-air emergency off Western Australia on Tuesday [10/7/2008]. The Airbus A330-300,
with 303 passengers and a crew of 10, experienced what the airline described as a "sudden change in
altitude" north of its destination on Tuesday. In July, a passenger clicking on a wireless mouse mid-flight
was blamed for causing a Qantas jet to be thrown off course, according to the Australian Transport Safety
Bureau's monthly report.
Update: Qantas mid-air drama
explained. An error in the automatic pilot system caused an Airbus jet to plummet last week,
injuring scores of passengers on a Qantas flight from Singapore to Perth, Australia's air safety agency said
on Tuesday. The incident was an "unique event", but was serious enough to prompt Airbus to issue
emergency guidelines to airlines worldwide operating the Airbus A330-300 in the event of a similar
emergency, Australian Transport Safety Bureau director Julian Walsh told reporters in Canberra.
passenger restrained with duct tape. An airline crew used duct tape to keep a passenger
in her seat because they say she became unruly, fighting flight attendants and grabbing other passengers,
forcing the flight to land in North Carolina. Maria Esther Castillo of Oswego, N.Y., is due in
court Thursday [11/6/2008], charged with resisting arrest and interfering with the operations of a flight crew
aboard United Airlines Flight 645, from Puerto Rico to Chicago.
American cancels 922 more
flights. American Airlines canceled 922 flights today — including 16 that were to depart
from Logan International Airport — as the world's largest carrier continued its struggle with aircraft
safety inspections. Today's cancellations followed nearly 1,000 on Wednesday [4/9/2008].
The Editor says...
As I understand it, the FAA (under pressure from Congress) won't let American fly their MD-80's because of
potential wiring problems in the airplanes' wheel wells. Obviously the airline considers the planes to
be reasonably safe. Here's my proposed solution: Instead of inconveniencing thousands of people at
airports all over the country, why not let them fly on the planes as usual, after signing a waiver and
acknowledging that the plane might not be 100% safe. American Airlines would be be better off letting
people fly for half price, rather than getting so upset that they would never fly American again. That
would be the free market solution. Unfortunately the American public has been conditioned to assume that
the government can and will keep everyone 100% safe all the time, so that's why people are sleeping on cots
in the terminals at DFW Airport.
Cleared To Return All But Three MD-80s To Service. There may finally be a (landing) light at the
end of the tunnel for American Airlines, stifled for days following groundings of its 300-plane fleet of
MD-80 airliners for safety inspections. On Saturday [4/12/2008], FAA officials cleared the airline
to return all but three of the aircraft to service.
Best Route to Airline Safety: [Scroll down] Unnoticed in the furor is that during all the time
these carriers were doing something supposedly dangerous, it didn't cause any accidents. The carriers'
definition of "safe" seems to have been vindicated. That should come as no shock. As a rule, it
makes sense to assume the industry puts great emphasis on safety. Aircraft manufacturers have a huge
stake in producing safe vehicles, and airlines have powerful incentives not to crash those planes.
The Latest Political Crusade: CFL Light Bulbs and
Airline Safety. We are in an unprecedented era of safety as far as American commercial airlines
are concerned and the uninspected items did not all have to be inspected immediately. Since there were
thousands of airline flights cancelled in the name of safety, this means that there were at least tens of
thousands of passengers unable to take the flights they had booked. Some of those passengers drove
cars to reach the destinations to which they had originally planned to fly.
30 lashes for smoking on
plane. A Sudanese man has been sentenced to 30 lashes for smoking on a domestic Saudi Arabian
Airlines flight, local media reported on Monday.
US Airways to charge $7 for
pillows and blankets. If you want a pillow and blanket in coach on US Airways, it's going to
cost you $7. US Airways said Thursday [2/5/2009] it will begin charging for its "Power-Nap Sack" on
Feb. 16. It's following the lead of JetBlue Airways, which announced a similar policy last summer.
American Airlines waives 3rd bag fee
for military. American Airlines said Wednesday [8/13/2008] it will waive the fee to check a third bag for
active members of the U.S. military. Fees for first and second checked bags have always been waived
for active service members, American said. Previously, military personnel had to pay the $100 fee
for the third checked bag, and then fill out a form to be reimbursed. The new waiver policy
to follow JetBlue's pillow fee. US Airways will likely begin selling pillows and blankets to
its customers by the end of the year, following closely behind discount carrier JetBlue Airways Corp., which
said Monday [8/4/2008] it will start charging fliers $7 to use a pillow and blanket.
rising fees confuse and anger their passengers. Rising airline fees reached new milestones last week
with a charge for pillows and blankets and record charges for frequent-flier award tickets. JetBlue began
charging $7 for a new pillow-and-blanket set that passengers can keep. US Airways established processing
fees for frequent-flier tickets that will cost fliers booking online $30 for a domestic flight and $40 for nearly
all international destinations.
Cutting Back, Plans $15 Bag Fee. There's an old saying about the best way to travel: bring
half the clothes and twice the money. Now may be the time to take that advice to heart. American
Airlines said Wednesday [5/21/2008] that it would soon start charging passengers $15 to check their first bag
each way, or $30 round-trip, if they are flying on a discounted fare.
The Editor says...
Now American Airlines is grounding its MD-80s for a different reason: The airline says (if I heard
the TV report correctly) that the MD-80s are such gas-guzzlers that even if they were filled to capacity,
the price of a ticket wouldn't pay for the jet fuel they burn.
Had a lost bag in 2007? It was one
of 42 million. Airline passengers suffered more delays than ever in retrieving their luggage last
year as 42 million bags went missing, 25 percent more than in 2006, according to a report issued
Thursday [4/17/2008]. Of these, 3 percent or one bag for every 2,000 travelers were never found,
said the report from the Geneva-based SITA organization, which provides computerized services including
baggage handling to the air travel industry.
Arriving on carousel 1, far fewer of your bags.
After the crammed parking lot, the amusement-park-length check-in lines, security procedures that require all
but a striptease, flights that are jampacked, if they're not delayed or canceled — after all that
comes baggage claim, where the maddening odyssey of modern air travel is supposed to end but often just gets
worse. More than 1 million pieces of luggage were lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered by U.S. airlines
from May to July, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. June and July ranked
among the 20 worst months for mishandled baggage in 20 years.
Late, Fliers Even Later. As anyone who has flown recently can probably tell you, delays are getting
worse this year. The on-time performance of airlines has reached an all-time low, but even the official
numbers do not begin to capture the severity of the problem. That is because these statistics track how
late airplanes are, not how late passengers are. The longest delays — those resulting from missed
connections and canceled flights — involve sitting around for hours or even days in airports and hotels
and do not officially get counted.
Fed Up? Airline Employees Feel the Same. And you thought the passengers were mad.
Airline employees are fed up, too — with pay cuts, increased workloads and management's miserly
ways, which leave workers to explain to often-enraged passengers why flying has become such a miserable
Air passengers win right to water,
food. A group representing air travellers in the US have claimed victory after a New York judge
ruled airlines in the state must provide essential services to passengers stranded for long periods.
Passengers sue after being stuck on
airplane. Two passengers who were stranded for hours on American Airlines airplanes diverted
during a major storm over North Texas have sued the carrier, accusing it of false imprisonment, fraud and
negligence. After landing, passengers sat in the planes for more than eight hours, unable to leave
despite overflowing toilets and little food or water.
overturns air passenger rights law. A federal appeals court Tuesday [3/25/2008] struck down a
state law requiring airlines to give food, water, clean toilets and fresh air to passengers stuck in delayed
planes, saying the measure was well-intentioned but stepped on federal authority.
The Editor says...
Airline passengers fork over hundreds of dollars to get on an airplane, only to be
held captive on the plane for hours in some cases. Here is the solution: Pick the
airline with the worst track record in this category, and don't fly on that airline
again! (Indeed, the courts have just ruled that there is no other recourse.)
When they go out of business, the other airlines will get the message.
Flight delays worst in 7 years.
Last year was the worst on record for flight delays since 2000, according to a new report from the federal
Transportation Department. Fort Worth-based American Airlines tied with U.S. Airways for the worst
2007 record among the largest domestic carriers, with more than 31 percent of flights delayed, according
to the Transportation Department. Southwest Airlines of Dallas posted the best record, with just
20 percent of flights delayed.
delays are the second worst in 12 years. "Travelers should look back on 2007 with a sense of
fondness," said Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, a Radnor, Pa.-based trade group
of corporate travel managers. "It's going to get worse. These will be the good old days."
Any flight arriving less than 15 minutes behind schedule is considered to be on time.
Flight Delays, Lost Bags at Record
Highs. Flying, if it ever was fun, became less fun last year. According to the Department of
Transportation's (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report, U.S. airlines experienced a lower rate of on-time flights
and more reports of mishandled baggage last year than in 2006, and passengers filed more complaints with the
government about airline service than they did the previous year.
Hundreds Of Items Disappear From Luggage At OIA.
Thousands of dollars in property are being stolen from luggage handled at Orlando International Airport.
That information is according to the new data the Transportation Security Administration released after a
year-long battle with the media to keep it private.
a national embarrassment, says airlines' chief. Giovanni Bisignani, the director general of the International
Air Transport Association, rounded on the airport when he addressed aviation executives at the industry summit in
Istanbul. "Look at Heathrow," he said. "Service levels are a national embarrassment, but still the Civil
Aviation Authority increased charges by 50 percent over the last five years and plan 85 percent for the
Use Handicapped Parking Slots at Airport. The lure of free and convenient parking for the
handicapped was apparently too much for some able-bodied baggage handlers to resist. County
investigators said Wednesday [4/9/2008] that at least 227 workers at Miami International Airport had been
caught parking near the terminals with permits for the handicapped, only to walk away from their cars,
typically with very little effort and bags in hand.
cancelled as Heathrow bag mountain grows. British Airways on Monday cancelled dozens more
flights from its new flagship terminal at London Heathrow amid mounting anger over the disruption and a
mountain of stranded luggage. Five days after Terminal Five opened, ministers criticised anger at
the chaos which has engulfed the multi-billion pound facility, while it also emerged that the turmoil
had triggered a diplomatic incident.
Airways bags sent to be sorted out in Milan. British Airways is sending thousands of suitcases
by lorry to Milan because staff cannot cope with the Terminal 5 baggage mountain. A large chunk of
the 20,000 suitcases, which built up after the Terminal's disastrous opening day, are being sent to the
courier firm in Italy to be driven or flown to their owners.
My Escape from
the Titanic: In the case of T5, the planners had forgotten to create parking spaces for the
baggage handlers. When the handlers finally got to the doors of T5, their security passes didn't
work. The few that managed to get through didn't know where their workstations were. The baggage
handling software had already failed. My two bags I had complacently supposed were being whirled at
tremendous speed to the Boeing 747 at Gate 38 in Terminal B had in fact joined a vast logjam in the
center of the baggage maze. Everything came to a standstill.
problem delays flights at DFW Airport. [Doug] Church said the FAA had called in a
technician from Oklahoma to fix the problem. "We were told he was told not to fly, but he
was supposed to get in his car and drive," Mr. Church said. [Ric Loewen,
spokesman for NATCA at D/FW Tower, asks,] "Why is the maintenance guy who is responsible for
the nation's third busiest airport driving from Oklahoma City? Why don't we have enough
technicians here at D/FW that are certified who can fix it?
The Editor says...
Why drive all the way from Oklahoma City? Couldn't he fly to Love Field and take a taxi?
Airline pilots may have slept
past their stop in Hawaii. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether two
airline pilots who flew past the airport in Hilo Hawaii by 15 miles last Wednesday [2/13/2008] were
asleep. Go! Airlines flight 1002 left from Honolulu and was expected to land in Hilo around 10 a.m.,
but had to turn around after flying past the airport.
This item was published four weeks later... 'Sleeping pilots' overshoot destination.
The pilots of a passenger jet are being investigated over suspicions that they both fell asleep at the controls. An air traffic
controller monitoring Hawaiian airspace repeatedly tried to raise the two pilots of the go! flight from Honolulu to Hilo as it overshot
its destination by 15 miles. Aside from a suspicious 17-minute-long radio silence, the plane remained flying at an altitude of
21,000 feet, suggesting that it had not even begun its descent to land.
Who Slept Through Landing Suspended. Two pilots for Hawaii's Go airlines who slept through their
flight's landing procedure were suspended for the careless and reckless operation of an aircraft, the Federal
Aviation Administration said. The pilots, who have been fired by Go, completed their suspensions on
Sept. 9, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said Tuesday [9/23/2008]. He did not know whether they are
flying again with a different carrier.
A similar case: Plane
soared past destination as pilots slept: report. An Air India flight headed for Mumbai overshot
its destination and was halfway to Goa before its dozing pilots were woken out of a deep slumber by air
traffic control, a report said. The high altitude nap took place approximately two weeks ago, the
Times of India reported today [6/27/2008].
Passengers also sleep past their destinations sometimes: Woman
says she fell asleep, woke up alone on plane. A Michigan woman who fell asleep on a
United Express flight to Philadelphia says she woke up and was shocked to find she was alone on the plane.
the angry skies. Flights are packed. Delays are rampant. Cancellations are all too
common. This year, airline passengers and employees already frustrated by delays say they have added
peevishness, anger, even shouting matches to their travels. Chances are not only greater that you will
arrive late at your destination these next few months, they say. It's just as likely you'll have a
thoroughly unpleasant time on the way.
The Editor says...
I'm not a pilot, but I do know that the time to check the weather forecast is before loading
people onto an airplane.
Flight diverted due to
alleged groping. Federal air marshals charged a Seattle-area man with groping a female passenger
aboard a United Airlines flight that the pilot diverted to Pittsburgh because of the disturbance.
3 a.m. home
invasion? No, it's American Airlines. In November, The New York Times
reported that U.S. airlines lost one in every 138 bags checked in the first nine months of
2007. That's 3.4 million bags, a 17 percent increase over the same period in
2006. And during the holiday travel season the situation is usually even worse.
Hits Grand Rapids Airport. A nearly 14-hour power outage caused some flight
delays Monday [12/24/2007] for holiday travelers at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, which was
left without heat in the passenger terminal.
Coffee Grounds Qantas.
Qantas Flight QF2 from London To Sydney via BKK (Bangkok) (a Boeing 747-400) suffered a total AC
electrical loss 15 minutes before landing at BKK on 8 January 2008. Inspection of
the aircraft showed that water from the first class galley had overflowed down onto the sub-floor
E racks which contained the GCU's (controllers for engine generators) and BPCU (backup PCU).
All controllers were disabled resulting in total loss of AC power.
passengers demand more legroom. Airline passengers should be given the legal right to at least
two inches more legroom to counter the threat of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), peers have said. The gap
should be widened from the current statutory minimum of 26 inches to at least 28.2 to take into account
the fact that the traveling public were getting fatter and taller.
Man Drinks Liter of Vodka at Airport Line.
A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing a liter (two pints) of vodka at an airport security check
instead of handing it over to comply with new carry-on rules, police said Wednesday. The incident occurred
at the Nuremberg airport on Tuesday, where the 64-year-old man was switching planes on his way home to Dresden
from a holiday in Egypt.
flight attendant arraigned. A flight attendant for Atlantic Southeast Airlines who was removed
from a plane because she was allegedly drunk was arraigned Monday in a Lexington, Ky. court. Public safety
officials at the Lexington airport said the flight attendant threatened the jet's captain, telling him "You're
dead" as she was removed from the plane.
United Airlines [stinks] (part 40). United
damaged our bag, refused (through a contractor) to accept our damage report at the airport, and then over the
phone blatantly misrepresented what it was offering as compensation. If United had been telling the truth
then we would have received the $150 compensation that United owes us. Instead we seem to be receiving
nothing at all.
Planes, Trains, and Solicitations: With the
holidays fast approaching, Americans are already bracing for the high anxieties of holiday travel: missed
flights, lost luggage, weather delays, and explaining to the children why that TSA agent gets to open all their
presents. But this weekend's latest expose in the Idaho Statesman gives millions traveling through the
nation's crowded airports a whole new worry: how to get home for the holidays without being solicited by
To Normal After Second LAX Computer Glitch. [Scroll down] A more serious snag occurred about
2 p.m. on Saturday [8/11/2007]. The Customs and Border Protection computer system — which is
used to process travelers entering and leaving the country and identifies those on a "no-fly"
terrorist watch list — went down and was not restored for about seven hours. The outage
prompted security officials to keep international passengers on their planes on the tarmac for
up to six hours, creating gridlock throughout LAX. Some 20,000 passengers were affected.
Update: LAX airport delay cause.
According to the Los Angeles Times (and an Associated Press article), the issue that
caused thousands of travelers to be delayed at LAX was caused by a faulty network interface
card (NIC) on a single machine.
crackdown: Passengers forced to answer 53 questions before they travel. Travellers face
price hikes and confusion after the Government unveiled plans to take up to 53 pieces of information from
anyone entering or leaving Britain. For every journey, security officials will want credit card details,
holiday contact numbers, travel plans, email addresses, car numbers and even any previous missed flights. The
information, taken when a ticket is bought, will be shared among police, customs, immigration and the security
services for at least 24 hours before a journey is due to take place.
reasons to stay at home. If you think radical Muslims, bureaucrats and cops have made travel
miserable for everyone in America, you might have to stay away from Britain. Gordon Brown, the new prime
minister in London, revealed his new scheme yesterday for saying hello and goodbye to tourists and other
travelers, and it's a scheme that could please only a busybody bureaucrat. The relevancy of all this to
Americans is clear and present, since bad things spread swiftly to unexpected places.
Passengers Spend 5 Hours On Plane At
LaGuardia. Stormy weather in the Northeast had led to canceled and delayed flights at all local
area airports, hundreds being stranded at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports, and
frustrated passengers sitting for hours on planes that never took off.
down aisles of trans-Atlantic flight. Passengers on a Continental Airlines flight had to hold
their noses for hours as sewage overflowed from toilets while they were high over the Atlantic. "To be
blatantly honest, I was more nervous than I had ever been on a flight," said Collin Brock. The University
Place man was on board Continental Airlines flight 1970 from Amsterdam to Newark, New Jersey last week when
things went bad.
industry in a jam. Flight 1073 shows how easy it is for a situation to go from bad to worse,
especially when carriers operate with little or no slack.
Plane diverted from IAH over
unruly passenger. A Continental Airlines flight bound for Houston from Dallas Love Field was
diverted Wednesday night to College Station, according to a spokeswoman for the airline. Continental
Express Flight 2828, which had 40 passengers and three crew members on board, was diverted to Easterwood
Field in College Station.
problem grounds United. United Airlines grounded all of its flights for two hours yesterday
[6/20/2007] because of a computer malfunction, adding to the woes that fliers are expected to endure this
Travelers Forced to
Throw Out Liquids. Airline passengers around the country stood in line for hours and airport
trash bins bulged with everything from mouthwash and shaving cream to maple syrup and fine wine
Thursday [8/10/2006] in a security crackdown prompted by the discovery of a terror plot in Britain.
Amazingly, people go along with this new level of stringent baggage checking without complaining. Many
were shown on television tossing their toothpaste and carbonated beverages into trash cans, while professing
a belief that they're keeping America safe by doing so. Someday even more restrictions will be put in
place and the people who travel by air will gladly comply. Some people believe that security
guards are always right, no matter what they demand.
Air travel quit being fun about the time snazzy Braniff Airlines went out of business, but it has become a
nightmare as a result of the most recent security rules. Not only can't you bring a bottle of water aboard
to stave off dehydration on a five-hour flight, but even a tube of lipstick or mascara has become suddenly
suspect in response to the recently foiled plot against American carriers in Great Britain.
Obese can get 2 airline
seats. Obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights within Canada,
the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Thursday. The high court declined to hear an appeal by Canadian
airlines of a decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency that people who are "functionally disabled by
obesity" deserve to have two seats for one fare.
Fat man sues over plane seat.
An overweight passenger has sued Air France after being told he was too fat and forced to buy a second seat to
accommodate him on a flight. A lawyer representing Air France told a court the company had a clear policy
of asking obese passengers to pay for two seats. "Let's be objective. This man is fat," lawyer
Fernand Gamault told the court in Bobigny. "He barely fits on the courtroom chair. How could he
sit in an aeroplane?"
Call for airlines to charge 'fat
tax'. Obese airline passengers should be forced to pay a "fat tax" to cover the cost of transporting
their excess weight, according to a controversial proposal by health experts. Calls for the tax —
which would be determined per extra kilo, in the same way as excess baggage — come as obesity rates and
fuel prices surge to new highs in Australia.
United Air to Charge Obese
Fliers Twice on Full Jets. United Airlines, the third-largest U.S. carrier, may force some obese
travelers to buy a second seat when flights are full and other passengers complain about being cramped.
The policy brings practices at UAL Corp.'s United in line with those at the other five biggest U.S. carriers
including Delta Air Lines Inc. The rule took effect today after being adopted in January, said Robin
Urbanski, a United spokeswoman.
France to charge obese passengers for two seats. Overweight passengers who struggle to fit into
just one seat will have to pay double to fly with Air France in a new rule introduced by the airline. Obese
passengers will be charged 75 percent of the cost of a second seat if they are deemed too large to fit into
just one seat of a 43-44cm width.
The Editor says...
Charging by the pound is, in my opinion, the only sensible way to sell airline tickets.
NWA jet. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Northwest Airlines pilot who
locked himself inside an airplane lavatory while screaming obscenities before the flight was scheduled to take
off for Detroit from Las Vegas on Friday [4/7/2007].
Sue British Airways For Lost Luggage. When does an airline's mishandling of luggage
cease to be a major inconvenience... and become an actionable, legal issue? According to three
US travelers, British Airways has crossed that line, and they have filed a proposed class-action
lawsuit to prove it.
Found Near Houston Store. Authorities were trying Tuesday [12/26/2006] to figure out how dozens
of pieces of luggage belonging to air travelers ended up in a trash bin behind a Houston pet store. The
store's owners discovered 60 to 70 pieces of luggage, which belonged to passengers of Continental Airlines,
Lufthansa, British Airways and U.S. Airways, and contacted the Harris County Sheriff's Department, according
to Houston television station KRIV.
Airport tries to get handle on bag
theft. The 68 pieces of baggage that turned up in a trash bin Tuesday [12/26/2006] near George
Bush Intercontinental Airport were probably stolen by a team of thieves in a single day's work while airline
staffers were stretched thin by the demands of holiday travel, a Texas travel adviser theorized Wednesday.
arrested in Houston airport theft. Police in Houston arrested five contract workers suspected of
stealing luggage at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. [They] were charged with engaging in
organized criminal activity after dozens of pieces of luggage were found in a trash bin near the airport.
Dogfight over MSP:
If you arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, 16th busiest in the world, with a seeing eye dog
and want to take a taxi, you may be out of luck. God help you if it is January and the temperature is
twenty degrees below zero, for you may be refused service. Somali Muslim taxi drivers, who comprise
roughly three quarters of the supply of drivers there, think that Muslim law regards dog saliva as unclean, and
they want to make their religious beliefs the basis on which they supply service to the traveling public.
passengers share first class cabin with dead traveller. First Class travelers on a British
Airways transatlantic flight were horrified when they were forced to sit next to a dead body for three
hours. The elderly passenger had died of a heart attack just minutes earlier and was carried into their
cabin to continue the journey to America. It followed a mid air drama in which a doctor and crew lost a
35 minute battle to resuscitate the man after he suffered a cardiac arrest in business class where he was
traveling with his wife.
Clockwork: Hour of Delay, Hour of Flight. Few things are certain in air travel today, but
one comes close: If you're on Delta Connection Flight 5283 from New York to Washington, you can expect
to be late. The flight had the nation's worst on-time performance in September, arriving late
100 percent of the time at Reagan National Airport, according to a recent government report.
Questions Raised About Airport
Staffing. The ban on carrying liquids and gels onto airliners will continue indefinitely,
raising questions about whether there are enough airport screeners to do the added work.
The filth that you would expect on a bus or subway can now be found on an airliner. Beware
of the Squish Behind the Jet Seat. Seatback pockets hiding sticky surprises, carpets with patterns
that can no longer conceal the curious stains, overripe lavatories and crevices oozing snack grit and plain old
grime. Increasingly, that describes the modern airliner, an untidy tube hurtling through the sky full of
passengers who cannot wait to land and go wash their hands with disinfectant soap. Cleanliness may be
next to godliness, but in the airline industry it has taken a back seat to financial survival.
Security Ban Could Put Passengers' Health at
Risk. The highly restrictive carry-on rules in force today at airports could put many passengers'
health at risk, especially those who suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes,
a doctor warned. Plus, the long lines and anxiety could exacerbate health conditions.
[Note to poorly educated TV news writers: Plus is not a conjunction.]
U.S. relaxing ban on liquids, gels on
airliners. The government is partially lifting its ban against carrying liquids and gels onto
airliners, as long as they are purchased from secure airport stores, and will also permit small, travel-size
toiletries brought from home, officials said today [9/25/2006]. A total ban on such products, instituted
after a plot to bomb jets flying into the United States was foiled, is no longer needed, said Transportation
Security Administration chief Kip Hawley.
War on Terror Is Worth the Costs. Tighter restrictions on passengers, of course, severely limited
carry-on luggage. In addition, extra security at the gate required each passenger to go through a
thorough search before boarding the plane. After that, passengers were held in a secured area until
they were allowed to board. You could forget about getting a coffee or taking a trip to the facilities
after being searched. Add to that the restriction on standing up in the plane at the beginning of the
flight, and you start talking serious hardship. We might be losing the war on terror, but we are
winning the war on trips to the bathroom.
on flight 63: Police boarded a jumbo jet yesterday [8/24/2006] amid fears furious passengers
would riot after being stuck in their seats for seven hours. The 352 travelers were kept cooped inside
Virgin Atlantic Flight 63 on the ground after a technical problem.
are squeezing more Fourth of July travelers into fewer planes. Before celebrating the nation's
birthday, many travelers will fight some Independence Day-caliber battles of their own. They will face
long airport check-in lines, followed by security lines and even lines at Starbucks. Planes packed to
record levels are great news for cash-strapped carriers but frustrating for travelers who want a little extra
space. And those who haven't traveled in a while will discover check-in kiosks and mandatory fees for
On the other hand... Airways in USA are the safest
ever. A passenger hasn't died in a U.S.-registered airline jet accident in more than 4½ years,
the longest stretch in the modern history of aviation. Even accounting for the death of a 6-year-old boy
in a car that was struck by a Southwest Airlines jet last December in Chicago and other accidents involving
small planes, the risks of flying are at an all-time low.
Next Time, We're Driving. All things
considered, our flight to Cleveland took eight hours from driveway to hotel check-in. Some of our
compatriots drove the same trip in ten hours. The two hours saved were not worth the loss of freedom,
hassle, and expense. We are going to go on another trip soon. This time we will be driving.
The Airport Experience: [In the first
two months after the September 11th attack, there were] at least four instances of people smuggling knives
and guns successfully past security, in most cases, just to prove it could be done. Clearly, making people
stand in line for hours while ill-trained inspectors paw through their bags is not the answer.
your seat in the upright position — or else. I am on a book tour, sitting in the
middle seat of a row in the economy class cabin of an Airbus A-320. Surrounding me are two people
who are considerably larger than I, one of whom is eating a sandwich the size of a ferret that smells
like a seafood Dumpster in August.
United airlines computer out(r)age.
TSA, not known for their flexibility, was not allowing people to go to the gates directly with a boarding
pass. Even an e-ticket receipt with a seat assignment wouldn't get you there.
United abandons Denver baggage system. The
$250 million automated system was intended to be a cutting-edge model but turned into a
major problem for Denver International Airport. The city, which owns the airport, spent
an additional $100 million for construction and $341 million in interest to try to
get it to work. The automated system was an underground, computer-driven railroad network
for moving baggage. But bags were misdelivered, luggage was chewed up and cars derailed
and jammed tracks.
Should Cities Be Allowed to Block Your
Airwave Access? Imagine if an airport declared that all food was banned — except
for food that it specifically allowed you to buy, and that food was overpriced. Does it sound
fair? Who decided that it's okay to ban access to the Internet, turning it into a monopoly?
Read this article! G.I. Joe a security risk?
Airline travel is more than getting from place "A" to place "B" and it used to be fun. It's not fun anymore.
People, who travel on other than business, use airlines strictly as an option. Families who fly save their money
all year long to go on a deserved vacation, but I predict that this optional way to travel will soon go the way of the
Buffalo, caused by government over-reaching, ordered by mindless, stupid bureaucracy.
Be Careful What You
Write: On September 1, 2002, I wrote a column critical of the way screening is carried
out at U.S. airports ("A
U.S. Police State"). Since that time I have been on ten flights. On every one of
those ten flights I have been "selected" for "random" searches by the same airline screeners I
criticized. Surely this was a coincidence!
Flowers, perfume in airline cabins not
OK? The Canadian Transportation Agency has issued a landmark ruling that could affect what
passengers are allowed to take on airplanes, including pets, flowers and even the perfume they wear.
The following is an anti-war column, but the writer makes some interesting points.
Isn't it time for the
truth?: Last Friday, at Los Angeles airport, I saw people trying to check their baggage —
standing in a line that was at least 200 yards long. I stood in five separate lines to identify
myself and my carry-on luggage. The soldiers in fatigues with sub-machine guns reminded me of
a Third World country.
IRS Laptop Lost With Data on 291
People. An Internal Revenue Service employee lost an agency laptop early last month that
contained sensitive personal information on 291 workers and job applicants, a spokesman said yesterday
[6/10/2006]. The IRS's Terry L. Lemons said the employee checked the laptop as luggage aboard a
commercial flight while traveling to a job fair and never saw it again. The computer contained
unencrypted names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and fingerprints of the employees and applicants,
of the Tweezer People: The backlash against senseless — and
useless — airport security rules is building up into something nasty. The anger
that travelers feel toward airline security measures — like the confiscation of
G.I. Joe, nail clippers and tweezers, or "random" searches that seem to target mostly
white-haired old women or whoever's the first person in line — is real. It could
blossom into a political force.
Lighters Banned From Airplanes. Starting Thursday [4/14/2005], air travelers
will have to leave their lighters at home. Unlike guns, knives and other dangerous
items that a passenger cannot carry aboard but may stow in checked bags, lighters are
banned everywhere on a plane.
unhappy skies. The allure has vanished, but the adventure remains, but it's
an adventure into long security lines, high-tech glitches compounded by inefficiency,
incompetence and irresponsibility.
Note: All the information about cell phones on airliners has been
in line: The feds are considering changing the rules on airport security
again, which could end up creating even greater bottlenecks at those security checkpoints
that are the bane of every traveler.
Air Rage Information Resources: Extreme
misbehavior by unruly passengers, often called air rage or sky rage, can lead to some tense moments in the air
and may even put crew members and passengers at risk.
Is cabin air
making us sick? More and more pilots are reporting that air polluted by engine fumes
is making them ill and even incapable of handling their aircraft. So why are passengers not
being told? Incidents of contaminated air on aircraft are referred to in hundreds of reports
filed by pilots in recent years, and some of the accounts have been seen by The Daily Telegraph.
They highlight concerns about the effects of toxic fumes from engines — which some medical
specialists refer to as "aerotoxic syndrome".
Air Rage is Caused by Oxygen Deprivation. Passenger
unruliness began to rise some 20 years ago, coinciding with the cost-cutting practice of using recycled air
instead of fresh air in commercial jets.
Used To Fill Aircraft Oxygen Systems. Airlines all over the world are being warned to check to
make sure there's actually oxygen in their aircraft oxygen systems after an embarrassing mix-up by Qantas
Airlines at Melbourne International Airport. For ten months, crews have been filling airliner oxygen
systems from a nitrogen cart that's supposed to be used to fill tires.
787 Dreamliner is a breath of fresh cabin air. The successful launch of the Boeing Dreamliner
this week has highlighted concerns about the amount of toxic air in conventional aircraft cabins. The
new lightweight plane, which is designed to cut fuel costs by 20 percent, has been hailed as the answer
to the problem of contaminated air that scientists claim affects up to 200,000 British passengers each
year — known in the industry as aerotoxic syndrome.
Airline Air: Airline pilots get ten times more oxygen
than passengers get. Insufficient oxygen can cause many symptoms including impaired visual acuity. … What
about flight attendants who catch tuberculosis from passengers and then spread it on subsequent flights?
This is a big coverup. I've been contacted by several international flight attendants who have TB.
TB case brings warning to air passengers.
A man with a rare and exceptionally dangerous form of tuberculosis has been placed in quarantine by the U.S.
government after possibly exposing passengers and crew on two trans-Atlantic flights this month, health officials
said Tuesday. It is the first time since 1963 that the government issued a quarantine order.
Fear of flying
with tuberculosis: One unglamorous truth about airplane travel is that it is a place where
several hundred people are trapped for hours in a confined space, coughing, breathing on one another and
sharing germs. Nowhere is this more true and upsetting than in the case of a budding groom from Georgia
with a dangerous form of tuberculosis. This Atlantan simply had to get to Europe and back on two
trans-Atlantic flights for his wedding.
crisscrossed border with TB. A Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of
tuberculosis crossed the U.S. border 76 times and took multiple domestic flights in the past year,
according to Customs and Border Protection interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.
contagion. A tubercular Mexican national's 76 border crossings and multiple domestic flights over
10 months beginning in August 2006 require explanations from Customs and Border Protection. So, too,
does the six-week lag between April 16, when federal authorities first learned of this mobile danger to
public health, and May 31, when the Department of Homeland Security finally got around to warning its
inspectors. Add the fact that not until June 7 was the infected Mexican businessman placed on the
Transportation Security Administration's "no-board" list, by which time the man had flown to Atlanta, Salt
Lake City and Phoenix after dozens of border crossings by land. Finally, add a cover-up. We are
witnessing a genuine public-health scandal.
orders probe of TB case. Capitol Hill lawmakers yesterday called for an investigation into why
federal officials knowingly allowed a Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis
to repeatedly board planes and cross U.S. borders.
Is First Class Worth It? For me, the most significant
first-class perk is oxygen. According to a study by the US National Academy of Sciences (The Airliner Cabin
Environment, 1986), first-class passengers get about three times more oxygen per person than economy passengers!
Skypoxia: Flight attendants, unlike other
employees in the U.S., are not protected by OSHA. Instead, the FAA has full responsibility.
Immobility is Not the Only Factor in
DVT Risk. Air travel, particularly long-haul flights, can increase the odds of developing
dangerous blood clots but researchers said on Friday [3/10/2006] they are not only due to being immobile for long
periods. Low pressure and low oxygen levels in aircraft may also contribute in some people to
the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Flying Hassles Ground Many
Passengers: Security checks, random searches, new airline ticket fees and other hassles since the
Sept. 11 attacks have kept many people off planes and on the road, particularly for short trips. The
number of people flying commercially between 200 miles and 400 miles dropped 22 percent in the
year after the attacks.
a speeding world, rage is all the rage.nbsp; Air rage
and road rage are distinct products of our time. We are too impatient for gracious
living. And if we want it, the people who service us have no desire to provide it. Today's
airline travel - especially in coach - makes steerage on the Titanic look like the lap of
luxury. Passengers are packed in like sardines without the oil.
I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who's getting to his (or her) destination
at 500 miles an hour. If you don't like airline travel, get
on a bus; or just drive on an interstate highway for a couple
of days and see how you like it.
Love Field is
again in the news, this time illustrating the farcical consequences of the
government's ten-thumbed attempt to manage an industry. … If you want to fly Southwest
from Love Field to Los Angeles, you must buy a ticket to Albuquerque, collect your baggage
there, buy another ticket, go through security again and board another plane.
Set Love Free: Southwest
Airlines would like to show you the statistics and let the consumers decide.
Obese fliers: A
judge has ruled that Southwest Airlines did not unlawfully discriminate against
Cynthia Luther, whose weight exceeds 300 pounds, when it required her to buy a
second seat on a flight from Reno to Burbank.
In England: Airlines
load extra charges onto air fares. Airlines are loading extra charges on to
air fares, which can more than treble the basic price of a journey. Research by The
Independent on one of the key international air routes, London to Amsterdam, reveals sharp
discrepancies between airlines about the amount added on to fares as "taxes, fees, charges and
bottoms crushing airlines' bottom lines. Heavy suitcases aren't alone
in weighing down airplanes and requiring them to burn more fuel, raising flight
costs. A new government study reveals that airlines increasingly have to
worry more about passengers' weight.
Airlines Can't Cut The Fat: The current flap over whether and how to deal
with overweight passengers is a no-win situation. The latest dustup involves a woman
flying from London to Los Angeles on Virgin Atlantic in 2001. She apparently suffered leg
injuries after being seated next to an obese woman who spilled over into her seat, reportedly
squashing her. This week, Virgin paid the woman $20,000 in compensation, but the
company is not changing its policy on overweight passengers.
No Camel, That's My Baggage! A baggage handler wearing a camel suit
taken from a passenger's luggage has left Qantas Airways red-faced, with Australia's
national carrier investigating a potentially embarrassing security lapse. Passenger
David Cox complained after he saw a baggage handler driven across the Sydney airport
tarmac Wednesday [4/6/2005] wearing the camel suit that had been packed into the baggage he had
checked in only minutes earlier.
Unlike Chelsea, Bush Daughter
Flying Commercial after Terror Attack: "Remember Clinton saying no one should be afraid to fly
and that he was taking four different domestic flights last week?" reminded Lucianne Goldberg on her website
Monday [10/08/2001]. "Last Sunday he and Chelsea hopped onto a grocery mogul's private jet at Dulles and
whisked off to Oxford."