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
Was No 'Golden Age' of Air Travel. It's pile-on time for America's commercial airlines. The contempt
people hold for them has long been severe, but following a raft of highly publicized incidents, resentment has hit a fever
pitch. It started about a month ago, with the forced removal of a passenger onboard a United Express flight. This
was followed by several more airlines-behaving-badly controversies, up to and including the death of Simon, a giant rabbit
who perished after a London-to-Chicago United flight. Over and over we are reminded about the hellishness that is
commercial flying. Enabled by cellphone cameras and the catalyst of social media, even the most mundane boarding snafu
or onboard fracas has been getting its 15 minutes. I'm a commercial pilot, so I take some of this personally.
I also think it's time for a slightly different perspective.
worker to dad: Give up the seat you bought, or go to jail! A family from California was threatened with
jail time and then booted off an oversold Delta flight last week for refusing to give up a seat they paid for, according to a
report. The latest debacle for the airline was caught in an eight-minute YouTube video that shows employees telling
Brian Schear that he and his family would be tossed behind bars if they didn't get off the Los Angeles International Airport-bound
flight from Maui on April 23. A female employee can be heard telling him in the video, "Then that's going to be a
federal offense and you and your wife will be in jail and your kids."
10 worst airports in the US. President Trump wants to upgrade the nation's infrastructure, and much of that
desire comes from his hatred of the nation's airports. Trump in a presidential debate compared the nation's airports to
what he would expect to find in a "third-world country." As a frequent flyer on his own personal jet, the subject of airports
is something very close to the president's heart. Here are the 10 worst large airports in the United States based on
customer satisfaction, according to a year-end study by J.D. Power and Associates, in descending order of quality.
spill prompts emergency landing during American Airlines flight. An American Airlines flight on Monday [3/13/2017] from
Miami to Chicago was diverted to Jacksonville shortly after takeoff due to a soda spill. Matt Miller, a spokesman for American
Airlines, told Jacksonville.com that a soft drink splashed on an electronic device in the main cabin. Preston Wake, 43, a
passenger, said a flight attendant fumbled a soda that soaked him. "I can't really tell you how far it went, but I was
soaked," Wake told the paper. "I had to change my clothes and everything."
Airlines pilot is removed from flight from Austin to San Francisco. An unidentified female United Airlines
pilot was removed from a plane before a flight from Austin to San Francisco Saturday evening. United flight 455 was
scheduled to depart Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 5:02 pm but was delayed for more than two hours after the pilot
went on what passengers described as a 'rant'. The pilot came into the cabin wearing 'street clothes' and talked to
passengers over the intercom about her divorce and the presidential election, passenger Randy Reiss told KVUE.
Protests Block Airports, Frustrate Travelers. Protests against President Donald Trump and his executive order
restricting travel from several terror-prone countries continued Sunday evening [1/29/2017] at several West Coast airports,
blocking traffic and causing some travelers to miss their flights. In contrast to the demonstrations on Saturday
evening, which ostensibly were aimed at securing the release of individuals who had been detained after arriving from one of
seven countries on a list originally approved by the Obama administration, the protests on Sunday aimed primarily at
disrupting travel and creating chaos to send a signal to the Trump administration.
hag tossed off plane after harassing Trump supporter. Late Saturday, Facebook user Scott Kotesky said he had
what he called the "craziest experience ever on an airplane." Kotesky said he had a somewhat harrowing experience when he
boarded a flight going from Baltimore to Seattle. It seems he sat next to a woman who apparently didn't like President
Donald Trump. In no time, she began berating him, telling him that she would throw up in his lap because he supports
the new president. Eventually, the woman was removed from the airplane for her conduct.
cheer as anti-Trump woman Thrown Off Plane for angry rant on President. Passengers on a plane clapped, cheered
and chanted "USA" as a woman was escorted off a flight by police after aggressively challenging a Donald Trump
supporter. In video footage posted online on Saturday, the woman is heard asking a flight attendant if the man sitting
next to her could be moved to another seat. She tells the man next to her: "You pretend you have the moral high
ground but you put that man's finger on the nuclear button."
kicked off plane for berating Trump supporter in viral video. The left wing is always a dangerous place for a
Trump supporter to be. Even on an airplane. But when Scott Koteskey boarded his flight from Baltimore to Seattle
on Saturday, he likely had no idea the woman sitting next to him would berate him in an incoherent and unhinged rant —
that was all captured on a video that quickly went viral.
D'Amato kicked off flight after starting rebellion against crew. Former Sen. Al D'Amato was escorted off a
JetBlue flight Monday night [1/9/2017] after trying to lead passengers in a rebellion against seating changes that followed a
lengthy delay, an eyewitness told The [New York] Post. JetBlue flight 1002 from Ft. Lauderdale to JFK was
scheduled to depart at 1:40 pm Monday, but didn't take off until 8 pm.
Flight attendants can't
'think straight' after 'toxic fumes' leak. British Airways attendants began babbling, stuffing food in their mouths and forgetting
where they were during a flight after "toxic fumes" leaked into a cabin, according to a report. At least 12 attendants began exhibiting weird
behavior on the Oct. 25 flight from San Francisco to London, including "forgetfulness, confusion, inability to think straight," the Sunday
Times of London reported. They treated themselves with emergency oxygen as the pilots called for an emergency landing in Vancouver, Canada.
Airlines faces DOT investigation for weighing passengers. Two American Samoan businessmen have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of
Transportation allegeding they may have been the target of discrimination after being weighed while boarding a recent flight from Honolulu. In the
complaints, the men also say they were assigned new seats on the aircraft that they did not originally select, to ensure that the weight on the flight was
The Editor says...
Weight and balance are critical to the safe operation of an airplane. The uniform distribution of an airplane's payload must be arranged before the
plane leaves the runway. An imbalance discovered after take-off can bring the plane down immediately. In the good old days, one could have presumed
that all adults weighed about the same, and seats could have been assigned accordingly. Unfortunately there are thousands of airline passengers today who
weigh twice as much as they should. If they all sit on one side, or they all sit in the front or the back, the plane is in big trouble. The safe
operation of the airplane is more important than the risk of occasionally offending a few grotesquely obese passengers.
woman: Airline changed my seat to honor Pakistani monks' religious beliefs. A Southern California woman
said she is the victim of discrimination, CBS Los Angeles reports. Mary Campos said her pre-booked ticket was given
away by United Airlines. The reason? She's a woman, and two men didn't want to sit next to a female. A
million-mile flier, Campos, a mom who lives in Coto de Caza, said she thought she'd seen it all -- until a gate agent
handed her a new boarding pass just before she got on a flight to Houston last Monday [9/26/2016].
at Heathrow airport as protesters take over terminal. Passengers reported "total carnage" trying to get into
Heathrow airport today as protesters staged a demo against airport expansion. Police were on site as crowds of cyclists
dressed in red rode their bikes outside the airport in a bid to block traffic before staging a 'die-in' inside the terminal.
Demonstrators lay on the floor inside the terminal building and refused to move as passengers made their way to catch flights.
sues Emirates airline after 'enduring' nine-hour flight seated next to an obese man. A disgruntled flyer is
suing Emirates airline and claiming his nine-hour flight was 'ruined' by an obese passenger seated next to him. Giorgio
Destro, a lawyer from Padua in northern Italy, claims the 'spillover' caused by the South African man neighbouring his 29K
window seat, made for a deeply uncomfortable journey from Cape Town to Dubai. According to an Italian newspaper, Mr
Destro is 'gold member' flyer, but says Emirates wouldn't let him change seats and refused to offer an apology or any form of
City Airport flights disrupted after 'Black Lives Matter' protesters occupy runway. Flights at London City Airport were
disrupted this morning [9/6/2016] after a group of protesters occupied the runway. Nine demonstrators got onto the runway and
chained themselves to a tripod at about 5.40 am, police said. The protesters, who claim to be acting in support of Black
Lives Matter UK, are said to have got onto the tarmac at the airport after using a boat to sail across the Royal Docks.
JetBlue sends 2 children to wrong destinations.
A five-year-old boy from Manhattan and another child from Boston are finally home where they belong. Both unaccompanied
children were traveling to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic last month when JetBlue says they boarded the wrong fights
and ended up in the wrong cities.
best (and worst) dishes at 35,000ft according to an in-flight food addict who travels the world sampling plane
food. Airline food doesn't always have the best reputation — especially if you're travelling in economy or with
a budget carrier. But for one man, the joy of flying is all about the food served on board. For the last four
years, Australian ex-pat Nik Loukas has hopped on hundreds of flights just to sample their culinary offering. Along the
way, he's eaten everything from steak and lobster to satay and sushi — and he can certainly tell you which airlines have the
best, and the worst, food. Now, the airline food addict is looking to make a documentary about the subject.
flights grounded after IT systems failure. Delta Air Lines flights have resumed after a "major system-wide
network outage" temporarily grounded all the carrier's flights worldwide [8/8/2016], causing massive delays. Delta
advised customers to expect "delays and cancellations" as the backlog of missed flights begin to get airborne again.
monoxide diverts plane to Tulsa, passengers panic. Passengers getting sick on a flight from Atlanta to Denver
Saturday began to panic before the flight was diverted to Tulsa. "As people started seeing other people freaking out
everybody just kind of went in to a panic," passenger Dylan Doyle said.
no-fly list revealed: 81,000 names, but fewer than 1,000 are Americans. The FBI's no-fly list contains about
81,000 names, but fewer than 1,000 of those are "U.S. persons," a top lawmaker revealed Monday, giving the outlines of the
secretive program on the floor of the Senate. Another list maintained by the FBI, dubbed the "TSA selectee list"
because it triggers higher scrutiny but doesn't ban flying, has some 28,000 records, of which fewer than 1,700 are U.S.
persons, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said as she argued for denying gun sales to those who appear on the lists, in the wake
of the Orlando terrorist shooting.
headache for thousands at JFK airport. It was a holiday travel headache for many passengers at John F. Kennedy
Airport after a computer outage forced delays and cancellations for hundreds on Sunday [5/29/2016], CBS New York reported.
Passengers inside Terminal 7 said the crowded mess seen late Sunday evening was actually an improvement since many of them
arrived earlier for their international flights. "It's been pretty packed. And pretty cramped and pretty unsafe at
times," passenger Mike Priestley said.
Woman Boards Plane Without Ticket: 'My Name and Faith is My I.D.'. A woman who claimed "my name and faith is my
I.D." bypassed an airport security checkpoint and boarded a plane at Nashville International Airport without showing
identification or a boarding pass, officials said. Naja Eva Haynes, 24, drove herself to the airport, parked and went
inside, where she went to a TSA security checkpoint and through a lane without being screened on March 24, according to
an arrest affidavit. "(Haynes) then went to gate B5, got on a Delta Airlines plane without proper identification and
occupied a seat near the rear," the document said.
in the cockpit: FAA records show pilots fly drunk, engage in criminal activity. An American Airlines
pilot flunked two sobriety tests before a 7 a.m. flight out of Detroit. An Alaska Airlines pilot flew a
commercial plane from California to Oregon and back again, all while allegedly drunk. Yet another pilot, from United,
allegedly moonlighted as a pimp, running half a dozen brothels out of apartments in Houston, according to authorities.
The cases are enough to frighten the flying public, and are not isolated, according to a FoxNews.com investigation.
Passenger from hell gets
lifetime ban from British Airways. A woman has received a lifetime ban from British Airways after arguing with another
passenger who claimed she got up too many times on their flight from London to Dubai. Bridget Nhire, 33, was handcuffed and
escorted off the plane, but claims she did nothing wrong. Passengers on the flight had a different story. A number of
them described a series of in-flight incidents to the Daily Mail that included Nhire becoming intoxicated, making racist remarks
to the crew, getting up from her seat at least 20 times, yelling, and even trying to get into the cockpit. The fashion
stylist claims she only got up three times, had two glasses of wine with her onboard meal, and was "treated like a terrorist."
Airbus could seat obese passengers on
benches. Travel can be tricky for passengers of larger girth. For years, travelers have been getting wider, while airline seats have been
getting smaller. Not to mention the fact that heavier fliers are too often rewarded with ridicule from their thinner cohorts. Airbus might have a
solution: replace individual seats with rows of benches.
The Editor says...
Sure, put in bench seats, but then charge airline passengers by the pound. What could be more equitable than that?
It will take drastic action to make air travel bearable again. How the Left Ruined Air Travel.
[Scroll down] Obviously, the TSA is part of it, but only part. That's too shallow an answer. The real reason is that, despite
deregulation, there is no real competition among airlines. Why is that? Because the four major U.S. airlines — United,
American, Delta and Southwest — have monopolies over particular markets. At 40 percent of America's large airports, one
of the big four controls an outright majority of the seats sold. At 93 percent of the large airports, a majority is controlled by
two of the four combined. Which means their market shares are assured and there's no need to compete with one another. Where do
the monopolies come from? Why don't smaller, newer airlines just start flying out of the monopolized airports? There aren't
enough airports for the volume of air traffic the American market demands. Because of airport "slots."
on Second American Airlines flight as mystery fainting illness hits passengers and crew. Unnerved passengers
feared for their lives after a plane was forced to make an emergency landing when passengers and crew passed out mid-flight.
The American Airlines flight, which was flying from Brazil to the United States, was travelling at a height of more than 30,000 ft
when three members of staff became ill. This is the second time this week that the US airline has been forced to ground a
plane as a result of a mystery illness on board.
Delta Flight Attendants Get in Fist Fight, Plane
Lands. According to the Aviation Herald, the flight attendants had a disagreement over work issues on the Jan. 22 flight. A third
woman on the plane tried to break up the fight and was also hit by the brawling flight attendants. At that point, the captain made the decision
to land the Boeing 757. The plane was flying just south of Salt Lake City when the fight broke out.
Says It Will Stop Accepting Driver's Licenses From Nine States. The last time we took notice of the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it was to inform you that the unpopular, expensive, and ineffectual outfit had
decided it could force travelers on domestic airline flights to go through full-body scanners. Previously, TSA had allowed
folks to submit instead to a full-body pat-down. Now comes even more troubling news. A decade ago, Congress passed The
Real ID Act which was supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to share information on driver's licenses issued by the
states and territories. Even during a period of heightened fear of terrorism, there was massive and continuing pushback
because everyone realized that when the federal government (or any other centralized authority) concentrates information, it
just makes it that much easier for it to get hacked or misused.
Confusion? DHS push could make some IDs invalid for flying. Millions of air travelers across the U.S. are potentially
at risk of finding themselves grounded in the new year thanks to a post-9/11 law that took a decade to finally come into effect.
The REAL ID Act, originally passed in 2005, was meant to tighten standards for government-issued IDs like driver's licenses —
to boot, it banned federal agencies from accepting any IDs that don't meet the bar. That means the TSA technically shouldn't accept
driver's licenses from certain states, once the law is in full effect. While Washington let the rules slide for years, the Department
of Homeland Security could start to enforce them in 2016 and is pushing states to comply.
wait for hours in DIA security, baggage lines; Denver airport blames TSA. Security lines eased at Denver International Airport by
late Tuesday [12/29/2015], following a day of missed flights and wait times that lasted several hours. Airport spokespeople apologized to
frustrated travelers because of the massive wait times that began Monday night and went on through the morning that caused passengers to miss
their flights. DIA tweeted that heavy security wait times were due to holiday traffic and blamed TSA for poor staffing levels at the
There are those who think blacks can get away with anything. 7
passengers kicked off Spirit Airlines flight at LAX; some claim racial discrimination. Seven passengers were booted from
a Spirit Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday night [11/2/2015], and one of them says they were discriminated
against because they were black. The onboard commotion began about 7:15 p.m. when an African American couple raised concerns
about an overbooked seat on Flight 868 to Dallas, said Officer Rob Pedregon, an airport police spokesman.
Man Tries to 'Slaughter' Israeli Passenger on Flight to Ethiopia. The Israeli victim, identified as Arik, works
in Africa and was traveling on to Israel. He said that the alleged attacker choked and threatened to "slaughter" him. [...]
"He hit me over the head with a metal tray and shouted 'Allah akbar' and 'I will slaughter the Jew.' Only after a few
seconds, just before I was about to lose consciousness, did I manage to call out and a flight attendant who saw what was
happening summoned her colleagues," Arik said.
man bites passenger on Irish aircraft, collapses and dies. A postmortem exam is being conducted Monday on a 24-year-old
Brazilian man who collapsed and died aboard an Irish aircraft Sunday [10/18/2015] after he bit another passenger. Cork police arrested
a 44-year-old Portuguese woman traveling with the man after discovering five pounds of suspected amphetamine powder in her suitcase.
Francisco-bound Southwest flight returns to LAX after 'altercation'. A San Francisco-bound Southwest Airlines flight returned to
Los Angeles late Sunday night [10/18/2015] after an apparent altercation between two people on the plane. One eyewitness account from the
flight indicated that the fracas may have begun after one passenger reclined her seat, possibly provoking the passenger behind her.
flight forced to turn around after fight between passengers. A brawl between two passengers that broke out Monday [10/19/2015]
forced a Southwest Airlines plane bound for San Francisco to turn around mid-flight. The captain declared an emergency to receive
priority handling from air traffic controllers to land the Boeing 737-300 back at Los Angeles International Airport, ABC's Channel 7
reports. The pilot on board Southwest Flight 2010 taxied to a gate where police entered the cabin.
Chaos, long lines at JFK Airport after
glitch knocks out Customs, Homeland Security computer system across the country. Chaos and confusion were reported at JFK
and airports around the country Wednesday night [10/14/2015] after customs computers that screen for terror suspects went down.
The problem reportedly started about 7 p.m., when a Homeland Security Department computer system that checks for airline passengers
on terror watch lists experienced a service disruption — meaning passengers traveling internationally couldn't be checked in
or out. The scare lasted about two hours with some systems coming back online about 9 p.m.
Man arrested for urinating on fellow
passengers during JetBlue flight, police say. Jeff David Rubin, 26, of Oregon, was booked on misdemeanor accusations of
offensive littering and third-degree criminal mischief. [...] Plane staff and other passengers told officers that Rubin had been
sleeping for most of the flight, but stood up toward the end of the trip and began urinating between the space of the seats
in front of him, the report said. The urine hit passengers sitting there. Rubin soon lost his balance and fell backward,
causing his urine to shoot upward, the report said. Other passengers, their seats and their personal belongings were hit.
screener charged with stealing $7,000 diamond watch at JFK airport. A TSA screener at John F. Kennedy
International Airport was charged with steeling a passenger's $7,000 diamond watch, authorities said. The screener, Margo
Louree-Grant, 41, of Brooklyn, admitted taking the "Diamond Master" watch at a JFK checkpoint on Aug. 26, but told
investigators she destroyed it after fearing she would be caught, said Joe Pentangelo, a Port Authority Police spokesman.
Men Detained In Texas After Disrupting Flight From San Diego To Chicago. A Southwest Airlines flight from San
Diego to Chicago was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, late Monday night, after six passengers became unruly during the flight.
[...] The men who were detained were being processed at the Randall County Jail and charged with interference with a flight
crew, police said. They have been identified as Saiman Hermez, 19; Jonathan Khalid Petras, 20; Ghazwan Asaad Shaba, 21;
Essa Solaqa, 20; Khalid Yohana, 19; and Wisam Imad Shaker, 23. They are all from the San Diego area.
D.C., New York flight delays caused by air traffic
glitch, FAA says. A computer problem at a Virginia air traffic control center led to significant flight delays Saturday
[8/15/2015] at airports in the Washington and New York City areas, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Just after
4 p.m. ET, the FAA tweeted that an automation system that experienced problems was back in service.
For Your Travel Inconvenience.
Having created the problem of too many passengers lugging their suitcases aboard airplanes by
charging for checked bags, the major airlines are now planning to make checked bags even more
unpopular. The are testing various methods for making bag-checkers do their own checking instead of
giving their bags to attendants with the attendant putting tags on the bags and sending them on a conveyer belt
Keep your face buried in your cell phone or you'll be face-to-face with some talkative stranger. New
airline seat arrangement looks to increase passenger capacity. After years of financial struggles,
the nation's airlines are now collecting hefty profits thanks in part to industrywide efforts to squeeze more
seats into the economy section of most planes. But if you thought airlines were finished trying to shoehorn
more seats into each plane, think again. One of the world's largest airline seat makers, Zodiac Seats France,
has applied for a patent to reconfigure the seats on airplanes so that every other passenger in a row is facing
toward the back of the plane.
Dept. investigating potential airline price collusion. The Justice Department is
investigating whether some of America's biggest airlines have colluded to keep airfares high,
striking at an industry that has posted record profits recently while limiting routes and affordable
seats, officials familiar with the matter said Wednesday [7/1/2015]. Justice Department
spokeswoman Emily Pierce confirmed the probe, saying investigators are looking into "possible
unlawful coordination by some airlines," but she would not name the carriers.
The Editor says...
Two obvious questions arise: Why hasn't she locked up for a long time, and how many times has she successfully flown without a ticket?
on edge as EPA prepares to regulate airline emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency will soon
announce it plans to regulate airline emissions, asserting they contribute to global warming and endanger public
health, according to industry and environmental groups. Those findings will prompt a regulatory process for
the EPA to determine and enforce aircraft emissions limits, following a similar effort to limit emissions by cars,
trucks and power plants. But conservatives say higher airplane efficiency standards will only force airlines
to raise ticket prices or install more seats on already cramped flights.
vast warehouse tucked away in Alabama that is filled with America's lost luggage. It's
a paradise for bargain-hunters — filled to the rafters with electronics, clothes, musical
instruments and jewelry, sold with as much as 80 percent of the value lopped off. Inside, crowds
of shoppers pore over the gear — some of it practically brand new — in the hope of
giving the best finds a new home. In an earlier life, all the items were checked onto planes,
trains and buses, their real owners expecting to see them again a few hours later.
in the Skies. Millions of Americans will fly to their summer vacations unaware that
some of the men and women in the nation's air traffic control towers and centers may have cheated on
the test to get their jobs. Fox Business presents Trouble in the Skies[,] a six month
investigation of the FAA's new hiring practices which uncovers changes that may put the nation's
flying public at risk as well as allegations that the newest air traffic control recruits had access
to answers on a key test that helped them gain jobs with the FAA.
forced to sit in vomit on United flight. A Maryland family says they were forced to
sit in a vomit-soaked seat during a return flight home after a vacation in Orlando last Sunday
[4/19/2015]. Scott Shirley had boarded a United Airlines flight with his wife and son when the
trio noticed an unusual smell after placing their carry-on bags underneath their seats. After
realizing their bags were damp, the family recognized the odor as vomit.
Cameras Show Airport Workers Stealing. Inside a plane at Miami International Airport,
baggage handlers are going on a shopping spree with passengers' bags. What they don't know is
that they are being recorded on a hidden camera. The Miami-Dade Police Department set up the
camera as part of an ongoing police investigation into luggage thefts by the very airport workers
who are supposed to get bags safely onto planes.
Officer Lands Delta Jet As Captain Locked Out Of Cockpit. A jammed door in a Delta Air
Lines jet left the captain locked out of the cockpit during a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas
Thursday [2/12/2015], leaving the first officer to complete the flight in the right seat. Delta 1651 otherwise
landed uneventfully and on time at McCarran International Airport. However, since the first officer
notified the airport of an in-air emergency, as CNN reported, the media was alerted and interviewed
Flying? It's Your Fault. I hardly need to tell you that flying these days is a miserable experience.
In fact, it's so miserable that it's tempting to suspect that the suffering is deliberate — that airlines are
making us miserable as part of a calculated strategy to extort more money from us.
support' pig kicked off flight for being 'disruptive'. A woman was kicked off a US
Airways flight after the pig she brought for "emotional support" became disruptive, an airline
spokeswoman told CNN. The passenger and her large pig were booted from the flight before it left
Connecticut's Bradley International Airport on Wednesday, spokeswoman Laura Masvidal said. "After
the animal became disruptive, the passenger was asked to deplane," she said. How disruptive?
Fellow passengers told the Hartford Courant that the pig stank up the cabin of the tiny DC-bound aircraft.
Is America's Worst Airport? The first observation: Are bookstores dying in airports?
Do people on planes not read anymore? If so, this strikes me as a strikingly depressing development
for our society. It's one of the few places where you can get relative peace and quiet, you're out
of cell-phone range, and you probably don't have Internet access (and if you do, it's pretty slow).
[Indeed], reading is one of the few things you can do comfortably in an airline seat. Yes, perhaps
everything has shifted to e-readers and Nooks, but there's something so inviting about seeing an actual
bookstore, as opposed to a newsstand, near your gate with time to kill.
Coach: How Airlines Engineer You Out of Room. Some 24.6 million people (equal to the
whole population of Australia) will be heading down the aisle toward a seat on an American airline
during this Thanksgiving holiday. That's an average 31,000 a day more than last year —
including international and domestic flights — as Americans wing their way home from far
and not so far. Depending on whether they turn left or right at the door, they're going to find
increasingly different levels of service, from a hearty, personal welcome to a dismissive instruction
to get seated ASAP.
fears after passenger flying from Nigeria to JFK dies in his seat after vomiting profusely. A 63-year-old American
man has died during a flight from Nigeria to New York's JFK after vomiting profusely -- but it was only a 'cursory' exam by the
CDC that confirmed he did not have Ebola. The unnamed passenger boarded an Arik Air plane out of Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday
night [10/15/2014], but passed away before the plane reached its final destination. Flight attendants called the CDC, Port
Authority and customs officials, who then boarded the plane in protective gear as it touched down, forcing 145 worried passengers
to remain on board.
The Editor says...
Right after 9-11-2001, the government would issue rash pronouncements whenever any
suspicious event occurred, saying there was absolutely "no connection to terrorism." We are now seeing the same thing with regard to Ebola:
In the story immediately above, other passengers have ample reason to be concerned; after all, people don't usually throw up and die after boarding
an airplane in Nigeria. But don't you worry, Big Brother says immediately, there's no reason to think this has any connection to Ebola.
Jews delay flight, refuse to sit next to women. Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refused to sit next to
women on an El Al jet from New York to Israel — and spent the 11-hour flight trying to bribe people to switch
seats and loudly praying in the aisles when they refused. "It was an 11-hour long nightmare," one of the passengers told
Israel's ynet news Web site after the Wednesday morning [9/24/2014] flight landed. The flight — on the eve
of Rosh Hashanah — was not only delayed, but degenerated into chaos once in the air, passengers said.
passengers forced to wait 2 hours for VIP politician. Resentment over the arrogance of ruling elites has boiled over.
While reports of air rage in the United States are increasingly common, the phenomenon of resentment over the indignities of contemporary
air travel is global.
standing-only section on planes could mean lower fares, study says. Would you buy a bargain-priced airline ticket,
but the catch was you had to stand for the entire flight? A new university study says the idea of standing-only sections
on planes is no joke. An airline that removes seats can fit about 20% more passengers and, as a result, offer discounts
of as much as 44% compared with airlines that offer big comfy seats, according to the study published in the International
Journal of Engineering and Technology. Airlines in Ireland and China have looked into the concept, but none have yet
put the idea into practice.
The Editor says...
Isn't the air stale enough on an airplane without this? And wouldn't all the standing-room passengers break their necks if the
plane hit a pocket of clear-air turbulence? And isn't it illegal to take off, or even leave the gate, before all the passengers
have buckled up? Will the airlines push people into the doors, the way they pack people onto Japanese subways? How about
an additional discount if you agree to squeeze into the unpressurized cargo hold?
thieves stole thousands of valuables from luggage, police say. As the sea of luggage twists and
turns down rollers from terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, the bags stop briefly at large platforms
where workers separate them for flights across the world. It is there, police said, that a group of baggage
handlers pulled off one of the largest property heists in airport history. For months, detectives said,
workers rifled through bags looking for items to steal. "Basically everything of value — be
it electronics, jewelry and items — that could be stolen in seconds would be removed from bags," LAX
Police Chief Pat Gannon said. "They'd just open up the suitcases and rifle through them and pocket valuables."
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. 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."