TSA might end security screenings at 150 U.S. airports. Experts say it's dangerous.

Documents obtained by CNN outline a plan to eliminate TSA security screenings at more than 150 small and medium sized airports that mostly service planes with 60 seats or fewer. Read the rest

Listen to this snippy exchange between an Aer Lingus pilot and New York City air traffic control

Pilot: "It's not my first day in New York. It's not my first day in an aircraft."

From the Irish Times:

The Aer Lingus plane referred to as “Shamrock 104 Heavy” throughout the recording had gone down the runway southwards, and was intending to turn left across the Atlantic and towards Ireland.

The pilot saw a storm upon take off to his left that he deemed unsafe and so carried on straight to await further instructions.

While the pilot thought the storm was unsafe to fly through, the air traffic controller became agitated telling the pilot no other aircraft had deviated from the requested course.

Read the rest

Worst upgrade ever: there are bed bugs on airplanes now.

Air travel sucks. It’s always cramped. One person, per plane, is paid to bring a tuna and onion sandwich on board so that its odor can be pushed through the air re-circulation system (FAA Regulations, yo), and there’s never enough booze in those wee bottles to make a proper drink from. But hey, at least you don’t have to worry about bed bugs!

Oh.

From Fox 5 NY:

Passengers on flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to India are complaining about bed bug infested seats.

In one case this week a family complained their infant was covered in bites and bleeding by the time the 17-hour flight landed in Mumbia.

Pravin Tonsekar tweeted Air India photos of his seat with apparent bed bugs on them.

Air India replied with a comment that it is: "Sorry to hear this. Sharing the details with our maintenance team for corrective measures in this regard."

Another passenger tweeted to the airline that his family flew out of Newark on July 18 and his wife and three children were covered in bed in bites all over their body.  He asked, "Is this what we paid $10,000 for???"

Actually, no. You paid for a seat, in-flight meals, fuel, airport taxes, and a place to stash your luggage. The bugs were a freebie.

A quick Duck Duck Go search revealed that this wasn’t the first airborne bed bug encounter that’s found its way into the news. In 2017, a Canadian family got eaten up by the little buggers during a nine-hour flight on a British Airways flight from Vancouver to London. Read the rest

Passing plane pummels people with poop

My nation, Canada, is a land of endless bounty. Yesterday, it provided us with a feral peacock infestation. Today? A case of pinkeye allegedly caused by poo raining down from the sky.

Susan Allen of Kelowna, BC (it’s absolutely lovely in the summertime – you should visit!) was driving home with her son after enjoying a pleasant lunch with her mother in the lakeside district of Peachland. It was a beautiful day, spent in a beautiful place. On the way home, Allen opened her car’s sunroof to enjoy a bit of fresh air and, apparently, got hammered by shit falling from the sky.

From the The Star:

The feces appeared to have fallen from a plane that she saw when they were stopped at a red light with another car that was also hit, Allan said, adding she and the other driver went to a car wash and sprayed themselves off before she called the Kelowna airport.

She said an administrator told her Transport Canada would be investigating and the department has confirmed it is looking into the possibility of frozen lavatory waste, called “blue ice,” falling from an aircraft.

But wait, there’s more! As a result of her forced fecal frolics, Allen ended up with conjunctivitis in both of her eyes – that’s pinkeye y’all – and had to be placed on a run of medication to deal with the affliction.

While talking to the press about her shitty weekend, Allen stated that “All we want people to know is that it was quite devastating to be covered in poop and I hope it never happens to anybody else.”

Transport Canada is investigating the incident. Read the rest

Watch these test flights of Cora, an all-electric air taxi

According to their website, Cora is a fixed-wing craft powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable it to take off and land vertically like a helicopter. Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway. Read the rest

Why flight attendants hate Diet Coke

Traveling by air is thirsty work. Read the rest

Fart rampage forces flight to make emergency landing

A fight over a flatulent passenger ended in a Dubai-Amsterdam flight making an emergency landing in Vienna, reports Metro, citing this Dutch news story. Several passengers were kicked off, some of them claiming that they were uninvolved into the farty fracas and that Transavias's cabin crew encouraged the violence.

Members of the crew on the Dutch low-cost airline were apparently less than sympathetic and refused to do anything about it.

Despite a warning from the pilot, a fight between the men then broke out, causing the flight to be diverted to Vienna Airport .

Police boarded the plane with dogs and removed two sisters and the two men after the pilot made a report about ‘passengers on the rampage’.

Read the rest

The fascinating history of the first commercial jetliner

The de Havilland Comet, unveiled in 1952 to great acclaim, was beset with technical problems that grounded the entire fleet by 1954. One of the big design flaws? Square windows. Read the rest

Former Facebook exec Randi Zuckerberg "disgusted & degraded" by harassment on Alaska Airlines flight

Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook's former spokesperson and sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg, was told by Alaska Airlines flight crew to put up it when a fellow traveler sexually harassed her. She described herself as "disgusted & degraded" in an open letter to the airline's brass.

CNN:

Zuckerberg said the flight attendants offered to move her to a middle seat in the back of the plane, but she said she refused because she didn't feel she should have to give up her seat when she was the one being harassed.

Zuckerberg said she also learned that the comments were not unusual and that the flight attendants had previous conversations with the male passenger about his behavior. She said they told her "don't take it personally, this guy just doesn't have a filter." According to Zuckerberg, the man continued to make sexual comments throughout the flight.

The airline apologized and banned the harassing passenger. Moral of the story: if you're a woman and don't want to be shushed by a flight crew indifferent to the leering alcohol-soaked asshole in the next seat over, be powerful and famous enough to ruin their bosses' day.

Photo: Monika Flueckiger / World Economic Forum (CC) Read the rest

Flights From Hell: online documentary of unruly passengers and crewmembers

Airplane travel is not much fun these days (unless you are very rich). It's made worse by drunken passengers, sociopathic flight attendants, and mechanical issues. “Flights From Hell: Caught On Camera” is a cheap, sensationalistic documentary that compiles the best of the worst flight incidents in recent years.

Via One Mile at a Time. Read the rest

Casey Neistat videos his Lufthansa first class flight

Vlogger Casey Neistat used miles to fly Lufthansa on first class. "Everybody's so nice!"

They have nice showers in the lounge and they even have a whole closet for his skateboard. Read the rest

Delta Airlines kicks man off plane for urgent need to use the restroom before takeoff

There have been times when I've had a strong urge to pee while sitting on a plane that's waiting for takeoff. Fortunately, I wasn't punished for it. But one poor guy on Delta flight wasn't as lucky. He urgently had to pee. The plane had been sitting motionless on the runway for 30 minutes. He got up to go to the restroom, but a Delta airline attendant told him to get back in his seat. He obeyed the order, but his bladder wasn't happy about it. He got up again, and this time he used the restroom. Shortly after that, the pilot announced that he was pulling the plane back to the gate. Everyone had to get off, and then everyone except the man who peed was allowed back on. The FBI then arrived to speak with the man. Delta allowed the man to purchase a very expensive same-day ticket to fly home to see his kids.

I guess Delta would rather have let his bladder burst.

From YouTube description:

After waiting on tarmac with no foreseeable information that we would take off anytime soon, passenger quickly used bathroom (less than 1 minute). Delta determined to return to the gate (not too far away!) and remove the passenger. This is the first Delta employee who came on (Horatio) speaking not very kindly to the passenger.

One fellow passenger on the flight has created a blog called Frustrated Passenger, to express he displeasure with Delta for the way they treated the man:

Dear Delta:

On Delta flight # 2035 this week, I observed the most outrageous treatment of a paying customer that I have seen in my two decades of flying.

Read the rest

American Airlines employee appears to hit woman with baby stroller, challenges passenger to 'hit me'

Et tu, American Airlines?

Just weeks after a shocking video surfaced of a United Airlines passenger being violently dragged off a flight for refusing to give up his seat, a new video shows an intense confrontation between American Airlines employees and passengers, including a woman holding a baby stroller.

Surain Adyanthaya is credited with capturing the video, and says it happened on American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas.

The video was posted to r/dallas, and started to go viral even before the flight landed at DFW.

The original Reddit poster says he was told it started over how a flight attendant dealt with a young mother who was trying to store a stroller in an overhead bin.

Jalopnik watched it, so you don't have to:

The video starts with the woman already crying at the front of the airplane, holding a child in her arms and asking for her stroller back. You can hear another upset passenger say he’s “not going to sit here and watch this...” before making his way to the front of the plane to confront the flight attendants and ask for the name of the employee that allegedly hit the crying woman.

Read the rest

Designing airplane interiors to feel bigger than they are

A commercial airline is no Tardis ("bigger on the inside") but designers and engineers do use several techniques to reduce your claustrophobia in the sky.

Read the rest

The hidden lever to raise aisle seat armrests on commercial planes

My friend, the brilliant Pam Grossman (What is a Witch, Phantasmaphile), posted the following discovery on her Facebook page.

You are undoubtedly already familiar with the fact that the armrests on plane seats can be raised and lowered, all expect for the aisle rest. Turns out, that one can also be raised, if you can find the lever. It's under the armrest (if it exists on your model aircraft) and probably looks something like the one above. Pam describes her squee in finding it to be a for-real feature:

I have been taking a lot of flights of late, and so I have garnered a few tips to offer re: how to make things *slightly* less horrid when doing so. But holy horses, this one changed my life on this last go-round. When I tried it - and it worked! - it was all I could do to keep from leaping to my feet and crowing about it to my fellow passengers like some sort of zealous banshee.

In the responses on her FB page, someone asked about the other "few tips" she alluded to. I asked Pam's permission to include her reply here. There may be a few useful ideas in here for you. I have recently become a convert of 1 & 2:

Oh, not secrets. Just silly little tips. Here are a few more: 1. TSA Pre-Check is highly worth it and makes everything so much better. 2. Buying a carry-on wheelie bag with 4 wheels that go in all directions is worth it 3.

Read the rest

Build your own private gyrocopter

Frequently seen in the pages of 1950s-era Popular Mechanics magazines, the Bensen B-8 was a small gyrocopter that was in production until 1987. Download the plans and build your own two-person gyrocpter fleet to compete with Uber and Lyft!

(via Weird Universe)

Read the rest

Why did the Concorde supersonic plane fail?

The Concorde is a supersonic commercial airliner that took people from New York City to Paris in around 3.5 hours. It's heyday was in the 1970s and it finally stopped operation in 2003. Learn why in the Vox video above and in Lawrence Azerrad's magnificent Boing Boing classic feature "Flight of the Concordes!"

Read the rest

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