Service animal registries being built to root out fakes

The Air Carrier Access Act, written back in 1986, was kind of lazy in how it defined ‘what a service animals is, to the point where almost anything goes. As such, there’s been a whole lot of folks of late bringing their animals on board of airplanes claiming that they’re emotional support animals. This peacock is an example of that sort of thing. Maybe some help calm their owners on what would be a harrowing in-air experience, without them. But for individuals with verifiable medical conditions who have been given specially-trained psychiatric service animals to help them better navigate their lives, it’s a serious pain in the ass.

With travelers and airlines alike getting tired of people attempting to bring their ‘comfort’ and ‘support’ animals on flights with them, the idea of bringing along an animal for legitimate medical reasons, even one that comes with documentation from a doctor or mental health professional, can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. That’s not OK. It’s a problem that can be especially prevalent with veterans afflicted with PTSD. Many rely on their service dogs to ground them during a flashback, make them feel like someone is watching their back in public places or wake them from reoccurring nightmares. It's not the sort of tool that you want to leave at home when you travel.

Thanks to a pair of new registries currently in development, the epidemic of false service animals that’s cropped up in the news of late could come to an end while, at the same time, helping those with a legitimate medical need to have their prescribed pooches with them on a flight do so, with less hassle. Read the rest

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

The shortest commercial flight in the world is less than one minute long

Singapore Airlines just launched the longest nonstop commercial flight route in history -- 20 hours between New York City and Singapore. On the other side of the coin though is the shortest international commercial flight in the world: Anguilla Air Services' 12-mile route in the Caribbean between Saint Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and Anguilla's Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. Flight time is 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the shortest domestic commercial flight is from Westray to Papa Westray, Scotland. From CNN:

A narrow stretch of water separates the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray, off the north coast of Scotland. Scottish airline Loganair has been running an air bridge between these two tiny Scottish islands for around 50 years, making it the shortest nonstop regular flight anywhere in the world.

The flight, operated by a Britten-Norman Islander eight-seater aircraft, takes just over a minute, but on occasions has been as short as 53 seconds, depending on tail wind.

"This route is used mainly by the people of the Orkney Islands going about their daily routines," says Andy Thornton, Loganair's director of flight operations. "It is used by teachers, the local police officer, the banker and children going to school. However it is also a keen route for tourists and aviation enthusiasts."

"A 10-minute flight? World's shortest airline routes" (CNN) Read the rest

Baggage handler gives zero f*cks

This baggage handler looks like she's been at her job for a long time, effortlessly tossing luggage down the slide as if they were bags of marshmallows. Hopefully, marshmallows are what's in that luggage because anything else is likely to break. Read the rest

Woman fined $500 after taking free snack apple off Delta flight

Delta airlines gave a passenger a free apple as an on-flight snack. She took it off the plane, failed to declare the agricultural contraband, and was fined $500 by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol when they found it in her bag.

She said the customs agent pulled out the apple in the plastic bag with Delta's logo on it.

Tadlock said she had just received the snack from the airline and asked if she could throw it out or eat it. She said the agent said no, and handed her a $500 fine instead.

"He had asked me if my trip to France was expensive and I said, 'Yeah.' I didn’t really get why he was asking that question, and then he said 'It’s about to get a lot more expensive after I charge you $500,'" Tadlock said.

The sheer malicious smugness really makes it. Read the rest

United Airlines denied a woman trying to fly with her emotional support peacock

United Airlines barred Dexter, an emotional support peacock, from boarding a flight at Newark International Airport on Saturday. From the Washington Post:

United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”

“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” an airline spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday to The Washington Post...

The peacock’s owner, who was identified by the Associated Press as Ventiko, a photographer and performance artist in New York, told the news agency that she bought the bird its own ticket.

Read the rest

Land a job as a flight attendant for Area 51's airline!

The US defense contractor AECOM is known to operate a mysterious, classified airline called Janet that mostly flies between a terminal at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport and the Nevada National Security Site, including Area 51. Janet's fleet includes a half-dozen Boeing 737-600s and five executive turboprop planes. Of course those planes need flight attendants to bring coffee, tea, and milk to the Men in Black. (The ETs prefer to fly their own craft.) Sound like fun work? Well, AECOM is hiring flight attendants! The job description sounds rather traditional except for this key requirement: "Must qualify for and maintain a top secret government security clearance and associated work location access. "

"Flight Attendant, Las Vegas, Nevada" (AECOM via Mysterious Universe)

Read the rest

NAACP warns black people they aren't safe on American Airlines

The NAACP issued a warning today advising black people not to travel on American Airlines due to a "pattern of disturbing incidents" reported by African-American passengers and unique to the carrier.

...booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice.

The series of recent incidents involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines and they suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.

1. An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers;

2. Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;

3. On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and

4. An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.

In order to help American Airlines adapt to the reality of changing circumstances, I've made a slight change to their logo and name to better represent their preferred customer base. Read the rest

Saudi Airlines confirms that American laptop ban on U.S.-bound flights from Saudi has ended

The U.S. government's ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in the cabins of flights from Saudi Arabia to the United States has been lifted, Saudi Arabian Airlines confirmed today. Read the rest

Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Sonny Liston, and Whitey Ford's TV commercials for Braniff Airline

When you got it... flaunt it.

"As we eavesdrop on these odd couples trying to outflaunt each other, we hear everything that has to be said about Braniff (International airlines)," wrote famed designer and adman George Lois of his 1968 campaign for . "We also imply that you might bump into a celebrity or two on a Braniff flight...They are not idealized celebrities—they are famous people who are portrayed as lovable extroverts, combined to radiate a surreal kind of believability."

(r/ObscureMedia and Dangerous Minds)

Read the rest

Southwest says it will no longer overbook its flights

All airlines have their share of customer service problems, and Southwest is no exception. But they seem to be better than most (two free checked on bags, no charge for changing flights), and they just announced that they will no longer overbook its flights, bucking a widespread airline practice.

From CNN Money:

Southwest is taking it one step further and plans to end overbooking outright by May 8, spokeswoman Brandy King said. The carrier joins JetBlue, which has long advertised that it doesn't overbook flights.

It's standard practice for airlines to sell more tickets than there are seats in anticipation of no-show fliers.

When a flight is overbooked, federal rules require that airlines first check to see whether anyone will give up his or her seat voluntarily. Airlines control how much they offer to pay, though they usually shell out a travel voucher toward a future flight or a gift card.

Image by aeroprints.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link 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

This could be United Airlines' new TV commercial

[NSFW: violence] This man's suffering is not a joke. United customer service is a joke. Background.

(United parody logo by @skolanach) Read the rest

United Airlines traveler knocked unconscious and dragged off overbooked flight

United Airlines offered passengers $800 to skip an overbooked flight: there were enough seats for the paying ticketholders, but not for several United employees who wanted to travel with the plane. With no takers, they started picking people at random to eject. Read the rest

The economics of airline classes

Wendover Productions explains how airlines make most of their money from business and first class tickets. Read the rest

RIP Vesna Vulović, survived 44 years after 33,000-foot fall

Vesna Vulović was a JAT Yugoslav Airlines flight attendant when her plane exploded mid-air in 1972, sending her hurtling toward earth in the tail of the aircraft. Her miraculous survival remains the record height for surviving a freefall without a parachute. Read the rest

Traveler sues TSA for missed flight

Although Minneapolis man Hooman Nikizad arrived at the airport two hours early, as recommended, his hour-and-a-half wait in the security line made him miss his flight. He then had to buy a second ticket on another airline in order to get to his destination on time. Now he's suing the TSA for $506.85 to cover the cost.

"I had to buy a ticket with another airline to be able to make my destination and meet my obligations," Nikizad said in his claim, which noted the TSA had limited staff on duty at the time and "only one body scanner for the regular security line [in operation]"...The money being sought, he said, is to reimburse him for a replacement ticket, additional ground transportation expenses and the $75 court fee to file his claim.

No comment from the TSA. For more, read the full story at the Star Tribune. Read the rest

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