Over the years, I've peeked into airport chapels and never seen a single person inside. Yet 16 of the country's 20 biggest airports have them. Above is the first example of such a space in the US, Our Lady of the Airways Chapel in Boston's Logan Airport, built in 1951 for airport employees. Wendy Cadge, a sociologist of religion at Brandeis University, has studied these sacred spaces. "Often, it is local, historical and demographic factors, including the religious composition of the region, that influence decisions" about why they're created and how they're used, she writes. From Smithsonian:
By the 1990s and 2000s, single faith chapels had become a “dying breed.” Most started to welcome people from all religions. And many were transformed into spaces for reflection, or meditation for weary travelers.
The chapel at San Francisco International Airport, for example, known as the Berman Reflection Room for Jewish philanthropist Henry Berman who was a former president of the San Francisco Airport Commission, looks like a quiet waiting room filled with plants and lines of connected chairs. A small enclosed space without any religious symbols or obvious connections to things religious or spiritual is available for services...
Certain airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare have strict rules regarding impromptu religious gatherings whether inside the chapel or out. Some use their public address systems to announce religious services. Others prohibit such announcements and do not even allow airport chaplains to put out any signs that could indicate a religious space.
"A Brief History of Airport Chapels" (Smithsonian)
(image: Randall Armor, CC BY-NC-ND) Read the rest
Last night, St. Louis Lambert International Airport's Terminal 2 was fully evacuated due to fire concern. It was quickly determined that the smoke alarms were triggered by a burning bagel at one of the airport restaurants.
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Whether or not the car in the background means this is a United flight, I bet this happens fairly often on many airlines.
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Raejali Buntut, 32, overslept and missed his August 21 flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, so he did what anyone in the same situation would do: make fake boarding passes and live in the airport’s executive lounges. Alas, his ruse lasted only three weeks before he was carted to jail.
From Strait Times:
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Passengers are required to have a valid boarding pass to enter into a transit lounge. Since Raejali's boarding pass was no longer valid, he decided to forge boarding passes.
He downloaded images of mobile boarding passes issued by two airlines - Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines - from the Internet, and then used an image editing software on his laptop to alter them.
Raejali inserted his name, a false flight number and a false destination on the fraudulent mobile boarding passes, before sending them to his mobile phone.
Air travel is degrading, stressful, and humiliating enough as it is, so imagine doing it when you can’t get up and walk off the plane.
Hassan Abdo Ahmed Mohammed, his wife, and four children escaped the Syrian civil war to settle in Russia. The Kurdish family landed in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport but the Russian government says the family's visas are fake. If they return to Syria, they may be killed. So they have been living in the airport for 50 days while lawyers try to sort out their status. UNICEF brings them food and, a week ago, the United Nations and an NGO convinced Russian authorities to permit them to spend their nights in a terminal hotel room. From CNN:
Mohammed thinks Russia's close ties with the embattled Syrian government are interfering with his plans to enter Russia.
"Russia has a very strong relation with the Syrian regime, and they don't want to encourage Syrians to leave the country," he said.
Mohammed's lawyer said the Syrian government checked out their passports and said they were authentic. Russian authorities are now investigating the the passports, the lawyer said, and should come to a decision soon.
"Kurdish family fleeing Syria stuck in Moscow airport for over 50 days"
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Richard Dunn was bumped from a flight out of Las Vegas so he spent the night in the airport, and made this fun iPhone video to kill time. Read the rest
Filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker composited four and a half hours of San Diego International Airport traffic into 25 seconds.
Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole, a security supervisor at Newark airport, lived a double life for 20 years using the identity of the victim in an unsolved murder.
Since 1992, the undocumented Nigerian immigrant worked at EWR as Jerry Thomas, a man who was killed that same year in New York City. Oyewole continued to live as Thomas undetected for two decades, while overseeing security matters at one of America's busiest airports.
According to the Associated Press report, "the private security guards he supervised are responsible for manning TSA security checkpoints after passenger gates close for the evening and before they reopen in the morning. The guards also inspect delivery vehicles for possible unauthorized cargo."
(Photo: Newark Liberty International Airport; courtesy Port Authority of NY and NJ.) Read the rest