Running for your gate, carry-on in hand to make your flight on-time is the worst. Sliding to your flight's gate? That's the best.
This four floor-high slide located in Singapore's Changi Airport is designed to get you to your departure gate with the smallest number of steps possible. The only catch is that you have to spend S$10 at one of the airport's many restaurants or businesses. Seems like a reasonable price to me.
Image via Changi Airport Read the rest
There is an abandoned McDonnell Douglas MD87 jetliner parked on the tarmac of Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas airport in Spain. If this is your jetliner, the airport asks that you please move it immediately. Apparently, the plane has been illegally parked for some years. From CNN:
Airport director Elena Mayoral submitted an official notice to the Boletín Oficial del Estado, the official gazette of the Kingdom of Spain, informing the nation of a plane in an "obvious state of abandonment" at the airport...
Under Spanish law, authorities must publish official notices about the plane for three consecutive months and then wait a year to see if the owner comes forward to claim it.
If they do not, the plane will be considered legally abandoned and will be sold off by the state at a public auction.
From El País:
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In 1990, the airplane flew for the first time for Iberia, according to online magazine Preferente.com. Eighteen years later it was acquired by Pronair, a charter airline headquartered in Albacete in Castilla-La Mancha. But the airline, which at one point was flying regularly to China, closed down in just a year due to the increase in fuel prices and the 2008 financial crisis.
Two years later, the plane was acquired by Saicus Air, a Spanish airline based in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. The airline operated two airplanes from Madrid and up until that point, had been dedicated to transporting cargo. The plane was meant to fly passengers between Spain and the Republic of Guinea Bissau in west Africa.
A fellow was recently busted at Toronto Pearson International Airport for allegedly attempting to "import" 5,000 live leeches in his luggage. Apparently an airport security beagles sniffed out the parasites. From National Geographic:
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The man claimed that the leeches in his possession were for personal use and that their waste water would enrich his orchids, (says André Lupert, manager of intelligence for the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ontario Region.)
To Lupert, that seems shaky. “This sort of leech quantity would suggest it was for commercialization,” he says, adding that the man could have been trying to find buyers for leech uses such as treating frostbite and helping with recovery from face lifts. Some people want leeches for naturopathic home use, believing that they relieve pain or can cleanse the body of “bad” blood. Without prescribed antibiotics, however, any such use carries risk of infections...
When Canadian officials seized 5,000 leeches, they were immediately confronted with a problem: what to do with them? They didn’t want to kill the threatened animals—especially while the case remained under investigation. “Ultimately it’s up to the judge if he wants to view the leeches in person because they’re viewed as evidence,” Lupert says. Nor did the authorities want to be saddled with them long-term. These species aren’t endemic to Canada, so they shouldn’t be released into the wild, Lupert says...
The Royal Ontario Museum agreed to accept 50 of the leeches, a researcher at the American Museum of Natural History took 1,000, and authorities are still looking for homes for the rest.
Unlike most airports, London's Heathrow is privately owned, so it's a great case study for how airports make money. Wendover Productions explains. Read the rest
Apparently officials at San Francisco International airport are size queens. When selecting vendors for the terminals, SFO uses gross revenue as an indicator a business can handle their scale. Read the rest
All flights today at London City Airport were cancelled after a bomb was found in the River Thames. The bomb is actually a German 500kg fused device that's been sitting in the Thames since the Germans dropped it during World War II. The unexploded ordnance was discovered during work on a dock near the airport. The Royal Navy is working to remove the bomb. From NPR
The discovery of World War II era bombs in London is not particularly rare, as NPR's Ari Shapiro has reported. "During the Blitz, German planes dropped nearly 30,000 bombs on London in just three months," he notes.
In 2015, a German bomb of about the same size was discovered in an east London neighborhood, prompting an evacuation.
At that time, Matt Brosnan, a historian at the Imperial War Museum, told the BBC that we don't know exactly how many of the bombs dropped could still be hidden.
"Clearly not all of those would have exploded, because of defects or other reasons, and they could have buried themselves tens of feet below the surface so we simply don't know where they are," he told the broadcaster.
"World War Two ordnance found in the Thames" (Metropolitan Police)
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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" Read the rest
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