Man's excuse for groping woman on plane flight: Trump "says it's OK"

Police arrested Bruce Michael Alexander for groping a sleeping woman seated in front of him on a Southwest flight from Texas to New Mexico. In the police car, Alexander reportedly told police that "the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts." From USA Today:

The woman said she felt Alexander's hand move from behind her and grab her right breast. She said she fell asleep about 20 minutes into the flight and not long after, she felt him touch her but assumed it was an accident, according to court documents.

About 30 minutes later, she said she felt Alexander's hand grab the back of her arm and grope around her ribs and then her breast.

The woman then stood up and told Alexander she did not understand how he could think that was OK and he needed to stop.

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World's longest nonstop commercial flight takes off this week

Starting Thursday, Singapore Airlines will offer a nonstop flight between Singapore to New York, becoming the longest commercial non-stop route at 19 hours in the air. That's 3 hours longer than Quantas Airlines' Perth to London long haul. To handle the distance, Singapore Airlines ordered nearly 50 of Airbus's new A350-900 ULR (for Ultra Long-Range). From CNN:

"The A350 is a clean-sheet design that has been designed for those long-range flights," Florent Petteni, Airbus' aircraft interiors marketing director for the A350, tells CNN Travel.

All A350s share Airbus' design philosophy that makes the aircraft cabin feel more like a room, rather than a long tube. The plane has high ceilings, sophisticated LED lighting, almost vertical sidewalls and a low noise level.

These features, along with a maximum in-cabin simulated altitude of just 6,000 feet, all combine to provide an improved passenger experience, according to Petteni.

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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.

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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."

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These standing airplane "seats" may be tomorrow's economy class

Following other proposals for standing "seats" on airplanes (link and link), the Skyrider 2.0 saddle seat "is the new frontier of low-cost tickets,” according to Italian company Aviointeriors. Rather than pitch the Skyrider as an inexpensive option for fliers, I think they'd do better positioning it as a healthy luxury like standing desks. From the Boston Globe:

For airlines that have been trying to shed weight and save on fuel costs by introducing thinner seats and eliminating seatback screens, the Skyrider 2.0 makes perfect sense. According to Aviointeriors, the design allows a 20 percent increase in passengers per flight. It also weighs 50 percent less than a standard economy seat, lowering the fuel cost per passenger...

The reduced legroom brings the seat pitch (the distance between one seat and the next in front) down to 23 inches. By way of comparison, the seats on low-cost, low-rated Spirit have a seat pitch of 28 inches.

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