British Airways to buy 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets

Roll up! Roll up! Who dares be first to board the BREXIT DEATHLINERS?

Boeing Co. announced its first deal for 737 Max jets since a March grounding that followed two deadly crashes, landing a $24 billion agreement with British Airways owner IAG SA.

The airline group signed a letter of intent for 200 of the single-aisle planes, Boeing said in a statement Tuesday. IAG, led by a former 737 pilot, would take delivery of the planes between 2023 and 2027 assuming the deal is formalized.

“I wouldn’t ask anybody to do something I wouldn’t do myself,” IAG Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh, who flew 737 jets for about 18 years, told reporters at the Paris Air Show. “If you ask me, I would get on board a Max tomorrow.”

Quite a tall order.

Photo: Shutterstock; Illustration: Beschizza Read the rest

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was probably pilot suicide/murder

At The Atlantic, William Langewiesche meticulously catalogs and narrates the flight and dissapearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Though the investigation continues to focus on the water--where did it go down? where are its remains?--the truth is found on land, in the results of a police investigation that one of Asia's most plainly corrupt and insecure governments does not want made too public. The pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was known to friends to be lonely and depressed, and had played out the bizzare flight to nowhere on Microsoft Flight Simulator. He is surely a mass-murderer and a suicide. Read the rest

Enjoy this video of a dangerous mountain road in the Himalayas

There are, occasionally, some concrete barriers on the road to Munsiyari, Uttarakhand. Wonderful views, too! Born Idiots writes:

In June, we went to Munsiyari, Uttarakhand, which is a narrow and dangerous Himalayan road. As we climb up the kumaon ranges, roads get narrow and dangerous, many times without any barriers. There is a steep fall down the mountain and driving on it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Special mention of the brave HRTC bus and truck drivers who drive on these roads on a daily basis.

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Fodor's picks the worst airport in the world: LAX

According to Fodor's Travel the best US airport is Burbank (BUR). I couldn't agree more. It's 7  miles from my house and takes 2o minutes to get there. "Burbank is an airport free of most of the hassles that take the fun out of travel plans," writes Fodor's. "It’s an agreeable airport in a perfect location, which is why it’s at the top of our list of airports to love."

I'll pay a premium to fly from and to BUR, because my alternative is LAX, which Fodor's rates as the worst airport in the entire world. It's 26 miles from my house and it often takes 2 hours to get there in heavy 405 traffic. And once you get there, you'll get stuck in the "horseshoe." for another 30 minutes. From Fodor's: "Thanks to the improbably stupid design of its catastrophic horseshoe motor-loop, it regularly requires 30 minutes to travel the short mile from the outskirts of the airport to most of its terminals. And because Los Angeles was built as a city beholden to the automobile, there is no other way to arrive or depart from this maddening complex of suffering but through the interminable traffic."

Image: Photo of LAX by Mark Frauenfelder

 

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After sexual assault reports, TripAdvisor adds 'safety' filters for hotel bookings

Online travel and restaurant booking site TripAdvisor will introduce new safety filters after people who used the site raised concerns over sexual assaults. TripAdvisor says it found 1,100 reviews that referenced sexual assault in just the last year alone. Read the rest

Nifty universal travel adapter has AC, 3 USB, and 1 USB-C outlets

Use code 3SULMIMO to get this universal travel adapter at a good discount. I just ordered one because I do quite a bit of international traveling and this adapter works almost everywhere, and in addition to an AC outlet, it has 3 USB outlets and 1 USC-C outlet.

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Man, 71, successfully floated across the Atlantic in a motorless metal capsule

In December last year, Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, floated away from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa in an orange capsule he'd built. Last week, he landed at the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius. Read the rest

TSA admits that its pornoscanners flag Black women and others with curly hair for humiliating, invasive searches

Black women have long complained that they get flagged for secondary screening at TSA checkpoints after passing through a full-body scanner; after years of complaints, the TSA has admitted that its scanners struggle to with curled hair, and are prone to flagging anyone wearing an afro, twists, locks, braids, or other hairstyles predominantly found among Black travelers (though white travelers with long curly hair have also reported being flagged for secondary screening). Read the rest

Airline pilots have been complaining for months about Boeing's deathliner

With the European Union grounding the 737 MAX, North America is one of the last places on Earth you can get a ride on Boeing's deathliner. Despite the brand-new jet's disturbingly similar crashes and hundreds of dead travelers, the FAA and U.S.-based carriers insist it's safe to fly. Several airline pilots disagree.

Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient" several months before Sunday's Ethiopian Air crash that killed 157 people, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found. ... The disclosures found by The News reference problems with an autopilot system, and they all occurred during the ascent after takeoff. Many mentioned the plane suddenly nosing down. While records show these flights occurred in October and November, the airlines the pilots were flying for is redacted from the database.

Will another one go down before the problem is fixed? Capitalism is all about risk and inertia, and American businesses love taking risks and doing nothing. Read the rest

Man missed doomed Ethiopia flight by 2 minutes

Antonis Mavropoulos ran through the airport to catch his flight, missing it by two minutes. He demanded to be let on, for them to open the gate. He watched the passengers in the bellows board the plane.

Three hours later, as he was boarding the next flight to Nairobi, two security guards escorted him to the airport’s police station, over his loud protests — he did not want to miss his meetings in Nairobi.

But an official explained that he should “stop protesting and thank God,” instead. They could not let him leave before they had established who he was and why he had not boarded the flight, which had crashed.

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Universal Studios is chipping their soda cups to limit refills

A room at a Universal Studios Florida hotel tonight will cost you $197-$536 (plus admission tickets to the park), but make sure that you do all your soda drinking in one compact session, because Universal has deployed the creepily named Validfill RFID system, which limits your self-service (that is, you do the labor) soda refills to two hours after purchase, and after the time window expires, "you are denied soda by a robot voice." Read the rest

Prague's fake weed shops

Weed is not legal in Prague, but that doesn't stop grifters from ripping off naive tourists. In this episode of Honest Guide, you'll learn about these places (and also the fact that most absinthe sold in Prague is fake, too.) Read the rest

Crowdfunding a suitcase that becomes a closet

Every year or two, I embark on a round of crazy book-tour travel where I change cities every day for weeks on end (35 cities in 45 days on two continents in 2017!), and I'm on a perennial quest for a piece of luggage that is fuss-free: I want to stumble exhausted into my room, late at night, and in a few seconds access everything I need to go to sleep and then get out the next morning. Read the rest

A service to help airline passengers get compensated for lost bags, delays, cancellations and overbookings

Airhelp is a service that helps airline passengers in 30 countries file claims (for delays, lost bags, overbookings, and cancellations) structured to increase the likelihood of paying out; the bots have made $930m in successful claims to date, and the company behind it only collects a commission when a claim succeeds. Read the rest

Deaf couple say Delta agent "refused to communicate" with them, kicked them off flight

When Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia checked in for their flight at Detroit, they were told they'd get a seating assignment together. But at the departure gate, the request was denied—and they claim the gate agent would not communicate with them except by talking at them. Thing is, they're both deaf.

The gate agent rolled her eyes at us. Melissa asked for her to write. After a few moments, she finally wrote on a piece of paper and said, the flight is full and can’t book us together. I wanted to continue to communicate and decided to try and write on that same paper but instead of giving us the paper we asked for, she crumbled it in front of us and threw it in the trash.”

Yingst says she pleaded with the agent — who allegedly refused to give her name but whom they identify as “Felicia” — to write down her end of the conversation, arguing that she was “denying us our communication access” by not doing so.

Here's where they story diverges: one of the women says "Felicia" pushed her when she tried to retrieve the note. But "Felicia" claims she was assaulted. In any case, "Felicia" summoned airport security and the women were removed from the flight.

Delta is backing its gate agent, stating that the women were barred from the flight because Garcia went behind the gate desk and "pushed" the gate agent when trying to retrieving the crumpled up paper. The women deny this and say Delta falsely told the media it had reimbursed them. Read the rest

Great article about bothies, the remote shelters of the British uplands

Stephen Hiltner trudges miles through beautiful moors and mountains to get to the next bothy [New York Times].

But bothy culture, some longtime proponents fear, is imperiled by a generation unaccustomed to shrewdly guarded secrets. Map coordinates for the often hard-to-find dwellings, once dispersed only among hiking insiders, are now available openly on the internet. Popular hashtags have helped create something of a buzz on Instagram, where bothies are sometimes presented, misguidedly, as an alternative to Airbnb rentals. (The bothy code unequivocally prohibits the use of bothies for commercial purposes, and discourages their use by large groups.) A hugely popular and impressively researched guide, “The Scottish Bothy Bible,” published in 2017, lines shelves in stores throughout the U.K., the first of many bothy guides to achieve a kind of mainstream success. It, too, has increased foot traffic.

Some you could walk right by without noticing. (Photo crop: Stephen Hiltner/The New York Times) Read the rest

Freeway sign crushes car in terrifying dashcam footage

An Australian woman is in stable condition after a massive freeway sign toppled onto her car near Melbourne. The dashcam video, captured by the driver behind her, is absolutely terrifying.

(I wonder if this will fit in J.K. Simmons' insurance-claim wunderkammer.) Read the rest

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