Monthly Archives: August 2006

iPod Flushed Down Plane’s Toilet Causes Terror Alert

If you’re interested in the details, you can read the whole story but suffice it to say that when a guy mistakenly flushed his iPod down the toilet on a flight from Chicago to Ottawa, Canadian authorities went into full terror mode.  Yes, that begs more questions than it answers.

(As always, thanks to Sanj for the heads up)

Poor, Poor Biman Bangladesh

It’s a sad state of affairs at Biman Bangladesh, the national carrier of, you guessed it, Bangladesh.  A BBC story says that the airline put a "lonely hearts" ad in the newspaper looking for a strategic partner for long walks in the woods (and to pay the bills).  Biman has 5 of its 13 ancient aircraft in the shop, and it does not have the funds to get them out.  Flying DC-10s that are way past their prime means that they were losing upwards of $80,000 each time they flew to New York.  Which, let’s be honest, is impressive in its own right.  And it was paying an average of $20 to every passenger in compensation for delays and cancellations.

Won’t you please save Biman?

Iraqi Man Forced to Change T-shirt Before Boarding

An Iraqi architect says that JetBlue staff forced him to change his t-shirt that read, "We will not be silent" prior to boarding his flight from JFK to California.  According to the passenger, airline crew said that people were offended (?) by the t-shirt, and that he’d have to remove it before flying.  Good thing that he didn’t have toothpaste with him or they’d have thrown him in jail.

Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Mid-Flight

This is just silly:  An Air Canada Jazz pilot left the cockpit to use the bathroom during a flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg, leaving the first officer and a flight attendant in the cockpit (I’m sure there was nothing going on there).  Upon his return, the door was locked and the first officer was unable to open it.  The pilot and first officer spent 10 minutes trying to unstick the door (passengers reported the pilot banging on it like Fred Flintstone when he got locked out of his house in the credits to his show).  Finally they removed the hinges of the door (take note, terrorists!) and the pilot safely landed the plane.  If you were wondering, the first officer could’ve landed the plane on his own.

(Thanks so reader Sanj for the head’s up….)

Airline Loses Athlete’s Leg

A woman from New Zealand traveling to compete in the world athletic championships for the disabled got a pretty miserable surprise when she landed in Amsterdam for the event:  British Airways had lost her prosthetic leg.  As you can imagine, this is a problem if you are a one-legged runner heading to a running competition.  For its part, BA was extremely helpful, telling the woman that her bag is "one of 20,000" sitting in Heathrow.  The leg’s manufacturer is trying to make her a new limb before the competition begins.

Can You Actually Blow Up a Plane with Liquids?

I’ve been rather skeptical of the notion that the alleged terrorists in the London bomb plot could’ve blown up a plane using liquids smuggled on board.  I’m not the only one.  This article looks at why you should be skeptical, too.  In short:  it would be really, really difficult to make a bomb on board.

And this ties in a bit with the awful crash yesterday in Kentucky: while the entire world is focused on terrorists bringing down a plane, the reality is that human error is far more likely to cause an accident than a terrorist. 

$999 Round Trip to London in Business Class

Delta has a great deal on travel to London:  $999 gets you a round trip ticket in business class (it’s just $199 for a ticket in coach — a great deal, but we see $199 round trips frequently during the winter).  Book by September 7th for travel November 15th through March 21.

Lip Gloss: The New Terror Threat?

I never bore you dear readers with personal stories, but I thought this was a good one:

My wife (heretofore known as Susan) was flying yesterday from Chicago to New York, when she arrived at the security line.  She had dutifully checked her toothpaste so that she wouldn’t try to blow up the airplane with it, but little did she know that she was still a menace.  The fine folks at the TSA had her throw out her small tube of lip gloss (which could blow up a 737 in seconds, flat).  That would all be fine in this day and age, but she asked if she could at least put some on before tossing it.  She was told that, in fact, she could not.  They were not kidding.  I was not aware that you could not bring lip gloss on board either in a tube or on your lips. 

I believe there was an episode of Gilligan’s Island where Ginger was to wear a poisonous lip gloss as a way of killing someone who had visited the island (or something like that), so perhaps Susan’s lip gloss was more dangerous than I thought.

Even so, this is the state of airline security in the US – putting on lip gloss will get you arrested.

That’s Not a Penis Pump, That’s a Bomb

A guy is taking a trip from Chicago to Turkey with his mom and when he gets to the airport, security sees a slightly suspicious object in his luggage.  They ask what the object is and the guy tells security that it’s a bomb.  It’s not a bomb, of course, it’s a penis pump (obviously).   He was too embarassed to sell security in front of his mother that he brought the penis pump with him, so he did what any of us would do in this situation:  he lied.  And said it was a bomb.  Which, if you’ve ever flown, you’ll know is a stupid thing to say.  Which is why he’s now facing felony charges.  No word on whether they confiscated the pump.

Northwest Airline Flight Attendant Strike Q&A

Northwest Airlines’ flight attendants have threatened sporadic strikes across their network beginning this evening.  USA Today has put together a handy Q&A about the situation that could be helpful if you have plans to fly Northwest any time soon.  (The short version is that flight attendants may randomly delay flights and there’s nothing you can do about it.)