Archive for the ‘air travel’ Category

New Crime: Flying While Bilingual

April 19, 2016

New Crime: Flying While Bilingual

While his Southwest Airlines flight was at the gate at LAX two weeks ago, a college student called his uncle on his mobile phone and was promptly hauled off the plane. Why? He was speaking to his uncle in Arabic.

UC Berkeley senior Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was on a flight to Oakland on April 6 when he called his uncle in Baghdad to tell him about an event he attended in LA. A frightened passenger spoke with flight attendants, and Mr. Makhzoomi was escorted off the plane to a public area in the terminal, where security officers searched him. FBI agents arrived, spoke with him, determined he was no threat, and let him fly back home on Delta.

Mr. Makhzoomi has lived in the US since 2010. He is the son of an Iraqi diplomat who was imprisoned and killed by Saddam Hussein. Imagine what he must make of this LAX experience. He is the sixth Arab American thrown off a flight at a US airport in the past four months. How many Islamophobes have been removed from planes? Zero.

1,700,000 Arab Americans — and the world’s 300 million Arabic speakers — just got a message: don’t fly Southwest.

More:

“College Student Is Removed From Flight After Speaking Arabic on Plane,” Liam Stack, New York Times

“UC Berkeley student questioned, refused service after speaking Arabic on flight,” Maya Eliahou, Daily Californian

“Student who fled Saddam Hussein kicked off flight for speaking in Arabic,” Alix Culbertson, Daily Express

“UC Berkeley student removed from Southwest flight after speaking Arabic on plane,” Yanan Wang, Washington Post

Related:

“The unapologetic racial profiling of Muslims has become America’s new normal,” Haroon Moghul, Quartz

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Boeing Planes Will Have Self-Cleaning Toilets for Fastidious Fliers

March 14, 2016

Boeing Planes Will Have Self-Cleaning Toilets for Fastidious Fliers

Engineers at Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T) are testing an airplane lavatory that cleans itself of microorganisms with ultraviolet light. Maybe they can fix that smelly hand soap while they’re in there. The UV light isn’t the kind that will give you a tan, so you’ll have to wait until your plane lands in Hawaii. Actually, the purifying lights won’t go on at all if someone is in the john.

We don’t know how the competition will respond to this tech development. Will the new Air France toilets have bidets? Peut-être.

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Christmas at the Airport

December 25, 2015

Nick Lowe’s 2013 Christmas song is on a ingle-bell-free compilation of seasonal songs by Ron Sexsmith, Roger Miller, Ry Cooder, Boudleaux Bryant, and the anonymous elves of folk tradition.

Nick talks about the tune here, and also recorded a strangely-moving solo acoustic version for Fordham University’s WFUV-FM:

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Airplane Poop and Public Health

August 16, 2015

Airplane Poop and Public Health

“Pooping on that 12 hour flight may be a public health service. Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark are siphoning off the sludge from international airline flights and using it to study the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

In a study in Scientific Reports, they break down their analysis of 18 different airplanes that arrived in Copenhagen from nine different cities around the world, looking for the presence of things like Salmonella and Clostridium difficile.

The team found that Salmonella was more prevalent in poop arriving from Southeast Asia, while the sludge from planes arriving from North America was more likely to contain C. difficile (a bacteria that causes a nasty drug-resistant infection). Planes arriving from Asia had higher rates of DNA from drug-resistant bacteria strains overall.”

— “Pooping on Airplanes Could Contribute to Public Health Research,” Shaunacy Ferro, Mental Floss

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American Airlines iPad Crash

May 3, 2015

American Airlines iPad Crash

70 American Airlines flights were delayed last week when an app on the pilots’ iPads crashed. The problem wasn’t with the planes or the iPads but with the software, made by a division of Boeing. According to Re/Code a conflict between two versions of the Washington National Airport map jammed up the software, and the glitch was finally solved by deleting and re-installing the app.

American Airlines has been using Apple tablets in all its planes since 2013, replacing the 35 pounds of reference papers and manuals each pilot used to haul on board for each flight. The airline says going paperless and replacing 24 million pages of documents with 8,000 iPads saves the company 400,000 gallons of fuel each year.

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Gyrocopter Madness!

April 19, 2015

Gyrocopter Madness!

A civic-minded Florida mailman landed his gyrocopter on the U.S. Capitol lawn in a non-violent, symbolic demonstration against government corruption, and all America wants to know: What the heck is a gyrocopter?

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Christmas at the Airport

December 25, 2014

Nick Lowe’s 2013 Christmas song is on a ingle-bell-free compilation of seasonal songs by Ron Sexsmith, Roger Miller, Ry Cooder, Boudleaux Bryant, and the anonymous elves of folk tradition.

Nick talks about the tune here, and also recorded a strangely-moving solo acoustic version for Fordham University’s WFUV-FM:

(more…)

It’s Sad. But It’s Getting Sick.

March 23, 2014

It's Sad. But It's Getting Sick.

“World’s first cyber hijack: Was missing Malaysia Airlines flight hacked with mobile phone?” James Fielding and Stuart Winter, The Express

“CNN: Did a Black Hole Make Flight 370 Disappear?” Taylor Berman, Gawker

“Spoon-bender Uri Geller asked by Malaysian officials to locate missing plane,” Sophie Alexander, The Express

“Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Is There a Bermuda Triangle Connection?” Benjamin Radford, LiveScience.com

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Train Bridge

March 14, 2014

Train Bridge

The Reagan National Airport Metro station now has a Train Bridge:

“The ‘Train Bridge’ is Metro’s solution to temporarily out-of-service elevators at the National Airport station. Rather than shuttle passengers who need elevator assistance from the airport to another nearby station, Metro officials decided they could use a train to bridge the temporary gap.

And so, a train bridge is just that — an Metro train riders can use as a pass through to the other platform.”

“The station at National Airport is uniquely configured to allow such a use since it has three tracks. Metro officials simply park the train on the middle track, allowing folks to move easily between platforms depending on whether they’re headed toward Franconia-Springfield or into Prince George’s County.”

— “See Metro’s ‘Train Bridge,’” Lori Aratani, Washington Post

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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like ….

December 9, 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like Nick Lowe wrote the best Christmas song this year. His tune is on his jingle-bell-free compilation of seasonal songs by Ron Sexsmith, Roger Miller, Ry Cooder, Boudleaux Bryant, and the anonymous elves of folk tradition.

Nick talks about the tune here, and also recorded a strangely-moving solo acoustic version for Fordham University’s WFUV-FM:

(more…)