Tag: Airplane Hell

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Six Major Airline Follies That Could Be Fixed

December 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM | by | ()

We've seen a lot happen on planes in our time.

There've been massive delays on the tarmac, medical emergencies, flights that turn around half way through, ones where we've sat next to off-duty pilots and flight attendants, and witnessed what happens when the smoke alarm in the bathroom goes off and everybody freaks out. We've also put up with our fair share of drunk passengers, which is the only in-flight entertainment we get to see on most flights.

Dealing with a delay or a drunk now and then is fine, but more and more, our experiences have led us to become frustrated by what seems to be a complete lack of common sense in terms of the way things go down on airplanes. Old policies are showing their age and new policies have failed to fix anything; they're making things worse.

With the holiday season travel in full force, you're no doubt having your own adventure. Here are six fixable airline follies that have us in a tailspin of late:

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Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Threaten No-Smile Strike During Holidays

Where: Hong Kong
December 17, 2012 at 11:23 AM | by | ()

Here's some news of a looming airline strike just in time to throw a wrench in holiday travel plans. This time it's Cathay Pacific and, instead of reduced flying schedule or cancelled flights, the cabin crew will be cancelling meals and reducing smiles.

Last week, Cathay's flight attendant union asked for a 5% pay increase, but the airline only offered an additional 2% with a 13th month bonus. The union isn't cool with this and voted to withhold meals, drinks and smiles from passengers during the busy holiday season. If it comes down to not serving some food, the union will notify passengers to bring their own food aboard.

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Why One Qantas Flight is Now Costing a Grandmother Over $18,000

Where: Australia
June 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM | by | ()

We've all heard it before on the family road trip. "If you continue to misbehave, I will turn this car around!" Well, that's exactly what a Qantas captain did when a drunk passenger recently started acting up. A grandmother was over-served on the alcohol, got all riled up and actually started a fight in the air.

The flight took off from Melbourne and was en route to New Zealand when, just after drink cart came through the aisle, the woman became enraged with another passenger after he asked her to stay quiet. Her reply? A straight punch in the face. The punch-drunk granny was then restrained in the last row of the plane when the pilots decided to return to Melbourne to off-load the fighter.

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Emergency Landing Forces Qantas Passengers to Deplane Via Forklift

January 31, 2012 at 8:55 AM | by | ()

From time to time planes are forced into emergency landings. Sometimes the reasons are real emergencies, like a bird strike or cracked windshield. Sometimes the reasons are still real, but are only a smell of smoke in the cabin or an unruly passenger. In all cases, the crew make the executive decision to bring the bird down in the interest of safety. In many cases, the problem is detected, rectified and the passengers are on their way with a bit of a delay. They'll be a little late, but no major dramas ensue.

Over the weekend, a Qantas aircraft had such an emergency where the crew smelled smoke on board. Naturally, alarms were raised and the captain decided to divert to an alternate airport. The Boeing 767, en route from Darwin to Brisbane, safely landed in the small outback town of Mt. Isa.

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American Airlines Plane Boots Alec Baldwin Over 'Words With Friends'

December 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM | by | ()

Did you feel that? If the internet could have earthquakes, we'd have just experienced a minor one as Alec Baldwin went from tweeting like normal, to getting kicked off an American Airlines plane at LAX, to being in custody, to becoming a trending topic, to giving his side of the story via Twitter in just about the span of one hour.

The reason for the tarmac takedown? Apparently, according to Alec, he was playing the popular mobile Scrabble-like app Words With Friends when a flight attendant "reamed" him out. Of course he was probably still playing it beyond the point of being asked to turn off and stow all electronic devices for take-off, hence the flight attendant interference. We predict that the next few days will see news channels rehashing the old argument of whether or not cell signals interfere with airplanes. You know, that old chestnut.

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Apparently AirTran Had a Little Cockroach Problem and Someone is Suing

November 14, 2011 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

AirTran has a lot going on now with that Southwest thing and all, but it looks like they’re headed for a little bit of legal trouble. Lucky for them we think it’s slightly frivolous, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have to send out the legal team.

A couple from North Carolina just filed a lawsuit against the airline because they weren’t too happy about some of their fellow passengers—cockroaches. Apparently the little bugs made a surprise appearance on their flight to Houston, including the air vents. The passengers tried to voice their concerns to the flight attendants, but they claim that their pleas for help were ignored.

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Happy Halloween: 11 Tales of 2011 Travel Hell

October 31, 2011 at 10:01 AM | by | ()

Happy Halloween!

This annual holiday is pretty much one of the most polarizing; you either love Halloween and get totally into it, or you don't care for it at all and end up cranky. Regardless, we can name one thing absolutely no one likes, and that's being stuck in travel hell. Some flyers experienced it this weekend during the various delays, cancellations and diversions, but sometimes nothing compares to retelling old spooky stories...

The Worst Moments of Travel Hell, 2011:

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Air India's Epic Tarmac Delay Almost Triggers Full-Blown Riot

October 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM | by | ()

Air India can't seem to do anything right. The company tried for years to join Star Alliance—we covered some of their bumbling efforts last May—only to recently give up and suspend integration efforts. Star Alliance's minimum membership requirements, which other airlines seem to be able to meet just fine, turned out to be just too difficult for the Air India people to figure out. On its face, that's not a particularly encouraging signal of competence.

Now comes news out of London that the airline was responsible for a truly epic nine hour tarmac delay, which came at the end—not at the beginning, but at the end—of a long-haul flight from Mumbai.

200 passengers plus one Boeing 777 minus any food unsurprisingly equaled grumpiness. If you're saying to yourself, "I can't believe cops weren't called to put down a riot," you'll be interested to know that cops were indeed called to put down what almost became a riot.

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Please Do Not Pee on Fellow Passengers

August 11, 2011 at 11:52 AM | by | ()

You'd think we wouldn't have to say this, but after an incident yesterday onboard a cross-country flight, we have to: please don't pee on fellow airplane passengers. Not only is it gross and rude and borderline criminal, but it also ruins a flight for the rest of the passengers onboard and makes the situation very difficult for flight attendants. This is officially an amendment to our just-published list of The Top Ten Gross Things Flight Attendants Have Seen Passengers Do on Airplanes, assuming the FAs saw it happen.

As the story goes, the JetBlue red-eye from Portland, OR to New York-JFK yesterday has a family with an 11-year-old girl who wouldn't shut up, or was a disturbance in some way. A drunk 18-year-old boy got up, confronted the girl at her row, exposed himself and peed on her. The NY Post continues:

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'Tarmac Delay' Groups Push for Newer, More Expensive Airline Regulations

June 3, 2011 at 2:55 PM | by | ()

Tarmac delay laws have been a predictable disaster. As we explained at painful and indignant length in the leadup to the new rules, it makes no sense to incentivize airlines not to have public relations nightmares, since as companies trying to make money they already have that incentive.

Long tarmac delays happen because airplanes have to wait in line to take off, and if you return to the gate you lose your place in line and get stuck on the ground indefinitely. So pilots gamble on staying in line and riding out delays rather than returning to their gates. Creating rules that would bankrupt airlines for making those gambles—which is what tarmac delay fines do—would only lead to more cancellations and longer delays, we said.

So obvious were these scenarios that bureacrats could only defend the rules by promising airlines that regulators would "rarely impose the maximum penalties." Pause for a second and let that sink in. When pushed on how they were passing a bunch of really counterproductive new rules, bureaucrats resorted to telling airlines to have faith that the rules wouldn't get enforced. Since that's really stupid—airlines aren't going to rely on the good will of a person whose job it is to fine them—cancellations and longer delays immediately spiked. And now, because the groups who push regulations are apparently filled with shrill, insufferable busy bodies who have nothing better to do than ruin travel for the rest of us, it's happening all over again.

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The Most Annoying Seat Mate is the One with Many Little Annoyances

May 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM | by | ()

We spent all last night on a red-eye flight, and instead of sleeping, we strained our eyes to type and rant a bit about one persistent problem in travel: annoying seat mates. This is one personal experience.

It's really a pile of little annoyances in a seat mate that mounts to become a worst nightmare. Not someone who attempts to talk your ear off about their kids or even one who steals your seat and refuses to skooch. No, the people who annoy me, personally, the most are those commit a series of small crimes against airplane etiquette. And a few days ago, on a plane between Boston and Houston, I met my match.

I should have seen it coming, to tell you the truth. While boarding, the gate agents repeatedly made announcements calling for anyone who can, to please check their carry-ons. Looking down the line, you'd have thought this a flight for refugees. Oversized and numerous were the carry-ons and the death grips on them, just as well.

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They've Got to Be Joking: The 15 Saddest In-Flight Meals

April 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM | by | ()

If you haven't already been annoyed off the internet by all the April Fool's Day pranks running rampant, then take a deep breath and know that nothing will be amiss on Jaunted today. Except for this, because the airlines have got to be joking. We've dug around to discover the 15 saddest in-flight meals, including everything from a moldy fruit plate to our dreaded American Airlines croissant.

Sadly these meals aren't April Fool's jokes, but oh how we wish they were...

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