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Last Wednesday TSA agents at Burbank detected a loaded gun in the carry-on of rapper Todd Anthony Shaw, known as Too Short or Too $hort depending on how stuffy you are. This kind of thing happens quite a lot. Almost always, the travelers are immediately cited, and often they're even allowed to proceed to the plane.
In this case Mr. Short walked slowly out of the airport in his socks, recovered his valet-parked car, and returned two days later with his lawyer. At that point he received a misdemeanor citation for possession of a loaded handgun in a public place. This entire incident, with all due respect, is batshit crazy.
TSA / Drugs / Drug Travel / Bad Ideas / Stupid Passengers / Crime / → All Tags
We had a buddy in college who was the epitome of the super-smart stoner. He would study the chemical composition of THC to invent new ways of baking pot, he would construct complex gravity bongs out of random household items, and his entire year revolved around Shark Week. Do you have an image in your mind of the Hollywood movie stoner who comes up with the insight that moves the plot along? That's who this guy was.
One of our buddy's routine tricks when traveling was to use sheets of fabric softener to mask the smell of the copious amounts of weed that he smoked. There are several versions of this trick, but they all involve the same basic move of getting the smoke to go through the sheets (some of the more elaborate mechanisms would require diagrams to explain). After 9/11 he started running into problems because security officers would rightly ask why he was carrying fabric softener sheets in his luggage. That's not a product that people usually take with them on weekend trips to the Midwest.
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The emergency situation of Friday at Los Angeles International Airport is thankfully over, but while the police continue their investigation into the gunman who entered Terminal 3 and shot TSA agents (killing one), the airport itself returns to mostly normal operations.
For travelers with upcoming flights into or out of LAX, here's the latest answers on what's up at the airport:
Dubai Travel / Police / Cars / Crime / → All Tags
Take a break from the glitz, gold, and the world’s largest building on your trip over to Dubai. Not that those aren’t all part of the overall experience over in the United Arab Emirates, but now there’s something else that’s also screaming for a snapshot. Just be sure not to get too close to this thing, as you certainly don’t want to see the inside of it.
We’re talking about the newest car in the garage over at the Dubai police department, as they just scored a pretty ridiculous cruiser. The Dubai police now possess their very own Lamborghini police car—yep, you heard us correctly. At first you were probably a little surprised to hear this over-the-top news, but then that you remembered that it’s Dubai—it makes perfect sense.
You’d think that with heightened security around the globe that it would be somewhat tricky just to stroll aboard an airplane dressed up like a pilot. Well we guess it’s not that challenging to do so, as it looks like someone just got away with an act straight out of Catch Me If You Can.
Over the weekend, a man in a pilot's uniform was arrested while innocently sipping coffee at Italy's Turin Airport. His not-so-innocent previous adventures included riding up front in the cockpit jumpseat of an Air Dolomiti flight, after passing as a legitimate pilot to both security screeners and apparently the cabin crew. Forged identity cards and a snazzy uniform were a couple of his keys to success, but after a run-in with local law enforcement it appears that the party is over.
Booze Travel / Alcohol Travel / TSA / Airport News / Airport Security / Airline Security / Crime / → All Tags
We love this story so much. Not just because we love all things alcohol, travel, and alcohol travel. There's definitely that, because we do dearly adore all of those things. But it's also because the investigation which busted the alcohol-theft ring was called "Operation Last Call."
The details, such as they are, involve 18 workers at JFK who managed to steal over 100,000 of those tiny 1- and 2-ounce alcohol-filled bottles distributed on airplanes. As TIME snarked in their writeup, "that's almost 4,000 grownup-sized bottles of booze."
Travel Snapshot / Italy Travel / Police / Crime / → All Tags
Don’t worry—we didn’t get arrested or anything, but we did think this teensy Citroën police car was pretty darn unique when we spotted outside the Vatican's Piazza San Pietro. We just wonder where the bad guys—or general troublemakers—sit when the officers decide to take the perpetrators back to the station.
Anyway, we did notice several different kinds of law enforcement—again, no fault of our own—when traveling around Italy. So we thought we’d share a quick recap of our internet research, just in case you wondered the same thing on your next trip to Rome, Venice, Florence, or Naples.
When the boarding process is finished and you're done battling your fellow passengers for overhead bin space in the overhead bin, you probably don’t think too much about that bag above your head. Well it might be time to check on it every once in a while, as apparently there’s been attempted baggage theft on flights. It can happen anywhere travelers let their guard down, but lately international overheard bins are the target.
Over the weekend police arrested a couple people accused of trying to swipe some stuff right off a Singapore Airlines flight. In one instance, it sounds as though a passenger went up a few rows, grabbed a laptop bag, and then headed back to his seat to check out what was inside. Apparently one of the flight attendants immediately noticed what was going on and ensured the troublesome passenger stayed put until the plane landed.
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Don't cry "rape" when you pass through one of the TSA's full-body scanners, because actual airport rape does happen, and it's not something to be taken lightly. In the early morning hours yesterday, a 26-yr-old man was arrested at Denver International Airport after sexually assaulting a 22-yr-old woman who was staying in the airport through the night after missing her connection.
The two allegedly began chatting at a bistro within the airport, but when the girl excused herself, the man followed then assaulted her. It was only when two of the airport employees outside saw the assault through the windows that 911 was called and the man arrested by airport security.
This crime should immediately cause a siren to go off in the heads of solo travelers who find themselves hanging out in airports, especially after hours. Being past TSA security on the "airside" end of an airport doesn't automatically guarantee safety, and in such a place of transience, it's best to reflect on the "don't talk to strangers" lesson you learned in kindergarten.
Tourists / Crime / Know the Law / Dubai Travel / Rules / Airport News / → All Tags
There’s nothing Dubai wants more than to succeed as a global vacation destination, and that’s especially true when it comes to luring western visitors out into the desert sun. Unfortunately every now and again there are reports of some extreme behavior when it comes to punishment for those that don’t live up to all the rules and standards within the Emirate.
The latest news involves a man getting sent to the slammer for doing something that several passengers probably do each day in especially aggravating airports like JFK and O’Hare. Apparently a British gentleman decided to flip the bird to an airport worker, after the airline employee refused to let him use some kind of customer service telephone.
Airline News / JetBlue / Ryanair / Steven Slater / Flight Attendants / Bad Ideas / Crime / → All Tags
JetBlue CEO Dave Barger gave an interview this week to TheStreet.com, declaring that former flight attendant Steven Slater was "not a hero" and blasting Slater's chute deployment stunt as "an egregious act." The talking points fit squarely into the rest of JetBlue's post-Slater strategy, which started from the very beginning with Twitter frowny faces about all the jokes that were flying around.
The airline was wrong about the humor value of the tweetssome of the ones we rounded up at the time were objectively funnybut the rest of their reaction is reasonable. Their frustration isn't just a public show either. JetBlue's internal memos leave no room for doubt about how seriously they're taking the incident. That's what happens when you blow out a slide that has enough force to kill a person.
Shakira's hips might not lie, but it turns out they're still pretty offensive, at least to the authorities in Barcelona.
The Colombian pop star had a great time dancing with fans in Barcelona's famous Pla de Palau fountain last week during a break from filming the video for her next single, Loca. Later, she got onto the back of a motorcycle sans helmet and (literally) rode off into the sunset. Reportedly, the footage was to be used in a promo for the song and video.