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TSA / Bad Ideas / Airport Security / Airline Security / PHX / → All Tags
You guys know our stance on TSA, and our basic frustration with people who knock the airport security agency just for kicks. You know it because we've repeated it endlessly to the point where we asked you to incorporate it into your New Years resolution for 2014.
If you're going to complain about how much TSA employees suck, you need to choose one of two options: either support more funding for agency, so it can hire better people, or elect lawmakers who will dismantle it, which will never happen because no politician wants to get tagged for the next terrorist attack. Anything else is just complaining for the sake of complaining.
Bad Ideas / BWI / Mile High Club / Sex Travel / → All Tags
As we never tire of reminding you, especially as space tourism gets closer and closer to becoming a reality, the upward trajectory of civilian aviation has been nothing short of remarkable. It's only been about a century since human beings figured out how to create fixed wing heavier-than-air flying machines, and we're now on the verge of sending travelers on sub-orbital mini-vacations. As far as history is concerned, that's the blink of an eye.
Of course as soon as people figured out how to get airborne, they almost immediately invented autopilots so they could stay airborne in the laziest possible way. And as soon as they invented autopilots, they tried to use their free time to have sex in the air. Because despite the wide variety and ingenuity of the human race, people are kind of morons when it comes to sex.
Bad Ideas / Airline Safety / Lasers / Crimes / Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Airline Industry / → All Tags
We did a full blog post about this issue in 2011, and even back then we felt a little torn about whether it was worth writing. There was a legitimate travel politics story at the time, since the FAA had just announced a dedicated system for reporting people who were aiming lasers at aircraft. But it didn't really seem like there was any there there. How stupid do you have to be to aim a laser at the eyes of a pilot who's trying to land a gigantic commercial jet? How many people could we really be talking about?
It turns out that there were almost 4,000 laser strikes reported in 2013, with the average being 11 reported incidents every day. The actual number is thought to be much higher because of under-reporting. Starting in September 2012 and going forward a year, which is how the relevant Justice Department records are kept, five people were convicted in federal court for aiming lasers at airplanes. Another 15 people have cases pending against them.
The FBI is getting very grumpy.
Rants / Bad Ideas / Los Angeles / Los Angeles Travel / Trains / → All Tags
Brian Sumers - the Los Angeles reporter who covers all things airports - promised us that we would "enjoy" the video below, which he took this week at a ceremony celebrating the groundbreaking of a new light rail line set to go from L.A.'s Mid-City to the general vicinity of LAX. He very specifically wrote "trust me" and then he followed up with "you'll enjoy it."
Brian Sumers fucking lied to us.
Let's discuss, shall we?
TSA / Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Congress / Bad Ideas / Airport Security / Airline Security / Rants / → All Tags
The Jaunted policy on travel politics is very straightforward: there is nothing so broken about the experience of getting from one airport to another - whether it be picking a seat or paying for baggage or going through security or even taking off - that Congress can't make it worse.
TSA, for example, is a disaster in hundreds of ways significant and incidental. But give an elected official a chance to address even the smallest of the agency's problems, and they're bound without fail to come up with legislation that falls somewhere in between useless meddling and genuine damage. We actually had to check today's story multiple times before we could convince ourselves it wasn't a parody.
The landing of the plane, a Boeing 737-700 carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was uneventful. It was a normal flight, with a normal, non-emergency landing, with the only difference being the 737 landed at the wrong airport.
Originally set to fly Chicago-Midway to Branson, MO, and on to Dallas-Love Field, Southwest flight 4013 instead touched down on the 3700' runway at a tiny general aviation field, M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (PLK), just outside Branson. While the crew expected the 7100' runway at Branson and a regular terminal to park and offload passengers, there was some hard braking and some tarmac wait time.
Thankfully, that was the extent of the discomfort for the 124 flyers and 5 crew, who were speedily bussed over to the correct airport to board another Southwest 737 the airline had rapidly dispatched for them.
The story can actually be seen, abridged, in the tweets of passenger Scott Schieffer (@scottdallastx):
Bad Ideas / American Airlines / JFK / SFO / Crimes / Travel News / → All Tags
Quick. What's worse than a creep who tapes a tiny camera in a bathroom and spies on people while they're doing their business? Think about it for a second, because that's not a rhetorical question. It turns out there's a very precise answer.
Give up? It's a creep who tapes a tiny camera in a bathroom and spies on people while they're doing their business, and - because of said creep's mind-blowing creepiness - forces a transcontinental flight to make an emergency landing, thereby stranding over 200 people in of all places Kansas City. It boggles the imagination, doesn't it, how much you would have hated that person if you were on the flight.
Airport Security / Airline Security / JFK / New York Travel / New Jersey Travel / Travel News / TSA / Bad Ideas / Airports / Airport News / → All Tags
Roughly a year ago some poor soul got lost jet skiing in Jamaica Bay, and ended up shivering wet outside the fence at JFK. He proceeded to scale the airport's 8-foot fence, make his way across 2 runways, and enter Terminal 3. Good for him - how else was he expected to get warm - but bad for the Port Authority. The organization is ostensibly responsible for security at the airport, which presumably includes not letting a random guy in a neon yellow life jacket wander around runways and terminals undetected for hours at a time.
This year, there have been no life jacket-wearing New Yorkers embarrassing the Port Authority by effortlessly defeating one of their airport's security system. Instead it's a cross-dressing Jersey City resident. Airport security you guys; gosh we just don't know.
The top trending topic on Twitter Friday night was a cryptic inquiry: #HasJustineLandedYet?
To tell the story behind the hashtag is to sum up 12 hours of Twitter intrigue and outrage stemming from a single idiotic tweet by @JustineSacco.
Sacco, a communications director for media conglomerate IAC (representing brands like Vimeo, OkCupid, and Match.com), couldn't resist the urge to fire off a final tweet before boarding a 12-hour nonstop flight on British Airways from London to Cape Town, South Africa:
Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!
Is there any chance that TSA is just trolling us now? Earlier this week there was the thing with the sock monkey, and him having a gun, and his gun getting taken away at security. We theorized at the time that it might be because the screeners were just fucking idiots, but now we're not so sure. Maybe they're just very, very clever about doing ostentatiously stupid things.
Before we go on, let's remember that TSA is an airport security agency that coalesced in the aftermath of the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks. There is something of a debate over whether it needs to exist, but one way or another it's the result of terrorism. Justified or not, the fact that TSA had to be invented kind of sucks. The way that security officials have to go about their business - what with the whole patting down Americans like criminals routine - also sucks.
United / United Express / IAH / Bad Ideas / Travel News / → All Tags
You ever get the feeling that people, across the board, are getting worse at life? This story won't help. It's a near-perfect tale of an airline and a passenger working together to fail. All we hear every time we read or hear about it is a loud "womp womp womp" in our ears.
We're not the only ones. Check out to the news broadcast from ABC News we've embedded below. The anchors can't get over how kind of pathetic and kind of funny and more than a little pathetically funny it is. "Now to the story we can't get enough of this morning." They're not even pretending.
Thanksgiving travel is never a treat. The roads and airports are always extra crowded, and the destinations - family dinner tables surrounded by people who have no place talking to each other, let alone about politics, like you know they're going to do - are even worse. But at least this year there's also going to be a "deadly winter storm system" laying waste to air, rail, and car travel. So everyone has that to look forward to.
There's one storm that's been making across the Midwest for a week, and should slam into the Northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday. There's another storm that's been dropping ice across the South and should push north past the Carolinas overnight Monday. Those two storms will then combine, and that's when things take a turn.