Tag: #funny

Four of the best cabin seating concepts we’ve seen (and one truly awful one)

There are only so many inches in each airline cabin, but the carriers themselves are always trying to figure out how many additional seats they can shove into limited space, and it seems like they’re not going to stop until the boarding process becomes a game of Human Tetris. So thank goodness there are other engineering and design firms trying to work in the opposite direction, by maximizing that square footage without sacrificing passenger comfort.

These are a few of the most promising (and one completely awful sounding) seating configurations or cabin designs that have been proposed or submitted for patents this year.

1. Side-Slip: This seating concept would not only improve and speed up the boarding process, but would also turn the middle seat into prime real estate, as it would be a full 2 inches wider than the seats on either side of it. The Side-Slip works just as its name suggests: the aisle seat slides up and over the middle seat during boarding and deplaning, widening the aisle from its standard 19 inches to 41 inches, allowing two passengers to walk or stand side-by-side, and even to allow for a wheelchair to be rolled through the cabin. Side-Slip designer Hank Scott told ABC News that his company is “preparing for production” of the seats and that, so far, 23 airlines have expressed interest.

Photo: B/E Aerospace

2. B/E Aerospace Smart Seat Wireless Actuator System: This concept doesn’t have a catchy or memorable name, but if it really increases leg room, then they could call it the Wireless Boiling Garbage Stack and I’d be delighted by it. This economy-seating configuration would allow the seats to move forward or backward along a grooved track in the cabin floor, adjusting the amount of leg room according to the height of each passenger. The flight crew would control the system using an app on their tablets during the boarding process. The B/E Aerospace engineers said that there would only be a “modest” increase in the amount of legroom, but an increase is an increase.

Diagram: SII Deutschland

3. SANTO Seat: The SANTO (Special Accommodation Needs for Toddlers and Overweight Passengers) Seat isn’t for everyone, but it could make flying more comfortable for both overweight passengers and the person seated beside them. The seat, which would be located in the rear of the cabin, is one and a half times the width of a standard airline seat, so it can either be used to accommodate a passenger of size or to hold a child’s booster seat. “The beneficiaries of this concept are both operators and travelers alike, as for a moderate surcharge, the safety of traveling infants can be significantly increased and the comfort of oversized travelers drastically improved,” Peter Miehlke of SANTO Seat designer SII Deutschland said.

Photo: Air Astana Official

4. Air Astana Economy Sleeper: This isn’t a new seating concept as much as it’s a repurposing (and rebranding and upselling of) the existing row of seats on Air Astana flights from Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to London-Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris. If you’re willing to pay an extra $910 –$2,290 instead of a $1,380 economy fare – you will receive a mattress to place over a standard row of three seats, ensuring that you’ll sleep just as well as the guy who snagged the empty row at the back of the plane. But the Economy Sleeper is a bargain compared with Air Astana’s full-fare business class cabin, which would cost $5,565 for those same flights. Nothing makes me sleep more soundly than an extra three grand in my pocket.

Photo: Zodiac Seats France

5. The Economy Class Cabin Hexagon, aka The Devil’s Configuration: No. Just no. This proposed layout (which was pulled from a forgotten filing cabinet in the bowels of Hell) wouldreplace the traditional middle seat with a slightly offset rear-facing seat, forcing those passengers to either make or avoid eye contact with the people on either side of them for the duration of the flight. It would also make the boarding process even more awkward, as it seems like passengers would have to crawl on all fours to reach the window seat, so not only would you have to try not to look at that guy for an extended period of time, you’d also have the image of his bobbing hindquarters seared onto your already overworked retinas. Go home, seat designers. You’re drunk.

Let them eat Cake!!!!

Emirates has come under fire for offering a cake as compensation to an elderly disabled passenger who was left without a wheelchair at Hong Kong airport and had to struggle to make her own way to arrivals.

Marian Robinson, 77, and her husband Herbert, 79, (pictured here) flew with Emirates last week from London to Hong Kong, via Dubai, to visit their daughter, Lindsey Gordon.

Mr Robinson had pre-booked wheelchair assistance for his wife, who cannot walk more than a few steps unaided due to several illnesses.

Although a wheelchair was provided for the Dubai stop-over, there was no wheelchair on arrival in Hong Kong.

“They waited on the aircraft until they were told to get off, then they waited outside the aircraft and nobody came,” explained their daughter.

“The captain kindly tried to help and asked a passing porter to assist, but he declined. I was waiting at arrivals for over two hours, terrified that they had somehow been stranded in Dubai.

“Eventually, after much trauma, they managed to find their way through the airport and I found them in the middle of the concourse more than two hours after the aircraft landed. There were severely traumatised and confused as to what had happened.”

When Mrs Gordon complained to the airline, requesting that her parents could perhaps be upgraded on their return journey by way of compensation, she received an email from customer services saying this wasn’t possible due to policy.

Instead, she was told: “We can surely book a complimentary cake for them. Let me know if I should book the cake for them?”

Mrs Gordon said she was shocked by the response.

“I hardly think a cake makes up for what my parents went through, and the real issue is that nobody explained why the wheelchair wasn’t provided and they still haven’t. Mum and dad had been travelling for a total of 20 hours. My mum can only walk a few steps, even with a walking stick, so it was a massive effort for her to get from the aircraft to the arrivals hall which is quite a distance and involves a train and several escalators.

“To make matter worse, when my parents checked in for the return flight I told them what had happened on the inward journey and the check-in clerk laughed. I had to inform her that it wasn’t actually funny.”

Emirates said it was investigating the case and issued an apology.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Emirates Flight Crew to help Mr and Mrs Robinson on the ground, adequate assistance from the Hong Kong airport wheelchair handling team did not materialise in time. This service is operated by third parties on behalf of all airlines,” it added.

“The comfort and safety of our passengers is our priority, and we are truly sorry that we did not meet Mr and Mrs Robinson’s requirements  on this occasion. Our Customer Services team in Dubai made sure that the wheelchair assistance was provided for their return journey.

“We take all complaints very seriously and are currently investigating Mr and Mrs Robinson’s case to establish how this may have happened.”

Air India allegedly grounds 130 flight attendants for being too fat

Tawheed Manzoor/Flickr

The golden age of flying may be long in the past, but at least we’ve also seen the end of days when flight attendants are judged on their bodies, right? Well, not exactly.

According to the Telegraph, this week Air India dismissed 130 cabin crew duty for having body mass index (BMI) levels beyond “normal.” For Air India, a “normal” BMI for a female flight attendant is between 18 and 22, and 18 to 25 for a man, which is more or less the same assessment as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This move did not come out of the blue. About six months ago, the directorate-general of civil aviation asked domestic airlines in May 2014 to classify flight attendants into three categories: normal, overweight, and obese. Shortly after, 600 flight attendants were warned six months ago to lose weight or lose their jobs in the cabin. This also isn’t the first time Air India has done this, having removed 10 flight attendants in 2009 for the same issue.

The fact that the majority of flight attendants are women is not lost on anyone, and charges of sexism are flying, as well as accusations that airline is setting a rigid aesthetic standard. Mark Martin, an aviation industry consultant, put it bluntly to the Telegraph India:

“This move to impose a certain BMI, ignoring experience and other performance parameters, is immature, misogynistic and shockingly sexist.”

Air India, however, says it’s an issue of safety, saying:

“People who are fitter can respond quicker and more efficiently in case of any untoward situation.”

While that might be true in some situations, having a high BMI does not always mean you are overweight. Muscle is heavier than fat, so very fit people could actually score high.

Plus, while I can’t speak for everyone, I tend to judge flight attendants more on efficiency, responsiveness, energy, stress tolerance, compassion, understanding, communication, sensibility, and professionalism, to name a few.

Air India is hardly the only airline to impose physical restrictions on flight attendants. .Until recently, Qatar Airways could fire flight attendants who get pregnant or married (now they can take temporary ground jobs). Airlines like United also have minimum and maximum height requirements (5 feet 2 inches to 6 feet). SkyWest requires all tattoos to be hidden (“visible tattoo locations include, but are not limited to, hands, arms, neck, face, legs and feet”). China Southern Airlines perhaps has the most bizarre rule — that flight attendants’ legs cannot be “X or O shaped,” and the airline holds beauty pageants to find male and female crew members.

Road Warrior Voices has reached  out to Air India and will update when we get a response.

Scottish couple’s Vegas vacation jeopardized after they book flights from the OTHER Glasgow

Photo: Jimmy Emerson/Flickr

Did you know there was a Glasgow, Montana? The county seat of Valley County has a population of 3,250, a Pioneer Museum and an airport that has daily service to Billings. And that’s where the problems started for Jack and Mary MacQueen. The Scottish couple thought they’d found a bargain when they were able to get flights from Glasgow to Las Vegas for £647 ($1,009) in September, but when they looked at the departure airport written on their e-tickets, they realized that they’d made a mistake, one that was 3,973 miles to the east.

Mary said that she was booking the trip through GoToGate, a United Kingdom-based travel site, and that she’d double-checked every detail, before accidentally selecting the Glasgow, Montana airport – which, confusingly, is also called the Glasgow International Airport – from the drop-down list. She told the Daily Record:

I had no idea there was a Glasgow anywhere else in the world. I got the fright of my life when I saw the e-tickets. You really couldn’t make this up.

Mary said she contacted Gotogate to explain the situation and see about either getting a refund or getting re-booked on a flight that departed from, you know, the country where they lived. After six weeks, the MacQueens were still getting an endless runaround, as the booking site and the airline pointed fingers at each other. Eventually – thanks to the efforts of the Daily Record (and perhaps the fear of bad press) – the MacQueens are getting a refund and help with booking new tickets for the right Glasgow. It’s a shame they’ll miss the Pioneer Museum, though.

Had to share this – Idiot calls in airport bomb threat so girlfriend won’t miss her flight

Bordeaux airport

There are countless smartphone apps that can get you to the airport on time and then there’s the old-fashioned analog method of just checking your watch. But quite possibly the worst way to ensure that your departure flight won’t leave without you is to call in a bomb threat to the airport. That’s what a tremendously misguided man in France did, allegedly phoning in a threat to the Bordeaux-Merignac regional airport, all because his girlfriend thought that she was running late.

When he called the airport authorities, the 33-year-old suspect went with the unmistakably direct option, saying only “There is a bomb.” According to AFP, parts of the airport were immediately closed and the armed forces were called to search the terminal. After a swift investigation – which found zero explosives – the caller was identified and arrested about 12 miles from the airport.

It seems like most people – even the dumb ones – would’ve figured out that neither airports nor the authorities take kindly to bomb jokes, but situations like this (and the German woman whopracticed her own bomb-themed comedy routine in a security line) still happen. Here’s a tip: STOP IT.

As for that terrible Bordeaux boyfriend, he has a newly scheduled court date and is facing a fine of up to €30,000 (around $33,000). There’s no word on whether he needs to find a new girlfriend.

Great idea the next time the Europeans go on strike….

An airline passenger stripped naked at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport after apparently becoming upset that his US Airways flight was overbooked.

WCNC TV of Charlotte says the man “stripped down to the buff right in front of everyone, including kids.” He remained in the gate area for about 40 minutes until police led him away, the station reports.

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Sherry Ketchie, another passenger traveling through Charlotte at the time, snapped photos of the incident and posted them to Facebook.

Ketchie tells TV station WBTV of Charlotte that the man was at a gate for a US Airways flight departing for Jamaica. She says she only became aware of the situation because of the commotion it caused.

“I seen some people running and I was wondering what they was running from and people were standing there snickering, so I walked over and [an airport employee] told me the man was angry over the Jamaican flight,” Ketchie tells WBTV.

“He had his clothes on, at that point, and then he started standing there with his arms crossed and hollering at the lady at the desk,” she adds to the station. “He stood there for a moment and then started talking off his clothes. I ain’t never seen nothing [like that] in my life.”

US Airways officials referred WBTV to the Charlotte airport for comment. In turn, the airport turned WBTV to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

Police told the station that the man was taken for medical evaluation and treatment and said he will not be charged.

Aruba…. Jamaica….. ooohhhh I wannaa take you to North Korea?

photo by Young Pioneer Tours

If North Korea is indeed stuck in a Cold War mentality, let’s hope it includes the classic 60s beach party, at least for the new Surf ‘n Beach Summer tour launched by Young Pioneer Tours to the “stunning and gorgeous beaches of Wonsan and Hamhung located on the east coast.”

photo by Young Pioneer Tours

Judging by the happy frolicking people in the promotional photos—playing volleyball, waving and smiling, sunning under red umbrellas, fishing in the sunset and scrawling messages in the golden sand— the scene does look ready for Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon to pop in, and the lush green hilltops in the background make it appear nothing short of cinematic.

photo by Young Pioneer Tours

Beyond the coast, the tour includes a hiking and camping trip up the Mt. Kumgang, “a dip” into Pyongyang, plus visits to the Hungnam Fertilizer Factory (the biggest fertilizer factory on the east coast) and DMZ (“with a friendly KPA officer”), lots of Korean BBQ dining  (dog soup is 5 euros extra), and a stay at Koryo Hotel, made “famous” by Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters.

photo by Young Pioneer Tours

The tour promotes itself as ideal for the “veteran” traveler to North Korea, which is strange considering how few are even allowed in, let alone to venture more than an arm’s length away from their guides. Although the country does not publish tourism numbers, estimates say about 6,000 Westerners visit per year, a significant increase from the just 700 or so a decade ago. In fact, this Surf ‘n Beach Summer tour shows further proof that North Korea’s efforts to promote tourismmay indeed be working.

Easy Jet Finds Yet Another Way To Make Money – Gotta Love It!

Easyjet has had its share of ups and downs this month. Let’s take a tally, shall we?

First, the airline garnered the sympathy of shocked fliers everywhere when one of its flight attendants was repeatedly punched in the face over a sandwich. Then it kicked an unaccompanied kid off a plane for having too many bags — even when she tried to pay for the extra bag.

To be fair, easyJet did rally in the eyes of many as it sent rescue flights to bring school children stranded by France’s air traffic control strike back home to the arms of their anxious parents.

However, we’ll file the next one under the “downs” category.

Passengers booked on those same flights canceled because of the French strike had to show proof their flights had indeed been canceled in order to get a refund from travel insurance companies. That’s when easyJet said it required a £10 fee ($16 USD) to provide the piece of paper offering the requested proof.

In an email forwarded by one of the affected passengers to the Daily Mail, easyJet’s customer service department wrote:

“We can certainly send you a letter to help you claim on your insurance, that’s not a problem. …There is a small administration fee of 10GBP for the letter, which you should be able to claim back through your insurer.”

Photo courtesy of easyJet
As far as airline charges go, this is apparently a new one.

A spokesman for The Association of European Airlines told Travel Mole:

“We don’t do research on all the fees our airlines charge for services but a fee for proof of cancellation is new to us. As far as we know, our member airlines give this service for free.”

EasyJet stands behind the charge though, saying through a spokesman:

“The administration charge for the letter is applied because each letter has to be individually researched and created for each passenger.”

In easyJet’s defense, it did provide hotel accommodation and meal vouchers for passengers stranded during the 48-hour French air traffic control walkout, and passengers that require the letter “should” be able to get reimbursed through their travel insurance.

The whole thing does reek of nickel-and-diming though.easyjet