Flight attendant arrested for trying to get guns through security

A flight attendant for Great Lakes Aviation has been arrested when police discovered her trying to get two handguns through security at Denver International Airport.

The woman’s name is not being released to the public, according to KMGH-TV in Sacramento.

Police nabbed the FA at a security checkpoint. They discovered two guns stuffed into her carry on. She was passing through security on her way to board a flight.

Police say both guns were not loaded. Federal authorities are currently weighing whether to charge the FA with a crime.

Always good to see the TSA alert to catch this stuff, given some of the weird items people try to get through security these days.

Gadling’s Most Read: April 2009

Just in case you might have missed them, here’s a look back at our seven most-read travel posts published in the month of April.

  1. Clothing not optional at this German hotel
  2. Flight attendant blocks man from using bathroom — has him arrested
  3. President Obama thinks ‘Austrian’ is a language?
  4. 2008 Airline quality report says Hawaiian is nation’s best carrier
  5. TSA detains man for carrying cash
  6. Hyatt Gold Passport wants to know how you would spend 365 free nights and one million frequent flier miles
  7. TSA agent caught running a drug business on the side

From all of us here at Gadling, happy travels in the month ahead…

Ryanair CEO: Swine flu only affects ‘slum dwellers’

I’m apprehensive about giving any press to the buffoon who runs the Irish budget airline Ryanair. But so adept is Michael O’Leary, the company’s CEO, at making ill-considered statements that its simply too easy to report them.

This is the guy who recently suggested that Ryanair might begin charging for use of its on board toilets, and a while back suggested that the airline might start giving out blow jobs.

Mr. O’Leary today weighs in on the fears surrounding swine flu, saying the virus is only a risk to Asians and Mexicans “living in slums,” according to the Times of London.

Now it’s true that the media are probably hyping swine flu a bit too much, with all the talk of a global pandemic, but clearly this is not just a problem of the slums. Travelers who have vacationed in well developed places like Cancun have returned home to find themselves infected.

“Are we going to die from swine flu? No. Are we in danger of SARS? No. Foot and mouth disease? No. Will it affect people flying short-haul flights around Europe this summer? Thankfully, no,” Mr O’Leary said, according to the Times.

“It is a tragedy only for people living … in slums in Asia or Mexico. But will the honeymoon couple from Edinburgh die? No. A couple of Strepsils will do the job.”

What do you think? Is the media making too much of the swine flu? Will in impact travel?

Which airlines bump the most passengers?

I understand that airlines oversell seats as a hedge against passengers that cancel or do not show up to flights. But when you think about it, the concept of overselling — that is, when that announcement comes over the PA at the gate feigning a degree of surprise that a “flight has been overbooked” — is kind of ridiculous. I mean, an aircraft has X number of seats, and thus it sells a maximum of X number of tickets. Easy.

Yet overselling is the leading cause for passengers getting bumped from flights — and tens of thousands of passengers are bumped, either voluntarily or involuntarily, every year.

What’s the airline on which you’re most likely to get bumped? That would be Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which bumped 22,982 people last year voluntarily (and another 3,610 involuntarily), according to a recently released report from the US Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings.

Here’s how 18 domestic airlines rank in terms of bumping passengers. JetBlue is clearly the best of the bunch. What’s its secret?

If you wonder why some farther down the list have larger bump numbers than others at the list’s top, the OAEP ranks the airlines in terms of bumps per 10,000 passengers. Atlantic Southwest had 9.3 million passengers last year, for a bump rate of 3.89 passengers for every 10,000. US Airways had a lot more bumps, but also 82.2 million passengers last year.

  1. Atlantic Southwest Airlines (22,982 voluntary / 3,610 involuntary)
  2. Comair (13,461 / 1,909)
  3. American Eagle (7,103 / 2,184)
  4. Pinnacle Airlines (6,572 / 1,540)
  5. Delta (62,243 / 10,403)
  6. Continental (37,825 / 5,671)
  7. Mesa Airlines (25,048 / 1,355)
  8. US Airways (85,001 / 7,205)
  9. SkyWest (34,155 / 2,090)
  10. United (92,624 / 6,812)
  11. Southwest (73,403 / 10,362)
  12. Frontier (4,436 / 983)
  13. Northwest (48,473 / 3,027)
  14. American Airlines (56,649 / 5,568)
  15. Alaska Airlines (8,128 / 983)
  16. AirTran (8,128 / 834)
  17. Hawaiian Airlines (317 / 54)
  18. JetBlue (58 / 22)

Tribe from New Guinea sues New Yorker

Some of you might have caught Jared Diamond’s recent report in the New Yorker about the Handa clan of Papua New Guinea highlands and their penchant for revenge killing. The story profiled tribesman Daniel Wemp and his six-year quest to avenge the death of his uncle.

Well, the Handa tribe is pissed: They say the story unfairly portrays them as bloodthirsty animals bent on rape and murder.

Wemp is now availing himself of the great American pastime: Taking the New Yorker to court.

He is suing the magazine for $10 million, having filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court earlier this week.

How does a New Guinea tribesman come to sue in New York court? I’m a little unclear of that too (though clearly the Handa clan has a bit more contact with the outside world compared to, say, some tribes in Irian Jaya). It appears he has help in the form of the New York City-based Art Science Research Lab, which recently sent a team to New Guinea to closely fact check every one of Diamond’s assertions in the story. They claim Diamond was duped by many of the people he interviewed.

The group is preparing a 40,000 word report — 40,000 words! — refuting the New Yorker story (which strikes me as overkill given how little Americans likely care about this story).

Right now, the New Yorker is standing behind Diamond.

I’d personally like to know how the Handa tribe figures it was wronged to the tune of $10 million. I mean, the tribespeople live in New Guinea’s highlands, for heaven’s sake.