BBC presenter spots UFO near Stansted airport

A BBC sports presenter claims to have seen a UFO near Stansted Airport early this morning, the BBC reports.

Radio 5 presenter Mike Sewell says he was driving early this morning about 15 miles from Stansted Airport in Hertfordshire, England, when a bright light descended towards the road before banking to the left and then circling over a field. It was disc shaped with several lights flashing around the edge. During the interview, UFO expert Timothy Good said he “knew for a fact” that experimental spacecraft have been developed with the help of aliens, and that this might be one of them.

Sewell doesn’t mention taking any photographs with his mobile phone, and of course Good doesn’t give any hard evidence to back up his claim. So could this be a hoax? I doubt Sewell would stick his professional neck out by lying to reporters from his own news agency. Perhaps he hallucinated? Perhaps it was some strange electrical phenomenon?

The proximity to Stansted raises the possibility that it was indeed some sort of experimental aircraft, but we don’t have to go so far as Good does and spin tales about aliens. I met a reporter who once saw what he was convinced was a UFO flying over the New Mexico desert. He described it as a black triangle unlike any aircraft he had ever seen. He became a UFO believer until the first photos of the Stealth bomber were released, and then he knew what he had seen.

Have you ever had a strange encounter near an airport? Tell us what you saw in the comments section!

[Photo of “unusual atmospheric occurrence observed over Sri Lanka” courtesy UK Ministry of Defence. This is not the object Sewell claims to have seen.]

Heathrow up, other UK airports see traffic fall

Vacationers compensated for business travelers at Heathrow last month, helping the airport realize its busiest August in history. Airport operator BAA Ltd. noted that its total traffic, though, had fallen 3.1 percent for the month. Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport, and 6.4 million passengers passed through, a slight increase of 0.3 percent compared to August 2008.

The other London airports didn’t fare as well, unfortunately. Traffic through London Gatwick dropped 4.6 percent, and London Stansted saw a decline of 7.8 percent, according to BAA. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh celebrated a 4.8 percent increase in passenger action for the month of August – its fifth month in a row of monthly up-ticks. Glasgow, Aberdeen and England’s Southampton, however, saw declines of 13.4 percent, 9.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Ryanair fumbles check-in, hundreds delayed

Hundreds of Ryanair passengers were left behind on Sunday, when a shortage of check-in desks caused them to miss their flights out of London’s Stansted Airport. The airline, which encourages passengers to check in online, only opened 11 check-in desks on one of the UK’s busiest travel weekends of the year, when 255 flights were scheduled to depart. 23 desks were open the previous weekend.

Over 500 passengers missed their flights. Ryanair issued an apology saying that their baggage handler, Swissport, (who also issued an apology statement) was short-staffed.

As of October, the point will be moot though, as Ryanair will no longer offer airport check-in. The airline has also announced that plans are in the works to eliminate baggage-handling as well. Passengers would need to carry their own bags up to the airplane doors.

Paying for the toilets, loading your own luggage, standing on flights. . .what’s next Ryanair? I’m guessing the planes won’t even bother to land, and we’ll just need to parachute out at our destination.

[via Breaking Travel News]

EasyJet tells six year old girl that her teddy bear has to travel as excess baggage

It’s amazing what a total lack of common sense can do for your company.

Take for example the story of a check-in agent at Glasgow airport responsible for helping Easy Jet passengers. When 6 year old Amparo Peris-Bordes approched the desk with her mother, this EasyJet staffer told her that she’d have to pay 9 pounds, and send her teddy bear onto the conveyor belt, and into the hold as excess baggage.

For some reason, her mother refused to pay this, so they boxed the bear up, and sent it home with the mail.

EasyJet has of course announced that they’ll review their internal procedures, because nothing says “bad PR” like a smiling girl in the news reporting how mean your airline is.

Ryanair flight attendant moonlights in porn

When the crew yells, “Brace!” one Ryanair flight attendant probably looks for the cameras. London tabloid The Sun (NSFW) alleges that flight attendant Edita Schindlerova (hopefully under a shorter name) moonlights in porn – on video and the web. The sexy 22-year-old also makes an appearance in the airline’s 2009 calendar.

The sultry stewardess wore a bikini and a smear of grease in the calendar, but this would be considered fully clothed at her second job. At night, she operates under the name “Edite Bente” and helps people part with their cash. Thanks to The Sun‘s investigative reporting, a tough job for some reporter, involves baring a pair of 34Bs.

The people she works for have apparently taken a more enlightened attitude than one would expect, saying, “What people do before or after they work for Ryanair, or when they’re not working for us, is entirely their own business.”

He adds a few remarks about putting the comfort and safety of passengers first (without editorializing) and makes a comment about employees being able what to do what they want on their own time, as long as their not breaking any laws. He could have stopped there and remained on the high road, but he had to keep talking: “All this proves is that the best-looking girls fly Ryanair.”

Not everybody at Ryanair, however, is on board with Edita’s calling hobby. Her secret was discovered by a fellow Ryanair employee. Schindlerova claims, “I had this shit a year ago with a pilot with nothing better to do than check the internet.”

A friend from work remarked, “We had no idea what she was up to in her spare time.” This person astutely observed, “There can’t be many airlines who have porn stars serving drinks on flights.”

I guess this is the trade-off for having to pay to use the lavatory on a flight