Airline Safety: Another Needle Found In Airplane Food

Two weeks ago, we told you about how six Delta passengers were horrified to find needles in their airline sandwiches. While we were hoping it was a one-time incident, it seems passengers really do need to be extra careful when eating their on-board meals. In the last case, the flights were leaving from Amsterdam; however, Air Canada has confirmed a sewing needle was found in the food on a Canadian flight this week.

Although the two events are suspiciously similar, police say it’s too early to connect them, especially since a different caterer was used in both incidences.

According to TIME, in both situations, the sewing needles were found by passengers eating a pre-packaged, catered sandwich. The passenger wasn’t hurt, and neither Delta or Air Canada have reported any other needles being discovered.

Air Canada says they are working with their caterer to “ensure heightened security measures.” Moreover, police have stepped in to investigate while the FBI and Dutch authorities continue attempts to solve the case from July.

[Flickr image via sillygwailo]

Southwest Passenger Told To Cover Up Her Cleavage

Apparently, there is now a dress code when boarding a flight. A female passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to New York on June 5 was told to cover up her cleavage before boarding.

The passenger told the online blog Jezebel, “I didn’t want to let the representative’s Big Feelings about my breasts change the way I intended to board my flight. And lo and behold, the plane didn’t fall out of the sky…my cleavage did not interfere with the plane’s ability to function properly.”

To help smooth things over, the airline is now issuing the woman an apology, as well as a refund for her flight.

Do you think Southwest Airlines was out of line?

Virgin America Delays Start of Service from O’Hare

Virgin America has been flirting with Chicago O’Hare for several months now. The airline had hoped to launch its service in the fall of ’08, but, obviously, that isn’t going to happen. Now Virgin is telling fans that the first take-off from the famously busy airport will be in Spring of next year. Fair enough. It hasn’t been a good year for airlines. Why not back off and wait for calmer skies?

But the delay has nothing to do with economics. At least, that’s what Virgin is saying. Rather, the failure to launch from ORD is due to the high demand for gates at the airport. O’Hare was not able to provide the gates that Virgin wanted because they are already being used. That is not a new scenario for those familiar with the airport. Even hyped and hip airlines like Virgin have to wait in line like everyone else. But don’t fear, jet-setting hipsters of Chicago, Virgin America will be losing its O’Hare cherry soon enough.

Orlando Gets Closer to Brazil

In the past, most people flying from Orlando to Brazil, or most other country in South America for that matter, had to first catch a connecting flight to Miami. Therefore, the recent announcement by Brazil’s top airline, TAM, was a welcome one. The airline will provide a direct flight from Orlando to Sao Paulo. Given major airlines’ current aversion to adding new flights, this is big news, especially for Orlando.

As I wrote above, many area residents have to go to Miami, a hub for American Airlines, before continuing to their international destination. Though the TAM Orlando-Sao Paulo route seems trivial when compared to the numerous flights heading abroad from Miami, it’s always nice to see a mid-sized city sticking it to a big city hub that is controlled by a major airline. Perhaps more foreign airlines will begin looking to mid-sized cities to boost their business.

TAM was drawn to Orlando after it found the city to have ample demand, a willing airport and a complete lack of competition. So next time you are in Orlando, sweating away your holiday in a theme park, just remember, Sao Paulo is only a flight away.

Southwest Joins Flight-Cutting Club

Even though they seemed to be bucking the trend by adding flights earlier this summer, Southwest is finally joining other domestic airlines in the flight cutting club. This winter, the nation’s biggest budget carrier will cut nearly 200 flights in order to combat the effect that high fuel prices have on its bottom line.

According to a Southwest spokesperson, the cuts are not permanent. Routes like Nashville to Oakland and Tampa to Philly will be halted during the slower winter months (beginning in January), but will return later in the year.

Southwest is not as severely affected as its competition by high fuel prices because it purchased option which allow it to buy fuel at cheaper prices. As a result, their cuts are a lot less severe than those of other major carriers. While 200 flights seems substantial, it is only a 6% drop in the overall number of flights. In comparison, American Airlines and United Airlines are promising cuts of 12% and 16% respectively. So, even as they trim their service, Southwest can still say that they are performing better than others in the industry.