Praying man kicked off United flight

WABC out of New York is reporting that an Orthodox Jewish man who had been praying while a United Airlines flight was boarding was kicked off after he wouldn’t sit down.

As the story goes, the man boarded the flight and moved back to the lav to pray, which as doctrine dictates, can’t be interrupted. After flight attendants asked him to sit down and he repeatedly didn’t respond, they summoned a security guard to escort him off the plane.

I can see how standing up during pushback can be a security issue, but is it really necessary to kick the guy off for such a short delay? According to one of the witnesses on the flight, the ritual was only supposed to take two minutes.

But the best part about the article on ABC 7 is how they try to suggest it had something to do with religious or racial profiling. They make sure to point out that the man “wore a full beard, a black hat and a long black coat” and that he was “carrying a religious book”. Look out! Those rascals with religious books are dangerous!

Naomi Campbell flips out in Heathrow Terminal 5, gets arrested

I guess even celebrities are not immune to baggage problems and stressing out at Heathrow. Apparently supermodel Naomi Campbell was arrested yesterday after causing a ruckus when she misplaced one of her pieces of luggage. She insisted on the airline finding it immediately and when they offered to forward it along to prevent the plane from leaving late she caused a scene.

When the police were called in to manage the dispute, Campbell flew completely off the handle and assaulted the police officer, which, apparently is against the law. She was thus subdued, handcuffed and removed from the plane along with her entire entourage of Campbellites.

If Google serves me right, this isn’t the first time that Ms. Campbell has been in trouble for violent behavior. Victims include but are not limited to her nanny, her drug counselor and her assistant, with the total number of claims against her now up to eight.

Wouldn’t you know it, attacking people doesn’t seem to help the situation when you’ve lost your bags. Take a lesson from Naomi Campbell and stay calm next time they’re misplaced.

US Airways pilot’s gun discharges while in flight

If there’s one thing that fires people up besides shirts with the F word on it, it’s guns.

At issue is whether or not pilots should be allowed to carry weapons in the cockpit. While it’s a definitive way to reinforce security at 30,000 feet, the presence of a firearm onboard increases the potential for accidents — and disaster.

That’s what happened last Saturday when a US Airways pilot’s gun accidentally went off in the cockpit during the flight. Nobody was injured and the aircraft landed safely, but wow, they were lucky.

Suppose that bullet went through the front window instead of somewhere into the fuselage. At that altitude could the pilots withstand explosive decompression? Would the entire cabin decompress and the pilots be killed?

According to the TSA, the pilot in question was trained under the Federal Flight Deck Officers program and last certified in November. Details are still sketchy on how the firearm was stored and what caused it to discharge in the cockpit, but I’m pretty sure that with the safety on and without a bullet in the chamber a weapon shouldn’t accidentally fire.

I suppose if it were up to me and on my flight, I would prefer the pilot to have a gun and thwart a terrorist at the small risk of having an accident. While flight deck doors are locked from the inside these days and any instigator would have a really difficult time getting access, the extra layer of security does supply a grain of comfort. I’m glad everyone was safe on the US Airways flight.

Company patents electrical shock device to be used for aviation security

As an airline passenger, there are many things that you can’t take aboard. Water bottles, lacrosse sticks, snow globes… the list goes on. But what if, despite all of the measures taken by the Transportation Security Administration, someone still manages to cause some havoc on a plane?

Lampered, a firearm training system, has patented a bracelet that delivers shocks when activated. What does the company see as the ideal use for such a bracelet? Aviation safety. Lampered proposes that the TSA require every passenger to wear one of the bracelets, and as soon as any safety related problems arise in-flight, flight-attendants can give a disabling electrical shock to a suspect passenger.

Somehow I can’t keep images of large herds of sheep, all with collars to keep them from going past the electrical fence, out of my head. Oh the advances in security.

[Via Boing Boing]

Travel tip: Do not hide monkey in hat during flight

Next time you want to bring your favorite animal friend on your flight, consider getting a cage or maybe at least a box. As a man this week flying from Lima – New York City just established, it’s not a great idea to store your furry friend in your hat.

Somehow he was able to smuggle the animal through security in Peru (although we’re not sure how tight that is) then get through customs in Fort Lauderdale with the primate in tact. Only on the flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York was the animal discovered when it crawled out of the man’s hat and onto his pony tail. By the end of the flight, the poor monkey was dead.

The authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the animal’s death. After the CDC quarantine, they did however determine that the monkey was not sick. Perhaps it was because he was stuck in a man’s hat for an entire day.