Galley Gossip: How to get free beer in flight

Recently I read an article on about a passenger who stole a few cans of beer from a beverage cart and then tried to flush the evidence – the empty cans, not the liquid – on an Air Canada Jazz flight. The pilot diverted the plane and the nameless thief, 23, was arrested for causing a disturbance on an aircraft. Like most airlines, Air Canada Jazz has zero tolerance for unruly behavior.

It did not come as a surprise to read about the passenger who had been caught stealing liquor, because I’ve come across quite a few sticky fingers myself over the years squatting in front of an unmanned cart or walking out of the galley with minis hanging out of their pockets. Yes, I made them put it back! What shocked me about the whole thing was the fact that the passenger actually tried to flush those aluminum cans down the toilet! Seriously, that’s crazy!

Once, years ago, on a Sun Jet International flight, a passenger decided an hour before landing that a fire extinguisher would make a wonderful souvenir. Somehow, I don’t know how, she managed to stuff the large red bottle inside a duffel bag and hide it under the seat in front of her, and she did it without anyone seeing her do so. The extinguisher only found its way back into the metal brackets behind the last row of coach after we, the crew, made several PA’s threatening to search every bag on board the airplane, which happened after we made a few other PA’s about not allowing anyone deplane until the fire extinguisher was returned – no questions asked. Not too long ago a passenger lo and behold “found” an egg McMuffin just sitting on my jump seat and figured it was for the taking. If the guilty one had not already bitten into my breakfast sandwich I would have snatched it back. I can’t even tell you the number of times my magazines and books have disappeared right out of my tote bag. People do crazy things on airplanes.

Now back to the beer-drinking-aluminum-can flushing idiot who didn’t have to steal the liquor which resulted in an arrest and probably a fine that was much higher than the price of an adult beverage. Really, there are ways to get free alcohol without causing an in flight disturbance, ya know. Oh sure it depends on the crew and the airline and what’s going on that day, but here are a few ways to increase your chances…


  1. Switch seats. When the family with small children scattered all over the airplane asks if you mind switching your aisle seat for a middle seat, do it! Just make sure the flight attendants are watching.
  2. Assist. It’s seconds before departure and you see a flight attendant struggling to get those last bins shut, give her a hand. She’ll remember who you are.
  3. Speak up. The jerk in the last row is going on and on about his miserable day and now he’s taking it out on the crew. They can’t say anything, but you can, and they’ll be glad you did.
  4. Lie. Tell the flight attendants they’re doing a wonderful job and this is the best flight you’ve ever been on. Thank them for making your day.
  5. Brag. Let it be known just how many miles you’ve flown on the airline and then tell the crew why, exactly, you’ve flown so many miles and why, exactly, you’ll continue to fly those miles.
  6. Be Polite. Saying please and thank you and making eye contact actually goes a long way
  7. Don’t ask! Even if you think you deserve it.

Stories of booze gone bad in the skies

Oktoberfest off to a bad start for Aussies

Just two days into Germany‘s Oktoberfest celebration, one Australian man is dead and another in jail. The man who died was running alongside a train close to his campsite outside of Munich after the festival, when he fell underneath the train’s wheels.

Another Aussie was arrested just a few hours into the festival, after he threw a beer stein into a crowd and injured two teenagers. Oktoberfest organizers say that beer consumptions is up so far this year. 5% more beer was consumed on the first day of the festival this year than in past years, a situation that may have contributed to the nearly 800 alcohol related injuries and illnesses that have already been treated by Red Cross workers. That’s nearly double last year’s figure at this time.

With nearly two weeks left of the Oktoberfest event (which runs 16 days in all) let’s hope revelers – both Australian and otherwise – can manage to stay safe and enjoy Europe’s largest beer festival responsibly.

American Airlines employees busted for drug-smuggling

22 people were arrested Tuesday amidst allegations of smuggling drugs from Puerto Rico into the US on American Airlines planes. Nine of the people arrested were employees of the airline, who allegedly sent over 9,000 kilograms – almost 20,000 pounds – of cocaine to US destinations that included Miami, Orlando and New Jersey. According to the US Justice Department, the ring has been operating since 1999.

The workers are a mix of ground crew and baggage handlers who are suspected of using suitcases to smuggle the drugs onto the planes. According to the AP release, Puerto Rico is a popular entry choice for drug traffickers, as once the drugs reach the island, they don’t have to pass through customs in the US.

Agents from the FBI and DEA arrested the suspects at locations in Miami and Puerto Rico in a joint effort cleverly named “Operation Heavy Cargo”. If convicted, the suspects face life in prison and fines up to $4 million.

American Airlines issued a statement saying, “As a company, we hope that the actions of a few employees don’t reflect negatively on the tens of thousands of ethical American Airlines employees who work hard to serve the public daily.”

Aussies beware: government won’t help you

“If you’re too dumb or idle to read the travel advisories … then you ought to take responsibility for your own behaviour,” says former Australian foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer.

And, he has a point. If you roll the dice, you have to be ready to lose … even if you get lucky sometimes.

Australian tourists outside their homeland have been getting into trouble lately – be it because of stolen bar mats or travel to war-torn countries. It’s hard not to respect any sense of adventure, but part of growing that testicular fortitude is knowing that you’re on your own. Downer was shocked to learn that he was “responsible” for every Australian abroad … not to mention being responsible for “their own stupidity.”

Downer says that Australians overseas are subject to special laws … and they are not laws from Australia. The lesson from down under applies anywhere. Leave your home turf, and you really should understand the laws of the land you’re about to explore.

June 4 trial date for American journalists in North Korea

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, both reporters for Current TV, will be tried in a North Korean court on June 4, 2009 for entering the country illegally and planning “hostile acts.” Ling and Lee were picked up along North Korea‘s border with China on March 17, 2009

Anybody want to guess how this one will end?

According to reports by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which is controlled by the state, the two reporters have been allowed contact with a consulate. Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic relations with the reclusive Communist state, they met with a representative from the Swedish embassy. Sweden plays the consular role for visitors (willing or otherwise) from many western countries.

What’s missing is a clear description of the charges. It is unclear what the reporters were doing. This will make it difficult to bring the affair to a conclusion.

Though it’s speculation at this point, the charges could carry prison terms of up to two years.