Watch out, obnoxious passengers! Kung fu lessons for Hong Kong Airlines cabin crew

Working as part of an airline cabin crew can be a tough job, just ask Gadling’s very own Heather Poole. Passengers get drunk, passengers get rude, sometimes even passengers go on strike. Now the cabin crew of one airline are getting trained to strike back.

Hong Kong Airlines staff are taking kung fu lessons, the Guardian reports. The cabin crew is learning Wing Chun kung fu in order to deal with obnoxious passengers. According to the airline, a female cabin crew member has already used her new-found combat skills to deal with an unruly passenger, who an airline spokesman described only as “a fat guy”.

Maybe getting your add kicked at 33,000 feet should be added to our list of Top 10 Hong Kong Experiences.

[Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Galley Gossip: Flight attendant is sent to prison for sexy texting

Recently someone said to me, “I travel on international flights all the time to visit family and I’ve noticed that the women who work for the airlines are getting older. Is this okay?”

Is this okay? Is this okay! I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or throw whatever was in my hand at the time. Instead I took a deep breath and replied, “Of course it’s okay! Women age. So do passengers.”

I mean really!

After it hit me that the man was probably a foreigner and not used to the ways of airlines in the U.S., I added, “I plan on being one of those flight attendants who use the beverage cart as a walker. Because in the United States flight attendants are allowed to age. We’re also allowed to gain weight, get married, and have children.”

Crazy, I know!

Wanna know what else flight attendants are allowed to do? Send sexy text messages. It’s true! Not that I’m a sexy text-er or anything, but if I wanted to send a sexy text I could, and I could do so without worrying about getting sent to prison for three months. Ya see here in the good ole US of A life is pretty darn nice. Especially if you’re a flight attendant.

What in the world am I talking about? In case you haven’t heard, an Emirates flight attendant and supervisor were recently sent to prison for three months for sending sexy text messages to each other. MSNBC reported that “the pair were convicted of ‘coercion to commit sin’ over messages and were initially sentenced to six months in jail”


MSNBC also reported that there is grave concern about the rapid growing population of foreigners in the deeply conservative area which may be threatening their social and religious identity.

So how did the sexy texts even come to light? The husband of the flight attendant. He’s been battling her for a divorce since 2007. I guess it only makes sense he would turn her in so she could be sent to jail.

Nice, eh?

Flight attendants aren’t the only ones getting thrown into the slammer for sexually related activity. “a British pair caught kissing in public in Dubai is appealing a month-long jail sentence handed down after an Emirati mother complained her child had seen their indiscretion,” Cynthia Johnston, the MSNBC correspondent covering the case, wrote in the article Airline workers face 3 months in jail over texts. Then she goes on to discuss three more cases involving British couples either going to prison or narrowly escaping prison for similar actions.

When I mentioned this story to Bob, the singing pilot, he asked, “What is considered a sexually explicit text in that part of the world?”

Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not so sure I even want to know.

Photos courtesy of Telstar Logistics and Jrodmanjr

British Airways offering a crash course to retrain pilots as flight attendants

Faced with another threat of a flight attendant strike, British Airways is preparing for the worst. The airline asked everyone within the company to voluntarily sign up for a 21 day training program to turn them into temporary flight attendants.

As of right now, only 216 volunteers signed up for the initiative, which falls quite a bit short of the 13,500 flight crew members that will walk out when a strike takes place. Five of the nine retraining courses are designed for pilots – which would turn them into the best paid cabin crew members in the world. The average BA pilot earns a just under $200,000 per year.

Of course, the union behind the flight attendants is not impressed, and they are quick to point out that the 21 day course is much shorter than the normal 3 month training a flight attendant receives, and could be a serious safety issue.

It makes sense for them to say this – as the public perception of the union and this strike is very negative. The same union almost shut down British Airways over the Christmas period last year, but a British court blocked their efforts at the last minute.

A union spokesperson said “Not only does this show contempt for the crew, what message does it send to passengers who have paid to be cared for by a premier airline?”. Personally, I’d rather have a cabin crew with just three weeks of training than be stuck at the airport for a week because a union was unable to reach an agreement on new pay cuts.

The British aviation authority, CAA, has approved the measures and will be monitoring the safety aspects of the training, to ensure that passengers are never at any kind of risk when they fly on a plane with the new temporary crew members.



Gadlinks for Friday 8.21.09

Hallelujah! The sun came out today and I am now eager to get out into the hot sun and soak in some rays (the good kind — UV, stay away). And the surf here in Peru is on the rise! Things are looking up, and it appears the travel news is pouring in as well. Have a look at these cool reads.

‘Til Monday, have a great weekend!

More Gadlinks HERE.

BA Cabin Crews Strike, Flights Canceled

Hopefully you’re not flying British Airways from London Heathrow next week. The company is canceling all flights on Tuesday and Wednesday due to an impending strike by cabin crew. Though BA still hopes to reach a temporary agreement with the Transport and General Workers union, according to BA chief executive Willie Walsh, better to cancel the flights now so passengers have time “to make alternate arrangements.”

Additional walkouts are set for Feb 5-7 and Feb 12-14 if no agreement is reached — although the union has scaled back its strike plans from three days next week to two, as a gesture of goodwill.

There’s the usual bickering and grandstanding on both sides of the fence — “we tried, but the unreasonable guys on the other side rejected our offer,” etc. The real loss is felt by the hundreds of thousands of people who need to re-adjust or re-schedule their travel plans.