Gadling take FIVE: Week of Dec. 6-12

Humor is a great travel tool, particularly if you’ve had a bit of bad luck like I did when I was pickpocketed this week in Copenhagen–or if the tide is high and the streets have flooded, such as what has happened in Venice. In Venice’s situation, as Jeffery points out, there’s hope in boots.

Or, perhaps that travel companion you thought you were in love with has turned out to be a bust. Brenda has a few tips to prevent that from happening. But just in case you are stuck with Ms. or Mr. Dreadful, a laugh can help.

Whether you’ve had some bad luck, or you just want a reason to smile, here are some of the stories this week that have a humorous edge.

  • Scott’s post on learning British accents in 7 minutes may help you speak like a Brit, or not. The guy in the video does present various sayings you may not have considered before.
  • Aaron’s post on Steven Colbert’s chat with TSA critic Jeffrey Goldberg provides a humorous look at how airplane security is currently a waste of time.
  • Although air rage is not a funny matter, particularly when it’s happening to you, the behaviors Abha describes in her post on what happens when people do get surly on board have a certain chuckle factor. Plus, reading about how badly other people have behaved makes me feel better about my own tense moments. At least I’m not that bad.
  • The picture alone in Mike’s post on the Babykeeper Basic made me smile. When I read his description of how the contraption also keeps a child from absconding with belongings while you pee, I laughed.
  • Then there’s Annie’s post with the video of a slowed down version of an in-flight safety video. Smoooooookinggggg is noooooooottt allooooowed. Clever.

Here’s hoping there’s fun in your life this weekend.

Should you postpone your travel plans when ill?

The recent incident involving the woman who died mid-air has drawn attention to travelers who choose to fly when seriously ill. CNN ran an article offering advice for those who fly while sick, and to summarize, they advise against it. I consider myself a student of remote medicine and medical care with limited resources, and I am finding it difficult to think of a more remote, under-equipped location than a commercial airliner at 30,000 feet.

The CNN article discussed a company called MedAire and their advice to consider postponing flight plans when ill. The basic theory is that if someone is sick on the ground, their condition will likely be exacerbated by the cabin pressure, making them worse. MedAire reports that they receive approximately 50 in-flight calls per day from pilots with sick passengers and documented 97 on-board deaths for 2007.

Federal law requires that all US commercial airliners carry basic medical supplies including an AED (automatic external defibrillator), oxygen and a basic medical kit. The purpose of the AED is to detect a lethal cardiac arrhythmia and deliver a lifesaving shock, that hopefully converts the heart to a safe rhythm. The contents of the medical kit vary, but generally include aspirin, nitroglycerin, alcohol swabs, anti-histamines, broncho-dilators, epinephrine, dextrose, a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, shears and IV tubing with saline fluid. The article also points out that although flight attendants have training in handling in-flight emergencies, they are not medically trained.

Perhaps the most important lesson that can be learned from this article is that a traveler is ultimately responsible for their own safety and well-being at all times. There is a tendency to take for granted the fact that most people reading this live in areas where an ambulance service and trained medical care are merely a phone call away. This is not always the case when traveling — especially at 30,000 feet above the ground.

Some basic pre-planning for a flight should include a carry-on bag with ample supply of medications and a list of medical conditions. Loose, comfortable clothing and proper hydration cannot be stressed enough.

A very good and informative article from the Aerospace Medical Association offers some tips for healthy airline travel.