Naval officer finishes flight in restraints

Something happened between Melbourne, Australia and London, England. A Lieutenant Commander from Canberra “became rowdy” in the sky and “accosted” another passenger. The details of the encounter were not revealed, but the Sydney Morning Herald reports that it involved a scuffle, landed the sailor in restraints and ended with arrest when the plane touched down at Heathrow Airport.

During the flight, the crew was able to subdue the naval officer to keep him from further scuffling with other passengers. What the team in the sky began, Metropolitan Police finished, when they took the 57-year-old into custody in London.

Apparently, the alleged perp was said to be “behaving oddly.”

Passenger arrested for not turning off his laptop

A 35 year old “well dressed businessman” was arrested yesterday when he refused to turn off his laptop for the final approach of his Qantas flight. The passenger was on board flight QF418 from Melbourne to Sydney and apparently found whatever he was doing on his laptop to be more important than listening to flight attendant requests.

Upon landing, all passengers were told to stay seated while the Australian counter terrorist first response force arrived, taking the man into custody.

Witnesses report seeing the man being interrogated by 6 armed police officers in the airport terminal, but he was later released with no charges filed against him.

The only statement Qantas made, was that a male passenger had failed to comply with a captain’s directive. Let this be a lesson to everyone; listen to the flight attendant, and turn off your laptop when you are told to. There may be no evidence to confirm that a laptop will interfere with flight controls, but a 4 pound laptop can become a cabin projectile when the aircraft touches down.

What strange things have been found on planes?

Qantas Airlines makes second emergency landing in three days

I’ve flown on Qantas a few times over the years and always considered the flights pretty high up there in terms of travel experiences, especially on the long haul L.A.–>New Zealand–>Australia route.

But it seems that Australia’s national carrier, known in the past to be one of the world’s safest airlines, has been having some trouble of late.

Last night a Qantas flight from Adelaide to Melbourne had to turn around after 20 minutes and make an emergency landing when one of its landing gear doors would not shut. This came only three days after another Qantas flight had to make an emergency landing in the Philippines when a significant hole was found in the fuselage.

The flight yesterday was a Boeing 767-338 and the one that landed in the Philippines was a Boeing 747-400.

Consumer confidence is shaken. Many passengers on yesterday’s Adelaide-Melbourne flight refused to board another Qantas flight, opting instead to fly with other airlines or find ground transportation for the long trip to Melbourne, Australia’s Daily Telegraph says.

The newspaper has also compiled a complete list of Qantas mishaps since 2006. Read it here.

No injuries were reported in either incident, and Qantas corporate is downplaying the danger factor involved in the emergency landings.

And that’s something to consider: Has been inflated a bit by the media.

While a hole in a plane’s fuselage sounds to me pretty significant and worth the measures of an emergency landing, the landing gear door failure did not pose a significant threat to the flight, Qantas said. In fact, it was really a judgment call on the part of the pilot whether to continue flying with the wheel door open, which would have created much more drag. He decided to turn around.

A lot of you regularly read Kent Wien, Gadling’s resident airline pilot, who flies for a major airline. Here’s his take on this Qantas story:

“The Qantas article is pretty typical of the media. With so many departures a day, it’s easy to report on every maintenance issue when an airline has a high profile incident.

“At [my airline] we get a weekly summary of everything that has happened that week. There are usually 20 or more items more significant than this Qantas example in each report. Not bad considering we have 2500 departures a day.”

Thanks, Kent, for sharing your thoughts.