Virgin Blue calls musician terrorist

It wasn’t until Steve Lucas actually got on the plane that he had a problem. His bullet-studded guitar strap – empty shells, of course – made it through the various points in the Sydney airport’s security gauntlet. Consequently, all his luggage was removed from the Virgin Blue flight.

Three times, the musician of 30 years was called to the front of the plane to sign a statement confirming that he had brought prohibited goods aboard. Lucas claims not to have had any problems with the shells on previous flights while on tour.

Separated from his instruments, Lucas was unable to rehearse in a timely manner, prompting him to call the airline’s complaints line … where he was told he was a potential terrorist.

Mom may have said that rock music will rot your brain, but this is extreme.

Unlike Lucas, these girls were actually *causing* problems in the sky. Click the pictures to find out what they did.

Qantas cuts first class service, only you can bring it back

Does two make it a trend? Along with British Airways, Qantas will get rid of some first class seating. While BA is doing it on new flights, Qantas is starting with three of its long-haul routes, because demand for the expensive seats is falling.

If you’re rich and have plans to fly from Sydney to Buenos Aires, Sydney to San Francisco or Melbourne to Hong Kong to London will be affected. This first class ban is scheduled to last from July 6 to October 31.

Since there’s no such thing as a straightforward airline decision, paying for business class – which will still be around – may get you a first class seat. But, you won’t get first class service.

Ultimately, the return of first class will be up to the Qantas passengers. If demand increases – i.e., if people start paying for first class seats again – Qantas will bring back the service.

Jetstar misses bedtime, fined

Australian low-cost carrier Jetstar has been fined nearly AU$150,000 (US$112,000) for the “wanton and deliberate” breach of Sydney Airport‘s curfew. From 11pm to 6am, takeoffs and landings are prohibited – except when permission is granted. So, imagine the anguish caused when Jetstar flight JQ37’s wheels went up at 11:28pm!

It gets worse.

The flight had been delayed for seven hours, keeping 70 passengers on the ground who had planned to be elsewhere long after the plane wound up taking off. Jetstar asked for an exception to the curfew … and was refused. Though rules were broken, the effect was softened by the fact that the pilot took off over the water to avoid disturbing area residents.

So, for once, an airline effectively announced a grand “Screw you!” to the rules to the passengers’ benefit. Hey, the airline may have its flaws – such as requiring overweight passengers to buy two aisle seats (figure that one out …) – but with this incident, it shows that it does care about its customers.

Could Jetstar have waited for airport officials to come around? Well, this event occurred on December 3, 2007, and those officials are just getting around to levying the fine now.

Do the math.

Man bludgeoned to death in motorcycle gang war at Sydney airport

In a scene right out of a gangster movie, 2 motorcycle gangs started beating each other with poles and other heavy items at Sydney airport killing one gang member.

Police believe that when one gang exited their plane, they were “greeted” by members of a rival gang, who began to beat them with the metal poles that are used to keep passengers in line at the check in desk.

Onlookers describe watching in horror as gang members repeatedly smashed into the head of a man lying on the ground.

About 50 passengers witnessed the horror, which the police described as “a disgraceful act by a group of cowards”.

I’m pretty sure that this is not the kind of scene I’d appreciate if I was on my way to a nice vacation destination, and the sight of someone having his head smashed in would probably stick with me for a long, long time.