Southwest gains a passenger midflight

When a Southwest Airlines flight took off from Chicago Midway Airport today bound for Salt Lake City it had 123 passengers. When it landed, there were 124. The addition joined the flight at 30,000 feet somewhere above Denver.

As one of the passengers discovered, the floor at the back of an airplane can work fine as a delivery room in a pinch. Luckily, there was a doctor on board who could help deliver the baby. Southwest medical personnel on the ground gave instructions via radio.

In the case of this baby, they’ll be a story to tell later. Instead of claiming that a stork was in charge of the delivery, the family can tell tales of a jet plane bearing responsibility for the speedy arrival time.

An ambulance took the mother and new baby to a hospital in Denver after the plane was diverted there. Hopefully, this is the kind of flight delay the other passengers were happy to be a part of. I can’t imagine that it would have helped matters if any grousing was going on.

I wonder if the mom can sign up the baby as a frequent flier and get any credit for the baby’s portion of the flight?

Gadlinks for Monday 9.7.09

Welcome to a special Labor Day edition of Gadlinks! For me, this holiday is all about celebrating the end of summer with family and friends — and eating a lot of good food. Check out these travel reads to find out what other cool Labor Day haps are going on around the world.

´Til tomorrow, have a great Labor Day evening!

More Gadlinks here.

American Airlines cleared on racism charges

Six Iraqi-American passengers sued American Airlines, claiming that racism drove the cancellation of their flight. The men were all residents of Michigan and were employed by a security contract firm and had been participating in training with members of the U.S. military. Their flight was canceled, they believe, because of their nationality.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman decided that the captain’s decision to return the August 28, 2007 flight to the gate in Chicago wasn’t “arbitrary and capricious.” The flight crew was accused of racial profiling, but Borman’s opinion recognized that the crew was right to be alarmed by unusual behavior. One passenger covered his head with a blanket – “mummy-like” and “menacing” – while the flight attendant provided the safety briefing. Another passenger claimed to be traveling alone, though he’d been seen earlier in the terminal with a group.

“All of these unusual actions by the passengers reasonably concerned the flight attendants, and justified their calls to the pilot,” the judge decided. “Based on the facts as (the captain) knew them to be when he decided to return the airplane to the gate, this court holds that his decision was not arbitrary and capricious.”

Gadling Take FIVE: Week of July 25 – July 31.

The end of July is here. This is also the last day of Gadling’s “Hotel Month” and time to vote for the winner of Gadling’s Perfect Road Trip contest. The voting for the contest goes through next week, but why wait?

With vacations in mind, here are posts that offer a mix of where to go, what not to miss and details worth knowing.

  • Luxury train travel is one of the most elegant ways to go across Australia. Kraig gives an overview of “The Ghan,” a wow factor passenger train that on August 4th will have been in service for 80 years.
  • A trip to New York City should include time to see “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia.” Sean’s post on the exhibit is a thoughtful glimpse of what makes this a must-see happening. Later, head to the beach. Jeremy has five suggestions for beaches close to Manhattan.
  • Tired of the bar scene where it’s hard to hear a person talk or to relax? Katie offers a solution in her post on speakeasy lounges. Her favorite is The Violet Hour in Chicago.
  • To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Hostelworld is offering a contest. Alison has the scoop on how to win a golden ticket and the great prize it will get you.
  • If you need a reason to buy trip insurance, the statistics from Tom’s post on how airline cancellation fees mean big bucks for the airlines might be it.

Gadling Take FIVE (Week of June 18 – June 24)

Heavens! The last weekend in July?! How can that be? Hopefully, those of you in the summer season are finding time to get out there, see the world–even if the world is not much further than the block next door and the weather is cooperating.

Here are five posts about new things in the travel scene.

  • Sean’s post on how e-mailing is getting easier in some parts of Africa due to a new fiber optic cable is good news for travelers and business people–and education.
  • In keeping up with the trend for more environmentally friendly, safe travel, Antarctic tourism is following suit. Kraig’s post tells how.
  • People are smiling more in Paris, according to Scott. It’s not that they have more to be happy about, it’s that they’ve been told to. Find out why.
  • As a Luddite, of sorts–so was Kurt Vonnegut, by the way, I’m befuddled by augmented reality. Jeremy has a handle on it though, so read his version. It’s a wild way to see the world is all I can say.
  • If you’re looking for Sears Tower in Chicago, you won’t find it anymore. You’ll find Willis Tower. As Katie points out Willis Tower is really the Sears Tower. There’s been a name change. It’s true; money can buy you a very very tall building.