Columnist Jeremy Clarkson, at The Sun, has come up with a brilliant airline concept: take it easy, and play the odds. He laments the fact that it takes “about six years” to check in and considers the security process to be troublesome. They won’t even let you keep your toothpaste!
Of course, we have all this security in place for a reason. There are many threats to safety … and it’s not just terrorism. We’ve had smokers on Saudi flights, and drunk passengers remain a perpetual problem. Yet, what are the odds of being killed by international terrorism? Clarkson puts it at about the same as drowning in a bathtub. Since the 1960s, he continues, eating peanuts and being struck by lightning have proved more lethal. Worldwide, there are approximately 70,000 flights every day, with only 50 or so hijacked in the past 40 years.
With no security, this number is likely to increase. Even if thousands of planes are hijacked a day, he observes, more than 60,000 will land as usual.
This leaves the unfortunate question, though. Mr. Clarkson: are you willing to take those odds? One in seven?
The highlight for most was probably the presence of Olympic gymnasts at each of these locations, but it’s hard for anyone to compete with The Sun‘s famous “Page 3” models, who made an appearance at London’s Covent Garden for a bit of bouncing.
In New York, the crowed gathered in mid-town’s Bryant Park (which I walked by, but didn’t see any Page 3-caliber hotties).
Why all the fuss? InterContinental Hotels was just psyched to dish out 4,000 free room-nights at its hotels. Scoring with a Page 3 girl would have just been a bonus.
To see all the bed-jumping action in one place, click here.
If you need a sense of authority to trust a publication, you can’t do better than one from Australia. So, when the Sydney Morning Herald says that Brussels is boring, you have to believe it. Likewise, Paris is overrated, and the food sucks in London (duh).
Well, if you think the folks down under have credibility problems, fear not. It was reporting on a TripAdvisor poll of nearly 2,400 travelers, so it’s really TripAdvisor users who had an epiphany on the quality of London‘s cuisine.
Bad news for London: it also has the worst-dressed locals and is the most expensive. Oh, and it’s the dirtiest.
Meanwhile, we needed a poll to tell us that Paris was the least friendly (though I’ve never had a problem there) and the second most expensive. Yet, Paris is top for grub and fashion, and London leads in nightlife, public parks and free attractions.
Need a romantic getaway in Europe? Venice still wins.
Robert Russell had added “former” to his “mail carrier” title after being laid off by Royal Mail. So, he took a trip to Malaga, Spain. This isn’t unusual; plenty of people do something nice for themselves after losing their jobs. It’s great for morale.
It didn’t work.
Russell got wasted on lager and vodka in the Gatwick departure lounge. By the time he was literally flying high, he threatened to kill his fellow passengers and at one point tried to get off the plane early … via an emergency exit at 30,000 feet. The closest thing to a caring moment was when this unruly passenger yelled at a flight attendant, “Oi, blondie. Come and sit here so I can stroke you.”
At one point, he said he would take down the entire plane … an awfully ambitious claim for a guy who couldn’t get the emergency door open. Eventually, crew and passengers were able to subdue the former postal employee, following his physical display of stereotype. .
All this happened on October 15, 2008. The Brighton Crown Court has finally ruled. Russell is banned from every airport in the United Kingdom for five years and will have to pay a fine of £4,643. A 12-month prison sentence was suspended for two years. And, in case there’s hope for the passenger’s humanity, he’s been ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
As crazy as this incident sounds, in-flight disruptions are more common in Gatwick than you may realize. Sussex Police had to address 58 incidents on planes last year … an increase of almost 20 percent from the 50 in 2007.
Two Austrian tourists ran afoul of local police when they took pictures of the city’s famous double-decker buses. Klaus Matzka and his son, Loris, were clicking away on the streets of London while on vacation. Shots of a bus station in Walthamstow (in east London), however, got the cops interested.
The tourists were told by local police that they were not allowed to photograph anything related to transportation. They were thanked not only with deleted photos but with the collection of their passport numbers, hotel addresses and other personal deals.
After all, taking pictures of buses and bus stations could be a sign of terrorist activity.
London’s Metropolitan Police Authority says it has no knowledge related to a ban on transportation pictures in the city. Matzka observes, “Google Street View is allowed to show details of our cities on the web, but a father and his son are not allowed to take pictures of London landmarks.”