Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – June 2015
By Assistant Editor Joel Chusid
Common Sense Left at Home
People traveling do the strangest things on the spur of the moment. Take the young Italian couple who, due to traffic, missed their Ryanair flight home from Malta. The door was closed, stairs removed and engines running when Enrica Appolonio and Matteo Clemento got to the gate. Undaunted, the couple pushed through an adjacent security exit and ran out onto the tarmac to signal the pilots to let them on. You see, it was Enrica’s birthday and she was going to miss spending it with her friends and family. Instead, the couple were arrested, hauled into court and spent the occasion in jail, not to mention a $2600 fine. Meanwhile in Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a man stripped stark naked at the gate when told his US Airways flight to Jamaica was overbooked. The crowd of onlookers, which included children, looked on for nearly 40 minutes, and several snapped pictures which are now easily found online.
The Bees Have It
Just a few weeks apart, bees caused aircraft to return or divert their flight. An airliner from FlyBe, no pun intended, was on its way from Southampton to Dublin when it was discovered that a bee had crawled into a sensitive instrument. The crew had to return to Southampton to have the insect removed.
On the other side of the Atlantic, an Allegiant Air flight enroute from St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport to Niagara Falls had to divert to Orlando/Sanford, to remove a wasp that had done the same thing, entering a sensor. Indeed, these can be safety issues. In both cases, the flights were delayed for bee removal reasons, good fodder for cocktail party conversation.
Someone Didn’t Leave the Light On
A delayed American Eagle regional jet departed Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for a short 125 mile flight to Wichita Falls, Texas, an airport I know well. As the flight approached the airport, the crew noticed the runway lights were turned off. Unable to reach anyone to turn them on, the flight circled for 30 minutes. Passengers were informed of the problem, and the plane returned to DFW. At smaller airports without 24 hour staffing, it is not unusual for the pilot to be able to turn the lights on remotely, but in this case the crew did not have the proper radio frequency.
All You Wanted to Know About Airport Carpets
Yes, Virginia, there’s a website for this, too. The site www.carpetsforairports.com reviews dozens, if not hundreds, of airport carpets with a simple globe search method, and uses creative descriptions to rate them. You’ll want to check out the lily pad patterned carpet in Darwin, Australia, learn that the carpet color changes every two years in Mexico City or that the Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport resembles either ”an architectonic exploration of form in space or the wiring diagram for a 1957 Pontiac Chieftain”. The biggest disappointment is reserved for Italy, where most airports are carpet-less. Beware of the “toxic” carpet in Sydney, Australia which has “poisoned travelers who have casually walked on it in bare feet”. But the most interesting one is Portland, Oregon, where the much loved carpet has nearly 14,000 followers on its own Facebook page! The famed carpet has appeared on socks, hats and clothing, most of which the fervent fans have created themselves.