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How risky is turbulence on a plane? How worried should I be?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>The Singapore Airlines <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-21/singapore-london-flight-makes-emergency-landing/103876370">turbulence incident</a> that has sadly left one person dead and others hospitalised has made many of us think about the risks of air travel.</p> <p>We’ll hear more in coming days about how the aircraft came to drop so suddenly on its route from London to Singapore earlier this week, injuring passengers and crew, before making an emergency landing in Thailand.</p> <p>But thankfully, these types of incidents <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">are rare</a>, and much <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/transport-accidents">less-common</a> than injuries from other types of transport.</p> <p>So why do we sometimes think the risk of getting injured while travelling by plane is higher than it really is?</p> <h2>How common are turbulence injuries?</h2> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-air-turbulence-196872">Turbulence</a> <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">is caused by</a> the irregular movement of air, leading to passengers and crew experiencing abrupt sideways and vertical jolts.</p> <p>In the case of the Singapore Airlines flight, this type of turbulence is thought to be a severe example of “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/may/21/what-causes-air-turbulence-and-how-worried-should-passengers-be">clear-air turbulence</a>”, which can occur without warning. There are several other types.</p> <p>About 25 in-flight turbulence injuries <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">are reported</a> to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau each year, although it is thought many more are un-reported. Some of these reported injuries are serious, including broken bones and head injuries. Passengers being thrown up and out of their seat during turbulence is one of the most common type of head injury on a plane.</p> <p>Other injuries from turbulence are caused by contact with flying laptops, or other unsecured items.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-04/AR-2008-034%20Turbulence%20FactSheet_v2.pdf">one example</a> of clear-air turbulence that came without warning, cabin crew, passengers and meal trolleys hit the ceiling, and landed heavily back on the floor. Serious injuries included bone fractures, lacerations, neck and back strains, a dislocated shoulder and shattered teeth. Almost all of those seriously injured did not have their seat belts fastened.</p> <p>But we need to put this into perspective. In the year to January 2024, there were <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/international">more than 36 million</a> passengers on international flights to Australia. In the year to February 2024, there were <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/domestic">more than 58 million</a> passengers on domestic flights.</p> <p>So while such incidents grab the headlines, they are exceedingly rare.</p> <h2>Why do we think flying is riskier than it is?</h2> <p>When we hear about this recent Singapore Airlines incident, it’s entirely natural to have a strong emotional reaction. We might have imagined the terror we might feel if we were on the aircraft at the time.</p> <p>But our emotional response <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-16969-005">alters our perception</a> of the risk and leads us to think these rare incidents are more common than they really are.</p> <p>There is a vast body of literature addressing the <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-our-understanding-of-risk-is-changing-79501">numerous factors</a> that influence how individuals perceive risk and the cognitive biases we are all subject to that mislead us.</p> <p>Nobel Prize-winning economist <a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2002/kahneman/facts/">Daniel Kahneman</a> covers them in his bestselling book <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/thinking-fast-and-slow-9780141033570">Thinking, Fast and Slow</a>.</p> <p>He describes the way we respond to risks is not rational, but driven by emotion. Kahneman also highlights the fact that our brains are not wired to make sense of extremely small risks. So these types of risks – such as the chance of serious injury or death from in-flight turbulence – are hard for us to make sense of.</p> <p>The more unusual an event is, and this was a very unusual event, Kahneman says the more impact it makes on our psyche and the more likely we are to overestimate the risk.</p> <p>Of course, the more unusual the event, the <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-02435-000">more likely</a> it is for it to be in the media, amplifying this effect.</p> <p>Similarly, the easier it is to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0010028573900339">imagine an event</a>, the more it affects our perception and the more likely we are to respond to an event as if it were much more likely to occur.</p> <h2>How can we make sense of the risk?</h2> <p>One way to make sense of activities with small, hard-to-understand risks is by comparing their risks to the risks of more familiar activities.</p> <p>If we do this, the data shows very clearly that it is much <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/transport-accidents">more risky</a> to drive a car or ride a motorbike than to travel by plane.</p> <p>While events such as the Singapore Airlines incident are devastating and stir up lots of emotions, it’s important to recognise how our emotions can mislead us to over-estimate the risk of this happening again, or to us.</p> <p>Apart from the stress and anxiety this provokes, overestimating the risks of particular activities may lead us to make bad decisions that actually put us at greater risk of harm.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230665/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-risky-is-turbulence-on-a-plane-how-worried-should-i-be-230665">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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"Not going to save anybody": Exit row passenger prompts plane evacuation

<p>A whole plane has been forced to disembark after a woman seated in the exit row refused to comply with safety instructions. </p> <p>Passengers were up in arms when they had to leave the plane, after the woman was overheard telling cabin crew that she would only save herself in the event of an emergency, before yelling at flight attendants. </p> <p>The interaction, which was captured by another passenger on video and posted to TikTok, shows the woman becoming heated while talking to cabin crew on the Frontier flight. </p> <p>The passenger can then be seen and heard progressively raising her voice to cabin crew, with fellow flyers pleading with the woman to disembark the plane.</p> <p>The traveller who filmed the altercation claims the woman said she was “not going to save anybody” when seated in the exit row, saying the disgruntled passenger had “attitude” and went on to say that if something were to happen, she would “only save” herself. </p> <p>“That was her attitude throughout the seating process. And I already knew something was about to pop off when she had that attitude,” the TikTok user said.</p> <p>The altercation only became more heated as the yelling progressed, before police eventually arrived on the plane to escort the woman off. </p> <p>The video then shows another Frontier employee approach the passenger and say, “I’m gonna ask you one more time, nicely, to get off, if not, we’re going to deboard the plane and police will come and escort you off.”</p> <p>When the cabin crew make repeated futile attempts to get through the woman, the pilot came down from the cockpit to try and call for calm. </p> <p>“You’re inconveniencing everybody else,” the pilot can be heard saying to the woman. as the pair continue to exchange words while he repeatedly points toward the front of the plane.</p> <p>Following the failed attempts, two police officers then make their way down the aisle and towards the passenger. </p> <p>Towards the end of the five-minute video, which has been viewed more than 80,000 times, all the passengers on board the flight were filmed disembarking the aircraft while the passenger at the centre of the ordeal exits with police from a separate door onto the tarmac.</p> <p>It is unclear if charges were laid.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Victim identified after plane hits deadly turbulence

<p>One man has died and dozens have been left injured after a Singapore Airlines plane encountered deadly turbulence, and was forced to make an emergency landing. </p> <p>The flight was travelling from London to Singapore - a route frequently used to continue on to Australia and New Zealand -  when the plane hit an air pocket while flying over Thailand. </p> <p>The unexpected and extreme turbulence caused the plane to drop over 6,000 feet in a matter of minutes, sending passengers and cabin crew flying around the aircraft. </p> <p>While dozens of people sustained injuries during the terrifying ordeal, authorities said that one elderly man had suffered a heart attack when the turbulence hit and had died onboard. </p> <p>British media named the man as Geoffrey Kitchen, a grandfather and amateur dramatics performer who was on his way to Australia with his wife for a six-week holiday.</p> <p>The 211 passengers - including 56 Australians - and 18 crew on board were diverted to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after the turbulence hit, just a few hours away from their destination. </p> <p>Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport, confirmed in a press conference that seven passengers were severely injured, and 23 passengers and nine crew members had moderate injuries.</p> <p>Sixteen with less serious injuries received hospital treatment and 14 were treated at the airport.</p> <p>One passenger, Jerry, recalled hitting his head on the overhead lockers when the turbulence hit. </p> <p>"My wife did (hit her head too), some poor people were walking around, ended up doing somersaults," he said, adding that his daughter was also injured and would likely stay in hospital for "a few days".</p> <p>"It was absolutely terrible. And then suddenly it stopped, and it was calm again, and the staff did their best to tend to the injured people." </p> <p>"There were a lot of them, and some of the staff were injured themselves."</p> <p>Another passenger recalled the moment the aircraft had begun “tilting up and there was shaking”. </p> <p>“So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop,” 28-year-old Dzafran Azmir said.</p> <p>“Everyone seated and not wearing seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling."</p> <p>“Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it.”</p> <p>Singapore Airlines said the nationalities of the passengers were 56 Australians, two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one from Iceland, four from Ireland, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, five Filipinos, 41 from Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards, 47 from the UK and four from the US.</p> <p>In the hours after the traumatic event, Aviation consultant and pilot Tim Atkinson shared his theory on what caused the “very significant” incident.</p> <p>Atkinson told the BBC that in the increase in air turbulence can be linked to climate change, saying “it’s fairly clear” the Singapore Airlines flight “encountered atmospheric turbulence”.</p> <p>He also noted that the area — called the Intertropical Convergence Zone — is “renowned among pilots, and I dare say passengers, for turbulence”.</p> <p>“Despite abundant caution occasionally, there’s turbulence ahead which can’t be identified, and the unfortunate result of an encounter is injury and, very rarely, fatality,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Atkinson also noted that the larger the aircraft, “the worse the atmospheric perturbation, the disruption in the smoothness of the atmosphere, needs to be to cause major problems”. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Twitter</em></p>

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Do red bags get loaded onto a plane first? Travel hack goes viral

<p>One TikTok user has racked up over 75 million views for their hack which warns travellers against buying red suitcases.</p> <p>The reason behind it? He claims that red suitcases are always loaded onto a plane first - meaning that they will be the last ones to come out at the baggage carousel. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@airportlife_/video/7359248989134327072" target="_blank" rel="noopener">viral video</a> showed a plane's cargo being loaded, with all the red bags being loaded first. </p> <p>Many commenters have shared their theories on why this might be the case. </p> <p>"If the red are at the back then they are less likely to get left behind when unloading," one wrote. </p> <p>"So that it's easier to check if there is any bag left at end corner of loading area and prevent missing out black bags at dark corners, maybe," another added. </p> <p>However, a spokesperson for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has debunked this theory and claimed that the video is "nonsense" and "was made purposefully to mislead or provide false information".</p> <p>They also said that there was simply not enough time for their baggage handlers to sort suitcases out by colour. </p> <p>The question of "Do red bags get loaded onto a plane first?" also made its way to Reddit, after the video went viral, and one user who claimed to be a ramp worker denied the theory. </p> <p>"If we had taken the time and brain power to load bags based on colour I'd still be loading flights from 2015." </p> <p><em>Image: TikTok</em></p>

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Flight attendant reveals how to score a free upgrade

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has shared her number one trick for securing an upgrade on your next plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">American flight attendant Cierra Mistt revealed the one question you should ask at check-in to score an upgrade to first class, with the hack working almost every time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt started her now-viral video by saying her hack to get a free upgrade was top secret. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s look at the big picture. Everyone is flying right now, and no one is more excited about that than commercial airlines,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The majority of airlines are overbooking every single flight they have.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It comes from the last month of me trying to get home and not even being able to get on standby because every single flight has been oversold,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am not talking about one or two seats. I am talking about 10-30 seats that have been oversold.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said this overselling of flights presents an opportunity to travellers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If everyone does show up, including the extra passengers that were oversold their tickets, the airlines have no choice but to financially compensate,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flight attendant shared that airlines “normally start off with vouchers for $500 or something”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Normally they say a voucher but you can ask for it in cash,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Depending on the flight and how desperate they are, they will go up to, like three, four, five thousand dollars.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is where the free upgrades come in.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said not only could you ask for a free upgrade in such circumstances, but you could “also ask for other incentives”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For example, drinks, dinners, breakfast, even a hotel if you have to stay overnight until the next flight,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, yes, you can also ask to be upgraded to first class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her video received more than a million views, with people praising the hack and sharing how it has worked for them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I got upgraded to first class by doing this,” said one person. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok / Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

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Should you be concerned about flying on Boeing planes?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>The American aerospace giant Boeing has been synonymous with safe air travel for decades. Since the 1990s, Boeing and its European competitor Airbus have dominated the market for large passenger jets.</p> <p>But this year, Boeing has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. In January, an emergency door plug <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/alaska-airlines-let-boeing-max-fly-despite-warning-signals">blew off a Boeing 737 MAX</a> in mid flight, triggering an investigation from United States federal regulators.</p> <p>More recently, we have seen a Boeing plane lose a tyre while taking off, another flight turned back as the plane was leaking fluid, an apparent engine fire, a landing gear collapse, a stuck rudder pedal, and a plane “dropping” in flight and <a href="https://theconversation.com/latam-flight-800-just-dropped-in-mid-flight-injuring-dozens-an-expert-explores-what-happened-and-how-to-keep-yourself-safe-225554">injuring dozens of passengers</a>. A Boeing engineer who had raised concerns regarding quality control during the manufacturing process on the company’s 787 and 737 MAX planes also <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-68534703">died earlier this week</a>, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.</p> <p>As members of the travelling public, should we be concerned? Well, yes and no.</p> <h2>Many problems, but not all can be blamed on Boeing</h2> <p>The recent parade of events has certainly been dramatic – but not all of them can be blamed on Boeing. Five incidents occurred on aircraft owned and operated by United Airlines and were related to factors outside the manufacturer’s control, like maintenance issues, potential foreign object debris, and possible human error.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/united-airlines-plane-tire-blowout-boeing-b2509241.html">United Airlines 777</a> flying from San Francisco to Japan lost a tyre on takeoff, a maintenance issue not related to Boeing. The aircraft landed safely in Los Angeles.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.mercurynews.com/2024/03/12/united-airlines-reports-fifth-flight-incident-in-a-week-as-jet-turns-back-due-to-maintenance-issue/">United Airlines flight from Sydney</a> to Los Angeles had to return to Sydney due to a “maintenance issue” after a fluid was seen leaking from the aircraft on departure.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/passenger-video-shows-flames-shoot-united-airlines-engine-midflight-rcna142217">United Airlines 737-900</a> flying from Texas to Florida ended up with some plastic bubble wrap in the engine, causing a suspected <a href="https://skybrary.aero/articles/compressor-stall#:%7E:text=Compressor%20stalls%20cause%20the%20air,dirty%20or%20contaminated%20compressor%20components">compressor stall</a>. This is a disruption of air flow to an operating engine, making it “backfire” and emit flames.</p> <p>A <a href="https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-max-houston-runway-incident/">United Airlines 737 Max</a> flying from Tennessee to Texas suffered a gear collapse after a normal landing. The pilot continued to the end of the runway before exiting onto a taxiway – possibly at too high a speed – and the aircraft ended up in the grass and the left main landing gear collapsed.</p> <p>The fifth event occurred on a <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/another-boeing-max-mishap-ntsb-probes-stuck-rudder-pedals-united-airli-rcna142286">United Airlines 737-8</a> flight from the Bahamas to New Jersey. The pilots reported that the rudder pedals, which control the left and right movement of the aircraft in flight, were stuck in the neutral position during landing.</p> <h2>Manufacturing quality concerns</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/alaska-airlines-let-boeing-max-fly-despite-warning-signals">exit door plug failure in January</a> occurred on an Alaska Airlines flight. US regulators are currently investigating Boeing’s <a href="https://www.vox.com/money/24052245/boeing-corporate-culture-737-airplane-safety-door-plug">manufacturing quality assurance</a> as a result.</p> <p>The door plug was installed by a Boeing subcontractor called Spirit AeroSystem. The door plug bolts were not properly secured and the plug door fell off in flight. The same aircraft had a series of pressurisation alarms on two previous flights, and was scheduled for a maintenance inspection at the completion of the flight.</p> <p>Spirit got its start after Boeing shut down its own manufacturing operations in Kansas and Oklahoma, and Boeing is now in the process of <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2024/03/01/spirit-aerosystems-boeing.html">buying the company</a> to improve quality oversight. Spirit currently works with Airbus, as well, though that may change.</p> <h2>What changed at Boeing</h2> <p>Critics say the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/03/12/boeing-whistleblower-death-plane-issues/">culture at Boeing has changed</a> since Airbus became a major competitor in the early 2000s. The company has been accused of shifting its focus to profit at the expense of quality engineering.</p> <p>Former staff have raised concerns over tight production schedules, which increased the pressure on employees to finish the aircraft. This caused many engineers to question the process, and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fine Boeing for lapses in quality oversight after tools and debris were found on aircraft being inspected.</p> <p>Several employees have testified before US Congress on the production issues regarding quality control. Based on the congressional findings, the FAA began to inspect Boeing’s processes more closely.</p> <p>Several Boeing employees noted there was a high staff turnover rate during the COVID pandemic. This is not unique to Boeing, as all manufacturing processes and airline maintenance facilities around the globe were also hit with high turnover.</p> <p>As a result, there is an acute shortage of qualified maintenance engineers, as well as pilots. These shortages have created several issues with the airline industry successfully returning to the <a href="https://www.aviationbusinessnews.com/mro/critical-shortage-of-engineers-means-looming-crisis-for-aviation-warns-aeroprofessional/">pre-pandemic levels</a> of 2019. Airlines and maintenance training centres around the globe are working hard to train replacements, but this takes time as one cannot become a qualified engineer or airline pilot overnight.</p> <p>So, is it still safe to fly on Boeing planes? Yes it is. Despite dramatic incidents in the news and social media posts <a href="https://twitter.com/DaveMcNamee3000/status/1767636549288824990">poking fun at the company</a>, air travel is still extremely safe, and that includes Boeing.</p> <p>We can expect these issues with Boeing planes now will be corrected. The financial impact has been significant – so even a profit-driven company will demand change.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225675/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, Professor/Head of Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/should-you-be-concerned-about-flying-on-boeing-planes-225675">original article</a>.</em></p>

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“I lost all ability to fly the plane”: Pilot's shock claim after plane drops mid-flight

<p>At least 50 passengers have been injured with a dozen hospitalised after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner suddenly plunged about two hours into the flight from Sydney to Auckland on Monday. </p> <p>LATAM Airlines said that the plane experienced an unspecified "technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement." </p> <p>Passengers on board the flight have recalled the terrifying moment the plane took a nose-dive mid-flight. </p> <p>"The plane dipped so dramatically into a nose dive for a couple of seconds and around 30 people hit the ceiling hard," Daniel, who was travelling from London, told the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“None of us knew what had happened until after the flight, I was just trying to keep everyone calm. We never heard any announcement from the captain." </p> <p>He added that passengers were screaming and it was hard to tell whether blood or red wine was splattered through the cabin. </p> <p>Another passenger, Brian Jokat, told broadcaster <em>RNZ t</em>hat the incident took place in "split seconds". </p> <p>"There was no pre-turbulence, we were just sailing smoothly the whole way,” he said. </p> <p>“I had just dozed off and I luckily had my seatbelt on, and all of a sudden the plane just dropped. It wasn’t one of those things where you hit turbulence and you drop a few times … we just dropped.”</p> <p>He added that a passenger two seats away from him, who was not wearing his seatbelt, flew up into the ceiling and was suspended mid-air before he fell and broke his ribs. </p> <p>“I thought I was dreaming,” he said. “I opened my eyes and he was on the roof of the plane on his back, looking down on me. It was like <em>The Exorcist</em>.”</p> <p>Paramedics and more than 10 emergency vehicles were waiting for passengers when the plane landed in Auckland. </p> <p>Around 50 patients were treated, with 12 of them hospitalised and one in serious condition. </p> <p>At least three of those treated were cabin crew. </p> <p>Jokat told <em>RNZ </em>that after the plane landed, the pilot came to the back and explained what had happened. </p> <p>"He said to me, ‘I lost my instrumentation briefly and then it just came back all of a sudden,’” Jokat said.</p> <p>In another interview with <em>Stuff.co.nz</em>, Jokat recalled the pilot also saying: “My gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane.” </p> <p>The airline's final destination was Santiago, Chile, but it was landing at Auckland Airport in accordance with its normal flight path, according to <em>Reuters</em>. </p> <p>"LATAM regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards," the airline said.  </p> <p><em>Images: Brian Jokat/ News.com.au</em></p>

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Longing for the ‘golden age’ of air travel? Be careful what you wish for

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872">Janet Bednarek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p>Long lines at security checkpoints, tiny plastic cups of soda, small bags of pretzels, planes filled to capacity, fees attached to every amenity – all reflect the realities of 21st century commercial air travel. It’s no wonder that many travelers have become nostalgic for the so-called “golden age” of air travel in the United States.</p> <p>During the 1950s, airlines promoted commercial air travel as glamorous: stewardesses served full meals on real china, airline seats were large (and frequently empty) with ample leg-room, and passengers always dressed well.</p> <p>After jets were introduced in the late 1950s, passengers could travel to even the most distant locations at speeds unimaginable a mere decade before. An airline trip from New York to London that could take up to 15 hours in the early 1950s could be made in less than seven hours by the early 1960s.</p> <p>But airline nostalgia can be tricky, and “golden ages” are seldom as idyllic as they seem.</p> <p>Until the introduction of jets in 1958, most of the nation’s commercial planes were propeller-driven aircraft, like the DC-4. Most of these planes were unpressurized, and with a maximum cruising altitude of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, they were unable to fly over bad weather. Delays were frequent, turbulence common, and air sickness bags often needed.</p> <p>Some planes were spacious and pressurized: the <a href="http://everythingnice.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/PanAm-cutawayS.jpg">Boeing Stratocruiser</a>, for example, could seat 50 first class passengers or 81 coach passengers compared to the DC-3’s 21 passengers. It could cruise at 32,000 feet, which allowed Stratocruiser to fly above most bad weather it encountered. But only 56 of these planes were ever in service.</p> <p>While the later DC-6 and DC-7 were pressurized, they still flew much lower than the soon-to-appear jets – 20,000 feet compared to 30,000 feet – and often encountered turbulence. The piston engines were bulky, complex and difficult to maintain, which contributed to frequent delays.</p> <p>For much of this period, the old saying “Time to spare, go by air” still rang true.</p> <p>Through the 1930s and into the 1940s, almost everyone flew first class. Airlines did encourage more people to fly in the 1950s and 1960s by introducing coach or tourist fares, but the savings were relative: less expensive than first class, but still pricey. In 1955, for example, so-called “bargain fares” from New York to Paris were the equivalent of just over $2,600 in 2014 dollars. Although the advent of jets did result in lower fares, the cost was still out of reach of most Americans. The most likely frequent flier was a white, male businessman traveling on his company’s expense account, and in the 1960s, airlines – with young attractive stewardesses in short skirts – clearly catered to their most frequent flyers.</p> <p>The demographics of travelers did begin to shift during this period. More women, more young people, and retirees began to fly; still, airline travel remained financially out-of-reach for most.</p> <p>If it was a golden age, it only was for the very few.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bKqQgNZylLw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Jet planes were introduced in the late 1950s, resulting in shorter flight times. But their ticket prices out of reach for the average traveler.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>People also forget that well into the 1960s, air travel was far more dangerous than it is today. In the 1950s and 1960s US airlines experienced at least a half dozen crashes per year – most leading to fatalities of all on board. People today may bemoan the crowded airplanes and lack of on-board amenities, but the number of fatalities per million miles flown has dropped dramatically since since the late 1970s, especially compared to the 1960s. Through at least the 1970s, airports even prominently featured kiosks selling flight insurance.</p> <p>And we can’t forget hijackings. By the mid-1960s so many airplanes had been hijacked that <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/hijackers/flying-high.htm">“Take me to Cuba”</a> became a punch line for stand-up comics. In 1971 <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/39593/index2.html">D.B. Cooper</a> – a hijacker who parachuted from a Boeing 727 after extorting $200,000 – might have been able to achieve folk hero status. But one reason US airline passengers today (generally) tolerate security checkpoints is that they want some kind of assurance that their aircraft will remain safe.</p> <p>And if the previous examples don’t dull the sheen of air travel’s “golden age,” remember: in-flight smoking was both permitted and encouraged.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/34177/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872"><em>Janet Bednarek</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/longing-for-the-golden-age-of-air-travel-be-careful-what-you-wish-for-34177">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Virgin Australia announces big news for pet owners

<p>Virgin Australia has made a major announcement for pet owners who worried about leaving their furry friends at home when they travel. </p> <p>Outgoing Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka announced on Thursday that they will be the first Australian airline to let small animals travel in the cabin. </p> <p>The revolutionary move is subject to regulatory approval, but if it gets through, Virgin will launch the pet flights on specific domestic routes within the next 12 months.</p> <p>Only small animals will be allowed to travel under the new rules, with specific rows on pet flights reserved for those travelling with their small dogs and cats. </p> <p>They will also be required to be held in a pet carrier under the seat in front of the owner for the duration of the flight, and will not be able to roam around freely or sit on people’s laps for the entirety of the journey.</p> <p>“Overwhelmingly, our guests tell us they want to travel with their pets, and we are now on a journey to make that a reality. It’s something that commonly happens overseas and is proven to work well,” Hrdlicka said.</p> <p>“Almost 70 per cent of Australian households have a pet, so this announcement is really significant for a large proportion of the country."</p> <p>“It’s also a great thing for pet-friendly accommodation providers who will benefit greatly from increased connectivity and the ease for travellers to fly with their pets. It really will be a whole new economy for pet travel in Australia.”</p> <p>This change will not affect existing arrangements for approved service animals, and passengers travelling with larger pets could still pay for them to be transported as cargo.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Virgin Australia</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Pilot pitches in to free passenger stuck in plane bathroom

<p>A pilot has been forced to abandon his post at the cockpit to rescue a passenger trapped in the bathroom of a plane. </p> <p>While onboard a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to New Orleans, a father of two named Brent became stuck in the bathroom for 35 minutes during the short domestic flight. </p> <p>When it was discovered that Brent was not breaking out of the bathroom by himself, the cabin crew, including the pilot, stepped in to free the 34-year-old dad. </p> <p>After being refused a refund by the airline's customer service, Brent's dissatisfied partner shared a video of the moment the staff all rallied to heave the door open. </p> <p>Recounting the tale on Reddit, the woman suggested that her husband had fled to the bathroom to have a break from his two young kids. </p> <p>She wrote, "After 5 minutes, I wondered what was going on. Was he using this time as a much-needed break from my children’s whiney demands and frequent tantrums? I didn’t blame him."</p> <p>Brent's partner went on to explain that it wasn't until she heard another passenger say the word "stuck" did she realise her husband's predicament. </p> <p>She turned around to see two members of the crew yanking at the door to the rear cubicle as she watched on while she kept one eye on her young kids. </p> <p>The flight attendants enlisted the help of a male passenger who also failed to provide the magic touch, before the pilot emerged, 20 minutes into the ordeal, to have a go.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZWOyr4J2OBo?si=FSdSkXFv4WlClKXB" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <aside> <p>"It wasn't until Brent kicked the hell out of the door while the pilot was pulling as hard as possible that Brent finally made his escape," she wrote. </p> <p>Finishing off the post, the woman concluded that Delta asked her not to share the footage, filmed by another passenger who was closer to the end of the plane, but after not receiving a refund for their "terrible" journey, the mother decided to post them online. </p> <p>The post racked up hundreds of comments, with many people actually siding with the airline for not issuing a refund, suggesting that the author's response was not proportionate to what actually happened. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Reddit</em></p> </aside>

Travel Trouble

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Flight attendant reveals why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed the gross reason why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">The seasoned cabin crew member, an American woman named Cheryl, shared the three things she would never do on a plane after seeing what really goes on behind closed doors on an aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">Her first tip for any traveller was not to use the toilet paper in a plane bathroom. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing her tips in a TikTok video, she wrote, "If you examine the toilet paper, I promise you're going to see water droplets on it, or what you think are water droplets."</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think we can trust most men to make it in the toilet on a normal day, let alone flying at 36,000 feet with turbulence."</p> <p dir="ltr">To combat this, the flight attendant recommends bringing a travel pack of tissues in your hand luggage to use instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">She also warned her viewers against wearing shorts on their next flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I would never wear shorts on a plane. You're going to freeze to death," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cheryl pointed out another valid reason to opt for long pants on a flight, stating, "Say we have an evacuation. You have to go down the slide. Your butt cheeks are going to be sizzled off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, Cheryl urged travellers to never book less than a three-hour connection between flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Delays can happen for a million and one reasons. The likelihood that you're going to miss your connection is pretty high if you're booking shorter than three hours," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Flight cancelled after parents demand free upgrade for their child

<p dir="ltr">A flight was delayed for hours before being ultimately cancelled after two parents demanded that their child was upgraded to first class for free. </p> <p dir="ltr">A plane in China was grounded for three hours after the parents caused a ruckus with the cabin crew, and were eventually kicked off the aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to a fellow passenger, the argument kicked off when an unsupervised child began to sob uncontrollably after boarding a flight from Chengdu to Beijing. </p> <p dir="ltr">As it turned out, the inconsolable toddler’s parents were seated in first class but had only bought their child an economy ticket.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was then that the angry dad confronted the staff, demanding that his son be moved to first class at no extra cost.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the <em>South China Morning Post</em>, the irate dad explained that because he had already paid for two first class tickets, his child’s upgrade should be free. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the clip shot by a fellow passenger, the outraged dad began berating a group of passengers, crew members, and security guards as they repeatedly explained why his child isn’t entitled to an upgrade.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop swearing at me,” fumed the father. “You have no right to do that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When a security guard attempts to de-escalate the situation, the parent lays into him, shouting: “What gives you the right to order me about?”</p> <p dir="ltr">This prompts a woman to retort: “You’ve wasted too much of our time and we won’t tolerate it any longer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After three hours of back and forth, the couple were eventually kicked off the plane, while the flight was cancelled. </p> <p dir="ltr">The entitled passenger has since been rinsed on social media with one commenter fuming, “This man is so selfish.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others suggested solutions for the father that didn’t involve the airline giving the man an extra first-class seat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He can switch seats,” advised one person. “Let him sit in economy class, and have the mum take care of the child in the first-class cabin.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Some on social media were quick to chastise the airline for their handling of the situation, with one person writing, “Keeping the quarrel going for hours? The problem-solving skills of the crew are poor.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Twitter</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-dd8af609-7fff-7da2-9017-179b6317cd24"></span></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Do not panic”: Passenger trapped in plane bathroom for entire flight

<p dir="ltr">A passenger has received the ultimate downgrade on a plane after becoming trapped in the bathroom for an entire flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">The unnamed flyer was travelling from Mumbai to Bengaluru in India on budget airline SpiceJet, when his one-hour-and-45-minute night flight turned into a nightmare. </p> <p dir="ltr">Shortly after takeoff, the man went to use the lavatory and discovered he had become stuck in the bathroom when he attempted to leave.</p> <p dir="ltr">The crew and other passengers desperately attempted to free the flyer from the unfortunate position, but to no avail. </p> <p dir="ltr">As a result, he was relegated to the toilet in the sky for nearly the entire flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an attempt to calm the passenger during his in-flight solitary confinement, crew members slid a note under the door to reassure the man.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Sir we tried our best to open the door, however, we could not,” the letter read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Do not panic. We are landing in a few minutes, so please close the commode lid and sit on it and secure yourself. As soon as the main door is open, an engineer will come. Do not panic.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After landing, two engineers boarded the aircraft and broke open the door, rescuing the captive who later received “immediate medical support.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The airline has since issued the flyer a full reimbursement and shared an apology for the unique flying experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">“SpiceJet regrets and apologises for the inconvenience caused to the passenger,” they said. “The passenger is being provided a full refund.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / X (Twitter)</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tourists' narrow escape after Great Barrier Reef plane crash

<p>Nine tourists and a pilot on board a plane that flipped and crashed while trying to land on Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef are "lucky to be alive". </p> <p>The light plane bound for Cairns, was carrying nine adults and one 14-year-old girl, when it crashed shortly after 7:30am on Monday morning. </p> <p>It is believed that the plane tried to return to the Island after a mechanical malfunction, colliding with trees as it came down. </p> <p>Queensland Ambulance operations sent two rescue helicopters to the Island, shortly after the accident, and four passengers were flown back to Cairns Hospital for treatment.</p> <p>Royal Flying Doctor Service nurse Stephanie Beatty said it was remarkable that they managed to come out of the crash relatively unharmed. </p> <p>"Minor injuries, minor head injury and a fractured arm, otherwise most shaken but okay," she said.</p> <p>"I think the people are very lucky to be alive." </p> <p>Queensland Ambulance Service Acting Assistant Commissioner Brina Keating also said that it was "incredible" they managed to walk out alive. </p> <p>"All were walking — they were able to get out of the aircraft," she told ABC News. </p> <p>"To walk away from something like that is incredible."</p> <p>Ms Keating also said that the cause of the crash was being investigated. </p> <p>Footage of the wreckage shared on <a href="https://twitter.com/AnnaRawlings_/status/1744170681749946773?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1744170681749946773%7Ctwgr%5E4bc69f9710cd8300d7b1080153bf7dc1e4e405d4%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.9news.com.au%2Fnational%2Fplane-crash-lizard-island-great-barrier-reef%2F78af78a6-2df7-4ad3-86ce-57e724512856" target="_blank" rel="noopener">social media</a> show the mangled plane lying upside down with broken propellers, and emergency tape closing off the area. </p> <p>According to the Cairns Hospital and Health Service, all 10 people are in a stable condition. </p> <p><em>Images: Anna Rawlings/ X</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Christian Oliver's ex-wife shares devastating tribute following fatal plane crash

<p>The ex-wife of late actor Christian Oliver has broken her silence following a plane crash that killed the actor and their two young daughters, Madita Klepser, 10, and Annik Klepser, 12.</p> <p>Jessica Klepser took to Instagram to share a statement just days after the tragedy. </p> <p>"We are deeply saddened by the tragic plane accident on January 4, 2024, which took the lives of our beloved family members," <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">she said in the post shared by Wundabar Pilates, the studio where she works.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Klepser added that Oliver and their daughters were returning from a holiday in the Caribbean, when the </span>single-engine plane they were traveling in experienced engine trouble and fell into the ocean.</p> <p>"Unfortunately, all four passengers on the small aircraft did not survive," the statement continued. </p> <p>Klepser then went on to honour her two daughters. </p> <p>"Madita, a vibrant 7th-grade student at Louis Armstrong Middle School, was known for her lively spirit and excelled in academics, dance, singing, and performances. </p> <p>"Annik, a 4th-grade student at Wonderland Ave Elementary School, was recognized for her gentle yet strong demeanor. She was always the first to offer a kind word or a comforting hug. Her passions included basketball, swimming, and various forms of art."</p> <p>"The deep bond, infectious laughter, and adventurous spirit shared by Madita and Annik will be profoundly missed in their communities," adding that Oliver's loss will also be "deeply felt by all who knew him."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C1vgVoCrY4v/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C1vgVoCrY4v/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by WundaBar Pilates by Amy Jordan (@wundabarpilates)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The post included a picture of their daughters hugging in front of a sunset, and also noted that in lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations via a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-christian-madita-and-annik?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page, to help cover the costs of returning "Christian and the girls home," among other expenses. </p> <p>The 51-year-old actor had a couple of roles in TV and film, but is mostly known for his role as Snake Oiler in the 2008 action film, <em>Speed Racer</em>. </p> <p>His career began in 1994 with a 26-episode role on the show <em>Saved by the Bell: The New Class</em>.</p> <p>According to <em>The <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2024/jan/07/christian-oliver-daughters-plane-crash-tribute" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Guardian</a></em>, Oliver and Klepser tied the knot on July 2010, before Oliver filed for divorce in December 2021 after 11 years of marriage. </p> <p>The divorce was finalised in June, with the couple sharing joint custody of their daughters. </p> <p>Oliver is survived by his sister and parents in Germany. </p> <p><em>Images: GoFundMe/Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Obese woman sparks debate for not giving up extra seat for toddler

<p>An obese woman has sparked debate online after refusing to give up the second seat she paid for to a fussy toddler. </p> <p>The 34-year-old booked the two seats for her cross-country flight to visit her family for Christmas because she was previously unable to comfortably fit in one seat. </p> <p>All was well until the young woman next to her demanded that she "squeeze into one seat" so her son could sit on the other. </p> <p>"I am obese," she admitted on the Reddit thread. "I'm actively working toward losing weight and I've made progress - but I booked an extra seat because I'm fat."</p> <p>She added that she insisted on keeping her seat because she paid for it, but the mum "made a big fuss over it, and she told the flight attendant I was stealing the seat from her son." </p> <p>"Then I showed her my boarding passes, proving that I paid for the extra seat. The flight attendant asked me if I could try to squeeze in, but I said no, that I wanted the extra seat I paid for."</p> <p>The woman claimed that the toddler was only 18 months old, so he didn't need his own seat and could've sat on his mum's lap for the duration of the flight. </p> <p>"I got dirty looks and passive-aggressive remarks from her for the entire flight and I do feel a little bad because the boy looked hard to control - but am I in the wrong?" she asked other social media users. </p> <p>Many shared their overwhelming support for the woman and slammed the mum and flight attendant for their "horrific" behaviour. </p> <p>"The mum is an a**hole for not buying a seat for her son and assuming someone else would give up a seat they paid for. Odds are she was hoping there'd be extra seats on the flight so she didn't have to pay and used the lap thing as a loophole," one commented. </p> <p>"What's even the point of the extra seat if the flight attendants are going to let entitled people bully others into giving it up?" another added. </p> <p>"People buy entire seats for high-end musical equipment. Not even people. Their lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on your part," a third wrote. </p> <p>However, there were a few others that said the woman was in the wrong for causing an inconvenience. </p> <p>"If you are so fat that you have to have more than one seat on an airplane then you are selfish," one said. </p> <p>"Flights overbook all the time especially during the holidays - how can you justify having two seats to yourself?" </p> <p>"How much room does a kid take up, seriously? Yeah the mum should've bought a seat but that doesn't mean you have to be selfish and cause two people discomfort," another commented. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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The sky’s the limit: A brief history of in-flight entertainment

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381">Olusola Adewumi John</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a> </em></p> <p>As the winter holidays draw near, many of us are already booking flights to see friends and family or vacation in warmer climates. Nowadays, air travel is synonymous with some form of in-flight entertainment, encompassing everything from the reception offered by the aircrew to the food choices and digital content.</p> <p>These services all add value to flying for customers. Passengers are now so familiar with in-flight entertainment that to travel without it is unthinkable.</p> <p><a href="https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/10/19/2762903/0/en/In-Flight-Entertainment-Connectivity-Market-to-Worth-21-03-Bn-by-2030-Exhibiting-With-a-15-9-CAGR.html">The in-flight entertainment and connectivity market grew to US$5.9 billion as of 2019</a>, a testament to its economic impact on both the airlines and the GDP of countries with airline carriers.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment is so ubiquitous that, even if all other airline services were offered, <a href="https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/19427/will-airlines-compensate-me-if-my-entertainment-system-is-not-working">the airline ensures a refund is made to the passenger affected</a> if television content cannot be accessed.</p> <h2>A brief history</h2> <p>In-flight entertainment has evolved significantly over the years. Before in-flight entertainment media was introduced, passengers entertained themselves by reading books or with food and drink services.</p> <p>The original aim of bringing in-flight entertainment into cabins was to attract more customers, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including the theatrical and domestic media environments. It was not initially for the comfort and ease of travelling, as it is today.</p> <p><a href="https://www.academia.edu/5023683/A_History_of_INFLIGHT_ENTERTAINMENT">Inflight entertainment began as an experiment</a> in 1921, when 11 Aeromarine Airways passengers were shown the film <em>Howdy Chicago!</em> on a screen hung in the cabin during the flight. Four years later, another experiment was carried out in 1925 when 12 passengers on board an Imperial Airlines flight from London were shown the film <em>The Lost World</em>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-space-magazine/when-did-inflight-movies-become-standard-on-airlines-180955566/">It wasn’t until the 1960s</a> that in-flight movies became mainstream for airlines. Trans World Airlines became the first carrier to regularly offer feature films during flights, using a unique film system developed by <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1962/06/02/inflight">David Flexer, then-president of Inflight Motion Pictures</a>.</p> <p>Starting in 1964, in-flight entertainment evolved to include various media types like 16-mm film, closed-circuit television, live television broadcasts and magnetic tape. In the 1970s, for example, airplanes might feature a large screen with a 16-mm projector in one part of the plane, while small screens hung overhead in another section.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/when-did-airlines-install-seatback-entertainment-20190711-h1g51b.html">Seatback screens were introduced in 1988</a> when Airvision installed 6.9-centimetre screens on the backs of airline seats for Northwest Airlines. They have since morphed into the larger screens we are familiar with today, which are found on nearly every airline.</p> <h2>In-flight entertainment today</h2> <p>Most airlines nowadays have personal televisions for every passenger on long-haul flights. On-demand streaming and internet access are also now the norm. Despite initial concerns about speed and cost, in-flight services are becoming faster and more affordable.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment now includes movies, music, radio talk shows, TV talk shows, documentaries, magazines, stand-up comedy, culinary shows, sports shows and kids’ shows.</p> <p>However, the rise of personal devices, like tablets and smartphones, <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/the-weird-and-wonderful-history-of-in-flight-entertainment/">could spell the end for seatback screens</a>. A number of U.S. airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Air, have <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/airline-seatback-screens-may-soon-become-an-endangered-species">removed seatback screens from their domestic planes</a>.</p> <p>This decline is par for the course. To arrive at the complex system used by aircraft today, in-flight entertainment went through a number of different stages, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">as identified by aviation scholar D.A. Reed</a>.</p> <p>It started with an idea phase, which saw the conception of the idea, followed by an arms race phase where most airlines adopted some form of it. Currently, airlines are facing challenges in the final — and current — phase of evolution, and are dealing with failures linked to business concept flaws or low revenue.</p> <p>Now that most air travellers carry electronic devices, fewer airlines are installing seatback screens. From an economic standpoint, this makes sense for airlines: removing seatback screens <a href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/business/airlines-travel-entertainment.html">improves fuel costs</a> and allows airlines to <a href="https://www.flightglobal.com/systems-and-interiors/united-ups-757-density-with-new-slimline-seats/126574.article">install slimmer seats</a>, allowing for more passengers.</p> <h2>More than entertainment</h2> <p>At some point in the evolution of in-flight entertainment, it started to serve as more than just a form of entertainment or comfort. Now, it’s also a competitive tool for airline advertisements, and a form of cultural production.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment has become an economic platform for investors, business people, manufacturers and entertainment providers, especially Hollywood. It also plays a key role in promoting the national culture of destination countries.</p> <p>However, the evolution of in-flight entertainment hasn’t been without its challenges. As a form of cultural production, it often reflects the interests of advertisers, governments and business entities. It also follows that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">certain ideas, products and cultures are sold to passengers</a> via in-flight entertainment.</p> <p>The lucrative practice of capturing and selling passengers’ attention to advertisers was not limited to screens, either. In-flight magazines have always been packed with advertisements, and by the late 1980s, these advertisements had spread to napkins and the audio channels.</p> <p>Despite its shortcomings and precarious future, in-flight entertainment still offers passengers a sense of comfort, alleviating concerns about being suspended over 30,000 feet above sea level. If you end up flying during the holidays, remember your comfort is partly thanks to this innovation.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218996/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381"><em>Olusola Adewumi John</em></a><em>, Visiting Researcher, Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-skys-the-limit-a-brief-history-of-in-flight-entertainment-218996">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Flying home for Christmas? Carbon offsets are important, but they won’t fix plane pollution

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susanne-becken-90437">Susanne Becken</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-mackey-152282">Brendan Mackey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Australia is an important player in the global tourism business. In 2016, <a href="https://www.tra.gov.au/research/research">8.7 million visitors arrived in Australia and 8.8 million Australians went overseas</a>. A further 33.5 million overnight trips were made domestically.</p> <p>But all this travel comes at a cost. According to the <a href="http://tourismdashboard.org/explore-the-data/carbon-emissions/">Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard</a>, all Australian domestic trips and one-way international journeys (the other half is attributed to the end point of travel) amount to 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for 2016. That is 2.7% of global aviation emissions, despite a population of only 0.3% of the global total.</p> <p>The peak month of air travel in and out of Australia is December. Christmas is the time where people travel to see friends and family, or to go on holiday. More and more people are <a href="http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/analysis-of-a-119-country-survey-predicts-global-climate-change-awareness/">aware of the carbon implications of their travel</a> and want to know whether, for example, they should purchase carbon offsets or not.</p> <p>Our <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969699716302538">recent study in the Journal of Air Transport Management</a> showed that about one third of airlines globally offer some form of carbon offsetting to their customers. However, the research also concluded that the information provided to customers is often insufficient, dated and possibly misleading. Whilst local airlines <a href="https://www.qantasfutureplanet.com.au/#aboutus">Qantas</a>, <a href="https://www.virginaustralia.com/nz/en/about-us/sustainability/carbon-offset-program/">Virgin Australia</a> and <a href="https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/sustainability-customer-carbon-offset">Air New Zealand</a> have relatively advanced and well-articulated carbon offset programs, others fail to offer scientifically robust explanations and accredited mechanisms that ensure that the money spent on an offset generates some real climate benefits.</p> <p>The notion of carbon compensation is actually more difficult than people might think. To help explain why carbon offsetting does make an important climate contribution, but at the same time still adds to atmospheric carbon, we created an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsh-erzGlR0">animated video clip</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xsh-erzGlR0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Jack’s journey.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>The video features Jack, a concerned business traveller who begins purchasing carbon credits. However, he comes to the realisation that the carbon emissions from his flights are still released into the atmosphere, despite the credit.</p> <p>The concept of “carbon neutral” promoted by airline offsets means that an equal amount of emissions is avoided elsewhere, but it does not mean there is no carbon being emitted at all – just relatively less compared with the scenario of not offsetting (where someone else continues to emit, in addition to the flight).</p> <p>This means that, contrary to many promotional and educational materials (see <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGB2OAg5ffA">here</a> for instance), carbon offsetting will not reduce overall carbon emissions. Trading emissions means that we are merely maintaining status quo.</p> <p>A steep reduction, however, is what’s required by every sector if we were to reach the net-zero emissions goal by 2050, agreed on in the <a href="http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php">Paris Agreement</a>.</p> <p>Carbon offsetting is already an important “<a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517714000910">polluter pays</a>” mechanism for travellers who wish to contribute to climate mitigation. But it is also about to be institutionalised at large scale through the new UN-run <a href="https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/Pages/market-based-measures.aspx">Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)</a>.</p> <p>CORSIA will come into force in 2021, when participating airlines will have to purchase carbon credits for emissions above 2020 levels on certain routes.</p> <p>The availability of carbon credits and their integrity is of major concern, as well as how they align with national obligations and mechanisms agreed in the Paris Agreement. Of particular interest is <a href="http://www.carbon-mechanisms.de/en/introduction/the-paris-agreement-and-article-6/">Article 6</a>, which allows countries to cooperate in meeting their climate commitments, including by “trading” emissions reductions to count towards a national target.</p> <p>The recent COP23 in Bonn highlighted that CORSIA is widely seen as a potential source of billions of dollars for offset schemes, supporting important climate action. Air travel may provide an important intermediate source of funds, but ultimately the aviation sector, just like anyone else, will have to reduce their own emissions. This will mean major advances in technology – and most likely a contraction in the fast expanding global aviation market.</p> <h2>Travelling right this Christmas</h2> <p>In the meantime, and if you have booked your flights for Christmas travel, you can do the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p>pack light (every kilogram will cost additional fuel)</p> </li> <li> <p>minimise carbon emissions whilst on holiday (for instance by biking or walking once you’re there), and</p> </li> <li> <p>support a <a href="http://www.co2offsetresearch.org/consumer/Standards.html">credible offsetting program</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <p>And it’s worth thinking about what else you can do during the year to minimise emissions – this is your own “carbon budget”.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/89148/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susanne-becken-90437">Susanne Becken</a>, Professor of Sustainable Tourism and Director, Griffith Institute for Tourism, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-mackey-152282">Brendan Mackey</a>, Director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/flying-home-for-christmas-carbon-offsets-are-important-but-they-wont-fix-plane-pollution-89148">original article</a>.</em></p>

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