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Here’s what happens to your body during plane turbulence – and how to reduce the discomfort it causes

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>This week has seen another barrage of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/jan/22/uk-weather-storm-jocelyn-to-follow-isha-with-more-strong-winds-and-heavy-rain">unsettled weather</a> sweep across the UK, with many flights delayed or cancelled. Some of those who were fortunate enough to take off found themselves arriving at destinations that weren’t on their boarding passes – such as passengers travelling from Stansted to Newquay who eventually diverted to <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/storm-isha-creates-flight-diversion-142821278.html">Malaga</a>.</p> <p>One thing that was consistently described by passengers was that parts of the flights and the attempted landings were some of the most unnerving they’d ever experienced, due to turbulence.</p> <p>Turbulence results from uneven air movement, which is <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023GL103814">increasing</a> in frequency. If you turn your hair dryer on at home and hold it still, the air moves at a constant rate, but once you begin drying your hair and moving the hairdryer around, the air movement becomes uneven, that is to say, turbulent.</p> <p>Although turbulence may be unnerving and make you feel unwell, it is important to recognise that it is very common and typically <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18018437/">nothing to worry about</a> if you’re in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.</p> <h2>How the body detects and responds to turbulence</h2> <p>The body recognises itself within any environment. Its relationship with objects in terms of distance and direction is called <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780123750006003414">spatial orientation</a>.</p> <p>When flying, this is typically moving forwards, ascending, some turns and a descent. However, turbulence disrupts this relationship and confuses the sensory information being received by the brain – it makes the body want to respond or recalibrate.</p> <p>Our inner ears play a pivotal role in all this. It consists of complex apparatuses that undertake more than hearing. These include the cochlea, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279394/">three semi-circular canals</a>, <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/articles/utricle-ear?lang=gb">the utricle</a> and <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/articles/saccule-ear-1?lang=gb">the saccule</a>.</p> <p>The cochlea is responsible for hearing. It converts <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531483/">sound energy into electrical energy</a> that is then “heard” by the brain. The remaining structures are responsible for the balance and position of the head and body. The semi-circular canals are positioned in a vertical (side to side), horizontal and front-to-back plane, detecting movement in a nodding, shaking and touching ear-to-shoulder direction.</p> <p>Attached to these canals are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532978/">the utricle and saccule</a>, which can detect <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10792/">movement</a> and <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(05)00837-7.pdf">acceleration</a>.</p> <p>All of these apparatuses use microscopic hair cells in a specialised fluid called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531505/">endolymph</a> that flows with the head to create a sense of movement. When the plane encounters turbulence, this fluid moves around, but unpredictably. It takes <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518976/">about ten to 20 seconds</a> for the fluid to recalibrate its position, while the brain struggles to understand what is going on.</p> <p>When the aircraft hits turbulence, the balance apparatus <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2023.949227/full">cannot distinguish</a> the movement of the plane from that of the head, so the brain interprets the aircraft movement as that of the head or body. But this doesn’t match the visual information being received, which causes sensory confusion.</p> <p>The reason the inner ear causes so much confusion is because during flights you are devoid of your primary sensory tool relative to the external environment – your sight and the horizon.</p> <p>Eighty per cent of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518976/">spatial information</a> comes from your eyes during flight. However, you only have the seat in front of you or the cabin as a reference point, which means your inner ear becomes the dominant sensory message to the brain during turbulence and disrupts the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545297/">“vestibulo-ocular reflex”</a>. This reflex keeps your vision <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4130651/">aligned</a> with your balance or expected position.</p> <p>Vision is the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777262/">most valued</a> of the senses and one-third of the brain is attributed to its function, reinforcing its importance in spatial orientation.</p> <p>This sensory mixed messaging often results in things like dizziness and sweating as well as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as <a href="https://www.airmedicaljournal.com/article/S1067-991X(02)70038-2/fulltext">nausea and vomiting</a>.</p> <p>Motion sickness can be triggered by turbulence and although research into specific airsickness is limited, other modes that induce motion sickness suggest that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16018346/">women</a> are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26466829/">more susceptible</a> than men, particularly in the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16235881/">early stages</a> of the menstrual cycle.</p> <p>The turbulence also causes an increase in your heart rate, which is already higher than normal when flying because of a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15819766/">decrease in oxygen saturation</a>.</p> <h2>What about the pilots?</h2> <p>Commercial pilots accrue thousands of hours at the controls, they are subject to the same forces as the passengers.</p> <p>Over time, they can <a href="https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/180/11/1135/4160573">adapt to these forces</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15828634/">experiences</a>, but they also have a couple of additional resources that most passengers don’t.</p> <p>They have the view out of the cockpit windows, so have a horizon to use as a reference point and can see what lies immediately ahead.</p> <p>If it is cloudy or visibility is low, their instruments provide additional visual <a href="https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/19_phak_ch17.pdf">reference</a> to the position of the aircraft. This doesn’t mean they are immune to the effects of turbulence, with some studies reporting up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26540704/">71% of trainee pilots</a> reporting episodes of airsickness.</p> <h2>How to reduce the discomfort</h2> <p>A window seat can help, or even looking out the window. This gives the brain some sensory information through visual pathways, helping calm the brain in response to the vestibular information it is receiving.</p> <p>If you can get one, a seat towards the front or over the wing reduces the effects of turbulence.</p> <p>Deep or rhythmical breathing can help reduce motion sickness induced by turbulence. Focusing on your breathing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25945662/">calms the nervous system</a>.</p> <p>Don’t reach for the alcohol. While you may feel it calms your nerves, if you hit turbulence it’s going to interfere with your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7610847/">visual and auditory processing</a> and increase the likelihood of vomiting.</p> <p>If you suffer from motion sickness and are worried about turbulence while flying, then there are also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6241144/">drugs that can help</a>, including certain <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/cinnarizine/about-cinnarizine/">antihistamines</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it’s important to remember that although turbulence can be unpleasant, aircraft are designed to withstand the forces it generates and many passengers, even frequent fliers, will rarely encounter the most severe categories of turbulence because pilots actively plan routes to avoid it.<!-- 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/221780/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/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster 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/heres-what-happens-to-your-body-during-plane-turbulence-and-how-to-reduce-the-discomfort-it-causes-221780">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Not one ounce of compassion”: BBC star kicked off plane over daughter's allergy

<p>A BBC weather presenter and her family have been kicked off a plane after asking passengers to be wary of her daughter's peanut allergy. </p> <p>British weather presenter Georgie Palmer was flying from London to Turkey with her husband Matt and their daughters Annie and Rosie, as the family boarded their flight at Gatwick Airport with SunExpress airlines. </p> <p>Georgie and her family were kicked off the plane shortly after boarding, after the 49-year-old mother ran into issues around her daughter's severe allergy to peanuts.</p> <p>According to Palmer, she has requested that the captain make an announcement to all passengers asking them not to eat any peanut products on the flight, but the pilot refused. </p> <p>Palmer then took matters into her own hands and one by one asked passengers not to consume peanuts on the four-hour flight, before being asked to disembark the aircraft.</p> <p>The weather presenter took to Instagram to share her side of the story with a lengthy post. </p> <p>She began, “I thanked the beautiful souls on our plane for helping us. Many of them hugged, cheered and held our hands as we were forced to disembark."</p> <p>“The SunExpress captain and cabin crew refused to make the standard announcement on behalf of our daughter. We gently asked the passengers at the front of the plane to share our request."</p> <p>“Row by row, all the passengers turned back to kindly ask the row behind to please not eat nuts on the flight. It was calm, earnest and with an overwhelming sense of solidarity and empathy.”</p> <p>Georgie added: “There’s no beef with simple asks like these. People get it!"</p> <p>“We were hoofed off the plane after the angry little captain shouted at us from the cockpit.”</p> <p>She concluded by saying they were discriminated against for “simply having an allergy”.</p> <p>Georgie told the <a title="www.dailymail.co.uk" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13457399/bbc-weather-presenter-Georgie-Palmer-flight-nuts.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail</em>,</a> “The captain decided because of my daughter’s allergy he didn’t want to fly with her on board."</p> <p>“When he found out I had spoken to the other passengers he was screaming at me from the cockpit. He was so angry, the next thing I knew we were told to get off the plane."</p> <p>“How we were treated was disgusting – nobody working on that plane showed one ounce of compassion.”</p> <p>A SunExpress spokesman then shared the airline's version of events, claiming that Georgie's husband had become aggressive, and kicked the family off the plane with their best interests at heart. </p> <p>The statement said, “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously. Shortly after boarding our flight, the passenger raised a concern about one of his family group having a serious peanut allergy."</p> <p>“They requested an announcement to other passengers. We refrain from making these kinds of announcements. Like many other airlines, we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment on our flights, nor can we prevent other passengers from bringing food items containing allergens on board."</p> <p>“Due to the insistent behaviour of the passenger to others on board, the captain decided it would be safest if the family did not travel."</p> <p>“When this was explained to the passenger, he behaved aggressively towards our crew members and tried to gain access to the cockpit. To ensure the safety of our crew and our passengers on board, we cannot tolerate aggressive and unruly behaviour on our flights."</p> <p>“Our website states that passengers must notify us 48 hours in advance of any special care required due to a medical condition. No such notification was received from the passengers in this instance.”</p> <p>According to <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/28140666/bbc-family-flight-passengers-peanuts-allergy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a></em>, Mr Sollom denies acting aggressively.</p> <p>The differing versions of events have divided many on social media as thousands weighed in on the debacle, with plenty of users siding with the pilot.</p> <p>“The pilot is a national treasure,” one person wrote.</p> <p>“As they should have been,” a second wrote, referring to the family getting kicked off.</p> <p>“Would have booted them off as well,” another agreed. </p> <p>A fourth wrote: “I think this story would be found under Self Entitlement in the dictionary.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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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>

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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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Actress hospitalised after motorcycle accident

<p>Actress Nina Dobrev has been hospitalised after a dangerous motorbike accident, telling her fans she has a "long recovery ahead". </p> <p>The 35-year-old star of the <em>Vampire Diaries</em> shared photos from her hospital bed, which show her hooked up to various machines while in a hospital gown, and being supported by a neck brace, as well as a brace around her knee. </p> <p>Dobrev posted the hospital photo alongside a photo of her on her motorcycle before the accident to her 26 million followers, captioned, "How it started vs. how it's going."</p> <p>The actress then posted an explanation on her Instagram story, telling her followers "I'm ok, but it's going to be a long road of recovery ahead."</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7MuGm4Rue2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;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/C7MuGm4Rue2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Nina Dobrev (@nina)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Shaun White, Dobrev's boyfriend, joked on her post "Just keeping things on brand."</p> <p>Just days before the accident, the couple shared that they had been travelling to tick things off their bucket lists.</p> <p>"It's been really fun having time together. Normally I'm off competing and she's shooting a project or something … but now we've got some time together," White, who is an Olympian, told publication <em><a title="Us Weekly" href="https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/shaun-white-has-a-post-retirement-bucket-list-with-nina-dobrev/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">US Weekly</a></em>.</p> <p>"We went to Antarctica, Dubai, visited her mum in France, went to Monaco, went to Indonesia. We've kind of been all over."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </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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"A kick in the teeth": Father of Hunter Valley crash victim shares his anger

<p>The father of one of the victims of the deadly Hunter Valley bus crash has spoken out, following news that the driver struck a plea deal. </p> <p>On Wednesday, Brett Andrew Button entered into a plea agreement, which saw 10 manslaughter charges be dropped against the man who was behind the wheel when the bus crashed. </p> <p>He then pled guilty to 10 counts of dangerous driving causing death, nine of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and 16 of furious driving causing bodily harm.</p> <p>After news of the plea deal broke, the father of one of the victims shared how the downgrade in charges felt like "more than a kick in the teeth". </p> <p>"It reopens wounds and triggers and it evokes, obviously, some anger, but I'm trying to be balanced and stick with the facts and hopefully we can achieve some positive outcomes," Adam Bray told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/hunter-valley-wedding-bus-crash-manslaughter-charges-dropped/d55638e1-690f-41e1-967c-6c714ccbb501" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>. </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/reel/C6s9sJvsnxh/?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/reel/C6s9sJvsnxh/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by A Current Affair (@acurrentaffair9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mr Bray's son, 29-year-old Zach was one of the 10 people who tragically died in the crash. </p> <p>"Five weeks ago we were running 89 charges, including 10 charges of manslaughter."</p> <p>"Thirty six hours before the court today, all the families were told, sold a bit of a story to be honest ... that's extremely disappointing and I'll continue to fight."</p> <p>"It's totally wrong and does it need to take these 10 lives to fix bus and coach safety in Australia?"</p> <p>Mr Bray's comments come as reports emerged that Mr Button had a drug dependency and had prescription painkillers in his system at the time of the crash.</p> <p>"It's criminal to drive a vehicle, a heavy vehicle in Australia, particularly with 35 passengers on board, when you are medicated," Bray said.</p> <p>"So to reduce to lesser charges, it's not balanced.</p> <p>Bray's emotions ran high as he described his son as an "incredible man" who had overcome stage 3 bowel cancer before the fatal crash.</p> <p><em>A Current Affair</em> host Ally Langdon told the grieving father. "I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I'm so sorry the process played out as it has. It's not fair."</p> <p>Following the emotional court proceedings, Mr Bray said he felt like his emotions over the tragedy were "pretty much back to square one".</p> <p>"(I am) processing it. Yep, another massive challenge. We'll do our best to get through it, but also try to get law reform so that 10 beautiful people did not die in vain."</p> <p>"It's far from fair, let's try to rally around government, try to rally around the attorney general, get some public opinion, let's try to create some fairness, it's all we can do."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair / Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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Charges dropped for Hunter Valley bus driver

<p>The driver responsible for the Hunter Valley bus crash that claimed the lives of 10 people has had major charges dropped as he faced court. </p> <p>Brett Andrew Button, 59, faced Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday, as all 10 manslaughter charges were dropped as part of a deal struck with prosecutors. </p> <p>As part of the deal, Button pled guilty to a string of other charges, including 10 counts of dangerous driving causing death, nine counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and 16 counts of furious driving causing bodily harm.</p> <p>Another 25 charges of causing bodily harm by misconduct were also withdrawn.</p> <p>He was not yet required to enter pleas to back-up charges including negligent driving causing death.</p> <p>Since his first arrest, Button had been on bail after initially being granted release due to mental health and wellbeing concerns should he be kept in custody.</p> <p>However, he has now been remanded into custody on remand to await sentencing.</p> <p>The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) declined to comment on the reason for the manslaughter charges being withdrawn.</p> <p>Mr Button was arrested after allegedly losing control of a bus that was transporting 35 wedding guests to a reception in the NSW Hunter Valley. </p> <p>The bus rolled over at a roundabout near Greta, killing 10 people and injuring 25 others. </p> <p>Mother and daughter Nadene and Kyah McBride, Kyah’s boyfriend Kane Symons, husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott, Zach Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn and Rebecca Mullen all died in the impact.</p> <p>Button has previously apologised for the incident, telling reporters outside court in March he was “devastated by what has occurred” and that he was “truly and deeply sorry”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Best friends on the way to a wedding identified in fatal crash

<p>The best friends who were on their way to a wedding when they were struck in a fatal crash in Brisbane have been identified. </p> <p>Lily Galbraith, 24, and Emma McLean, 23, were travelling in a silver sedan through the Legacy Way tunnel on Wednesday at 3pm when they were hit by a black Audi. </p> <p>Ms Galbraith, a South Australian nurse who was originally from the Northern Territory, died in the crash, while Ms McLean is still fighting for her life in hospital after suffering critical injuries. </p> <p>The driver of the Audi, who also died in the crash, has been identified as former police officer Bruce Daley. </p> <p>After the Audi collided with the sedan, police believe the impact of the crash then pushed the sedan into a small truck, causing serious injuries to the driver of the truck.</p> <p>Mr Daley, who was medically retired from the Queensland Police Service in December 2014, had posted online about relationship struggles and loneliness over several years.</p> <p>Inspector Hansel said speed would be a “focus” of the investigation, with claims the Audi hit speeds of up to 200km/h before the crash.</p> <p>The Nurses and Midwives Memorial Page Australia paid tribute to Ms Galbraith on Thursday. </p> <p>“Rest in peace, Lily. Thank you for your service. Condolences to your family, friends and colleagues,” the post read.</p> <p>“All the very best for Emma and sending love to her family as they wait to see how her progress is. We are also thinking of the bride, groom and any wedding guests also mourning.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Facebook</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>

Travel Trouble

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Hunter Valley bus driver breaks silence

<p>Brett Andrew Button, 59, who allegedly caused a fatal bus crash that <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/hunter-valley-bus-driver-hit-with-new-charges" target="_blank" rel="noopener">killed 10 people</a> and injured 25 others has broken his silence over the incident for the first time.</p> <p>Button appeared before Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday as he faces almost 90 charges associated with the horror crash. </p> <p>In a statement read by his lawyer, Chris O’Brien, Button said that there was “not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened that night”.</p> <p>“There isn’t an hour that goes by that I’m not thinking of the families that have been affected by the crash.</p> <p>“I truly feel for anyone involved, including the emergency services.</p> <p>“I am devastated by what has occurred and I am truly deeply sorry.”</p> <p>Button was the bus driver in charge of driving wedding guests to a Hunter Valley venue when the vehicle allegedly lost control and crashed.</p> <p>Husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott were killed in the crash and farewelled in ceremonies weeks later. </p> <p>Nadene and Kyah McBride who were among the ten wedding guests killed in the crash, were also <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/a-moving-time-hunter-valley-bus-crash-victims-honoured-at-aflw-grand-final" target="_blank" rel="noopener">honoured with a tribute</a> at the AFLW grand final in December. </p> <p>Zach Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn and Rebecca Mullen were the other victims of the horror crash. </p> <p>Button faces 89 charges including nine counts of negligent driving occasioning death and 16 counts of driving a motor vehicle furiously doing or causing harm.</p> <p>He has not entered any pleas. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Legal

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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>

Travel Trouble

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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>

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