Travel Trouble

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Tourist slapped with $225k bill after simple mistake

<p>An American tourist has revealed the moment he was charged with a $US143k (AU$225k) bill after a short holiday to Switzerland. </p> <p>Rene Remund and his wife Linda went on the trip last September.</p> <p>Prior to their travels, Remund made sure to inform his mobile phone provider, T-Mobile, that he was going overseas and as a customer of 30 years, he was told he was “covered”.</p> <p>So, with no worries at all, the tourist shared photos of his moments in the Swiss countryside with friends and family via photo messages. </p> <p>Imagine his surprise when he came home to a six-figure bill, after he racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in daily roaming costs. </p> <p>“I get this T-Mobile bill and it doesn’t bother me very much because I was reading $143,” he explained, adding it wasn’t until he went to pay the bill that he realised a few more zeros were involved.</p> <p>“I look at the bill and I say, ‘excuse me’,” he said.</p> <p>“$143,000 … are you guys crazy?”</p> <p>According to the bill, Remund had racked up 9.5 gigabytes of data while in Europe, which cost him thousands of dollars each day. While it wasn't a huge amount of data, not being covered by roaming fees will cause a user to run up a huge bill very quickly. </p> <p>“I called [T-Mobile] and the girl put me on hold for a while,” he explained.</p> <p>“She said let me check this out and I’ll get back to you. She gets back and says, yeah this is a good bill.</p> <p>“I said, ‘what do you mean it’s a good bill?’ And she says ‘well, this is what you owe’.</p> <p>“I said ‘you’re kidding me … you’re crazy’.”</p> <p>After confirming that his bill was in fact  AU$225,000, Remund hired a lawyer to argue the fact that he was covered for international roaming. </p> <p>His lawyer issued a letter to the president of T-Mobile, and they only received a reply a few days ago. </p> <p>The letter from T-Mobile allegedly said that the service provider was “sorry” for the charges, and that Remund would receive a “credit” to eliminate the entire bill. </p> <p>In an email shared to local media <em>Scripps News Tampa</em>, the mobile phone provider said that customers should always “check the travel features of their plan, such as international data roaming, before departing”.</p> <p>“If a customer is on an older plan that doesn’t include international roaming for data and calling, they’ll need to make sure they’re using aeroplane mode and wi-fi when using data to be certain the device doesn’t connect to an international network.”</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: ABC Action News</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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The worst country for pickpockets revealed

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to travelling abroad, there are always different rules to abide by in order to have a stress-free holiday experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">Common sense is a huge key player in staying safe while travelling, with holiday goers often taking extra precautions to keep themselves and their belongings safe in foreign countries. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, there will always be sneaky people who prey on tourists, with these pickpockets having the power to turn a holiday potentially disastrous. </p> <p dir="ltr">While lots of savvy travellers will share their stories about a particular city and a close call they encountered on their journeys, a new survey has proven which European cities are the worst for pickpocketing. </p> <p dir="ltr">Travel insurance experts at <a href="https://www.quotezone.co.uk/presszone/european-pickpocketing-index-top-tourist-destinations-to-watch-out-for">Quotezone</a> have compiled a list of the top 10 cities tourists (as well as locals) are likely to be pickpocketed while travelling around Europe, based on customer feedback and complaints. </p> <p dir="ltr">Italy has come in at the top spot, with the major cities reporting the biggest number of theft complaints in comparison to any other European countries. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tourists named hotspots such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon in Rome, as well as the Duomo di Milano in Milan and the Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence as places they were targeted by pickpockets. </p> <p dir="ltr">Coming in at second place was France, with major tourist hotspots in Paris all being named as places to be wary of pickpockets. </p> <p dir="ltr">Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, said that unfortunately this new research shows that thousands of people have complained about pickpockets in Europe while experiencing the best that European holiday destinations have to offer.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said, “Theft can happen anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target holidaymakers’ wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is essential always to remain vigilant, leave valuables, like expensive jewellery, in a safe in the hotel and always travel with a secure cross-body bag with zips to secure phones and wallets or even a money belt.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Check out the entire top ten list of destinations with the highest pickpocketing rates below. </p> <p dir="ltr">10. Poland</p> <p dir="ltr">9. Ireland </p> <p dir="ltr">8. Turkey </p> <p dir="ltr">7. Portugal </p> <p dir="ltr">6. Spain </p> <p dir="ltr">5. Greece</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Germany</p> <p dir="ltr">3. The Netherlands </p> <p dir="ltr">2. France </p> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">1. Italy</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

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"I believe he is alive": Father of young man who jumped off cruise ship speaks out

<p>The father of the young man who jumped off a cruise ship on its way to Florida has spoken out, saying he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>While the Liberty of the Seas was travelling back from the Dominican Republic on its way to Florida, 20-year-old Levion Parker <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/young-man-who-jumped-off-cruise-ship-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">jumped overboard</a>. </p> <p>The ship was reportedly about 90km off the southern most island of the Bahamas when the young man, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, jumped overboard in the early hours of the morning. </p> <p>Witnesses recounted the harrowing scene, describing how a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>After days of searching, the US coast guard called off their search for the young man. </p> <p>Now, Legion's father Francel said he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>“As soon as he went off the side, I prayed over him. I was confident the prayers I said over my son were heard. I stand on the word of God. I believe he is alive,” Mr Parker told local Florida paper, the <a href="https://www.yoursun.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Sun</em>, </a>on Wednesday.</p> <p>Francel went open to say that he threw six life rings off the ship in hopes of saving his son before the vessel was able to come to a stop about 20 minutes later.</p> <p>When news broke onboard of the tragedy, travellers reported that many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to spot the young man in the water.</p> <p>Levion was reportedly “drunk” on the night of the incident, although details around this are unclear as the minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on voyages from North America or the Caribbean is 21.</p> <p>“We don’t drink,” Levion’s father Francel said. “I’d like to know how my son was served so much alcohol.”</p> <p>Francel, who owns an air-conditioning business, was invited, together with his family, aboard the ship as guests of Florida-based air-conditioning wholesalers Tropic Supply to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook </em></p>

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"Height of selfishness": Photo at iconic beach sparks debate over etiquette

<p>A photo taken at Bronte Beach has sparked the age old debate over whether picnickers should be allowed to reserve picnic tables by dumping their stuff on them. </p> <p>The image taken at one of Sydney's most popular beaches, showed two picnic tables under the same hut with table clothes and bags on them, but there was no human in sight. </p> <p>“There were at least half a dozen of these tables ‘reserved’ for a couple of hours on Sunday morning from very early in the day,” one annoyed beachgoer wrote on Reddit. </p> <p>“We got there at 7am and left a few hours later. No one was using the tables the entire time we were there.”</p> <p>The post has received hundreds of comments from other annoyed picnickers, with one going as far as calling it "unAustralian". </p> <p>“It's not acceptable,” one person said. “You can reserve it by sitting there yourself, but not by leaving an item.”</p> <p>“Yes, you should be actually using it, not leaving your s**t on there to reserve it for later,” another added. </p> <p>“It's the height of selfishness.”</p> <p>“Move their stuff, move yourself in, and say, ‘it was like this when I got here’,” one commenter suggested. </p> <p>“All I see is a free tablecloth and free bag,” another quipped. </p> <p>However, a few others pointed out that there were other available seats, and that there are unspoken rules around reserving picnic spots. </p> <p>"In this instance, it’s probably okay,” one wrote. “The back table is free, go grab it.”</p> <p>"As long as there’s people there minding the tables, not just throwing a bunch of tablecloths down and walking off, I’m fine with it,” another added. “First come first served.”</p> <p>“If I was bringing a few things from the car I might do this,” a third commented. </p> <p> “Like dropping off the tablecloth and backpack before grabbing the esky etc. But I'd maintain line of sight. Anything else isn't justified in my opinion.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Waverly Council have asked people to "refrain from reserving tables and always have a back up plan". </p> <p>“Waverley is the second-most densely populated local government area in Australia outside of the City of Sydney, and we attract millions of visitors every year, so our recreational spaces are at a premium," the spokesperson told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. </p> <p>“On weekends and at other peak times, picnic tables and barbecues do invariably fill up. So we ask people to share our spaces so that everyone can have a turn.”</p> <p><em>Images: Reddit</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Selfies and social media: how tourists indulge their influencer fantasies

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-canavan-228682">Brendan Canavan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-nottingham-1192">University of Nottingham</a></em></p> <p>A town in the US state of Vermont <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/vermont-town-banning-influencers-tourists-visiting-fall-foliage-rcna117413">closed its roads to tourists</a> in September 2023 after a social media tag sparked a swarm of visitors that overwhelmed the rural destination.</p> <p>Videos on TikTok were seen by thousands and the hashtag #sleepyhollowfarm went viral, prompting a tourist rush to the pretty New England town of Pomfret, where visitors tried to take photos of themselves against the countryside backdrop. The town, famous for its fall foliage, criticised this as problematic and “influencer tourism”, part of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738320300426">a travel trend</a> where a social media phenomenon can spark an overwhelming and unexpected rise in visitor numbers.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0002764292036002005?casa_token=gQo4-8jeYdIAAAAA:Oq3Nf5gTtAFK7N00D1NgPO7_zl9ONlOEnzFZnojX6fX1nKXQWJZ4ERn52MlV3abn4fDN4_C4hJjq">Traditionally</a>, we think of tourists as travelling to gain new experiences. They look at sites, take photographs and collect souvenirs. However, this relationship between the tourist and touring is changing.</p> <p>Driven by <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/how-instagram-changed-the-tourism-industry/a-65348690">24-hour access to social media</a>, some tourists now travel primarily to have an experience that <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/travel/discover/get-inspired/Global-Travel-Trends">looks good online</a>. Around 75% of people in a recent American Express survey said they had been inspired to visit somewhere by social media. Some tourists may be prompted to choose a destination by seeing a <a href="https://www.elle.com/culture/travel-food/a27561982/best-instagram-spots/">backdrop that is popular on social media or on television</a>, in order to create a high-status photo.</p> <p>The expansion of social media and ubiquity of smartphone cameras has had a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/13/7312">major impact on tourists’ behaviour</a>. This has also led to what’s been called a <a href="https://www.traveldailynews.com/column/articles/who-are-the-selfie-gaze-tourists/">selfie “tourist gaze”</a>, creating photos where the traveller is at the forefront of images rather than the destination.</p> <p>Indeed, according to my research, increasingly, some tourists go somewhere <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738320300426">to be spotted</a> – to be observed by others both online and in person at these destinations.</p> <h2>Looking for drama</h2> <p>Studies have highlighted how tourists <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517715300388?casa_token=W51WkDKJSK8AAAAA:DG99dEWkyYKWIe6hNcLXR4KRApXV24QksHIzrRNcjVY3FngukDgIv9HLHG4o3NV4rqNJtdet">head for</a> particularly dramatic or luxurious destinations because of their social media links. Dubai, for example, with its bling culture and high-end shopping, has become a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/17/in-this-world-social-media-is-everything-how-dubai-became-the-planets-influencer-capital">playground for influencers</a> looking for a luxury backdrop to add to their celebrity-style image.</p> <p>Some tourists aim to photograph themselves in prestigious locations, rather than taking shots of their <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/13567667221113079?casa_token=xbdUjWECQvMAAAAA:mc4rqleOqgjazW9DAYduW7LaPTu4KEw1DIfbPbWF0vl0efwNPC_GQ0U-HjltguwsIsCoO4ycXgyW7Q">travel surroundings</a>. Others choose to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738320300426">act like mini-celebrities</a> and perform for the camera, expecting and wanting to be looked at by those they encounter – or even narrating their participation in extreme events.</p> <p>One of these is the <a href="https://www.theadventurists.com/rickshaw-run/">Rickshaw Run</a>, a 2,000km race across India. This adventure tourism event encourages participants to dress up, act eccentrically and get noticed. Driving tuk-tuks around India, from Kerala to Darjeeling, vehicles are personalised with eye-catching designs. Many participants film themselves and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p3wd0ii2oQ">upload the results</a> to social media, and the events tend to create a significant following. For instance, this YouTube video series created by Rickshaw Run participants drew 3.6m subscribers:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2p3wd0ii2oQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Taking part in the Rickshaw Run.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>However, some of these tourist “performances” can cause controversy. For instance, <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/mexico-tourist-beaten-with-stick-for-climbing-chichen-itza-pyramid/EL5KGLB4CNC5ZONNZCKAMX3LLE/">climbing over</a> fragile archaeological sites in search of social media content might damage them. <a href="https://www.unilad.com/news/russian-tourist-deported-nude-photo-bali-064402-20230330">Posing for laughs</a> in areas considered sacred can offend. The reducing of cultures to <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/selfie-tourists-get-up-easter-islanders-noses-sgfxdtkj7">backdrops for social media content</a> can suggest a lack of interest in or respect for hosts by tourists.</p> <p>My research points to a growth in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2016.1263309">narcissism in society</a>, and connects this with what tourists desire from travel and how they act when travelling. This may be reflected in increased sense of entitlement and exhibitionism by tourists who aim to take photos in more difficult to reach locations or off-limit areas, for instance.</p> <p>Selfie culture arguably promotes <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09528822.2015.1082339?casa_token=tbsXw1drBAEAAAAA:qfSfJBbHWi3x8MSVeoyHBIceP7W_8C55rVctylf-2zRBzx-aG_EeFwvTmHHsOdjQpMd8LVaUrjSo">self-involvement rather than social responsibility</a>. It is well established that tourists <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1368350050408668198?casa_token=K4p5aZCN8t4AAAAA:96p7f3qNu2WndpE-C-D0rs5mJaOlnJ5F6P4iXQlWQopseMGWuJ_5TiaFmRggxFsEjrMCoAr14Kn4">can be selfish</a>, putting their own comfort and entertainment ahead of concerns about local issues. This is especially true of the super-rich. Private jet users <a href="https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/private-jets-can-the-super-rich-supercharge-zero-emission-aviation/">are responsible for</a> half of global aviation emissions.</p> <p>However, the desire to promote the individual and their values could be <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2016.1263309">harnessed to promote</a> more sustainable tourism. Those volunteering abroad might be motivated by the image enhancement opportunities of doing good, but they often offer something back to the social and natural environments of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669580903395030?casa_token=NvJorz8d1F4AAAAA:AXXTdW7ePimqFkWNg1W5w8umGCBwXIjus0WICRIoNZH_gsdr1hHomvMAQV21PYA2HkLwBGsO_Qus8g">their host destinations</a> in the process.</p> <p>There are signs that there’s another tourism trend, with travellers looking for deep and meaningful experiences, and ecotourism could help provide those. The act of travelling in a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2020.1825458">more environmentally friendly way</a> could also be seen as a way to show off, and still provide selfie material.</p> <p>The environmental pros and cons of tourist self-obsession might be <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2016.1263309">debatable</a>. However, self-fixation is arguably not good for tourists themselves. For example, the desire to “perform” on camera could affect people’s mental health, according to one <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10253866.2018.1467318?casa_token=wI7sETKEKJAAAAAA:ebds6fykbyHAGSXIk9iv6-tyziFSIvganp32S65hiX8KeWlaQDwhPxF_2tWEgkNqssqd-SCE-w_3Eg">study</a>.</p> <p>Research has shown that <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2012.762691?casa_token=Jb9SzAGXBD0AAAAA:L5Q-HhPs9jWtfm0Zq4nB0uFHrZ3W8N7o1Liq0KAIRqC4ivEhKyEexEZN-ACoz1qzm7CMqD96zXOm">unexpected encounters help tourists to gain self-insight</a>. In addition, getting out of your comfort zone can lead to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213078020300074?casa_token=MkMbkdyr_cMAAAAA:LLu44kUbbsP5e-iW-kDdI7iSEo3WkLgH5IvKqb2txZA504q74J4OAhTuXIx8m90oDMSvuiq4Mg">rewarding personal growth</a>.</p> <h2>A disconnect between self and place</h2> <p>Taking yet more selfies could cut people off from their surroundings. In doing so, they could be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016073831730097X?casa_token=tOaqrhfVQ-wAAAAA:uxb7djQMWjifvjjgPMZzbq2IQqlgoaGHzWoJkkGbQYQqkbZoeuOqLD91zqwBuWs1SfY7dcK4">less present in the travel experience itself</a>. Indeed, the <a href="https://english.elpais.com/usa/2021-10-29/rise-of-selfie-deaths-leads-experts-to-talk-about-a-public-health-problem.html">growing number</a> of <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/15/asia/french-man-selfie-death-intl-scli/index.html">selfie-related tourist deaths</a> might attest to a disconnect between self and place. A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131996/#:%7E:text=selfie-related%20deaths.-,From%20October%202011%20to%20November%202017%2C%20there%20have%20been%20259,respectively%2C%20in%202016%20and%202017">2018 report</a> estimated 259 deaths to have occurred while taking selfies between 2011-2017.</p> <p>Other research suggests that individuals who are motivated by the desire to present a particular online image may be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211973620301458?casa_token=-HkTUB7WC7cAAAAA:455BE0L2jP-CL1nD18__Ey3fj5GsLmYfKL_EB_P7IWa7lDddpJYIW3UIo5fUjg68e7Nvm7PUlTA#s0050">more likely to take risks</a> with their travel selfies, with potentially fatal consequences.</p> <p>Tourists have always been somewhat self-obsessed. The 18th-century <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160738385900027">Grand Tour</a>, a leisurely trip around Europe, allowed the wealthy to <a href="https://www.historyhit.com/what-was-the-grand-tour/">indulge themselves</a> in <a href="https://www.salon.com/2002/05/31/sultry/">ways</a> that might not have been socially acceptable back home. And at the beginning of the 21st century, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738301000305?casa_token=C5eb2NJQvGsAAAAA:YrdY-xjJwBrUE9RjwyOJ3kRBS4-o7e5Jni5sluTCuZOrgnCULybO8EgJtQqsuSL7B5nZJwiH3Q#BIB37">academics worried about</a> self-involved backpacker communities in southeast Asia having little interest in mixing with local people.</p> <p>What is different about smartphones and social media is that these allow some tourists to present such self-indulgent, and sometimes insensitive, tourism traits immediately. Wifi and mobile data mean that these tourists can travel with one eye on finding the perfect selfie backdrop – filtering and sharing their travel as it happens, responding to likes and comments.</p> <p>For better or worse, living this influencer fantasy may have become an integral part of tourism for some time.<!-- 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/214681/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/brendan-canavan-228682"><em>Brendan Canavan</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-nottingham-1192">University of Nottingham</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/selfies-and-social-media-how-tourists-indulge-their-influencer-fantasies-214681">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Outraged Qantas flyer captures "absolutely unacceptable" act

<p>Qantas staff have been condemned for leaving a pet crate abandoned on a Sydney tarmac in torrential rain. </p> <p>An outraged passenger captured the moment she saw the pet carrier, and a trolley full of suitcases, left in the rain at Sydney Airport on Friday, and shared it to social media. </p> <p>Sydney was hit with heavy rain on Friday, with some parts of New South Wales recording a month's worth of rainfall within a single day. </p> <p>After passengers had been loaded onto the Qantas aircraft, the concerned traveller noticed the animal had been abandoned in the rain.</p> <p>"Unfortunately the weather was unavoidable, but this luggage was left out in the open in Sydney for 30 mins and the animals for 15 minutes — one facing the rain," the furious passenger wrote on Facebook. </p> <p>Travellers on the same flight were quick to comment on the woman's post, saying their luggage had arrived soaking wet. </p> <p>"[I was on] on same flight, my luggage came home wet. Thinking a cover in these conditions would be nice," they wrote. </p> <p>Others expressed their concerns for the animal left in the crate in the rain, saying it was "animal abuse" to leave a furry friend in those conditions. </p> <p>"Those poor fur babies," one person wrote.</p> <p>"I'd report this if I saw it. Should have brought this to the attention of ground crew ASAP."</p> <p>A third added, "I'm unimpressed by the luggage but those pet carriers out there is absolutely unacceptable. I'd be fuming if my boy was stuck on the tarmac in a cage in torrential rain, making an already stressful situation even worse."</p> <p>"Disgusting to leave those fur babies out in the rain. Almost animal abuse," another said.</p> <p>A spokesperson from Qantas told <em><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/qantas-photo-catches-airline-in-unacceptable-act-id-be-fuming-222149288.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yahoo News</a></em> that they are investigating the incident and that the airline "takes the safety and welfare of pets travelling with us very seriously".</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Dad kicked off Jetstar flight for breaking cardinal rule

<p>A dad has been kicked off a Jetstar flight after snapping a picture of his family boarding the plane from the tarmac. </p> <p>Jimmy Mitchell was with his wife Pauline and their two children as they went to board their flight from Sydney to Brisbane, where they were embarking on a cruise. </p> <p>As the family were boarding the plane from the tarmac, Jimmy quickly took a picture of his kids and his wife who were walking up the rear stairs of the plane. </p> <p>According to Jimmy, who is a seasoned traveller, he didn't hear an announcement be made that passengers were prohibited from taking photos on the tarmac because the plane was refuelling. </p> <p>He was eventually able to board the flight after being confronted by cabin crew, but described the debacle as “one of the most traumatic experiences” he’s had.</p> <p>In a viral TikTok, he alleged that while he was taking the photo, a cabin crew member called him an “idiot”. He said that when she tried to get his attention to put the device away it left him embarrassed and shocked. </p> <p>“This is the worst experience I’ve ever had flying,” he said in the clip.</p> <p>“I try and get on the plane, I take a photo of my kids as they get on the plane, in flight mode, and the lady calls me an idiot,” he said.</p> <p>After he confronted the staff member, Mr Mitchell claims he was told he won’t be allowed to board the flight.</p> <p>“I turned around in disbelief because I was half way up the stairs at this point. I basically stormed over to her and I was like, ‘Are you serious? What did you just call me?’</p> <p>“She was basically saying ‘you can’t take photos on the tarmac, you can’t take photos on the tarmac’.”</p> <p>The pair allegedly went back and forth before the father-of-two, known for his travel content, was rejected from boarding the plane. </p> <p>“If she had literally just said anything else, like ‘get off your phone’, I would have done it.”</p> <p>“Apparently, they made an announcement, but I had noise cancelling headphones, Pauline (wife) told me after the fact – I didn’t hear it, there was no notifications about it, there was no signage, no nothing."</p> <p>“All she had to do was say something constructive. ‘Get off your phone,’ ‘you can’t have your phone out’ and I would have been like ‘sorry’, but she screams across the tarmac calling me an idiot.”</p> <p>“I can see how she maybe felt I was being intimidating because I am a big guy and I am a loud guy. She turns around to me and goes ‘you almost assaulted me, get off the tarmac, you’re not getting on this plane’.”</p> <p>Mr Mitchell then walked back inside the terminal where he awaited further instructions, and was later able to board the flight “after cooler heads prevailed” but wants the airline to apologise to him and his family over the “stressful” situation.</p> <p>“The way they treated Pauline and the kids and not allowing me to communicate with them what was going on, was completely unacceptable,” he said.</p> <p>The debacle has sparked a huge debate on his TikTok and Instagram over who is in the wrong.</p> <p>“Wow … that’s insane! So sorry that happened to you!” one person wrote.</p> <p>“Take it further and don’t let them get away with what they have done,” a second person said.</p> <p>However, others were quick to comment that as a seasoned traveller, Jimmy should've been well versed in the rules of not taking photos on the tarmac.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Politicians slam Albanese's "hypocritical" private jet use

<p>Anthony Albanese has been urged to consider his carbon footprint after his controversial usage of a private jet. </p> <p>A group of independent MPs have asked the Prime Minister to offset his carbon usage after it was revealed that he and two other ministers chartered two private planes to attend the same clean energy event in the NSW Hunter Valley. </p> <p>Albanese was joined by Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic to fly to the region from Canberra on Thursday to announce a $1bn to support Australian manufacturing in solar technology.</p> <p>Teal MP Zali Steggall urged the leaders to offset their carbon emissions from the short journey when it was revealed that the three men flew separately in two separate Royal Australian Air Force jets.</p> <p>“I certainly hope they were offsetting the emissions of those two jets with companies, like Green fleet and other places like that where you can offset the emissions of your travel,” Ms Stegall told <em>Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>“I certainly hope and I call on the Minister for Climate Change to do that. Look, as a lowly independent, we don’t get the luxuries of flying in the ADF jets.”</p> <p>Private jets have a dramatically higher carbon footprint per passenger than commercial planes, with the average private jet emitting two tonnes of carbon an hour.</p> <p>Mr Bowen defended the use of the planes, saying the use of two private jets was a decision made by the airforce for safety reasons.</p> <p>“The Prime Minister has a large jet available to him and that would normally be what we take,” he said on Monday.</p> <p>“The runway at Scone wasn’t strong enough to take a large jet so the air force … decided for two jets.”</p> <p>Opposition transport spokeswoman Bridget McKenzie said the government should consider “jet pooling” and should make a conscious effort to cut down on the harmful use of private jets, which emit more carbon per passenger than commercial planes.</p> <p>“I fail to see why these guys, when they’re leaving from the same place on the same day, within 30 minutes of each other, couldn’t have either shared the plane or indeed, some of them, if they couldn’t all fit, use the commercial options that were available to them to fly direct from Canberra to Newcastle to make the announcement,” Senator McKenzie said. </p> <p>“It’s quite incredible.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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"Worst experience of our lives": Aussies break silence after being stranded by cruise ship

<p>An Australian couple have spoken out about how their dream holiday turned into a nightmare after they were abandoned by their cruise ship and left stranded in Africa. </p> <p>Violetta and Doug Sanders were two of eight travellers on the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship who took off on a private tour not organised by the cruise while they were docked on the small African island of São Tomé. </p> <p>After their <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/the-key-decision-that-led-to-cruise-passengers-being-abandoned-by-ship" target="_blank" rel="noopener">private tour ran late</a>, the Aussie pensioners and their fellow travellers were unable to rejoin the cruise as the ship was ready to disembark from the port, and were left stranded. </p> <p>Doug and Violetta are still attempting to rejoin the cruise in Senegal to be reunited with valuables such as their passports to finish out their journey. </p> <p>The couple spoke to <em>Sunrise</em> on Wednesday, detailing their nightmarish experience in the foreign country. </p> <p>“It’s been the worst experience of our lives to be abandoned like that in a strange country, can’t speak the language — Portuguese or an African (language),” Violeta said.</p> <p>“We have no money, our credit cards aren’t accepted.”</p> <p>The group of stranded travellers have been racing through six African countries to get to where the ship is docking in Senegal in time, but US travellers Jill and Jay Campbell have cast doubt on whether they will re-board the ship.</p> <p>“We believe that it was a basic duty of care that they have forgotten about — although there are a set of rules, they have followed them too rigidly,” Jill told US media overnight.</p> <p>The group, which included four elderly people, a pregnant woman, a quadriplegic and a person with a heart condition, were set to rejoin the ship last Sunday in The Gambia, however, low-tide meant the ship couldn’t dock at the African port.</p> <p>The Campbells have been using their credit card to look after the entire group, spending more than $5,000 USD so far.</p> <p>Norwegian Cruise Lines has said it is up to guests to be back on time.</p> <p>“Guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel,” it said.</p> <p>The cruise line later said it was in contact with passengers and had been “working closely with authorities” to allow the guests to re-join the ship.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Sunrise </em></p>

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The key decision that led to cruise passengers being abandoned by ship

<p>A group of travellers, including two Australians, have been left stranded in Africa after their cruise ship allegedly refused to let them board the ship after a day trip. </p> <p>Eight passengers were among the many cruisers who disembarked the Norwegian Dawn at São Tomé and Príncipe, an island nation of 220,000 people off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, last Wednesday. </p> <p>The group of eight passengers took off on a private day tour, that reportedly wasn't organised through the cruise company. </p> <p>Things turned sour when the group were delayed on their day trip, with their tour operator allegedly connecting with the captain to tell the cruise the eight passengers would arrive later than their 3pm curfew. </p> <p>When the group arrived to the port, the ship was still anchored, but American couple Jill and Jay Campbell said the captain allegedly refused to let them on board.</p> <p>According to cruise ship lawyer Spencer Aonfeld, the group's big mistake was not booking the tour through the cruise company, as private tours come with a huge risk. </p> <p>Weighing into the drama on TikTok, Mr Aonfeld said, “Eight passengers were left behind when their cruise ship left them because they were delayed in an excursion apparently conducted without buying it directly through Norwegian."</p> <p>“These passengers include elderly passengers, one apparently a paraplegic, one has a heart condition, they don't have their medication, money, passports, cell phones and other things — they’re just left behind."</p> <p>“That unfortunately, according to Norwegian and me is, one of the consequences you pay when you buy your excursions from someone other than the cruise line."</p> <p>“Now they’re left there having to come up with the means to travel back to the next port or home and forfeit the remaining potion of their cruise. Imagine trying to do that in Africa without a passport, money or medication — we wish them the very best.”</p> <p>In order to rejoin the cruise and be reunited with their valuables, the group is now trekking to a port in Senegal, where the cruise is set to dock on Tuesday. </p> <p>In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Lines said it was “in communication with the guests,” and was providing them with “additional information” to rejoin the cruise. </p> <p>“While this is a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel,” NCL said in a statement.</p> <p>The company said it was “working closely with the local authorities” on how the guests might re-join the ship. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / WRAL North Carolina </em></p>

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Why do airlines charge so much for checked bags? This obscure rule helps explain why

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jay-l-zagorsky-152952">Jay L. Zagorsky</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/boston-university-898">Boston University</a></em></p> <p>Five out of the six <a href="https://www.oag.com/blog/biggest-airlines-in-the-us">biggest U.S. airlines</a> have <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2024/03/05/delta-is-the-latest-airline-to-raise-its-checked-bag-fee.html">raised their checked bag fees</a> since January 2024.</p> <p>Take American Airlines. In 2023, it cost US$30 to check a standard bag in with the airline; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2024/02/20/american-airlines-bag-fees-mileage-earning/72669245007/">today, as of March 2024, it costs $40</a> at a U.S. airport – a whopping 33% increase.</p> <p>As a <a href="https://www.bu.edu/questrom/">business school</a> <a href="https://www.bu.edu/questrom/profile/jay-zagorsky/">professor who studies travel</a>, I’m often asked why airlines alienate their customers with baggage fees instead of bundling all charges together. <a href="https://www.vox.com/2015/4/16/8431465/airlines-carry-on-bags">There are</a> <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/columnist/2023/06/21/bag-fees-will-stay-a-while-cruising-altitude/70338849007/">many reasons</a>, but an important, often overlooked cause is buried in the U.S. tax code.</p> <h2>A tax-law loophole</h2> <p>Airlines pay the federal government <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-26/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-49/subpart-D">7.5% of the ticket price</a> when <a href="https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/tax/library/aircraft-club-nov-2023-air-transport-excise-tax-rates-for-2024.html">flying people domestically, alongside other fees</a>. The airlines dislike these charges, with their <a href="https://www.airlines.org/dataset/government-imposed-taxes-on-air-transportation/">trade association arguing</a> that they boost the cost to the consumer of a typical air ticket by around one-fifth.</p> <p>However, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-26/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-49/subpart-D/section-49.4261-8">specifically excludes baggage</a> from the 7.5% transportation tax as long as “the charge is separable from the payment for the transportation of a person and is shown in the exact amount.”</p> <p>This means if an airline charges a combined $300 to fly you and a bag round-trip within the U.S., it owes $22.50 in tax. If the airline charges $220 to fly you plus separately charges $40 each way for the bag, then your total cost is the same — but the airline only owes the government $16.50 in taxes. Splitting out baggage charges saves the airline $6.</p> <p>Now $6 might not seem like much, but it can add up. Last year, passengers took <a href="https://www.transtats.bts.gov/Data_Elements.aspx?Data=1">more than 800 million trips on major airlines</a>. Even if only a fraction of them check their bags, that means large savings for the industry.</p> <p>How large? The government has <a href="https://www.bts.dot.gov/topics/airlines-and-airports/baggage-fees-airline-2023">tracked revenue from bag fees</a> for decades. In 2002, airlines charged passengers a total of $180 million to check bags, which worked out to around 33 cents per passenger.</p> <p>Today, as any flyer can attest, bag fees are a lot higher. Airlines collected over 40 times more money in bag fees last year than they did in 2002.</p> <p>When the full data is in for 2023, <a href="https://www.bts.dot.gov/baggage-fees">total bag fees</a> will likely top $7 billion, which is about $9 for the average domestic passenger. <a href="https://viewfromthewing.com/the-real-reason-airlines-charge-checked-bag-fees-and-its-not-what-you-think">By splitting out the cost of bags</a>, airlines avoided paying about half a billion dollars in taxes just last year.</p> <p>In the two decades since 2002, flyers paid a total of about $70 billion in bag fees. This means separately charging for bags saved airlines about $5 billion in taxes.</p> <p><iframe id="88MYD" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/88MYD/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>It seems clear to me that tax savings are one driver of the unbundling of baggage fees because of a quirk in the law.</p> <p>The U.S. government doesn’t apply the 7.5% tax to <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-26/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-49/subpart-D/section-49.4261-3">international flights that go more than 225 miles</a> beyond the nation’s borders. Instead, there are fixed <a href="https://www.airlines.org/dataset/government-imposed-taxes-on-air-transportation">international departure and arrival taxes</a>. This is why major airlines charge $35 to $40 <a href="https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/checked-baggage-policy.jsp">for bags if you’re flying domestically</a>, but don’t charge a bag fee when you’re flying to Europe or Asia.</p> <h2>Do travelers get anything for that money?</h2> <p>This system raises an interesting question: Do baggage fees force airlines to be more careful with bags, since customers who pay more expect better service? To find out, I checked with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which has been <a href="https://www.bts.gov/content/mishandled-baggage-reports-filed-passengers-largest-us-air-carriersa">tracking lost luggage for decades</a>.</p> <p>For many years, it calculated the number of mishandled-baggage reports per thousand airline passengers. The government’s data showed mishandled bags peaked in 2007 with about seven reports of lost or damaged luggage for every thousand passengers. That means you could expect your luggage to go on a different trip than the one you are taking about once every 140 or so flights. By 2018, that estimate had fallen to once every 350 flights.</p> <p>In 2019, the government <a href="https://www.bts.gov/topics/airlines-and-airports/number-30a-technical-directive-mishandled-baggage-amended-effective-jan">changed how it tracks</a> mishandled bags, calculating figures based on the total number of bags checked, rather than the total number of passengers. The new data show about six bags per thousand checked get lost or damaged, which is less than 1% of checked bags. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t show improvement since 2019.</p> <p>Is there anything that you can do about higher bag fees? Complaining to politicians probably won’t help. In 2010, two senators <a href="https://www.nj.com/business/2010/04/us_senators_present_bill_to_ba.html">tried to ban bag fees</a>, and their bill went nowhere.</p> <p>Given that congressional action failed, there’s a simple way to avoid higher bag fees: <a href="https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/packing-expert-travel-world-handbag/index.html">travel light</a> and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/08/opinion/carry-on-packing-airlines-lost-luggage.html">don’t check any luggage</a>. It may sound tough not to have all your belongings when traveling, but it might be the best option as bag fees take off.<!-- 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/225857/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/jay-l-zagorsky-152952">Jay L. Zagorsky</a>, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy and Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/boston-university-898">Boston University</a></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/why-do-airlines-charge-so-much-for-checked-bags-this-obscure-rule-helps-explain-why-225857">original article</a>.</em></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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Viral pic of illegal camper sparks local outrage

<p>A viral photo capturing an L-plated Mazda hatchback sprawled across two parking spaces with a rooftop tent erected atop has ignited a storm of controversy in Noosa, Queensland.</p> <p>The image, taken at the Woods Bay carpark by Facebook user and Noosa local Martin Doyle, has thrust the issue of illegal camping and parking violations into the spotlight, prompting calls for stricter enforcement from exasperated locals.</p> <p>The uproar stems from a perceived flouting of parking restrictions and an apparent disregard for Noosa's efforts to curb illegal camping. In response to mounting complaints from the community, Noosa Shire Council implemented a trial "no-parking" zone from 10pm to 4am in August 2023. Despite these measures, reports of overnight campers persist, raising concerns about the strain on local infrastructure and the environment.</p> <p>After Martin shared his contentious photo online, lamenting the lack of enforcement, he urged the council to take firmer action. “Come on council get some teeth and get serious about this camping illegally business,” he wrote. “This was not the only one overnight camping in the area and clearly not homeless.”</p> <p>His sentiments echo those of many residents who are frustrated by the sight of carparks resembling makeshift campgrounds, complete with tents and – worst of all – human waste.</p> <p>While some sympathise with the financial burden of traditional camping accommodations, others argue that respecting parking regulations is non-negotiable, particularly in densely populated tourist hubs like Noosa.</p> <p>The issue also extends beyond Noosa's shores. Similar conflicts between locals and visitors occur in tourist destinations nationwide, from Newcastle's Horseshoe Beach to coastal towns in Far North Queensland. The allure of scenic vistas and budget-friendly travel often collides with the need to maintain order and protect fragile ecosystems.</p> <p><em>Image: Martin Doyle | Facebook | Noosa Council</em> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Love-struck elephant goes wild on safari

<p>In the annals of adventure, there are tales of bravery and resilience – and then there are tales of two guys just trying to find a quiet spot for a bathroom break in South Africa.</p> <p>Meet Henry Blom and Taylor Fulmer, the unlikely protagonists of a safari gone haywire. Innocently disembarking from their tour truck for a brief moment of relief in the bush, the pair suddenly found themselves smack dab in the middle of a romantic rampage by none other than a love-stricken bull elephant.</p> <p>As screams echoed through the savannah, Henry and Taylor found themselves in a bizarre game of hide and seek with a pachyderm-sized opponent. "We got off the truck with a bunch of other people to use the bathrooms and then we started hearing screaming," Henry <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/elephant-safari-attack-witnesses-describe-terrifying-moment-wild-animal-charged/451c9dd1-3d90-4112-868c-99e3a8f17019" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recounted on the <em>Today </em>show</a>, probably wishing they had all decided to hold it in a little longer.</p> <p>But it wasn't just any elephant causing the ruckus. No, this was one amorous elephant on a mission – sweating, urinating and emitting more bodily fluids than a broken faucet.</p> <p>As the wild beast charged, Henry and Taylor feared for their lives, imagining scenarios straight out of an action movie where they'd be the unlucky extras squashed beneath a mammoth-sized villain.</p> <p>Yet, amid the chaos, there emerged a hero: the tour guide. While the elephant treated the truck like a chew toy, the guide maintained a Zen-like calm, steering the vehicle with the finesse of a seasoned race car driver dodging obstacles. "We saw the elephant charge and my fear was that it was going to go through the window," Taylor recounted, possibly wondering if he should've packed a spare pair of pants for the trip.</p> <p>As the dust settled and the elephant's romantic pursuit waned, Henry and Taylor breathed a sigh of relief. But their ordeal wasn't over just yet. The guide's sage advice? "Stay quiet and get ready to run."</p> <p>Words of wisdom to live by, especially when you're in the crosshairs of a loved-up elephant.</p> <p>Reflecting on their brush with danger, Henry and Taylor couldn't help but marvel at the surreal experience. "He was so close we could smell him, it was crazy," Henry mused, perhaps understating the olfactory assault they endured.</p> <p>So, the next time you're contemplating a safari adventure, remember Henry and Taylor's tale of bathroom breaks gone wild. Because when nature calls in the wild, you might just find yourself in the midst of an elephant love story – and trust us, it's not as romantic as it sounds.</p> <p>Images: The <em>Today </em>Show</p>

Travel Trouble

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Might we see child-free zones on flights?

<p>Ah, the joys of air travel. The excitement of jetting off to exotic locales, the thrill of new adventures, and of course, the endless possibilities for unexpected entertainment. And what's more exhilarating than finding yourself seated next to a rowdy toddler or an inconsolable infant? It's the stuff of dreams, truly.</p> <p>Picture this: you're settling into your seat, envisioning a serene journey ahead, perhaps catching up on your favourite Netflix series or finally finishing that novel you've been meaning to read.</p> <p>But wait, what's this?</p> <p>A couple with a baby approaching your row.</p> <p>You can already hear the distant wails of despair echoing through the cabin. Your heart sinks as you realise that your peaceful flight just took a nosedive before it even began.</p> <p>Yes, it's the age-old dilemma of child-free travellers everywhere. Whether it's the cacophony of a crying baby or the rhythmic drumming of tiny feet on the back of your seat, flying with children nearby can be an experience like no other. And let's not forget the classic game of "Will they or won't they?" as you anxiously await to see if the parents will be able to tame their pint-sized companions or if chaos will reign supreme at 30,000 feet.</p> <p>But fear not, dear passengers, for there may be a solution on the horizon. Could child-free zones be the answer to our airborne woes? According to a <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/planes-should-there-be-child-free-zones/d463b299-5258-418f-831c-f5fb218f1d77" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent poll conducted by Nine News</a>, a whopping 73 per cent of respondents were in favour of such a proposition. Finally, a sanctuary where one can escape the unpredictable antics of tiny humans and bask in the tranquility of uninterrupted inflight bliss.</p> <p>Of course, implementing such a scheme may prove to be a tad challenging. After all, how does we go about segregating the child-rearing masses from the child-free elite without inciting a riot at the boarding gate? It's a logistical nightmare that even the most seasoned airline execs would hesitate to tackle.</p> <p>So, for now, it seems we child-free flyers will have to make do with our trusty noise-cancelling headphones, our steadfast eye masks, and a healthy dose of empathy for our fellow passengers. After all, parenting is no easy feat, especially at 35,000 feet.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Hilarious" number plate somehow slips past the censors

<p>In a world where innovation knows no bounds, one Perth driver has taken the art of personalised license plates to a whole new level, leaving us all wondering: is it plain rude, or just plain hilariously?</p> <p>The car in question, a humble Kia Sportage, seems innocent enough at first glance. But wait, what’s that? A custom plate that reads 37OHSSV? Seems harmless, right? Wrong.</p> <p>It turns out, if you dare to flip the plate upside down, you'll unveil a cheeky message that spells out none other than "a**hole" in bold, red letters. Yes, you read that correctly. Someone actually managed to sneak that past the scrutinizsng eyes of state transport officials.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, the discovery of this plate sent the internet into a frenzy, with the post garnering over 2000 shares and nearly 1000 comments. And guess what? Almost everyone loved it!</p> <p>“This is so clever and hilarious,” exclaimed one amused user, echoing the sentiments of many.</p> <p>“That’s the best I’ve ever seen,” chimed in another, probably still laughing.</p> <p>“That is brilliant, I love it,” added a third, undoubtedly already planning their own witty plate.</p> <p>But amid the laughter and applause, there’s a serious question lingering: How did this driver manage to bypass the stringent regulations that typically govern custom plates?</p> <p>In the last financial year alone, nearly 1000 applications for personalised plates were rejected in Western Australia due to being deemed too offensive for the road. Among the rejected gems were GEN3CID, SAUC3D, and RAMP4GE. Clearly, the censors were not amused.</p> <p>And let’s not forget the demographics at play here. According to the stats, a whopping 71 percent of custom plate holders are men, with the average age hovering around 41. So, it seems that mid-life crisis isn’t just limited to buying flashy sports cars; it extends to personalised license plates as well.</p> <p>So whether you find this particular plate downright rude or ingeniously innovative, one thing’s for sure: it's got people talking. And in a world where monotony often reigns supreme, a little dose of humour and creativity on the road might just be what we need. So, hats off to you, mysterious Perth driver. You may be a bit of an a$$hole – but you’re our kind of a$$hole.</p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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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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Altitude sickness is typically mild but can sometimes turn very serious − a high-altitude medicine physician explains how to safely prepare

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-strickland-1506270">Brian Strickland</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-colorado-anschutz-medical-campus-4838">University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus</a></em></p> <p>Equipped with the latest gear and a thirst for adventure, mountaineers embrace the perils that come with conquering the world’s highest peaks. Yet, even those who tread more cautiously at high altitude are not immune from the health hazards waiting in the thin air above.</p> <p>Altitude sickness, which most commonly refers to <a href="https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000133.htm">acute mountain sickness</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2010.02.003">presents a significant challenge</a> to those traveling to and adventuring in high-altitude destinations. Its symptoms can range from <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2017.0164">mildly annoying to incapacitating</a> and, in some cases, may progress to more <a href="https://doi.org/10.1183/16000617.0096-2016">life-threatening illnesses</a>.</p> <p>While <a href="https://doi.org/10.18111/9789284424023">interest in high-altitude tourism is rapidly growing</a>, general awareness and understanding about the hazards of visiting these locations <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2022.0083">remains low</a>. The more travelers know, the better they can prepare for and enjoy their journey.</p> <p>As an <a href="https://som.cuanschutz.edu/Profiles/Faculty/Profile/36740">emergency physician specializing in high-altitude illnesses</a>, I work to improve health care in remote and mountainous locations around the world. I’m invested in finding ways to allow people from all backgrounds to experience the magic of the mountains in an enjoyable and meaningful way.</p> <h2>The science behind altitude sickness</h2> <p>Altitude sickness is rare in locations lower than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters); however, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430716/">it becomes very common</a> when ascending above this elevation. In fact, it affects about <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness">25% of visitors to the mountains of Colorado</a>, where I conduct most of my research.</p> <p>The risk rapidly increases with higher ascents. Above 9,800 feet (3,000 meters), up to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430716/">75% of travelers</a> may develop symptoms. Symptoms of altitude sickness are usually mild and consist of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2017.0164">headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia</a>. They usually <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rceng.2019.12.009">resolve after one to two days</a>, as long as travelers stop their ascent, and the symptoms quickly resolve with descent.</p> <p>When travelers do not properly acclimatize, they can be susceptible to life-threatening altitude illnesses, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2007.05.002">high-altitude pulmonary edema</a> or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1527029041352054">high-altitude cerebral edema</a>. These conditions are characterized by fluid accumulation within the tissues of the lungs and brain, respectively, and are the <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness">most severe forms of altitude sickness</a>.</p> <p>Altitude sickness symptoms are thought to be caused by <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fbjaceaccp%2Fmks047">increased pressure surrounding the brain</a>, which results from the failure of the body to acclimatize to higher elevations.</p> <p>As people enter into an environment with lower air pressure and, therefore, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.18036">lower oxygen content</a>, their <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fbjaceaccp%2Fmks047">breathing rate increases</a> in order to compensate. This causes an increase in the amount of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/s1357-2725(03)00050-5">oxygen in the blood as well as decreased CO₂ levels</a>, which then increases blood pH. As a result, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fbjaceaccp%2Fmks047">kidneys compensate</a> by removing a chemical called bicarbonate from the blood into the urine. This process makes people urinate more and helps correct the acid and alkaline content of the blood to a more normal level.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iv1vQPIdX_k?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Tips for preventing or reducing the risk of altitude sickness.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>The importance of gradual ascent</h2> <p>High-altitude medicine experts and other physicians <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(76)91677-9">have known for decades</a> that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2010.1006">taking time to slowly ascend is the best way</a> to prevent the development of altitude sickness.</p> <p>This strategy gives the body time to complete its natural physiologic responses to the changes in air pressure and oxygen content. In fact, spending just <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2010.1006">one night at a moderate elevation</a>, such as Denver, Colorado, which is at 5,280 feet (1,600 meters), has been shown to <a href="https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-118-8-199304150-00003">significantly reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms</a>.</p> <p>People who skip this step and travel directly to high elevations are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taad011">up to four times more likely</a> to develop altitude sickness symptoms. When going to elevations greater than 11,000 feet, multiple days of acclimatization are necessary. Experts generally recommend ascending <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2010.1006">no more than 1,500 feet per day</a> once the threshold of 8,200 feet of elevation has been crossed.</p> <p>Workers at high altitude, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2020.0004">porters in the Nepali Himalaya</a>, are at <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2018.06.002">particular risk of altitude-related illness</a>. These workers often do not adhere to acclimatization recommendations in order to maximize earnings during tourist seasons; as a result, they are more likely to experience <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness">severe forms of altitude sickness</a>.</p> <h2>Effective medications</h2> <p>For more than 40 years, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1056/nejm196810172791601">a medicine called acetazolamide</a> has been used to <a href="https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682756.html">prevent the development of altitude sickness</a> and to treat its symptoms. Acetazolamide is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557838/">commonly used as a diuretic</a> and for the <a href="https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma">treatment of glaucoma</a>, a condition that causes increased pressure within the eye.</p> <p>If started <a href="https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.09-2445">two days prior</a> to going up to a high elevation, acetazolamide can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.09-2445">prevent symptoms of acute illness</a> by speeding up the acclimatization process. Nonetheless, it does not negate the recommendations to ascend slowly, and it is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">routinely recommended only</a> when people cannot slowly ascend or for people who have a history of severe altitude sickness symptoms even with slow ascent.</p> <p>Other medications, including ibuprofen, have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2012.08.001">shown some effectiveness</a> in treating acute mountain sickness, although <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2018.10.021">not as well as acetazolamide</a>.</p> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2028586/">steroid medication called dexamethasone</a> is effective in both treating and preventing symptoms, but it does not improve acclimatization. It is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">recommended only when acetazolamide is not effective</a> or cannot be taken.</p> <p>Additionally, it is important to <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travel-to-high-altitudes">avoid alcohol during the first few days at higher altitudes</a>, as it impairs the body’s ability to acclimatize.</p> <h2>Unproven therapies and remedies are common</h2> <p>As high-altitude tourism becomes increasingly popular, multiple commercial products and remedies have emerged. Most of them are not effective or provide no evidence to suggest they work as advertised. Other options have mixed evidence, making them difficult to recommend.</p> <p>Medications such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2007.1037">aspirin</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1183/13993003.01355-2017">inhaled steroids</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2011.0007">sildenafil</a> have been proposed as possible preventive agents for altitude sickness, but on the whole they have not been found to be effective.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcp026">Supplements and antioxidants have no proven benefit</a> in preventing or treating altitude sickness symptoms. Both normal and high-altitude exercise are popular ways to prepare for high elevations, especially among athletes. However, beyond <a href="https://doi.org/10.1097/jes.0b013e31825eaa33">certain pre-acclimatization strategies</a>, such as brief sojourns to high altitude, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2013.12.002">physical fitness and training is of little benefit</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://missouripoisoncenter.org/canned-oxygen-is-it-good-for-you">Canned oxygen</a> has also exploded in popularity with travelers. While <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(90)93240-p">continuously administered medical oxygen</a> in a health care setting can alleviate altitude sickness symptoms, portable oxygen cans <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">contain very little oxygen gas</a>, casting doubt on their effectiveness.</p> <p>Some high-altitude adventure travelers sleep in <a href="https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200131040-00002">specialized tents</a> that simulate increased elevation by lowering the quantity of available oxygen in ambient air. The lower oxygen levels within the tent are thought to accelerate the acclimatization process, but the tents aren’t able to decrease barometric pressure. This is an important part of the high-altitude environment that induces acclimatization. Without modifying ambient air pressure, these <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2014.04.004">tents may take multiple weeks</a> to be effective.</p> <p>Natural medicines, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1580/08-weme-br-247.1">gingko</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s40794-019-0095-7">coca leaves</a>, are touted as natural altitude sickness treatments, but few studies have been done on them. The modest benefits and significant side effects of these options makes their use <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">difficult to recommend</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8469948/">Staying hydrated</a> is very important at high altitudes due to fluid losses from increased urination, dry air and increased physical exertion. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186%2Fs12889-018-6252-5">Dehydration symptoms</a> can also mimic those of altitude sickness. But there is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1580/1080-6032(2006)17%5B215:AMSIOF%5D2.0.CO;2">little evidence that consuming excessive amounts of water</a> can prevent or treat altitude sickness.</p> <p>The mountains have something for visitors of all interests and expertise and can offer truly life-changing experiences. While there are health risks associated with travel at higher elevations, these can be lessened by making basic preparations and taking time to slowly ascend.<!-- 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/222057/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/brian-strickland-1506270"><em>Brian Strickland</em></a><em>, Senior Instructor in Emergency Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-colorado-anschutz-medical-campus-4838">University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus</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/altitude-sickness-is-typically-mild-but-can-sometimes-turn-very-serious-a-high-altitude-medicine-physician-explains-how-to-safely-prepare-222057">original article</a>.</em></p>

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