Uh Oh: KLM Not Allowing Checked Bags On Flight Out Of Cairo


Last week an Airbus A321 belonging to Russian charter airline Metrojet crashed shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Tragically all 224 people aboard were killed, and the exact cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Many are speculating that the plane may have had a bomb aboard, and it seems like that’s at least somewhat of a credible theory, as airlines are taking drastic security measures as a result of this crash.

KLM has just issued what must be one of the more unique travel advisories I’ve ever seen, as KLM will not be allowing any checked bags on their flight from Cairo to Amsterdam tomorrow:

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Woman Fined For Trying To Bring Apple Butter Through Security


A Grand Rapids woman is being fined $2,000 by the TSA for trying to bring apple butter through security. Why?

Via WoodTV:

“Hostein said that in January 2013, she was trying to board a plane at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina but was stopped at the TSA checkpoint because she had a pint-sized jar of souvenir apple butter. TSA agents told her she could not take it onto the plane in her carry-on bag, citing the prohibition of containers carrying more than three ounces of liquid or gel.

She said she went away, then came back later and went through another security line, thinking the butter really wasn’t in violation. Again, agents found the apple butter and confronted her.”

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Air Marshal Sues After Being Kicked Off Flight


We’ve seen tons of people in the airline industry on power trips post-9/11, be they flight attendants, TSA agents, or air marshals. Just about anything can be justified under the guise of “national security.” Though when it comes to wasteful uses of government resources, I think the federal air marshal program might just take the cake. The fact that it’s still around amazes me.

I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories from airline staff about air marshals on power trips, though this one might just take the cake.

A US federal air marshal filed a lawsuit this Monday over an August 4, 2012, assignment, whereby he and three other air marshals boarded an undisclosed flight. The air marshal is making claims of discrimination. How was he discriminated against?

Via the NY Daily News, here’s how the event unfolded:

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When Flying While Transgender Becomes Problematic

Orlando International Airport

Flyer Shadi Petosky, who is transgender, was trying to fly from Orlando to Minneapolis yesterday afternoon but was detained at security by the TSA, who Shadi claims told her that they were holding her because of a body-related “anomaly.” Which is to say, that the TSA felt that a woman presenting as a woman but possessing a male body part was suspicious.

The whole debacle has been chronicled on Shadi’s Twitter account, among other sources, but it appears, per Vox, that:

— Shadi was trying to get to her American Airlines flight from Orlando to Minneapolis (presumably connecting somewhere in between)
— TSA detained her for a body-related “anomaly” and instructed her to go back through the machine “as a man”
— TSA then ordered her to stop using her phone to take photos, videos and live-Tweet
— 40 minutes later, Shadi was out of the security area but had missed her flight

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Free TSA Pre-Check Is Officially Over!


The two innovations of the past several years which have made the US travel experience substantially more pleasant have been TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry. As a reminder, TSA Pre-Check allows eligible travelers expedited security, whereby they don’t have to take off their shoes, or take their liquids or laptops out of their bags.

Meanwhile Global Entry allows for expedited customs & immigration, whereby eligible travelers can just use kiosks at immigration, rather than having to queue for an agent.

Historically TSA Pre-Check has been limited to those enrolled in a Trusted Traveler Program, like TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, NEXUS, etc. However, over time they started a “managed inclusion program,” whereby elite members of airlines and many other passengers deemed “low risk” got access to Pre-Check as well.

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These Drivers Licenses Soon Won’t Be Valid Airport ID


If you have a driver’s license from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, or New Hampshire, you may soon need a second form of ID to get through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

This comes after the Real ID Act was introduced in late 2013, which set the security standards for government issued IDs. Unfortunately as a result, IDs from some states are considered non-compliant. In the last phase of its implementation, IDs from those states may no longer be valid for getting through airport security.

Via Road Warrior Voices:

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Guten tag from Berlin. After an amazing stay in Stockholm we jumped on an airberlin flight to Berlin for a few days. But as far as my review goes, we’re still in Manchester! We stayed in the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, which is the tallest and most iconic building in the city. Ben will be reviewing it very shortly, so I won’t go into much detail on the hotel experience and instead will focus on Manchester itself and the MAN airport experience, which was a painful yet comedic experience, or something like that.

Manchester itself is a very cute city that has a somewhat “small town” feel. Given that Emirates has thrice daily service (two on an A380), and that Etihad and Qatar have two daily flights, I have to wonder where all the people go! One of the nicest aspects of Manchester was the weather! After Dubai, there was nothing I wanted more than to walk outside without feeling like I was three inches from the sun. You might think of the UK as being dreary, but the slight bit of rain and 65 degree weather was very very welcomed after the 110+ degree weather in Dubai. It’s also very easy to walk around the Deansgate area, which was also a pleasant change of pace after sprawling Dubai.

We had lounge access the second day at the Hilton, and the views were quite nice.

Manchester also has a number of scenic canals running through it. I tried to capture a few of them, but I’m not a very good photographer so you’ll have to forgive me and visit the city yourself to understand what I am really talking about.

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Lady Denied Boarding After Chugging Bottle Of Cognac At Beijing Airport


I think we can all relate to wanting to “maximize” value, whatever form that may come in. I’ve certainly been known to have a glass or two of Krug too many on a flight in the name of “maximizing value.” But the truth is that there’s seriously diminishing return at a certain point when it comes to alcohol consumption.

Perhaps that would be a relevant lesson to the lady who was denied boarding after chugging a 0.7L bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence cognac, after being informed she couldn’t take it through security.

Via The South China Morning Post:

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Crazy Video Of Unruly Lady Being Removed From Flight


On Friday a video was uploaded to YouTube of a lady being removed from a United Express flight between Salt Lake City and Chicago, after allegedly refusing to put her dog back in its carrier. Apparently the plane returned to the gate to offload her, though she wasn’t aware that was going to happen… and she responds accordingly.

Here’s the description of the video:

“She wouldn’t put her growling dog in its carrier, got belligerent with the flight attendant, and assaulted a cop (so we were told). I’m guessing she won’t be flying anytime soon.”

And here’s the video:

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This Is Why TSA Agents Shouldn’t Have Badges!


A video went sort of viral last week, after a TSA agent at New Orleans Airport lost it on a 16 year old boy who was trying to film his dad getting a pat down.

Here’s the description on the YouTube video:

“After being denied the right to film the process of being patted down by a TSA supervisor at MSY even after I politely asked, I went back and had a talk with the supervisor that refused to let me film him. He then proceeded to call the police on me unlawfully even after I explained to him that it clearly states on the TSA website that you are allowed to film the TSA agents as long as you don’t film their monitors and are not interfering with their process, which I wasn’t. He was the one who exploded on me initially (before I began recording) just because I wanted to film him which is completely legal. Thanks for watching.”

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The TSA’s War On Metamucil


Perhaps I’ll regret making this post, but oh well.

I’m a fan of Metamucil, and I also live out of a carry-on. Oddly those two things don’t seem to go together very well. The only “supplements” I take with any regularity are Metamucil, Emergen-C, and echinacea. Emergen-C comes in tiny “pouches,” while echinacea comes in pill form.

Meanwhile Metamucil typically comes in an industrial sized cylinder, given that it’s fairly heavy duty stuff. If you take it with any regularity (no pun intended), you’re basically a human chalkboard.

Anyway, TSA Pre-Check is awesome, and in a way has revolutionized the domestic travel experience. It’s so great to be able to leave your liquids and laptops in your bag, and to be able to keep on your shoes.

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Indian Pilot License Being Issued After Just 35 Minutes In The Air?


The aviation industry in India is especially interesting, both because it does seem to have some serious issues, but at the same time the media there is more sensationalist when it comes to airlines than the Daily Mail, which makes it tough to figure out what’s really going on sometimes.

That being said, Bloomberg published an interesting article yesterday about pilot license fraud in India, entitled “You Can Get a Pilot License in India After Just 35 Minutes in Air.”

“Anupam Verma has a certificate that shows he has flown an aircraft for 360 hours. He says he got it after sitting in the co-pilot’s seat for just 35 minutes.”

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Video Of Man Getting Tased At LAX After Security Breach


There must have been a full moon on Wednesday, because the crazies were out in full force at US airports. First there was the guy in Charlotte who decided to undress after finding out his flight to Jamaica was oversold (and based on his farmer’s tan I can certainly understand why he wanted to go to Jamaica so badly).

But perhaps the more “graphic” incident actually happened at Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 6, where a man was tased after a security breach.

Via NBC Los Angeles:

“Airport police were notified by Transportation Security Administration officers that a man was not cooperating with security officials in the screening area at Terminal 6.”

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TSA Pre-Check Will Finally Become More Selective!


Last August I wrote about how the TSA was planning on tightening up Pre-Check, and limiting it to those who have enrolled in a Trusted Traveler Program (TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, NEXUS, etc.). As I explained at the time, roughly 45% of domestic passengers were getting Pre-Check, despite only a small minority of them having actually signed up for a Trusted Traveler Program.

From a safety perspective I don’t have an issue with that, since I tend to think taking off your shoes and jacket, and taking out your laptop and liquids, is more security theater than anything else.

That being said, from a passenger experience perspective it really pisses me off, since most of the passengers that were getting Pre-Check didn’t get how it worked, so slowed down the line substantially.

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