Would everybody please stop picking on the TSA for a cotton-pickin' minute?! Hey, no question the airport-security agency has taken a pummeling from critics lately, especially over accusations of theft. A report by ABC's Nightlinelast week was particularly damning when an iPad stolen from an airport security checkpoint was tracked down to the home of the TSA agent on-duty at the time. And now comes another dust-up. But this time the TSA claims it had nothing to do with it.
Southwest Airlines—which once upon a time, sprang earnestly from a place called Love Field—is inspiring more ill will again.
A Tennessee woman has filed an $800,000 suit against the airline—$300,000 for medical damages, and $500,000 in punitive damages—after she says she was scalded by hot water during a flight from Nashville to Houston.
Arrash "Ash" Durrani, sexy model, aspiring actor, and maker of groovy T-shirts, may be too-cool-for-school, but passengers on Tuesday's United Airlines Flight 473 from Chicago to Orange County, California, schooled him anyway when the apparently drunken California man began harassing others around him during the flight. Concerned passengers shouted at him to sit down, then ultimately tackled him to the floor of the aisle and sat atop him for hours until the plane landed safely at its destination, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.
For anyone who’s felt a certain despair when setting out for a transcontinental flight—after being offered nothing but a cardboard box of crackers, cheese and deli meat that most 2nd graders would find gastronomically unsatisfying—there is a vivid outlet for your culinary bitterness.
Airlinemeals.net actually started 10 years ago, when frequent flier Marco t'Hart decided to upload some shots of terrible meals he’s had (if not eaten) aloft, and invited other travelers to do the same.
Today the site has grown 26,000 images strong, and is reportedly getting more attention from airline catering companies, which are sifting through the reviews to help improve in-cabin dining—and which no doubt will enable coach-class food critics even more.
In an effort to save money on fuel costs, American Airlines requested, and subsequently received, permission from the FAA, to allow its pilots to replace their often bulky kitbag (a 35-pound paper-based reference manual pilots tote around with them at all times) with iPads. The iPads would be loaded with all the documentation the kitbags contain, but take up far less space and, at about 1.5 pounds, make their loads much lighter. AA said that this reduction in weight will save the airline as much as $1.2 million, based on current fuel prices.
Let’s just hope that the pilot doesn’t forget to charge it before takeoff…or get too distracted by a game of Angry Birds.
Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis
Photo: Pixellover RM 8 / Alamy
Is it true, or a myth? We tackle 7 conventional travel tips to reveal which will actually save you money on your next vacation.
1. If you have enough frequent flyer miles for your next flight, use them.
Myth. It isn't always a good value to cash in your miles. First, use the 1.4-cents-per-mile rule to calculate the value of an award ticket. If the cash price is considerably cheaper than the award ticket calculation, save your miles. For example, if a flight will cost you $300 cash or 50,000 points, you'll get more value out of paying cash since the 50,000 points equal about $700. You'll want to use those points on a ticket that's around $500 or more.
For the next year, I'm only flying Virgin Airlines. Why? Their frequent flier who has the most Elevate status points by August 7, 2013 wins a Virgin Galactic suborbital space flight. A free trip to outer space! How cool, right? Enter into the running by . . .
This month, Ethiopian Air became the first airline outside of Asia to operate Boeing’s newest airplane: the 787 Dreamliner. The buzz-worthy aircraft has been making headlines for its advancements in technology and enhanced in-flight experience. Some of the new in-plane elements include larger windows, LED lighting and better cabin pressure that mimics an altitude closer to sea level. The true eye-catching feature for airline companies, however, is the plane’s lightweight and extreme fuel efficacy; something Ethiopian Air is excited about. Snag one of their first flights when they begin flying the plane on routes throughout Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Their next step: flying an international route to Washington D.C. And, after that, the possibilities are endless.
Kelsi Maree Borland is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Ethiopian Air
"Whaaaaaaaaaat?" That's what I said to myself after reading this piece by Gizmodo who reported via the Transportation Security Administration's blog, that since January 1st, TSA agents have discovered 821 firearms in carry-on bags at airports around the country. Of these, 691 were loaded, and 210 were locked and loaded with a round chambered. Some other bizarrely alarming weapons discovered while passengers were filing through security? Dead venomous snakes (snakes almost on a plane!), a gun in a hollowed out book (retro move there), an explosive grenade, a spear gun, eels, a gassed-up chainsaw, and a chastity belt. Too weird, America. But keep up the good work TSA! And in the future, before you confiscate that sealed bottle of Poland Spring in my backpack, can we just put a few things in perspective?
Marguerite A. Suozzi is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.
As predicted by T+L’s editors this January, things just got a little better for frequent-flying gourmands.
Jamie Oliver recently opened a restaurant area (a bakery, a bar, and an Italian eatery) at London Gatwick, joining the growing ranks of chefs extending their empire into airports (Gordon Ramsay’s 4-year-old Heathrow cafe, Plane Food, offers both sit-down meals—timed menus and leisurely menus—and takeout “picnics” to enjoy on the plane. A host of haute cuisine celebs, including chefs Michael White, Anne Burrell, Andrew Carmellini, have created menus for new cafes in Delta’s Terminals C+ D at New York’s LaGuardia. Terminal 2 at San Francisco International features restaurants from Chefs Cat Coura and Tyler Florence, as well as a room dedicated to yoga for those craving spiritual food.)