Southwest airlines cancels dozens of flights for engine inspections after deadly midair explosion

Inspecting its 737 engines round-the-clock on Monday, Southwest canceled 3 percent of its total flights, inconveniencing several thousand passengers.

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United Airlines puts dog on wrong plane, makes unscheduled landing

For the second time this week, United Airlines has put a dog on the wrong plane, causing flight 3996 headed to Newark from St. Louis to make an unscheduled landing in Akron, Ohio to drop off the dog.

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American Airlines agent saves 2 teenage girls from human trafficking scheme

Law enforcement officials say that a quick-thinking airline employee, aptly named Denice Miracle, likely saved two teenage girls from a human trafficking plot.

Miracle, an American Airlines agent at California’s Sacramento International Airport, was working at the ticket desk on Aug. 31 when two girls, aged 15 and 17, approached her counter, according to KOVR.

Miracle said the teenagers, who were trying to board a flight to New York, had a small number of bags with them, but no form of identification and no adult guardians.

The vigilant employee began to think something was seriously wrong when she noticed that the tickets, both first class, were purchased online with a credit card under a name that did not match what either of the teens had provided.

“It was a first-class ticket. It was very expensive. I told a supervisor, ‘I’m going to call the sheriff. It just doesn’t feel right to me,'” Miracle said.

When deputies arrived at the airport, the teens admitted that their pricey tickets were purchased by a man named “Drey” who they met on Instagram.

Apparently, the stranger told them that if they flew to New York for the weekend, he would pay them $2,000 to model in a music video.

Authorities say they located “Drey” on social media, but after briefly making contact with him, all of his accounts went dark.

“We attempted to look him up on Instagram,” said Deputy Todd Sanderson. “Just a few minutes after our contact with him, he erased all of his profiles on social media.”

When Deputy Sanderson informed the teens that their tickets had no return flights, he said they became defensive before ultimately accepting what could have happened to them.

“They were somewhat flippant about – ‘No, that can’t be true’ – and I said, ‘No, the airline says you have a one-way ticket, and in my belief, you’re going back there not to do the things that you think you were going to be doing.’ And they said, ‘I wouldn’t let anything happen that I didn’t want.’ And I said, ‘Well, you probably wouldn’t have a choice in the matter,'” Deputy Sanderson said.

Following the incident, the teens were reunited with their parents, who were likely surprised to learn their daughters weren’t spending the night at a friend’s home like they had been told. 

American Airlines commended Miracle for her brave actions, saying that her employee training played a role in saving the girls’ lives.

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Russia opens probe into Saratov Airlines plane crash

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened an investigation into the crash of a Saratov Airlines plane near Moscow. The Antonov An-148 jet was carrying 65 passengers and six crew members.

READ MORE: Crash site of Saratov Airlines jet spotted outside Moscow — reports

Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov flew to the site of the alleged crash near Argunovo village in the Moscow region, officials confirmed.

The crashed plane was spotted from the air in the countryside near Moscow, a rescue service source told Russia’s RIA news agency.

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Crash site of Saratov Airlines jet spotted outside Moscow — reports

“It is in the field in the Ramensky District. Rescuers have not reached the scene yet,” the source said. 

The Saratov Airlines jet, which went off the radar earlier on Sunday, has been located in the countryside not far away from Moscow, a source in the local rescue services told RIA Novosti. Meanwhile, rescue teams are approaching the crash site on foot as they were unable to get there in their vehicles.

Preliminary reports say the Antonov An-148, a narrow-body regional airliner, was reportedly carrying 65 passengers and six crew. According to the emergency services, there is no chance of finding survivors.

READ MORE: Plane with 71 on board goes missing after taking off from Moscow

The Investigative Committee, which launched a criminal probe into the incident, has also sent forensic teams to the crash site. Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov is also on his way to the area, Russian media report.

The crash might have been caused by weather conditions, human error or technical failure, according to TASS citing an emergency source. The source added that there were no extreme weather conditions in the Moscow region at that time.

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Instagram fitness model removed from American Airlines flight after 'humiliating' row 

An Instagram fitness model was “humiliated” after being removed from an American Airlines flight following a row with staff.

Jen Selter, who has 11 million followers on Instagram, posted footage of her arguing with a pilot and a flight attendant on the delayed flight from Miami to New York on 27 January.

“I did nothing wrong but got kicked off the plane,” she wrote, adding she had the “worst experience” following a delay which left the aircraft stuck on the runway for two hours.

The 24-year-old claims she and her sister were told to leave the aircraft following a disagreement with a male attendant when she got up to put her coat away and stretch her legs.

She argues that two other passengers had been allowed to go to the bathroom when she stood up, adding she was being sarcastic after responding “yeah” when asked by the attendant,  “Do you want to get kicked off the plane?”

Ms Selter says the attendant told her to sit down and they began arguing resulting in the pilot calling the police who then arrived on board.

“The crew is asking for you guys to be removed off the plane,” the pilot tells them in one clip.

In another video, a police officer tells the sisters: “American Airlines calls the shots. They don’t want you to fly on their plane today.”

Ms Selter told the New York Post: “It was humiliating. They made me feel like a terrible person, and I did nothing wrong.”

A spokesperson for American Airlines said in a statement: “Ms. Selter was asked to leave the aircraft after a disagreement occurred Saturday night at Miami International Airport (MIA).

“American offered her hotel accommodations and transportation, which she declined. She flew on American Sunday morning back to New York (LGA) – arriving around 8:30 a.m. ET yesterday morning.”

Ms Selter has vowed “to never fly American Airlines again”. 

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Roscosmos & S7 airlines to create orbital spaceport

“We have been successfully cooperating with S7 for a long time and plan to continue this partnership,” the source told the media.

The new complex is expected to be used to assemble and fuel space vehicles and launch them into near-earth orbits as well as for Moon and Mars flights. The port is also planned as a refueling and supply point, and other functions related to space projects.

One of the S7 group’s ten subsidiaries is involved in space rocket launches. The company owns Sea Launch, the floating rocket launching system, which uses a mobile maritime launch platform for equatorial launches of commercial payloads. S7 purchased the platform in September 2016.

The agreement is unprecedented for the Russian space industry, according to Andrey Ionin, the member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics.

“This is going to be the first big agreement involving a large private investor in the Russian space industry. It is a unique situation not only for Russia but for the whole world as a new stage requiring the creation of new rocket and space systems is coming,” he said, as quoted by the media.

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Too fat to FLY? Airlines to begin weighing passengers (and charging accordingly)

Image: Too fat to FLY? Airlines to begin weighing passengers (and charging accordingly)

(Natural News)
The global obesity epidemic, which is especially critical in Western societies, is causing ripple effects in industries outside of traditional medicine as they struggle — literally — to accommodate people who are straining the system, so to speak.

One of the affected industries is transportation and, in particular, air transport. One Finnish airline is preparing to implement a new policy: All passengers will be weighed prior to boarding flights so that they can more accurately gauge fuel use.

Officials with the airline, Finnair, told CNBC that it has already asked about 180 passengers to step on a scale before stepping onto flights out of Helsinki International Airport last week. In all, the airline needs to weigh about 2,000 passengers in order to get an accurate reading of passenger weights and their carry-on baggage.

The just-launched study will be continued into next year, officials said, because they allegedly want to see how overall flight weights differ from when passengers are carrying heavy winter coats versus when they are traveling lighter in weather that is warmer. Airline officials said they would protect passenger privacy and keep the data private.

CNBC reported further:

The aim of the weigh-ins, which might be more familiar to travelers who have flown on small planes, is to update nearly decade-old data on average passenger weights as it expands its route network and needs to accurately forecast payloads and how much fuel it requires.

“We have a strong safety culture at Finnair, and are also a very data-driven organization, so we want to ensure we have the best possible data in use in aircraft performance and loading calculations,” Finnair officials said in a statement.

Officials noted that the airline is currently utilizing European Aviation Safety Agency information dating back to 2009. The information contains standard weights including carry-on luggage for male passengers at 88 kilograms (194 pounds), 70 kilograms (154 pounds) for female passengers, and 35 kilograms (77 pounds) for the average child.

“Now we feel it is time to update the data, as our traffic has developed and grown a lot,” Finnair officials said. “We have a very international customer base, as many of our customers transfer with us between Europe and Asia, and then we have our domestic traffic as well.”

While Finnair officials likely would never admit it publicly, they have to be concerned with the “growing” population — that is, not its expanding passenger base but how much those passengers are expanding, thanks largely to poor diets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults (36.5 percent) are obese, but that figure is even higher among the traveling public — 40.2 percent among adults 40-59 years old. (Related: Obesity epidemic continues to ravage American youth: Nearly three-quarters aren’t eligible for military service.)

In Europe, rates are even higher: As of 2014, 51.6 percent of the European Union’s adult population (18 years and older) were considered obese.

The argument the airlines seem to be making is that heavier people cost more to fly, and it’s an argument that others have made as well. In fact, columnist Tony Webber, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, argued that heavier passengers should have to pay more for their tickets.

“To cut to the chase: People who weigh more should pay more to fly on planes – in the same way that people who exceed their baggage allowance must fork out extra,” he wrote.

Why? “The fuel burnt by planes depends on many things but the most important is the weight of the aircraft,” he argued. “The more a plane weighs, the more fuel it must burn. If the passengers on the aircraft weigh more, the aircraft consumes more fuel and the airline’s costs go up.”

While it’s not clear that airlines are prepared to charge heavier customers more, it is clear that heavier passengers most definitely do affect flight costs (and therefore will affect the prices of tickets, meaning they’ll go up).

J. D. Heyes is editor-in-chief of The National Sentinel.

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Delta Airlines Prevented Woman From Singing National Anthem On Flight With Fallen Soldier

A Georgia woman says she and her fellow Delta passengers were prevented from singing the national anthem as crews unloaded the casket of a fallen soldier at Atlanta’s airport last weekend.

Pamela Dee Gaudry was on a flight toward Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when she says she learned that the body of a fallen soldier — 29-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright — was on her plane.

Gaudry, the wife of a deceased Navy captain, wanted to honor the Special Forces soldier who was among four U.S. troops killed in an attack in Niger on Oct. 4, by singing the national anthem. She then went around the cabin asking each passenger if they would join her in singing for the fallen soldier, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.

“I thought it would be so amazing if we sang as they were getting off,” Gaudry said in a Facebook video. “It’s a great honor to the boy’s parents, wife and perhaps children.”

Gaudry says some people were enthusiastic about singing, telling her they would join in, while others chose not to participate.

As the flight neared its destination, however, Gaudry says the chief flight attendant came up to her and informed her it was against Delta’s policy to sing the national anthem. Gaudry claims the attendant then explained how some of the passengers were from other countries, and may be offended by them singing the national anthem. The staff also made an announcement to the cabin, instructing everyone to stay in their seats and remain quiet, she says.

Gaudry alleges that many of her fellow passengers were upset by the announcement, and one passenger told her “all we can do is pray.”

“I’m humiliated by my lack of courage to sing the national anthem in my own country on American soil, with a deceased soldier on the plane. I wish I could have been an example for my children,” Gaudry said. “I’m glad my former husband is deceased because he would have been profoundly disappointed in me.”

Angered, Gaudry posted a video on Facebook once her plane landed, explaining the incident. Her video has since gone viral, garnering nearly one million views and the attention of Delta.

In a statement obtained by Fox News, a spokesperson for Delta Air Lines has confirmed that Delta does not have a policy the prevents people from singing the national anthem, and that they have reached out to Gaudry regarding the incident.

“Our employees worldwide take great pride in Delta’s longstanding support of the militaryThe respectful ceremony of the Delta Honor Guard is one symbol of Delta’s pledge to the men and women of the armed forces, and it represents our broad commitment to our veterans and active-duty service members,” writes Delta in its statement.

“Delta does not have a policy regarding the national anthem. We have reached out to the customer and are looking into this situation.”

Gaudry says the airline did indeed contact her about the flight, offering an apology and explaining that the flight attendant had been misinformed — it is not company policy to prevent passengers from singing the national anthem.

“Evidently, they had a flight attendant that made some bad decisions in trying to make this situation go away. They are going to do some training for the future,” she said. “Delta was very reverent and let the honor guards do a wonderful thing to honor each and every soldier that comes home with this beautiful tribute. For just this reason, I personally do not believe in a boycott of Delta.”

“Delta has apologized to me. Profusely. I accept. Like many things in life … it should have been handled differently. I am not throwing any stones,” she added.

Gaudry said she was also contacted by Dustin Wright’s family, who thanked her.

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