In this new monthly blog series, we will explore all the unpredictable, oddly emotional and ever-entertaining news stories that come out of the terminals, the air and all that’s in between.
News highlights from January include a city’s attachment to its airport carpet, passenger protests to winter weather delays, and the demise of a 25-year old airplane staple. If you hear – or experience – something newsworthy in February, be sure to drop us a line!
1. Portland loses a cultural icon: The PDX airport carpet
In early January, Portlanders and Portland-fans began to mourn the loss of the airport’s iconic runway-inspired teal carpet. For 27 years, the bisecting lines and dots have not just lined the airport floors – they have inspired a cult-like following. #PDXCarpet has taken on a personality with its Twitter account and Facebook page – and the pattern has gone on to inspire everything from nail art to tattoos, and microbrews to running shoes. Though the new carpet is trying to fill the large whole in Portland’s heart, (the old) PDXcarpet describes its successor on Twitter as “clean, shiny, bright and completely devoid of character. In other words… it’s AWFUL.”
2. Delta Airlines flies to NYC … with two passengers on board.
Everyone has their own strategies for weather-related flight delays. While some panic at the airport, others like Chris O’Leary, wait calmly at their hotel room. When Chris finally did arrive at the airport – after his 11-hour delay was over – he found himself alone on his Cleveland – NYC Delta flight. At this point, all other passengers had been re-directed. After receiving a private safety tutorial from flight attendants, one final passenger boarded before the plane took off.
3. The end of the yeti, and other Skymall specialties.
Better buy your $250 end table/dog crate, $50 glow in the dark toilet seat and $60 wine shoe holder quickly! And definitely don’t forget your $2,250 giant yeti statue… Skymall is going out of business! After “twenty-five years of cool stuff” this frivolous and sometimes-bewildering airline magazine is closing its doors. Though you might have thought this was a magazine doomed from the start, in its hey-day, it sold over 10,000 moulds of that infamous yeti, and advertising went for $13,000 for a full page ad! Apparently, smart phones were what led to its demise…
4. Winter weather delays prompt prison-worthy protests.
Winter weather has slowed air travel worldwide this month – but nowhere did it elicit as passionate a reaction as it did in south-western China. After a 7-hour snow delay, 25 angry passengers on a China Eastern Airlines flight allegedly fought with crew and began to riot when the plane’s ventilation system was turned off for 30 minutes during the de-icing process. Tensions between passengers and the pilot came to a head when – as the plane began to taxi – a man opened 3 emergency exits demanding they be let off. Returning to the gate, those involved were detained by the police and two ring leaders were arrested. Remaining travelers finally departed for Beijing on another flight. The incident came less than a month after another passenger pulled open the emergency exit on an Xiamen Airlines flight so that he could get some “fresh air”.
5. How not to smuggle 12 kilos of iPhones in China.
The release of the iPhone 6 certainly got a lot of people excited – not least of which was a Hong Kong man who strapped 94 of them to his body. Though his awkward walk was the first clue of smuggling, the man was absolutely no match for the metal detectors at Futian Port. In total, the man was carrying roughly $50,000 worth of phones – weighing a total of 12 kilograms. The taxation policies in Beijing make iPhones much more expensive here than in Hong Kong, making smuggling a lucrative business… for those who do it successfully.
6. Enough with the airplane noise!
We can only imagine the frustration that might come from living under a low-altitude flight path. With jets tearing by overhead daily, its not surprising that those residents would begin to voice their concerns. Vancouver alone received 1695 air traffic noise complaints in 2014 (… 66% of which were from the same three people), but one home got a little more creative. Check it out….
7. Some inspiration to pack your own airplane food.
Think your airplane food was bad this month? Unless you were flying on North Korea’s Air Koryo, you probably haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Airlinemeals.net is a website devoted to collecting and rating images of the good, the bad and the horrifying when it comes to airplane food. And well, the submissions are certainly worth browsing – especially before a flight.
Got a news tip? Send us a message, a comment, or tweet @airportsleeper!