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Woman Removed From Alaska Airlines Flight For Wearing Respirator



On Saturday a woman was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight after refusing to remove a respirator she planned to wear during the flight. In the age of coronavirus, more protection always seems more prudent if you’re concerned about contracting the disease. I’m not one who is very concerned about the risks of flying, but there are plenty of people who are. And this story stands out to me as odd, as I would expect airline employees to be on board with more PPE, not less.

Disputing The Use of a Respirator

Alaska resident Judy Ferguson was traveling from Fairbanks to Seattle for necessary medical appointments. The 75-year-old suffers from lung fibrosis, something that solidly places her in the high-risk category in the event she contracts COVID-19. I’m not at all surprised that someone of her age and condition would be extremely worried about flying in an enclosed metal tube with lots of other people.

Ms. Ferguson claimed that a University of Washington doctor had told her that a typical surgical mask or cloth face covering would not provide reasonable protection if you’re in an enclosed space for more than 20 minutes. Because of this, she had elected to wear a respirator helmet, as this would provide her far more protection on a flight that exceeds four hours. She initially wore a typical N95 mask and visor, switching to the respirator only once seated on the aircraft.

An Alaska employee then asked her to remove the respirator. Although Ms. Ferguson tried to explain that the respirator offered far more protection that the surgical mask he was offering her, she was eventually removed from the plane. This was after she had even removed the respirator and put the vent-less N95 mask back on, which should comply with Alaska Airlines’ policy.

Alaska Airlines tried to rebook her on a flight two hours later, but she refused to take them up on the offer and left Fairbanks Airport. Ms. Ferguson was reportedly uncooperative and disruptive.

But was all this necessary from just trying to take extra precautions? I really don’t understand what was going on in the Alaska agents’ heads. But let’s review their policies.

Reviewing Alaska Airlines Face Covering Policy

Alaska Airlines starts off their face covering policy with a simple statement of “No mask, no travel.” All U.S. airlines require face coverings, which are to be worn covering the nose and mouth by all persons over age two on Alaska Airlines except when eating or drinking. Masks must also not have mesh, holes, or vents.

Alaska policy also states that “guests who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask or face covering will be given a final warning—in the form of a yellow card—and may be suspended from flying with us for a period of time.” There are a number of reports of passengers who have refused to wear a face covering while on an aircraft and who have been removed.

From what I read, proper face covering usage boils down to this:

  • Wear a face covering that covers mouth and nose
  • Use a face covering that does not have a valve/vent to directly exhale

That’s about it.

Does a Respirator Comply with Alaska Policy?

According to Judy, the N95 mask she had initially worn isn’t vented. If this is the case, it falls within Alaska Airlines policy. But the respirator appears to be the bigger issue.

For the respirator to fall under policy, it must also not be vented. That is, you need one where source control (i.e. the person’s breathing) is managed just as much as the exterior air. I don’t know whether Ms. Ferguson’s respirator featured an exhalation vent or not, but given how knowledgeable she appears to be about the other types of masks and that her N95 mask complied with policy, it’s difficult to imagine she overlooked this issue.

The other question is whether a respirator complies with other Alaska safety policies or interferes with other guests. There is a case that removing a respirator is more difficult than removing a typical face covering in the event of cabin depressurization, but it’s not that much harder. That does not seem like a safety issue to me. And no respirator is going to be large enough to invade the space of the person next to you.

This leaves me thinking that the Alaska agents are are the ones mostly at fault here. They likely didn’t know enough about the protection offered by a respirator versus an N95 or surgical mask, nor did they seem willing to try to understand Ms. Ferguson’s situation. Realizing how high-risk she is could have gone a long way to figuring out why she would be entirely willing to wear an uncomfortable respirator for over four hours. Instead it seems they didn’t appreciate her protests to remove the respirator and summarily removed her from the plane, even after she switched back to the N95 mask.

I don’t know if there is more to this story, but it seems mishandled by the airline. What do you think about the situation? 

By: Family Flys Free
Title: Woman Removed From Alaska Airlines Flight For Wearing Respirator
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Published Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2020 15:09:22 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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