The 7 Dumbest Things Ever Done by Airport Security

By Dan Seitz –

If there’s one holiday ritual we all know and hate, it’s that yearly trip to the airport, where the friendly security man awaits with his X-ray machine, his metal detector and possibly a well-lubed rubber glove.

While none of us want to spend the holidays involved in a terrorist incident (unless you’re living in the Die Hard universe), you have to admit that sometimes security gets a little out of hand. And then there are horror stories like…

7. Terrorist Breasts Safely Disarmed with Pliers

Just Another Day In Line:

Mandi Hamlin was just trying to grab a flight from Lubbock, TX. She made it through the main security scanners and her various metal piercings hadn’t set off any alarms. Then she was wanded by a female TSA employee and discovered that, without her knowledge, her breasts had joined Al Qaeda.


Apparently figuring that the metal nipple rings were there to disguise some kind of implanted boob lasers, Hamlin was forced to remove both of her piercings.


One came out with no problem, but the other had to be removed using pliers. This was done behind a screen, while (according to Hamlin) male agents stood nearby laughing at her.

Here’s what the Transportation Security Administration had to say for itself:

“TSA supports the thoroughness of the officers involved as they were acting to protect the passengers and crews of the flights departing Lubbock that day… In the future, TSA will inform passengers that they have the option to resolve the alarm through a visual inspection of the article in lieu of removing the item in question.”

We suppose the visual inspection beats the hands on approach. Though it’s just a matter of time until Al Qaeda develops some kind of poisonous nanodarts that can fire out from those piercings and kill everyone on board. Or at least that’s what keeps happening in that dream we dare not tell the therapist about.

Where will you be when tits strike back?

To Make Things Worse…

Before the Hamlin incident, the TSA saw fit to feel up dozens of women, forcing them to take off their shirts in public while a female TSA agent felt all around the bra. Don’t worry, ladies, after enough complaints rolled in the TSA promised to exclude your boobs from the pat-down.

Unless the metal detector goes off…

6. All Men Named David Nelson are Terrorists

Just Another Day In Line:

You probably know that all airline passenger lists are compared against a no-fly list, which the TSA didn’t even want to admit existed at one time. The problem is that, as it turns out, sometimes more than one person in the world shares the same name.


So, you can imagine the chaos that erupted when a “David Nelson” somehow wound up on the list. That name isn’t exactly as distinctive as, say, Flavor Flav, so the result was many, many David Nelsons getting pulled out of line every single time they flew (including one David Nelson who got called out by security four times on one trip).

It doesn’t help that the process to get your name removed from the watch list takes at least a month and a half, and the ACLU had to sue to even get that. In a nice touch of irony, one of the lawyers who was working for the ACLU was named…David Nelson.

To Make Things Worse…

An easier way to get off the no-fly list is to just change your name, as one Canadian man did. Yes, the entire no-fly list is founded on the idea that terrorists are stupid enough to fly using their own names.

5. The Cutest Little Terrorist Ever!

Just Another Day In Line:

Now, of course the whole “block every flyer with the same name” thing doesn’t apply to the obvious cases. Like they’re not pulling little David Nelson babies out of the line or anything, right?



Yep, TSA employees pulled Matthew Gardner out of the line because somebody with that name showed up on a federal Most Wanted list.

Matthew is five.

Agents searched the belongings of both Matthew and his mom. When the mother went to comfort the upset child, she was told to back away. Because, you know, it totally says right here on the screen he like shot six dudes at a bank in Reno.

But, hey, we’ve heard of little kid suicide bombers before, right? It could happen. And really, can you ever be too careful?

To Make Things Worse…

Yes, yes you can. For instance, if you not only stop an infant in line, but you stop an infant from flying because, again, he shows up on the no-fly list.

“Sorry, but you’re gonna have to leave that with us.”

Parents have gotten repeatedly held up (or missed flights completely) waiting to get passports and other documentation faxed in to prove their one-year-old wasn’t a little terrorist mastermind.

4. “All We Need to Take the Plane is a Butter Knife. And the Pilot.”

Just Another Day In Line:

Anybody protecting our safety on airlines obviously isn’t going to let somebody bring a knife on board. And, of course, the TSA plays things safe by confiscating thousands of Swiss Army knives and others that could make damn fine weapons in the hand of a trained nutjob.

We’re not going to complain about that, are we?


Well, there’s the case of Patrick Smith, who got stopped with a butter knife. A butter knife from the plane. It was one of the knives they give you with your in-flight meal.

But what was this crazy man doing trying to sneak airplane issued silverware through security anyway? Why couldn’t he have just waited to get one with his meal, like a normal person?

Well, the airline issued it to him. Because he works for them. As a pilot. And all of this happened while he was standing there in full pilot uniform.

Wrap your mind around that. If this man was a terrorist and intended to fly a plane into a building, he doesn’t need a knife to get into the cockpit. They pay him to sit there.

To Make Things Worse…

With such stringent standards, they catch every dangerous knife, right? Well, there was somebody who got through a security checkpoint with a four-inch knife blade after getting his apparently far more dangerous pudding confiscated.

As for all those knives they do confiscate, you might be wondering what happens to them. After all, some of these knives are cherished possessions of the owners, or beloved heirlooms! So, of course, there’s a process to get them back. They call it eBay.

3. Break Your Ankle for National Security

Just Another Day In Line:

Obviously crutches are a big problem for metal detectors, because you can’t exactly tell a guy with a broken leg to hop through without them. So the TSA has a perfectly reasonable policy in place for their employees to follow. Unless, of course, that employee is a prick.


Just ask Lona Dunlap. She had a sprained ankle and was on crutches. So what did her friendly local TSA screener do? He took away her crutches and forced her to stand on her sprained ankle, causing two fractures. Lona is looking into her legal options, and the TSA says it’s taking such claims “very seriously.”

To Make Things Worse…

Then there’s this story of a woman who, due to childhood polio, needs braces, crutches and a wheelchair just to get around. She was blocked from flying unless she dropped her pants behind a sheet in a public terminal.

This sounds like they would be required to stand up to do that, which would seem to be impossible for somebody in a wheelchair. But of course that’s just what a terrorist would want us to think.

2. You Can Only Feed Your Kids So Much

Just Another Day In Line:

The TSA, as you might have heard, banned liquids for a while. But what about the children? Well, the TSA of course allows amounts of baby food “reasonable for the duration of the itinerary.” “Reasonable” being the key word.

Can you see what’s about to go wrong here?


Anand V. Soni and Arati Pratap were traveling with a 10-month-old from Chicago to Manchester, NH. This was in February, and being reasonably bright people, they assumed there might be a few delays flying between two places famous for snow in the middle of winter. So they brought along six jars or so of Gerbers and 20 ounces of formula, which a TSA employee told them was too much. The supervisor on shift agreed. They were told they’d need a doctor’s note to bring that much food.

They’re both doctors.

And the kid was one, too!

To Make Things Worse…

A traveler named Monica Emmerson saw her toddler’s sippy cup get confiscated, because it had water in it. Maybe her son was on the watch list.

Or not, since Monica is a former Secret Service agent.

1. TSA Stops Dangerous Terroist T-Shirt

Just Another Day In Line:

Raed Jarrar was just looking to get on his flight. The Iraq Project Director for Global Exchange is a pretty busy guy, after all. And, being a political guy and all that, he was wearing a T-shirt, in Arabic and English, saying “We Will Not Be Silent.”

These are the situations irony was invented for.


The man was pulled out of line and questioned because the T-shirt had the Arabic on it, which he was told was like wearing a T-shirt saying “I am a bank robber” to the local branch.

They wouldn’t let him fly unless he covered the Arabic script with another T-shirt, which they figured would offset the magical plane-destroying powers of the silk screened letters.

To Make Things Worse…

Then there’s Dr. Ahmed Farooq, a Canadian national who got booted off an airplane for performing his evening prayers. To the TSA’s credit, that was the flight crew that made that call and the TSA agents at the airport realized it was retarded (but didn’t realize it in time to get him back on the flight, which took off without him and stranded him in Denver).

“See ya!”

Of course, the airline didn’t feel bad enough to actually pay for Farooq’s return flight the next day, or the costs of the hotel he stayed in until the next flight. The least they could have done was send him home with a free box of confiscated knives. Or a T-shirt.


Flight attendants share the shocking secrets on Reddit that Airlines DON’T Want You To Know! WHOA!

Flight attendants share the shocking secrets on Reddit that Airlines DON’T Want You To Know! WHOA!When boarding a plane we put all of our trust into the cabin crew believing that what we see is what we get.

However, in a new thread on Reddit, flight attendants and other airline workers have revealed some secrets of the industry that their passengers never knew.

The thread was started by user ayyitsjameslmao who asked fellow Redditors ‘Flight Attendants of Reddit: What do the passengers *not* know?’.

Flight attendants have taken to Reddit to reveal the secrets that they would never tell their passengers 

It wasn’t long before stewards and stewardesses came forward with their frankly shocking admissions.

Probably the most unsettling confession came from user oh_sneezeus who revealed that passengers are likely to be travelling with body parts to be used in transplants.

Legion3382 confirmed this revealing that he once worked as a baggage handler and had helped to stow dead bodies in the hold.

Perhaps more disturbing though, was the fact that he said he had seen ‘fluid’ leak from the caskets.

Many of those who have worked aboard an airline were eager to deter passengers from removing their shoes during a flight.

TJeffersonsBlackKid said the floor is so ‘filthy it’s ridiculous’ claiming that there is urine on the carpet.

Another user named seeyou_never said that she ‘regularly’ witnesses accidents before pleading with travellers not to change their baby’s nappy on a tray table.

Several cabin crew members advised to keep your shoes on in flight as the aircraft is not as clean as you would like to believe

While many of the admissions were a little gross some were more than a little worrying.

Giftofnarwhals revealed that an elderly pilot he had once known had decided to step down from his role after his dementia meant he forgot where he was travelling to mid flight.

In addition several members of the thread revealed that both the cabin crew and the pilot sleep during the flight.

User tz100 revealed that occasionally airline delays are due flight attendants calling in sick which has known to be due to a hangover.

Nodeal_reddit said that his mother worked aboard Delta airlines and revealed that customers had been known to fake a disability to get priority boarding.

The 10 Coolest Airline Amenities

With all the airline fees adding up, it’s hard to remember what perks you get as a passenger. However, there are still some airlines that show their appreciation for customers, dishing out amenities that make them stand out from the rest. These airlines have come up with everything from free alcoholic beverages and DirecTV to slippers and playing cards. Want to catch a surprise Imagine Dragons flight? Dying to flirt with that person you met at the gate? These amenities aren’t just available to first-class passengers either — they’re available to all passengers throughout the cabin. Now that’s something that stands out!

1. Free beer, wine, and snacks with Porter Airlines

Had a long day and need to unwind? You can do that at no charge on Porter Airlines, who fly throughout Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States. The airline offers free local Canadian beer, wine and snacks to all passengers. The luxury treatment continues with drinks served in real glassware and no middle seats. The amenities start before the flight, too, as the airline’s airport lounges are open to all passengers and provide free newspapers, snacks and Wi-Fi.

2. Live at 35 with Southwest

Imagine flying at 35,000 feet when your favorite band takes the stage — well, the aisle. As part of Southwest Airlines’ Live at 35 program, passengers have seen popular bands such as Imagine Dragons, Echosmith and Better Than Ezra perform a surprise concert on their flight. In addition to surprise shoes aboard Southwest flights, the Live at 35 program also offers passengers exclusive access to music festivals and events across the country. The airline also has Southwest-branded venues in New York, Denver, Dallas and Atlanta for loyal fans to watch live entertainment.

3. DirecTV on JetBlue

Travelers no longer have to worry about missing important television events such as the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards or a Real Housewives of Atlanta marathon when flying on JetBlue. The airline offers free DirecTV for all passengers who want to choose between ESPN, NBC, Bravo, Food Network, VH1 and even the Disney Channel. On the airline’s E190 and A320 planes, passengers have access to 36 channels, while the A321 planes offer more than 100 channels.

4. Slippers on Japan Airlines

Travelers fly in comfort on Japan Airlines: The airline provides slippers — in yellow, blue or pink — to all passengers looking to get a bit more relaxed on their long flight. Amenity kits with a toothbrush set, earplugs and eye mask are also available for passengers on longer routes. Flight attendants have pain relievers, motion sickness medicine, nasal sprays, bandages and more for passengers who are feeling under the weather. For those looking to send a note home, postcards and ballpoint pens are also available upon request. Talk about good service!

5. Do not disturb/wake me up sleep mask on Etihad

On board Etihad Airways, even economy passengers are sure to get a good night’s sleep. The airline offers a Sleep Tight amenity kit that includes socks, a toothbrush and earplugs as well as an eye mask that passengers can wear to notify flight attendants not to disturb them or wake them for meals! Etihad also give each passenger a full-sized fleece blanket, and on longer flights, the airline designed a pillow that converts from a standard pillow to a neck pillow for easy sleep.

6. Turkish coffee and Turkish Delight on Turkish Airlines

Whether you’re flying to or from Turkey, Turkish Airlines bring Turkish culture to the air. It’s the only airline that offers Turkish cuisine to all its passengers. Additionally, Business Class passengers will get the opportunity to nosh on Turkish Delight and Turkish coffee. The hors d’oeuvres and soup service are equally authentic, as they’re an important part of any Turkish meal. In both the Business and Comfort classes, meals are also served in porcelain dishes.

7. Seat-to-seat chat and ordering on Virgin America

Virgin America’s fleet of planes represent the new age of flying — from the colorful overhead lights to the personal screen available to each passenger. The personal touchscreen allows passengers to choose their own in-flight entertainment as well as order drinks and food at the touch of a button. Even cooler, the system allows passengers to send an ice-breaking drink, meal or snack to another passenger. It also features a chat room for co-workers to connect or for passengers to send a flirty message.

8. Playing cards and writing kits on Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines take the in-flight amenity offerings to a new level. They, too, offer a toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshades, earplugs and knitted socks to each passenger. However, they also offer a complimentary set of Singapore Airlines postcards, playing cards and writing kits upon request. Travelers under the age of 12 are also treated to exclusive Cartoon Network collectible items on certain flights. Each passenger also gets a video monitor and handheld control unit to browse the entertainment offerings on KrisWorld, the airline’s famous in-flight entertainment system.

9. Celeb chef children’s meals on Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic tasked TV chef Lorraine Pascale with the job of creating signature dishes for the airline’s Upper Class passengers as well as a variety of children’s meals served throughout the entire cabin. Pascale created healthy dishes featuring fresh, nutritious and simple ingredients. Upper Class passengers can enjoy dishes such as a Thai beef salad with roasted pine nuts and chili dressing or a salmon, lentil and chorizo dish served with asparagus. The children’s meals include a macaroni-and-cheese dish with pancetta and chicken strips with potato wedges and crushed peas. Oh, to be a kid again.

10. Free Wi-Fi on Emirates

No matter how much you’d like to escape the office during your flight, there’s always some crisis that needs to be averted. On Emirates, passengers can stay connected for free with the airline’s free onboard Wi-Fi. Passengers can enjoy 10 MB of data for free or buy 500 MB for just $1. The airline offers each passenger an in-seat satellite phone and on-screen SMS and email services. Travelers can also follow the up-to-date flight progress via the airline’s map channel, Airshow. That way, you’ll know exactly when you’re landing to schedule any post-flight meetings or activities.

The truth about the luxury of Qatar Airways

 Qatar Airways is regarded as one of the most luxurious airlines in the world, and has received numerous awards for their onboard service.Flight attendants Saga and Gina testify about the other side of the glamour. How employees are forced to sign contracts that prevent them from governing their own life choices.Swedish newspaper Expressen’s reporter Johanna Karlsson commutes between Doha and small Swedish towns in her depiction of a five-star airline.

Gina knows she is not allowed to speak to the guard. Not while he’s been stationed at his post for twelve hours and is starting to get sleepy. Not while he’s longing for his Nepalese family and she is just coming off a flight to Kathmandu. Not while he mentioned that he earns 500 riyal (SEK 1,200 ) a month.

The cubicle where the guard sits, at the entrance to Qatar Airways’ staff housing, is strictly guarded. There are cameras everywhere. At least that’s what the management says – that they should expect everything that happens at the entrance to be reported to the managers, to be registered and be incorporated into each flight attendant’s personal track record.

Under surveillance

Any action on Gina’s part can be construed as an attempt at bribery. After all, the guard is there to monitor her. To ensure that Gina never sleeps anywhere but the staff housing. Never gets home later than mandated by the company. Never allows an unregistered guest into her room, never leaves during her leisure times or has anyone sleep over.

At the same time, he is below her in rank – at least Gina can apply to leave the country if she wants to visit her Swedish family. The guards change buildings every third month, to really make any friendly relations impossible between them and the flight attendants. But Gina has noticed that this guard is sick. And that he is getting worse. She defies the rules and starts talking to him every day. Convinces the guard to go to the doctor.

“What did the doctor say?” she asks the following morning.

“I have diabetes,” replies the guard at the staff entrance.

Gina is silent. She tries to solve the equation of insulin injections and the salary of a Nepalese migrant worker in Doha.

“He says I shouldn’t eat rice,” continues the guard.

“But youíre poor! All you eat is rice. What are you going to eat now?”

“I don’t know.”

Gina and the guard don’t talk again. He’ll soon be relocated to a new building anyway. But before he changes his posting, Gina figures out that there is a tiny blind spot in the entrance where the cameras don’t reach. One morning, on her way to a flight, she ducks into this corner.

On the ground, she leaves a blood sugar meter and a Qatari five hundred note. 500 riyal.

When Saga drives down from northern Sweden for the tryouts at the Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm, she has just come off a night shift. It is March 2010.

Has always dreamed of being a flight attendant

She changes her outfit in the public toilets at Stockholm Central Station. Saga from northern Sweden has always dreamed of being a flight attendant. The tryouts for the five-star and highly esteemed Qatar Airways are held via open recruitment days. The candidate’s personality and looks are judged here – in detail. The candidate’s body should not have any scarring or tattoos, not even very discreet ones.

The airline holds recruitment events every weekend. There are often about six recruitment days a week globally. At the tryouts, information is shared about what the employees are signing up for. A pledge to stay single for five years, that permission from CEO Akbar Al Baker is required to marry as a flight attendant, and if you become pregnant, you must inform the company immediately. Also, Qatar Airways reserves the right to fire an employee without having to give a reason.

The same principle applies at the tryouts. They explain early on that no candidate has the right to question why they have not been selected.

Attendance is enormous in some countries, whereas it is only moderate in cities like Stockholm.

The girls are screened in bunches at the Sheraton this Saturday. Things move fast. Finally, only Saga and three other girls remain. They are called back for a personal interview the following morning. Saga arrives at the hotel thirty minutes early. But the recruiters are angry.

“We said 11.30, not 12.30. This is a very poor start!”

Saga tries to explain that she really didn’t get the time wrong, there must have been a mistake. But eventually she gives up and apologizes to the recruiters. They nod grimly. Qatar Airways has forced her to correct herself for the first time.

When the next girl shows up for a planned interview at 12.30, it is clear that Saga was in fact punctual. This is waved aside. The most important thing was that Saga took the blame. I am very sorry.

Gives up

She gets the job as a flight attendant and is instructed to pack for immediate departure to her new living quarters in Qatar. Saga packs. And resigns from her old job. Shares the news with her friends and acquaintances in her hometown. But all of a sudden, Qatar Airways stops responding to questions. There is no information about what has happened. She is left waiting.

As June arrives, she gives up and begins to plan for a Midsummer trip. Four months have now passed since the promise of immediate departure and Saga’s packed bag at home. The standard policy applies: Qatar Airways is not required to explain itself to the employees.

Suddenly the tickets and visa arrive. Midsummer is cancelled. Saga is put on a flight to Doha.

Javier had never considered working abroad. As a pilot, he has excellent opportunities in his European home country. But a certain little European crisis got in the way of everything.

When he relocates to Qatar, he immediately understands that the pilots’ relationship with their colleagues the flight attendants is a very sensitive matter. He feels that the company CEO Akbar Al Baker focuses too much time on them and that the regulations governing the flight attendants’ lives are extreme.

“I am allowed to visit their staff building before 10 pm and if I register my name and passport number with the guard. But they keep and review the visitor register. It looks bad if I’m there too often,” he explains via Skype.

Javier reacts to the way Akbar Al Baker addresses the flight attendants directly. He holds aggressive inaugural speeches to groups of new workers where they are encouraged to steer clear of their male colleagues.

The pilots are my chauffeurs, they only come to you to fuck you,” Javier once heard CEO Akbar Al Baker declare during a welcome speech.

The rules differ substantially between the various professions. The entire country of Qatar adheres to a sponsorship system where the employer dictates the right of the employees to enter and exit the country, housing and they have a certain level of control of the employee’s bank account. As a pilot, Javier can pay to apply for a monthly exit visa and thereby leave Doha on his days off without needing permission from his manager.

Flight attendants, on the other hand, must request an exit visa for every trip. The chance to leave Qatar is used as leverage in a game of punishment, where six months of rejected exit visas is common punishment for a flight attendant who has done something wrong and issued a warning.


Javier, who wants to keep his job until employment opportunities in Europe improve, decides to stay away from the confined flight attendants with whom he shares a workplace. They ride the same staff buses, sleep in the same airport hotels and share the same cabin – but visiting them at home is too risky.

Gina boils some eggs. She has only just arrived home from a flight. She is tired and removes her makeup slowly. The saucepan overheats when the water evaporates and suddenly the fire alarm goes off. Gina switches it off quickly and tells the security guards that it was a false alarm. Too late.

Three different managers from Qatar Airways arrive at the guarded staff building. Question her in detail about what happened and ask her to prove her story.

“You were boiling an egg? Show us the egg.”

Gina rummages through the garbage and finds the egg. The managers arenít satisfied. They decide that she should be removed from flights for the next few days and she is summoned to the office the following morning. As there is a twelve hour resting rule before any work event, whether it is a meeting or a long haul flight, Gina is grounded until the time of the meeting.

At the office at Qatar Airways Tower, she is once more asked to give an account of the event. The fact that she was boiling an egg, how could she be so careless, how can they be certain that she will never do anything like that again? Gina is given a severe warning.

Then she is given a pen and paper. Qatar Airways now wants Gina to explain the egg incident in writing and to conclude by saying how sorry she is and that it will not happen again. They dictate and she writes. “I am very sorry, it will never happen again.”

This is the first time that Gina from Sweden is given a warning in Doha, Qatar.

Saga doesn’t get any warnings. Her behaviour is exemplary. She is promoted to first class faster than anyone else in her group. . Receives letter of compliment upon letter of compliment. Is selected to accompany CEO Akbar Al Bakar on PR trips to market the company at trade fairs.

“Are you on a diet?”

Later this makes her somewhat nervous, as Al Baker has been known to summon selected girls up to his hotel room and shower them with gifts, such as an iPad. From more distant rumours, Saga has heard of girls being fired for not replying to Al Bakar’s private text messages to their mobile phones. Nothing like that happens on Saga’s PR trip to Oslo Instead, the group eats dinner in silence. The cabin crew and Al Baker.

During dessert, one of the girls declines. She doesn’t fancy a dessert. “Are you on a diet?” asks Akbar Al Baker roughly – and the mood becomes unsettled. Perhaps declining a dessert somehow reflects poorly on the company? The girl quickly changes her mind. She orders a dessert.

One day in Doha, a friend drives Saga home after a night out at a nightclub. The curfew for days off is 3.30 am. The friend’s car gets stuck in traffic. The clock is nearing the half past mark.

Saga’s heart is pounding. All the wonderful compliments she has earned, have they all been in vain? Is everything over now? A few blocks from the house, her friend says, “Listen, if I drop you off now, they will fire you immediately. Better to sleep elsewhere and try to sneak past in the morning and hope that the guard doesn’t see what you did.”

The plan works! Saga develops more and more methods. Sleeping away, but picking up the washing on the way back to make it look as though she just got back from a short errand. Sleeping away, but taking a work outfit with her so that the guard will think she’s returning from a flight.

The flight attendants devise new ways to live in a work dictatorship. They become experts at avoiding the employer’s cameras.

A new airport is being built at Doha. A 20 ton sculpture of a teddy bear, created by Swiss artist Urs Fischer, is already in place and waiting.

A large, new terminal building was opened only three years ago at the old airport, but it is already time to build a new one. The airport is owned by Akbar Al Baker. The airport is owned by Akbar Al Baker. With his airport, he is pushing his vision of Doha as a great hub for international air traffic. He pushed his vision of Qatar Airways just as forcefully, where all annual reports are classified and board members are anonymous, but the brand name is well known, just the way Al Bakar wants it.

Gina meets Akbar Al Bakar on a couple of occasions. He can storm into a lecture room for new flight attendants, and without another word come in and control the situation. He takes flights just to measure staff service capabilities. And he shows up at briefings in which Qatar Airways flight attendants stand with their fingers at chest height so that nails, complexion and hair can all be inspected.

When he shows up at Gina’s briefing, she greets him directly. He does not reply.

“You need to lose weight,” says Al Baker instead. And he leaves.

Every day, the flight attendants log onto the intranet, where the schedules are kept. One day, when Saga logs on, all her flights have been deleted. No one has warned her. Her schedule is empty. Everyone knows what that means.

She quickly goes to an ATM. Here, she withdraws 10,000 riyal. She has been working for two years. No complaints have been filed against her. On the contrary, she has been promoted and been given special assignments. But she knows that if she doesn’t withdraw her entire salary right now, Qatar Airways can freeze her local bank account. She has been detected.

Three nights in custody

Javier’s best friend among the pilots is in a good mood. During his flights, he has made the acquaintance of a flight attendant who he is getting to know more and more. The others warn him, but one night it happens anyway. She sleeps over.

The reaction is immediate.

The girl spends three nights in Qatari custody. Javier’s friend is stripped of his flights. The flight attendant is shipped back to her home country with the status “deported”, which means she can be denied any new entry into Qatar. The pilot’s milder punishment is a final warning. Any sidestep from him within the next six months and he will have to leave Qatar Airways.

The deported flight attendant’s former pilot friend loses touch with her. Qatar’s rules are such, when it comes to relationships between colleagues.

Soon after the incident, Javier resigns. Today he works for a different airline.

Gina and I meet at one of Doha’s restaurants, run by Philippine staff. Southeast Asian guest workers cook our food, drive us there in cars, stand in a corner of the restaurant and sing for us as entertainment while we eat.

During my stay in Doha, Amnesty is on location. They have requested a crisis meeting about working conditions in Qatar. But Qatari media cheerfully report the meeting with positive headings like “Amnesty Says Qatar Working on Working Rights.”

Every conversation about the flight attendants’ lives in Doha strays onto the much more visible group that assists them and all the other workplaces in the country. How Southeast Asian slaves are made to guard flight attendants who are confined in luxury with a passable salary creates a complex balance of power. Can a slavery system include a middle class?

“We often have coffins onboard our Kathmandu flights,” says Gina.

Nepalese men simply work themselves to death. Gina tells us that the coffins are loaded and unloaded at the same time as the passengers. Qatar Airways has around four daily flights between Doha and Kathmandu.

“But what is most painful is seeing how see how expectant they are on the flight there. On the way to Qatar. That they don’t know.”

It is November 2013. Gina is one of the few Swedes still working for the company. It has taken several months to get someone like her to agree to meet me. Over the three years that I’ve being following Qatar Airways, I have met Swedish girls my own age who are terrified to talk about their work, even anonymously. Swedish girls who have grown up with freedom of the press, employment laws and freedom of speech but who wouldn’t even dare reply to an email from a journalist to say “no, thank you”.

Stewardesses and pilots working for Qatar Airways have all signed a detailed Non Disclosure Agreement about not discussing the company, sharing their views on Facebook or showing pictures of their uniforms. “Getting fired is easy,” says Gina who claims that luck is the reason she still has her job.

“There was a period about eight months ago when four staff housing buildings were more or less emptied. Every time you were hanging out with another stewardess, mobile phones kept ringing: she’s off, now she’s off. I was talking to a friend one day when six of the girls in her building had been fired in the same week.”

The company’s sudden redundancies are as constant as the international recruitment days every weekend. Stewardesses are fired for wanting to change room mate, for posting an inappropriate Facebook status, for getting a tattoo that colleagues then sneak a photo of and show the company as proof, for returning to the housing five minutes after curfew, for letting a man that they know who is neither their husband or father give them a lift to work, for smoking a cigarette during their time off.

The man the stewardesses are called to see when it is time to be fired is Saliya Karunanayake. He now takes out two printed images in A4 format and silently puts them on his desk in front of Saga. They are photographs from the surveillance camera. The first image shows Saga leaving the house, the second her return.

“You are not wearing the same clothes in the two images. You have slept somewhere else,” Saliya Karunanayake points out in a sharp tone.

Saga has tried to prepare herself ever since she saw the empty schedule on the intranet. There are various theories about how a stewardess can avoid immediate termination. Someone advises her to weep, another to be strong and act dignified. Now she doesn’t know which method is best. She admits to what the camera captured.

“It got late, I didn’t want to come home after curfew and get fired for it, so I stayed with a female friend.

Saliya Karunanayake asks for a more detailed description of the night in question. First verbally. Then in writing. Saga is asked to leave the name, phone number, place of work and job title of the female friend in question. This terrifies Saga. She gets it into her head that the girl she names could get in trouble and tries to say that she doesn’t remember her number.

So infected are Sagas thought patterns that she worries on behalf of a normal woman outside of Qatar Airways who has had a friend over to stay. The meeting is not at all what you would expect during a discussion between an employer and employee. When she apologises, it is for something bigger than breaking a rule during a night off.

Empty schedule

A few days after I leave Doha, Gina gets in touch. She has just logged onto the intranet.

Her schedule is empty. All her lights are removed.

An early morning call lets her know that she has thirty minutes to present herself at the office. Gina makes sure she stops at an ATM on the way. She takes out all the money, except 100 riyal.

The following day her account is frozen. There is no way of getting to the rest of her money.

Now sacked, Saga is not given much time to leave the country. In a confused state, she returns to her hometown in northern Sweden, trying to reintegrate into her normal life, but is not well.

On her way back from a holiday in Australia she decides to celebrate Christmas with some old friends in Qatar. When Saga lands at Doha airport, it has been several months since her sudden departure from the country and her job of two years. But something’s not right at passport control.

“You’re not welcome here,” says the customs officer after swiping Saga’s passport.

He has no more information to give her. Why is she blacklisted? For how long? Who can she contact for answers?

She isn’t allowed to retrieve her checked baggage. It’s going round and round on the baggage carousel in Doha. Instead she is sent, in her summer clothes from her Australian holiday, straight to a snowy Sweden. A man at Doha airport is tasked with physically escorting her all the way to the gate. But that man is also a migrant worker and when Saga cries he smiles encouragingly and asks with dark humour: “Why are you sad? You’re leaving Qatar!”

Wearing only flip flops and a summer dress, a luggageless Saga makes her way from Arlanda to the train station. Asks for a ticket to her hometown. A man on the train laughs at her clothes and says, “you know you’re heading north, don’t you?” She borrows his mobile. Calls her mum, and asks her to “bring something warm”.

Saga’s mum meets her at the station. She’s holding large duvet.

It is in Sweden that I meet Gina again. In the café at a supermarket in a smallish rural district. The last thing Gina asked Qatar Airways was if she would be allowed to return to the country as a visitor.

“The hardest thing is that I never know what is the country and what is the company. I kept asking who I should get in touch with to find out if I would be allowed in or not. And if not, how many years will it last? Is it an immigration agency or is it Qatar Airways? Who’s in charge?

Gina’s last few hours in the place that has been her home since 2011 passed by quickly. And followed a familiar pattern: A phone call saying, “you have thirty minutes to present yourself at the office”. Passport confiscated. Visa erased. A flight booked. There is no time for Gina to pack up her things, her possessions are left in the country.

“A local man met me outside the airport. I was never told who he was. He had my passport and escorted me through passport control and all the way to the gate, where he gave my passport to the staff at the gate. I really felt like, “what have I done?”

We look out over the drab supermarket café.

“On the plane I sat there thinking that now I’ve got to start building up my self-confidence again. When everything is so controlled by fear, even a small service mistake has to be explained and apologised for to a senior cabin crew member. And then it feels like, my god, I’m so stupid, so stupid I can’t even do this job without getting into trouble.”

New job

Today Saga works for another airline and loves her job, even though she has to rely on temporary contracts being renewed. She gives a quiet and reflective impression when we meet in a town in Sweden.

“At the beginning, when I came home it was very tough. I wasn’t used to being allowed to go out. I said to my mum, “If I sit on that rock, that’s okay isn’t it, I’m allowed to be there?” Other stewardesses often find it difficult to understand why she doesn’t miss Qatar Airways, an airline that is often lauded as one of the best in the world.

Gina books a trip to Doha. The city where she became an adult. Where she saw friend after friend get fired and sent away. Where she learnt how to parry the most intrusive rules for living. But she doesn’t know what will happen at the immigration desk. Nobody can tell her in advance if she will be sent back after landing.

She must play it by ear. Hope for the best.



Expressen has been in contact with a number of people at Qatar Airways’ head office in Doha for a number of days, in order to give them an opportunity to respond to the criticism.

Senior Media Relations Officer Gayathri Pradeep and Social Media Manager Michael Stellwag refer us to email addresses from which we receive no replies.

For the Nordic market, Qatar Airways has employed Swedish PR agency Comma, whose consultant Lotta Berglin finally puts us in contact with the head office in Doha. However, we do not get to speak to any representatives of the company, but are asked to email our questions.

After about a day we finally get a brief reply, conveyed in an email from PR consultant Lotta Berglin.

“Because we do not know which individuals and which particular cases the article is based on, Qatar Airways is unable to comment on your specific questions. To do this, we must be able to find out more facts, which is impossible if we do not know which employees or former employees are making these statements,” writes Qatar Airways.

By Johanna Karlsson 

Tips & Tricks: What matters to interview Emirates

 Emirates is recruiting hostesses, today we give you some tips about the details that make the difference to interview the most coveted companies in the world. Emirates is the dream of many stewardesses future, so this time you have a chance you can not miss!Tips & Tricks What matters to interview Emirates

Be punctual!
Punctuality is essential aviation. Try to point out these qualities through your presentation at the time of interview and mention all evidence, in terms of quality, a fact that always arrive on time for meetings and sessions.

A smile is worth a thousand words! And in aviation, saves you from any difficult situation. The interview Emirates should smile continuously throughout recruiting, sometimes even without reason. Remember that plane, if a passenger does not speak any known language, with the combination of smile and patience, resolve any problem.

Inform yourself about the company
Emirates is one of the largest companies in the world. Annually win dozens of prizes and international awards, invests in advertising and branding and recruiters and employees greatly appreciate any information that candidates know about the company. Praise company, learn a few details about the fleet and type of aircraft that Emirates operates and you will convince others that you are the best choice.

Be convincing!
Both in the group of samples and the final interview for the job of stewardess, use a firm tone and persuasive. Even if you are not sure about the information they say, it’s good to support your point of view and speak clearly, in layman.

Beware outfit!
Here I refer to the outfit that you wear (including handbag, shoes, etc) and the way they behave and sit in the interview. Stewardesses are the company’s image, so feminine and elegant attire is clearly appreciated by recruiters. Take care not to talk too much and do not even exaggerated gesture.

Be optimistic!
The stewardess job is not easy. No interview. But with a positive and optimistic attitude, you get a good chance to win. Try to see the glass half full interview in all samples, and you will not have problems. Complete any response with an optimistic attitude and you have just won.

Pay attention to the keywords!
Throughout the interview Focus on keywords: “in my opinion ..” “.. That i suggest”, “what do you think ..”. The more you use them more often and more elegant, the’ll be closer to getting the job of your dreams. Try not have an attitude leader nor to impose your views.


Good luck!

This Article Written by Cristina Toader – this post first appear on Cumajungistewardesa

Score Amazing Travel Deals With These New Online Tools

Find amazing deals on flights and never overpay for a hotel room ever again with these helpful new online travel tools.

The internet has made booking travel easy – but what’s tough is wading through all the sites and prices out there. Here are several new tools that can help you find amazing deals on flights and hotel rooms.

Follow KTLA Tech Reporter Rich DeMuro on Facebook or Twitter for cool apps, tech tricks & tips!

Hopper Flex Watch

Hopper is one of my must-have travel apps. Pop in a flight search and it can tell you the cheapest dates to fly, plus predictions on when to buy your ticket.

Hopper’s new feature is called Flex Watch. This is for a more open-ended travel search. You pop in a variety of destinations and a range of dates and the app uses algorithms and big data to surface some amazing suggestions on where to go for cheap.

You can be as specific or as general as you want. You can type in a particular city, state, country or continent. When it comes to dates, you can say weekends up to a few months. Flex Watch is available on iOS right now and is coming to Android soon.


Pruvo has a simple mission – to make sure you never overpay for a hotel room, even if the price drops after you book it. This recently happened to me – I booked my hotel room weeks in advance, but close to the travel date, I realized that the price for the same room was about $50 less. I called the hotel and they were able to match the new rate, and I felt smart. But what if I didn’t happen to stumble upon the new, lower rate before I checked in?

Pruvo takes care of the details for you. Just send them a copy of your hotel room confirmation and they will monitor for price drops. If the price does drop, they will guide you through the re-booking process, which usually is just a few clicks online. I haven’t personally tried out Pruvo just yet but I love the idea, and it all makes sense. Hotel prices fluctuate frequently. Pruvo doesn’t charge for its service – they just make a small commission when you re-book your room through them. The only thing they require is that you book rooms that you can cancel. This way you can re-book if the price drops.

Hipmunk Fly Club

Hipmunk Fly Club is a way to get notified about amazing flight deals from your home airport, and it works through Facebook Messenger. Sign up by starting a chat with their bot. It will ask you a few questions like where you travel from. Then, just sit back and wait for the deals to come through. You’ll get a Facebook Messenger notification when Fly Club finds something you might like.

Recent deals it served me include LAX to Barcelona for $434 roundtrip and LAX to Tokyo for $418 roundtrip. It also tells you the savings off the average price, suggested dates and how long the deal might last.

You can also text Hipmunk whenever you want flight or hotel advice.

Delta passengers busted having oral sex after meeting on plane

A couple of strangers aboard a Delta airliner joined the “Mile High Club” — all from the comfort of their seats, according to reports.

The 48-year-old Nashville-bound woman and 28-year-old Miami-bound man were busted Sunday on the Los Angeles-to-Detroit flight after she performed oral sex on him, WDIV reported.

A couple of strangers aboard a Delta airliner joined the “Mile High Club” — all from the comfort of their seats, according to reports.

The 48-year-old Nashville-bound woman and 28-year-old Miami-bound man were busted Sunday on the Los Angeles-to-Detroit flight after she performed oral sex on him, WDIV reported.

“The act itself is inappropriate in a public space,” one traveler told the station.

“There are children,” another passenger said. “There are families. There are seniors. These things should be respected.”

The lusty duo were issued citations for the raunchy in-flight entertainment, and the matter ended in the FBI’s lap.

The feds said the two could be charged with anything from a misdemeanor to a felony.

“If people will go so far as to disrespect themselves and disrespect you, something should be done,” another passenger said.

The 7 Worst Things Airline Pilots Have Done Mid-Flight

The 7 Worst Things Airline Pilots Have Done Mid-Flight 2People with a fear of flying often cite the sense of helplessness as one of the most terrifying aspects of the phobia. When you travel by air, you’re entrusting your very existence to someone you’ve likely never met, nor know anything about, and that can be disconcerting. But of course, flying is the safest form of travel there is, thanks to endless safety measures and professional, competent flight crews.

It is a little harder to share in that unshakable confidence if you’re on a flight where …

7.  A Pilot Rants Over the Intercom About Sex With His Flight Attendants


In 2011, a Southwest Airlines pilot lamented to his copilot about how vagina-less his life had become. A common complaint, perhaps, but in this case he didn’t realize the mic on his headset was on, and that he was blasting his lonely cock lament to every other flight crew in the vicinity trying to use the frequency, as well as the air traffic control towers. And as bad as you think it was, trust us, it was worse. Here’s the audio file, if you want to listen to it. It just goes on and on.

His lack of sex, as he would go on to explain to dozens of listening strangers, was through no fault of his own, but rather that of Southwest Airlines. They had apparently implemented a hiring policy that allowed for, in his opinion, far too many flight attendants who simply didn’t meet his standards. He starts out with a statistical analysis, playing it conservatively by only offending homosexuals and older women:

“Well, I had Tucson to Indy all four weeks and, uh, Chicago crews … there’s 12 flight attendants … 11 fucking over the top, fucking ass-fucking homosexuals and a granny.”

e then upped the stakes by tossing in the overweight ladies, henceforth known as “grandes”:

“Eleven. I mean, think of the odds of that. I thought I was in Chicago, which was party land … After that, it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes …”

And then finally, he admitted what most of us were suspecting all along:

“Oh I don’t give a fuck. I hate 100 percent of their asses.”

Getty“And the Mexicans. Man, don’t even get me started on the Mexicans.”

He goes on and on, bemoaning the lack of acceptable plunder-caves for his lonely penis (declaring only one prospect to be “partly doable”), until finally an air traffic controller is able to interrupt and get on the air to advise, “OK, whoever’s transmitting, you better watch what you’re saying.” Oblivious, the pilot blundered on through the warning (and through the persistent sounds of countless other pilots and controllers trying to key up their mics), delivering a fascinating anecdote that ended with, “… but they’re still mopeds, you know what I mean? I still wouldn’t want anyone to know if I had banged ’em.”

Finally, the same air traffic controller is able to break in again and says, “OK, someone’s got a stuck mic and, uh, telling us all about their, uh, ‘endeavors,’ and we don’t need to hear that.” There is nothing further from the pilot, who by this point had managed to clog up air traffic for several minutes over one of the busiest airports in the country while other planes were trying to land. A Southwest spokesperson would later tell reporters that the “pilot had been reprimanded, suspended without pay … and sent to diversity training” as a result of the embarrassing and offensive rant that went out over the Texas airways, but in a small act of pity toward his shitty sex life, refused to divulge his name.

“Around here we just call him Grande McGrannyFuck.”

6.  A Fistfight Breaks Out Between Pilots and Crew, then Spills Out into the Cabin

If you were to make a list of the top five things you never want to see a pilot do, right near the top (perhaps behind only “falling out of the cockpit with a knife in his back” and “asking passengers over the intercom if anyone has any heroin”) would have to be “getting into a brutal fistfight with the crew, right there in the aisle.”

Getty“I’d like to fist you a question. Sorry, I’m not good with puns.”

Yes, that happened, on an Air India flight. A 24-year-old “air hostess,” Komal Singh, claimed that the pilot had groped her during the pre-flight briefing, presumably during the demonstration of the aircraft’s flotation devices. She told this to the chief flight attendant (or “purser”), a male and a friend of Singh’s. Instead of telling her to file a grievance once they were all safely on the ground, the man decided that vengeance could wait not a moment longer. He burst into the cockpit like the shark from Jaws to confront the guilty party.

At this point, a full-fledged fistfight broke out between the pilot, copilot, purser and Singh that spilled out into the galley in full view of 113 passengers and crew, leaving the airplane unmanned for 10 straight minutes.

At one point during the brawl, the pilot likened the scenario to a hijacking, and threatened to divert the plane to Karachi for an emergency landing. Eventually, the combatants either beat each other into exhaustion or suddenly realized the colossal stupidity of holding a Brawl for All aboard a commercial airliner involving the only people present who could actually fly the damn thing.

Getty“The pilots are dead. It’s your time to shine, grandma.”

After an inquiry by the authorities, both pilots were cleared of the sexual harassment charges, but in regards to the brawl, everyone involved got “charge sheeted.” Which we’re thinking is less than what a post-9/11 flight attendant would get in the USA if he had burst into the cockpit with the intention of punching the pilot. Speaking of which …

5. A Pilot Gets Stuck in the Bathroom, Causing a Terrorism Scare


On a recent Chautauqua Airlines flight from North Carolina to New York, the pilot left the controls while the plane was in a holding pattern for landing to go make a quick trip to the bathroom. The affair concluded, he attempted to leave the bathroom and return to the cockpit, but found that due to some malfunction with the door, he was now locked inside.

Slowly realizing that his life had somehow become a Mr. Bean movie, the desperate pilot began shouting for help, alerting a nearby passenger who told the pilot to hang on while he got the attention of the copilot. This good Samaritan made his way to the front of the plane and began pounding on the cockpit door, shouting about a trapped pilot in his heavy “Middle Eastern” accent.

Via ABC News ABC News was kind enough to supply this diagram, showing that the shitter is in the ass-end of the plane.

The copilot immediately notified air traffic control of the following: “The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit.”

When asked to clarify just what the hell was going on, he responded, “What I’m being told is he is stuck in the lav. Someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit, and I’m not about to let him in.” He then asked for the appropriate course of action.

Via“The most important thing is to determine whether you’re in a dark comedy or something more slapstick.”

He was ordered by the controllers to initiate an emergency landing while they prepared to call everyone from fighter squadrons to Delta Force to prevent the next 9/11. But before the situation spun completely and hilariously out of control, the pilot was able to force his way out of his toilet prison and let himself back into the cockpit, where, to the relief of all, he notified the ground that everything was fine and that he really had gotten stuck in the bathroom like a magnificent dumbass. Presumably the passenger was still arrested for the act of banging on a cockpit door while in possession of a foreign accent.

Getty“If you’re innocent, sir, then how do you explain the cloth on your head, let alone the mustache?”

4. A Pilot Narrowly Avoids the Planet Venus

For most humans, our brain is never less functional than at the moment we wake up, which you already know if you’ve ever spent 20 minutes trying to “answer” your alarm clock because you were just having a dream that Commissioner Gordon was calling you on the Batphone. So you can imagine what can go wrong if you were to, say, wake up behind the stick of an airliner.

In January of 2011, the drowsy first officer of an Air Canada flight traveling from Toronto to Zurich decided to get in some nap time, which is actually permissible under that airline’s rules and is not uncommon for transcontinental flights. A little more than an hour later, he woke up, sleepily scraping the eye boogers of upper atmosphere from his face. At this point, he overheard the pilot calmly and matter-of-factly mention that there was a U.S. military aircraft in the vicinity. No big deal.

But the muddled officer looked out of the front windshield and noticed what appeared to be the exterior lights from an oncoming plane, heading right for them. “Holy shit!” he thought, “It’s that military plane the pilot just mentioned! It’s not just in our vicinity, it’s about to ram us out of the fucking sky! Shiiiiiiiiiit!”

With seemingly no time to lose before what he perceived to be an imminent collision, the first officer heaved the control stick forward, sending the craft into a sudden 400-foot plunge and flinging passengers all over the fuselage.

Getty“If we plunge into a zero-gravity dive, the captain recommends attempting either a wicked flip or boning somebody.”

After completing this bone-jarring maneuver, the flight officer probably looked over to the pilot with his hand raised and ready to receive a high-five. He was likely instead met with the cold hard stare of a man contemplating the best way to dropkick a co-worker through the emergency exit. The lights of the oncoming craft turned out to be the planet Venus, which, while on their trajectory, they were in no real danger of hitting.

The first officer’s emergency dive, however, had put the plane dangerously close to the actuallocation of the aforementioned military plane, which was coasting along only 1,000 feet below. Oh, and 16 passengers claimed injury as a result of getting tossed around by the sudden maneuver, and a class action lawsuit for $20 million is in the works.

3. A Pilot Answers Text Messages and Forgets to Lower the Landing Gear

Jetstar flight JQ57 was on its final approach into Singapore’s Changi Airport on May 27, 2010, and things seemed to be well in hand, with a veteran pilot (13,000 flight hours) and seasoned first officer (4,000 hours) at the controls. However, at 2,000 feet, the pilot decided to check his incoming text messages. So, deciding that this task was more of a priority than, you know, landing the goddamn plane, the pilot began reviewing all the “sup playa”s and “WRU LOL”s in his inbox.

Getty“its coo i can tlk babe, i don’t do jack arnd here anyway.”

As the plane angled nearer and nearer to the ground, the copilot felt a strange sense of unease, that somehow “something was not quite right.” When he attempted to notify the pilot of his concerns, he received no response, as the pilot was “preoccupied with his mobile phone.” With only 392 feet left before contact with the tarmac, the copilot finally figured out what was wrong: The pilot was so distracted by his phone that he had forgotten to lower the landing gear.

Suddenly able to break away from sending sepia-toned shots of the cockpit warning lights to Instagram, the pilot made a last-minute attempt to get the landing gear down, but by that point he would have had more success jumping out with some roller skates and trying to catch the plane on his back. Luckily, the copilot was able to make the save by jerking back on the yoke and throwing the plane skyward, which came as a rather unpleasant surprise to the 167 passengers on board.


“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen, buddy. You’d better duck.”

After an investigation, Jetstar officials stated that the lessons learned from the incident would be incorporated into their flight training, much to the consternation of those pilots who prefer a timely conclusion to their Words With Friends matches.

Via“Hold on, they’re telling me I have to fly this fucking plane now.”

2. A Copilot Nearly Crashed the Plane Trying to Open the Cockpit Door

In September 2011, an All Nippon Airways Boeing 737-700 was en route to Tokyo from Okinawa when the pilot needed to leave his seat momentarily to go pee it up. Airlines generally require rigorous training for copilots, and the one on this flight had plenty of experience and no history of incompetence, so there seemed to be little reason for concern.

Unlike the pilot earlier, this one successfully escaped the bathroom without incident. He walked back to the locked cockpit door to be let back in. These doors are electronically locked (you know, safety and all that), so in order to allow the pilot back into the cockpit, the copilot had to press a button to unlock it. Unfortunately, in one of the most baffling design decisions of all time, the button happened to be right next to another button: the one that controlled the rudder.

So, as the pilot stood waiting at the door, probably still hunched over, adjusting his zipper, the plane suddenly nosedived, plunging 6,234 feet in 30 seconds and flipping almost completely over.

Thinking rationally is incredibly difficult when you’re cartwheeling over the Pacific, but miraculously the copilot was able to collect enough of his shit to regain control of the aircraft. The pilot finally got through the gut-busting prank door of catastrophic life endangerment and was able to land without further mishap, with only a few people suffering minor bumps and bruises, and a dense fog of urine and Japanese swear words hanging thickly in the cabin.

Getty“Just keep the Vicodin martinis coming and we’ll all walk off this plane happy.”

A senior executive vice president of the airline would later hold a press conference in reference to the incident that was notable for its innumerable deep apologetic bows. Promises were made that in the future pilots will be compelled to “do a double-check on where the controls are located as they leave and return to the cockpit,” the phrasing of which is arguably more troubling than the incident itself.

1. A Pilot Let His Kids Take the Controls and Predictability Ensued


In 1994, Yaroslav Kudrinsky was at the helm of Aeroflot Flight 593, carrying 75 passengers from Moscow to Hong Kong. Entertaining scenery is pretty hard to come by over remote Siberia, so he decided to get in some family time with his 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter and invited them both into the cockpit. No big deal, that’s an exciting moment for a kid, and it’s not like he was going to let them fly the plane.

But you know, it couldn’t hurt if he just let them pretend to fly it for a while, right? So, with the craft on autopilot, Kudrinsky got up out of his chair and allowed both of his children to occupy the pilot seats while he demonstrated the various instruments.

Getty“So you see, son, touching literally any of these would doom us all.”

And really, what would be the harm in letting them fly it just a little bit? The passengers would probably agree that this is adorable. So, while his daughter played with the control column, Kudrinsky adjusted the autopilot heading to make it appear to the little girl that she was actually turning the plane. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Kudrinky’s son took a turn “steering” the plane.

Hey, did we mention that the autopilot is set to automatically disengage if somebody turns hard enough on the steering wheel? Because the plane assumes there is a problem and that you’re trying to take control?

GettyFor instance, if you saw a hot chick in a bikini down below that you really wanted to get a better look at.

That is exactly what happened while the teenager was at the controls, so he suddenly went from pretending to fly to actually flying, sending the aircraft banking toward the earth.

This course deviation lasted for a disastrous 30 seconds before anyone was able to figure out what was going on, because there was no alarm system in place to alert the pilots when manual control had been re-engaged. By the time he realized what had happened, the bank had turned into a dive. But luckily, the pilot got the plane under control and everyone had a good laugh about it.

“Sorry, son, but the manual says I have to hit the eject button. See you on the ground.”

Oh, wait, no. The plane actually plunged 33,000 feet and crashed into the Siberian tundra, forcing Elvis Costello to write a song about it.

Jesus. That kind of puts all of the previous stories in a completely different light, doesn’t it? If your airline pilot does a good job the next time you fly, give him or her a pat on the back.

6 Facts About Air Travel to Help You Stay Calm on Your Next Flight

For one, more than 95 percent of plane crashes are survivable.Airplane

The odds are in your favor


While plane crashes do happen, they’re extremely rare. To put it in perspective, you’re 95 times more likely to die from unintentional poisoning (the odds are one in 103 on this one) than to die in an “air or space transport incident” (one in 9,737), according to the National Safety Council. One M.I.T. Sloan School statistician put this probability in layman’s terms (using a different set of statistics than the NSC). “If you take one flight a day, you would on average need to fly every day for 55,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash,” Arnold Barnett told ABC News.

The odds of surviving a plane crash are high


Even if your plane does go down, your chances of surviving the crash are high. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board says the odds are more than 95 percent. The European Transport Safety Council estimates that of aircraft accidents worldwide, all passengers survived in 90 percent of the occurrences.

“Is there a doctor on board?”


Probably, yes. If your fear stems from the chance you could suffer a cataclysmic medical incident without a medical professional nearby, rest assured this is fairly rare (according to one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an emergency is reported on one flight for every 609). Physician passengers provided medical assistance in 48.1 percent of in-flight medical emergencies, and aircraft diversion occurred in 7.3 percent of them. The study was able to follow up with 10,914 of these patients and found that 25.8 percent were transported to a hospital, 8.6 percent were admitted, and just 0.3 percent died.

Safety tactics do work


That three-minute safety tutorial at the beginning of each flight about how to brace for a crash and use an oxygen mask? Abiding by those tactics can save your life. In one test put together by Discovery TV, researchers put crash test dummies on a Boeing 727 and crashed it into the Sonoran desert (the pilots bailed first). An analysis of the dummies showed that bracing for impact—placing your head between your legs and your hands over your head—increases a passenger’s chance of survival.

Turbulence will not destroy your plane


Patrick Smith of puts it best: “There’s no more poignant reminder of flying’s innate precariousness than a good walloping at 37,000 feet. It’s easy to picture the airplane as a helpless dinghy in a stormy sea.” But while turbulence is nerve-racking for some passengers, it’s largely just an inconvenience for pilots. And while it might seem like the plane has dropped hundreds of feet at a clip, it’s likely only moving a few feet. So what should you do when turbulence hits? Buckle up! Most turbulence-related injuries occur when flight attendants and passengers get jostled around the cabin.

The plane has backup systems


Ninety-six percent of jetliners Boeing delivers today are twinjets, meaning they have two engines. These planes can fly on only one engine for extended periods of time, and fly on routes laid out to keep them within a safe distance of an airport at all times, should one fail. The probability of both engines failing at the same time is less than one in a billion hours of flight.

Shocking THIS common item on a Airplane Flight attendants are not allowed to use

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS aren’t allowed to use this common item on a plane for a very important reason.

 Flight attendants aren’t allowed to use THIS common item on a plane for shocking reasonFlight attendants are often allowed certain privileges over the regular passengers on a plane.

Better beds and nicer food are just some of the perks they get during working.

They aren’t allowed everything, however, with one thing being due to health and safety reasons.

It makes trying to sleep much harder during a noisy flight.

Flight attendants aren’t allowed to wear earplugs during a flight

Flight attendants aren’t allowed to wear earplugs during a flight.

This is due to safety reasons as they need to be able to hear announcements and warnings.

Even if they are on their break and trying to sleep, they are prohibited from using them.

A former cabin crew safety trainer explained what it could mean for the journey.

Sebastien Bouevier wrote on Quora: “You won’t be able to use any kind of earplugs while on duty.

flight attendant secret ear plugs
Flight attendants can’t use earplugs like passengers to sleep as they need to hear all noises

”Crying babies are annoying and draining, however you still need to be able to hear all the various aural signals as they will notify you of passenger call bells, lavatory call bells, fires, depressurisation, etc.

“In order to become a flight attendant you will need to obtain a medical licence [and] perfect visual and aural acuity is required.

“I sincerely doubt any airline is going to allow you to wear earplugs to drown out annoying noises.”

Although another user who owned an earplug store wrote: “Even if the employer does have a rule prohibiting the use of earplugs, you may be eligible under ADA for an accommodation due to your hearing condition.

flight attendant secret ear plugsGetty

Flight attendants have to hear emergency warnings and calls

One of the perks of the cabin crew happens before even boarding the plane.

Those who need to be on the flight can often skip the lengthy passport and security queues.

Whilst they still need to be checked, they can have their own separate queue or priority boarding to make sure they can make it on time.

This can save them hours when trying to get to the plane.