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New airline seat adjusts to give larger passengers more room

- November 18th, 2013
Morph airline seats. (Courtesy Seymourpowell)

Morph airline seats. (Courtesy Seymourpowell)

A new concept in economy airline seating is “blurring the lines between classes” and could help larger passengers get more comfortable on flights while saving those who don’t need as much space some cash.

The Morph airline seat by British company Seymourpowell looks like a three seat couch and features adjustable armrests that move laterally to increase or decrease the width of seats. Larger passengers who need a little extra room could increase the size of their seat, while smaller airline passengers, like children, would end up with a smaller seat.

Seymourpowell imagines that airlines could charge passengers who want more space higher fares, while travellers needing less space would pay a cheaper rate.

“A passenger’s size is only one factor; Morph takes into account how people feel along with their emotional needs. The young female travelling alone, a mother nursing a child, an elderly or less abled passenger, or a family travelling together, all have specific needs; some desire more privacy or security, some are more vulnerable and require greater assistance, whilst others only need entertainment,” Jeremy White, head of transport for Seymourpowell, said on the Seymourpowell blog.

Morph seats can be adjusted from the industry standard of 45 centimeters wide to be as large as 55 centimeters or as small as 25 centimeters across.

Air passengers “don’t trust” female pilots, says a new poll

- November 5th, 2013
Fotolia

Fotolia

In the most cringe-worthy news to come from the airline industry since India’s GoAir announced it would hire only skinny, female flight attendants, a new poll suggests that air travellers “don’t trust” female pilots, who they believe are less skilled and less able to handle pressure than their male counterparts.

The poll, released by Brit travel agency Sunshine.co.uk, found that 51% of respondents were less likely to trust a female pilot, while just 14% said they actually felt safer. That 14% who prefer to have a female pilot said they found male pilots to be “too hot-headed” and more likely to be distracted in flight.

“To see that more than half would be less likely to trust a female pilot was absolutely astounding,” Chris Clarkson, managing director of Sunshine.co.uk, told the Telegraph. “Clearly, many Britons have stereotypes that they need to get rid of.”

Clearly. This Sex and the City quote wasn’t made in reference to air travel, but I think Samantha Jones’ wisdom when she was fighting for equality in the workplace applies here: “What, does he think I’m going to get my period and ruin his empire?”

Courtesy HBO

Courtesy HBO

The Women of Aviation Worldwide publication says just 5.15% of for-hire pilots are female.

Virgin America to debut saucy song-and-dance in-flight safety video

- October 30th, 2013
Courtesy Virgin America

Courtesy Virgin America

While many airlines have turned to outrageous videos to get passengers to sit up and pay attention to those safety procedures – think this cheeky video featuring Betty White or Air New Zealand’s “Bare Essentials of Safety” video featuring nude flight attendants – none compare to this saucy song-and-dance number from Richard Branson’s Virgin America.

Clocking in at five minutes in length, the airline plans to debut the ‘Glee’-like new safety video in flights on Friday. Safety tips are entirely rapped or sung by performers dressed in Virgin America flight attendant uniforms. The airline  says this is the first time a U.S. carrier has created a safety video using only the power of song.

Related: Best and worst airline safety videos

The clip was directed by Jon M. Chu, famed for music-focused movies like ‘Step Up 2: The Streets’ and  ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ and amps up the star power by casting ‘American Idol’ alum Todrick Hall as one of the main performers.

Virgin America expects all of its planes to be showing their new safety video by mid-November.

Airline passenger gets GONER confirmation code after booking flight

- August 13th, 2013
Twitter.com/KathrynStockett

Twitter.com/KathrynStockett

When booking a hotel or a flight, you’re provided with a confirmation code for your reservation — usually just a random string of numbers and letters. One traveller who booked a flight with Delta Airlines last week got something a little more ominous.

Gallery: What are your odds of dying while flying?
Gallery: Most scenic airport landings

When Kathryn Stockett, who authored the best selling book-turned-movie The Help, reached her confirmation page after booking a flight online with Delta, she was surprised to see that her confirmation code was GONER5. Not really what you want to see before soaring 33,000 feet or more above solid ground.

Twitter.com/KathrynStockett

Twitter.com/KathrynStockett

“Dear Delta Airlines, I know we’ve been through some hard times together but is this really my conf number?” she posted on Twitter, along with a screenshot of the confirmation code.

Delta quickly replied, tweeting “The confirmation numbers are randomly generated. We will add this to a list of banned alpha-numeric combinations. We are terribly sorry for the combination of letters used for your itinerary.”

Twitter.com/DeltaAssist

Twitter.com/DeltaAssist

Where does luggage go when you drop it off at the airport?

- July 10th, 2013
(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Where does your luggage go after you drop it off at the airport check-in desk and watch it whisked away on a conveyor belt?

Many travellers never see the well-orchestrated maze behind the check-in desk that, at Toronto Pearson International Airport, sees luggage travel 4.6 km in just five minutes from check-in to a baggage room where luggage is processed and stored until it’s loaded into the plane’s cargo hold.

About 27 million pieces of luggage were transported at Toronto Pearson in 2012, with workers moving about 104,000 pieces each and every day. That’s a lot of baggage!

Check out Toronto Pearson’s neat graphic below to see how luggage gets from check-in to your plane. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Want to see more? I found this neat video on YouTube from Toronto rock station Q107 that goes on a behind-the-scenes tour of Toronto Pearson’s baggage area.