Tag Archives: Benet Wilson

Inattentive Parents Are “Most Annoying” Fliers, Says New Survey


Photo by Ben Hogan, via Flickr.

As a well-traveled person with and without my eight-year-old, I read with interest a new survey by Expedia.com that ranked “Inattentive Parents,” at 41 percent and “Rear Seat Kickers,” at 38 percent ranked first and second on the list of “Most Annoying / Offensive Airplane Etiquette Violators.”  And I believe these findings 100 percent, so I’ll focus just on them.

During my travels alone, I’m always amazed at how many inattentive parents I see on flights. It’s as if someone flipped a switch and after the aircraft door closes, it means parents can just shut down. I’ve seen children running down the aisles, screaming and yelling, playing their electronic devices loudly, and kicking the backs of seats.

I look over at the parents, and they are reading books, taking a nap, or watching something on their electronic device of choice. And when anyone has the temerity  to ask the parent to actually do the job of — wait for it — parenting, you are made to feel like the bad guy. I actually had one woman tell me that she had no control over her own child, who insisted on kicking the back of my seat during an early-morning flight from Baltimore to San Francisco. One stern “sit still and stop kicking the seat” from me and there was no more kicking from said child.

I’m not child expert Dr. Spock, but I was raised by old-school parents who did not tolerate bad behavior in public. I took my first flight when I was six. My sister and I were dressed, complete with hats and white gloves. We knew that we had to address all adults and ma’am and sir, that we said please and thank you, and we were never to act up in the cabin.

I’ve been flying with my daughter since she was 10 days old, and I can’t tell you many compliments I get on her behavior. What’s my secret? It’s all about preparation. I carry a food bag with all her favorite snacks. I make sure her iPad is 100 percent charged, and I carry a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo where I can power two electronic devices. I bring along one or two of her books in case she wants to go old school.  So when a child is able to keep him/herself occupied, you won’t see any of the annoying behavior on flights.  See? Simple!

So take my poll and tell me what you think are the top five most annoying flyers!


Why Airports Shouldn’t Sue The TSA


An exit security lane at BWI Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

After the horror of the 9/11 attacks, it was decided that airlines could no longer handle the job of aviation security, so Congress created the Transportation Security Administration. The agency was first part of the Department of Transportation, but was moved over the new newly created, massive Department of Homeland Security.

TSA mattered to airports because their transportation security officers took over all checkpoint and baggage screening at airport entrances and exits. My hometown airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, was one of the first to have TSA screeners take over.

It was a chaotic time, because airports had to rebuild security checkpoints quickly and come up with space for TSA management and workers — at little or no cost. There were the inevitable culture clashes and power struggles as the new agency continued to create itself and airports were forced to make the adjustments.

So fast forward to October 2013, when TSA suddenly announced that it would no longer staff airport security exits as of Jan. 1, a service they’ve been offering since their beginning. The agency, which claims airports should handle the task,  says the move will save it almost $90 million a year.

Airports disagree, so they are suing to block implementation of the policy. The American Association of Airport Executives argues that TSA collects a security fee from passengers to handle security duties, which they say includes covering exit lanes.

Although TSA should not have abruptly pulled the plug on a service it has been offering since the beginning of its existence, my question is why do we actually need humans at the exit lanes? I see TSA screeners sitting there just staring into space. Why not just add unmanned electronic exit gates? This has or is being done at airports including Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Seattle.

In a perfect world, TSA would give airports more time and the funding to install the electronic exit gates. But I guess that’s just wishful thinking…

Strange But True Aviation News

strange motel

Really, DHS? Really? Something went slightly off the tracks at the trial of  Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security, billed as the first legal challenge of United States government’s no-fly list that’s made it to court, reports Boing Boing. The daughter of plaintiff  Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim, Mustafa Kamal, was scheduled to tesitify, but couldn’t because, wait for it, she was put on the DHS no-fly list. The agency denied it despite documentation submitted by Malaysia Airlines that shows DHS’s no-fly order for Kamal. Ouch!

Kids – NO drinking and flying!!  Capt. Irfan Faiz, a pilot for Pakistan International Airlines, will spend the next nine months in a British jail after being convicted of flying after tests showed he was four times over the drink-fly limit, reports the New York Daily News. His flight from Leeds Bradford International Airport to Islamabad  had 156 passengers on the Airbus A310.

It’s time for the TSA weapons report! On the week of Nov. 22, the Transportation Security Administration’s blog reports that screeners found 28 firearms, with 25 loaded and eight with rounds chambered. They also found a passenger at Pittsburgh International Airport with a loaded .45 caliber pistol with six rounds and one chambered strapped to his ankle.

Some passengers are more equal than others.  Passengers on a Delta Connection flight from Gainsville, Fla., to the carrier’s Atlanta hub found themselves stranded after the carrier cancelled their flight in order to accommodate the University of Florida men’s basketball team, reports FOX News. The flight’s original aircraft was grounded over maintenance, so the Gainsville-Atlanta plane was used to transport the team to a game against the University of Connecticut.

This JetBlue story sounds familiar… Passengers on a JetBlue flight from Fort Myers, Fla., to Boston were quite surprised after hearing a loud bang and discovering that the emergency slide on the Embraer E190 had deployed inflight, reports AvWeb. The flight was diverted to Orlando after the slide filled up the front of the cabin.

Random Aviation Photo

The Supreme Court is about to hear a case over a dispute about frequent flyer miles. The case was brought against Northwest Airlines, accused of kicking Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg out of its frequent flyer program because he complained too much. It made me nostalgic for the carrier, so below is an NWA Airbus A320 I shot at DFW Airport. Enjoy!