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Another man dies after fall from world's biggest cruise ship

<p>A passenger has died after he fell from the world's largest cruise ship on the first night of a week-long voyage. </p> <p>The unidentified man allegedly jumped from Royal Caribbean’s new 366 metre-long Icon of the Seas, just hours after it left a port in Miami, Florida on its way to Honduras, according to the US Coast Guard.</p> <p>“The cruise ship deployed one of their rescue boats, located the man and brought him back aboard,” the Coast Guard told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/28/us-news/passenger-dead-after-jumping-off-worlds-largest-cruise-ship/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>.</p> <p>“He was pronounced deceased. Beyond assisting in the search, the US Coast Guard did not have much involvement in this incident,” the agency added.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean told the publication, “The ship’s crew immediately notified the US Coast Guard and launched a search and rescue operation”. </p> <p>“Our care team is actively providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time.”</p> <p>At the time of the incident, the cruise ship had only travelled 500km from Florida, and stopped for two hours to help the search and rescue Coast Guard team to locate the passenger. </p> <p>The man was brought back on-board in critical condition before he succumbed to his injuries and died on the ship. </p> <p>The Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, took its maiden voyage in January this year.</p> <p>The Royal Caribbean ship has 20 decks and is nearly the size of four city blocks, holding 7,600 passengers and 2,350 crew members.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Royal Caribbean</em></p>

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"Not one ounce of compassion”: BBC star kicked off plane over daughter's allergy

<p>A BBC weather presenter and her family have been kicked off a plane after asking passengers to be wary of her daughter's peanut allergy. </p> <p>British weather presenter Georgie Palmer was flying from London to Turkey with her husband Matt and their daughters Annie and Rosie, as the family boarded their flight at Gatwick Airport with SunExpress airlines. </p> <p>Georgie and her family were kicked off the plane shortly after boarding, after the 49-year-old mother ran into issues around her daughter's severe allergy to peanuts.</p> <p>According to Palmer, she has requested that the captain make an announcement to all passengers asking them not to eat any peanut products on the flight, but the pilot refused. </p> <p>Palmer then took matters into her own hands and one by one asked passengers not to consume peanuts on the four-hour flight, before being asked to disembark the aircraft.</p> <p>The weather presenter took to Instagram to share her side of the story with a lengthy post. </p> <p>She began, “I thanked the beautiful souls on our plane for helping us. Many of them hugged, cheered and held our hands as we were forced to disembark."</p> <p>“The SunExpress captain and cabin crew refused to make the standard announcement on behalf of our daughter. We gently asked the passengers at the front of the plane to share our request."</p> <p>“Row by row, all the passengers turned back to kindly ask the row behind to please not eat nuts on the flight. It was calm, earnest and with an overwhelming sense of solidarity and empathy.”</p> <p>Georgie added: “There’s no beef with simple asks like these. People get it!"</p> <p>“We were hoofed off the plane after the angry little captain shouted at us from the cockpit.”</p> <p>She concluded by saying they were discriminated against for “simply having an allergy”.</p> <p>Georgie told the <a title="www.dailymail.co.uk" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13457399/bbc-weather-presenter-Georgie-Palmer-flight-nuts.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail</em>,</a> “The captain decided because of my daughter’s allergy he didn’t want to fly with her on board."</p> <p>“When he found out I had spoken to the other passengers he was screaming at me from the cockpit. He was so angry, the next thing I knew we were told to get off the plane."</p> <p>“How we were treated was disgusting – nobody working on that plane showed one ounce of compassion.”</p> <p>A SunExpress spokesman then shared the airline's version of events, claiming that Georgie's husband had become aggressive, and kicked the family off the plane with their best interests at heart. </p> <p>The statement said, “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously. Shortly after boarding our flight, the passenger raised a concern about one of his family group having a serious peanut allergy."</p> <p>“They requested an announcement to other passengers. We refrain from making these kinds of announcements. Like many other airlines, we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment on our flights, nor can we prevent other passengers from bringing food items containing allergens on board."</p> <p>“Due to the insistent behaviour of the passenger to others on board, the captain decided it would be safest if the family did not travel."</p> <p>“When this was explained to the passenger, he behaved aggressively towards our crew members and tried to gain access to the cockpit. To ensure the safety of our crew and our passengers on board, we cannot tolerate aggressive and unruly behaviour on our flights."</p> <p>“Our website states that passengers must notify us 48 hours in advance of any special care required due to a medical condition. No such notification was received from the passengers in this instance.”</p> <p>According to <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/28140666/bbc-family-flight-passengers-peanuts-allergy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a></em>, Mr Sollom denies acting aggressively.</p> <p>The differing versions of events have divided many on social media as thousands weighed in on the debacle, with plenty of users siding with the pilot.</p> <p>“The pilot is a national treasure,” one person wrote.</p> <p>“As they should have been,” a second wrote, referring to the family getting kicked off.</p> <p>“Would have booted them off as well,” another agreed. </p> <p>A fourth wrote: “I think this story would be found under Self Entitlement in the dictionary.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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"Ruined our trip": Mum shell-shocked by $130k fine

<p>A mother has been slapped with a hefty fine after her children were caught in a seemingly innocent act while on a beach holiday. </p> <p>Charlotte Russ took her five kids on a trip to Pismo Beach in California, where her children started enthusiastically collecting what they thought were ordinary seashells. </p> <p>"My kids they thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams, 72 to be exact,"  Russ told local news outlet <em><a href="https://abc7.com/post/fresno-woman-fined-88k-after-kids-collect-clams/14859295/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">ABC 7</a></em>.</p> <p>Clamming is highly regulated in California, meaning if you don't have a fishing license, you cannot catch the small sea creatures. </p> <p>She received a citation right there on the beach and was later notified she has to pay close to $89,000, or $133,000 AUD, for her kids' seemingly innocent treasure hunt. </p> <p>"It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip," said Russ.</p> <p>Department of Fish and Wildlife's Lieutenant Matthew Gil defended the fine, saying there are rules in place for a reason. </p> <p>"The reason we got it we have these regulations is because we have to let them get to 4 and a half inches so they can spawn so they can have they can have offspring every year, and they have juvenile clams," said Lt. Gil.</p> <p>Russ said her kids have learned their lesson, saying, "They know now at the beach don't touch anything, but they know now what a clam is, compared to what a seashell is now, I've had to explain that to them."</p> <p>The mother was able to plead her case with a San Luis Obispo County Judge, who reduced her fine to $500 dollars, and after she "won" her case, Russ got a shellfish tattoo to commemorate the incident.</p> <p>"It was definitely one expensive trip to Pismo, unforgettable," said Russ.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC 7</em></p>

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Woman’s “selfish” business class upgrade divides the internet

<p dir="ltr">A woman has divided the internet after telling how she snagged an upgrade on her way home from a holiday, leaving her partner and his child in economy. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 30-year-old woman shared the story of how she landed the controversial upgrade, but explained to her social media followers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. </p> <p dir="ltr">She began by explaining that she had booked a 10-day holiday with her partner, who she called Matt, who she had been dating for one year. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple wanted to spend some time together, but were joined by Matt’s younger son, who she called Alex, from his previous relationship. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Every now and then I would look after Alex when Matt was at work — we don’t live together but they stay at mine every now and then,” the woman explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Due to family circumstances, Alex had to join the couple on holiday, as she explained, “The flights were over eight hours long and I have booked the tickets for all of us.”  </p> <p dir="ltr">During the flight to their destination, and throughout their whole holiday, the woman explained that she spent most of the time looking after Alex while Matt had “the time of his life”. </p> <p dir="ltr">While the couple were on holiday, the woman discovered that Matt had been unfaithful, and had been cheating on her through most of their relationship. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Some things came to my attention — he was still seeing his ex — which resulted in us breaking up at the end of our stay,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the flight back home, the three were sitting together when a flight attendant approached her ex, asking if he wanted an upgrade to business class, but before he could respond, the woman interjected.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I mentioned it was me who bought the tickets and used my own account to pay for them, so an upgrade should go to me,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The flight attendant was trying to argue at first, as she assumed Alex was my child.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But I told her that’s not the case, and ended up having an upgrade so I can relax after spending all this time looking after Alex.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When they landed, Matt made comments the woman had been “an a**hole” and “selfish”, while some passengers made similar comments. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman shared the story to Reddit, asking social media users if she was in the wrong by taking the upgrade and was met with mixed responses. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person said, “Damn that sucks... paying for a flight, in a breakup, taking care of a child on YOUR vacation. You by no means are the a******, hell the audacity of the ex is unbelievable. It just p***es me off so much that I can’t even begin to imagine your frustration.” </p> <p dir="ltr">Another added, “I bet it was nice to put some space between you and your brand new ex with such a long flight, too. What was he going to do, take the upgrade and leave his young kid with the woman who he just broke up with? There’s no world in which that makes any kind of sense.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others suggested the biggest culprit in the situation was actually the flight attendant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Why would it be ok to leave the mum with the kid but not the dad? Why did they not first offer it to the person who bought the tickets as that’s where the priority should’ve been?” one said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, one person pointed out: “Let this be a lesson."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Never take care of someone’s kid your whole holiday and let them have the time of their lives. You should have let him handle everything concerning his kid except some play time. I would be fuming.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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How risky is turbulence on a plane? How worried should I be?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>The Singapore Airlines <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-21/singapore-london-flight-makes-emergency-landing/103876370">turbulence incident</a> that has sadly left one person dead and others hospitalised has made many of us think about the risks of air travel.</p> <p>We’ll hear more in coming days about how the aircraft came to drop so suddenly on its route from London to Singapore earlier this week, injuring passengers and crew, before making an emergency landing in Thailand.</p> <p>But thankfully, these types of incidents <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">are rare</a>, and much <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/transport-accidents">less-common</a> than injuries from other types of transport.</p> <p>So why do we sometimes think the risk of getting injured while travelling by plane is higher than it really is?</p> <h2>How common are turbulence injuries?</h2> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-air-turbulence-196872">Turbulence</a> <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">is caused by</a> the irregular movement of air, leading to passengers and crew experiencing abrupt sideways and vertical jolts.</p> <p>In the case of the Singapore Airlines flight, this type of turbulence is thought to be a severe example of “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/may/21/what-causes-air-turbulence-and-how-worried-should-passengers-be">clear-air turbulence</a>”, which can occur without warning. There are several other types.</p> <p>About 25 in-flight turbulence injuries <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">are reported</a> to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau each year, although it is thought many more are un-reported. Some of these reported injuries are serious, including broken bones and head injuries. Passengers being thrown up and out of their seat during turbulence is one of the most common type of head injury on a plane.</p> <p>Other injuries from turbulence are caused by contact with flying laptops, or other unsecured items.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-04/AR-2008-034%20Turbulence%20FactSheet_v2.pdf">one example</a> of clear-air turbulence that came without warning, cabin crew, passengers and meal trolleys hit the ceiling, and landed heavily back on the floor. Serious injuries included bone fractures, lacerations, neck and back strains, a dislocated shoulder and shattered teeth. Almost all of those seriously injured did not have their seat belts fastened.</p> <p>But we need to put this into perspective. In the year to January 2024, there were <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/international">more than 36 million</a> passengers on international flights to Australia. In the year to February 2024, there were <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/domestic">more than 58 million</a> passengers on domestic flights.</p> <p>So while such incidents grab the headlines, they are exceedingly rare.</p> <h2>Why do we think flying is riskier than it is?</h2> <p>When we hear about this recent Singapore Airlines incident, it’s entirely natural to have a strong emotional reaction. We might have imagined the terror we might feel if we were on the aircraft at the time.</p> <p>But our emotional response <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-16969-005">alters our perception</a> of the risk and leads us to think these rare incidents are more common than they really are.</p> <p>There is a vast body of literature addressing the <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-our-understanding-of-risk-is-changing-79501">numerous factors</a> that influence how individuals perceive risk and the cognitive biases we are all subject to that mislead us.</p> <p>Nobel Prize-winning economist <a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2002/kahneman/facts/">Daniel Kahneman</a> covers them in his bestselling book <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/thinking-fast-and-slow-9780141033570">Thinking, Fast and Slow</a>.</p> <p>He describes the way we respond to risks is not rational, but driven by emotion. Kahneman also highlights the fact that our brains are not wired to make sense of extremely small risks. So these types of risks – such as the chance of serious injury or death from in-flight turbulence – are hard for us to make sense of.</p> <p>The more unusual an event is, and this was a very unusual event, Kahneman says the more impact it makes on our psyche and the more likely we are to overestimate the risk.</p> <p>Of course, the more unusual the event, the <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-02435-000">more likely</a> it is for it to be in the media, amplifying this effect.</p> <p>Similarly, the easier it is to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0010028573900339">imagine an event</a>, the more it affects our perception and the more likely we are to respond to an event as if it were much more likely to occur.</p> <h2>How can we make sense of the risk?</h2> <p>One way to make sense of activities with small, hard-to-understand risks is by comparing their risks to the risks of more familiar activities.</p> <p>If we do this, the data shows very clearly that it is much <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/transport-accidents">more risky</a> to drive a car or ride a motorbike than to travel by plane.</p> <p>While events such as the Singapore Airlines incident are devastating and stir up lots of emotions, it’s important to recognise how our emotions can mislead us to over-estimate the risk of this happening again, or to us.</p> <p>Apart from the stress and anxiety this provokes, overestimating the risks of particular activities may lead us to make bad decisions that actually put us at greater risk of harm.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230665/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-risky-is-turbulence-on-a-plane-how-worried-should-i-be-230665">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Singapore airline passenger's emotional text mid-turbulence

<p>A mum has revealed the terrifying text she received from her son while he was on board Singapore Airlines flight that <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/victim-identified-after-plane-hits-deadly-turbulence" target="_blank" rel="noopener">plunged 7,000 feet</a> in a matter of minutes. </p> <p>As turbulence hit the plane 11 hours into its journey from London to Singapore, Josh Barker sent what he thought would be his final text to his mum at 9.10am on May 21. </p> <p>“I don’t want to scare you, but I’m on a crazy flight. The plane is making an emergency landing… I love you all," his text read. </p> <p>His mother, Alison recalled the most "terrifying" two hours of her life after receiving the text, as she waited to hear from her son who was en route to Bali. </p> <p>“It was terrifying. I didn’t know what was going on,” she told <em>BBC</em>. </p> <p>"We didn't know whether he'd survived, it was so nerve wracking. It was the longest two hours of my life.</p> <p>"It was awful; it was petrifying."</p> <p>She said that while her son was lucky to have survived the incident, he was still in “a lot of pain” having sustained minor injuries to his teeth. </p> <p>The aircraft was hit by "severe turbulence" 11 hours into the 13-hour flight to Singapore and was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand. </p> <p>71 people were left injured, and one man, British grandfather Geoffrey Kitchen passed away after suffering a heart attack when the turbulence hit. </p> <p>Of the 211 passengers on board, 56 were Australians and 23 were from New Zealand. </p> <p>Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong has issued a public apology for the incident in a video message saying that the airline is cooperating with investigations. </p> <p>"We are deeply saddened by this incident. It has resulted in one confirmed fatality, and multiple injuries," he said.</p> <p>"On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased.</p> <p>"We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone on board SQ321 went through... our deepest apologies to everyone affected by this incident."</p> <p>He also said that 143 people who had been on the flight had been taken to Singapore this morning, while the remaining 85 - including six crew members - were still in the Thai capital. </p> <p>"Singapore Airlines swiftly dispatched a team to Bangkok last night, and they have been helping our colleagues with the support on the ground," he said.</p> <p>"A relief flight with 143 of the SQ321 passengers and crew members who were able to travel landed in Singapore this morning at 5.05am.</p> <p>"Another 79 passengers and six crew members are still in Bangkok.</p> <p>"This includes the injured who are receiving medical treatment, as well as their families and loved ones who were on the flight.</p> <p>"Singapore Airlines will continue to extend all possible support to them."</p> <p><em>Images: X/ news.com.au</em></p>

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Are some routes more prone to air turbulence? Will climate change make it worse? Your questions answered

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>A little bit of turbulence is a common experience for air travellers. Severe incidents are rare – but when they occur they can be deadly.</p> <p>The recent Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore shows the danger. An <a href="https://apnews.com/article/singapore-airlines-flight-turbulence-5a9a268e1a6a6fb9ece7e58b5ea9231b">encounter with extreme turbulence</a> during normal flight left one person dead from a presumed heart attack and several others badly injured. The flight diverted to land in Bangkok so the severely injured passengers could receive hospital treatment.</p> <p>Air turbulence can happen anywhere, but is far more common on some routes than on others.</p> <p>Climate change is expected to boost the chances of air turbulence, and make it more intense. In fact, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1465-z">some research</a> indicates turbulence <a href="https://theconversation.com/aviation-turbulence-soared-by-up-to-55-as-the-world-warmed-new-research-207574">has already worsened</a> over the past few decades.</p> <h2>Where does turbulence happen?</h2> <p>Nearly every flight experiences turbulence in one form or another.</p> <p>If an aircraft is taking off or landing behind another aircraft, the wind generated by the engine and <a href="https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim_html/chap7_section_4.html">wingtips</a> of the lead aircraft can cause “wake turbulence” for the one behind.</p> <p>Close to ground level, there may be turbulence due to strong winds associated with weather patterns moving through the area near an airport. At higher altitudes, there may be wake turbulence again (if flying close to another aircraft), or turbulence due to updraughts or downdraughts from a thunderstorm.</p> <p>Another kind of turbulence that occurs at higher altitudes is harder to predict or avoid. So-called “<a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023gl103814">clear-air turbulence</a>” is invisible, as the name suggests. It is often caused by warmer air rising into cooler air, and is generally expected to get worse due to climate change.</p> <p>At the most basic level turbulence is the result of two or more wind events colliding and creating eddies, or swirls of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/what-is-turbulence-explained">disrupted airflow</a>.</p> <p>It often occurs near mountain ranges, as wind flowing over the terrain accelerates upward.</p> <p>Turbulence also often occurs at the edges of the <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/what-is-turbulence-explained">jet streams</a>. These are narrow bands of strong, high-altitude winds circling the globe. Aircraft often travel in the jet streams to get a speed boost – but when entering or leaving the jet stream, there may be some turbulence as it crosses the boundary with the slower winds outside.</p> <h2>What are the most turbulent routes?</h2> <p>It is possible to <a href="https://turbli.com/maps/world-turbulence-map/">map turbulence patterns</a> over the whole world. Airlines use these maps to plan in advance for alternate airports or other essential contingencies.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=430&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=430&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=430&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=541&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=541&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=541&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map showing air turbulence." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">A map of estimated clear-air turbulence around the world, current as of 3:00PM AEST (0500 UTC) on May 22 2024.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://turbli.com/maps/world-turbulence-map/">Turbli</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>While turbulence changes with weather conditions, some regions and routes are more prone to it than others. As you can see from the list below, the majority of the most turbulent routes travel close to mountains.</p> <p><iframe id="EktuH" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/EktuH/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>In Australia, the <a href="https://turbli.com/historical-data/most-turbulent-flight-routes-of-2023/">highest average turbulence in 2023</a> occurred on the Brisbane to Sydney route, followed by Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane to Melbourne.</p> <h2>Climate change may increase turbulence</h2> <p>How will climate change affect the future of aviation?</p> <p>A <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2023GL103814">study published last year</a> found evidence of large increases in clear-air turbulence between 1979 and 2020. In some locations severe turbulence increased by as much as 55%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=253&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=253&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=253&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=318&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=318&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=318&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="A map of the world with different areas shaded in red." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">A map showing changes in the chance of clear-air turbulence across the globe between 1979 and 2020. Darker red indicates a higher chance of turbulence.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2023GL103814">Prosser et al. (2023), Geophysical Research Letters</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In 2017, a <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL074618">different study used climate modelling</a> to project that clear-air turbulence may be four times as common as it used to be by 2050, under some climate change scenarios.</p> <h2>What can be done about turbulence?</h2> <p>What can be done to mitigate turbulence? <a href="https://safetyfirst.airbus.com/optimum-use-of-weather-radar/">Technology to detect turbulence</a> is still in the research and development phase, so pilots use the knowledge they have from weather radar to determine the best plan to avoid weather patterns with high levels of moisture directly ahead of their flight path.</p> <p>Weather radar imagery shows the pilots where the most intense turbulence can be expected, and they work with air traffic control to avoid those areas. When turbulence is encountered unexpectedly, the pilots immediately turn on the “fasten seatbelt” sign and reduce engine thrust to slow down the plane. They will also be in touch with air traffic control to find better conditions either by climbing or descending to smoother air.</p> <p>Ground-based meteorological centres can see weather patterns developing with the assistance of satellites. They provide this information to flight crews in real time, so the crew knows the weather to expect throughout their flight. This can also include areas of expected turbulence if storms develop along the intended flight route.</p> <p>It seems we are heading into more turbulent times. Airlines will do all they can to reduce the impact on planes and passengers. But for the average traveller, the message is simple: when they tell you to fasten your seatbelt, you should listen.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230666/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871"><em>Doug Drury</em></a><em>, Professor/Head of Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-some-routes-more-prone-to-air-turbulence-will-climate-change-make-it-worse-your-questions-answered-230666">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Not going to save anybody": Exit row passenger prompts plane evacuation

<p>A whole plane has been forced to disembark after a woman seated in the exit row refused to comply with safety instructions. </p> <p>Passengers were up in arms when they had to leave the plane, after the woman was overheard telling cabin crew that she would only save herself in the event of an emergency, before yelling at flight attendants. </p> <p>The interaction, which was captured by another passenger on video and posted to TikTok, shows the woman becoming heated while talking to cabin crew on the Frontier flight. </p> <p>The passenger can then be seen and heard progressively raising her voice to cabin crew, with fellow flyers pleading with the woman to disembark the plane.</p> <p>The traveller who filmed the altercation claims the woman said she was “not going to save anybody” when seated in the exit row, saying the disgruntled passenger had “attitude” and went on to say that if something were to happen, she would “only save” herself. </p> <p>“That was her attitude throughout the seating process. And I already knew something was about to pop off when she had that attitude,” the TikTok user said.</p> <p>The altercation only became more heated as the yelling progressed, before police eventually arrived on the plane to escort the woman off. </p> <p>The video then shows another Frontier employee approach the passenger and say, “I’m gonna ask you one more time, nicely, to get off, if not, we’re going to deboard the plane and police will come and escort you off.”</p> <p>When the cabin crew make repeated futile attempts to get through the woman, the pilot came down from the cockpit to try and call for calm. </p> <p>“You’re inconveniencing everybody else,” the pilot can be heard saying to the woman. as the pair continue to exchange words while he repeatedly points toward the front of the plane.</p> <p>Following the failed attempts, two police officers then make their way down the aisle and towards the passenger. </p> <p>Towards the end of the five-minute video, which has been viewed more than 80,000 times, all the passengers on board the flight were filmed disembarking the aircraft while the passenger at the centre of the ordeal exits with police from a separate door onto the tarmac.</p> <p>It is unclear if charges were laid.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Air travel exposes you to radiation – how much health risk comes with it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-jorgensen-239253">Timothy J. Jorgensen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/georgetown-university-1239">Georgetown University</a></em></p> <p>In 2017, <a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/world/18-million-miles-and-counting-the-globes-top-business-traveller-35666790.html">business traveler Tom Stuker</a> was hailed as the world’s most frequent flyer, logging 18,000,000 miles of air travel on United Airlines over 14 years.</p> <p>That’s a lot of time up in the air. If Stuker’s traveling behaviors are typical of other business flyers, he may have eaten 6,500 <a href="http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=689041">inflight meals</a>, drunk 5,250 <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2009.00339.x">alcoholic beverages</a>, watched thousands of <a href="http://www.iata.org/publications/store/Pages/global-passenger-survey.aspx">inflight movies</a> and made around 10,000 visits to <a href="http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/2012/11/how-many-restrooms-are-enough-on-a-plane.html">airplane toilets</a>.</p> <p>He would also have accumulated a radiation dose equivalent to about 1,000 <a href="https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=safety-xray">chest x-rays</a>. But what kind of health risk does all that radiation actually pose?</p> <h2>Cosmic rays coming at you</h2> <p>You might guess that a frequent flyer’s radiation dose is coming from the airport security checkpoints, with their whole-body scanners and baggage x-ray machines, but you’d be wrong. The <a href="http://www.aapm.org/publicgeneral/AirportScannersPressRelease.asp">radiation doses to passengers from these security procedures</a> are trivial.</p> <p>The major source of radiation exposure from air travel comes from the flight itself. This is because at high altitude the <a href="http://www.altitude.org/why_less_oxygen.php">air gets thinner</a>. The farther you go from the Earth’s surface, the fewer molecules of gas there are per volume of space. Thinner air thus means fewer molecules to deflect incoming <a href="http://www.space.com/32644-cosmic-rays.html">cosmic rays</a> – radiation from outer space. With less <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/atmosphere_and_climate/atmosphere">atmospheric shielding</a>, there is more exposure to radiation.</p> <p>The most extreme situation is for astronauts who travel entirely outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and enjoy none of its protective shielding. Consequently, they receive high radiation doses. In fact, it is the accumulation of radiation dose that is the limiting factor for the maximum length of manned space flights. Too long in space and <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/hrp/bodyinspace">astronauts risk cataracts, cancer and potential heart ailments</a> when they get back home.</p> <p>Indeed, it’s the radiation dose problem that is a major spoiler for <a href="http://www.space.com/34210-elon-musk-unveils-spacex-mars-colony-ship.html">Elon Musk’s goal of inhabiting Mars</a>. An extended stay on Mars, with its <a href="http://www.space.com/16903-mars-atmosphere-climate-weather.html">extremely thin atmosphere</a>, would be lethal due to the high radiation doses, notwithstanding Matt Damon’s successful Mars colonization in the movie <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3ioOneTy8">“The Martian</a>.”</p> <h2>Radiation risks of ultra frequent flying</h2> <p>What would be Stuker’s cumulative radiation dose and what are his health risks?</p> <p>It depends entirely on how much time he has spent in the air. Assuming an <a href="http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/JobyJosekutty.shtml">average flight speed</a> (550 mph), Stuker’s 18,000,000 miles would translate into 32,727 hours (3.7 years) of flight time. The radiation dose rate at typical <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/why-do-planes-fly-so-high-feet/">commercial airline flight altitude</a> (35,000 feet) is about <a href="https://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/commercialflights.html">0.003 millisieverts per hour</a>. (As I explain in my book <a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10691.html">“Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation</a>,” a millisievert or mSv is a unit of radiation dose that can be used to estimate cancer risk.) By multiplying the dose rate by the hours of flight time, we can see that Stuker has earned himself about 100 mSv of radiation dose, in addition to a lot of free airline tickets. But what does that mean for his health?</p> <p>The primary health threat at this dose level is an increased risk of some type of cancer later in life. Studies of atomic bomb victims, nuclear workers and medical radiation patients have <a href="https://doi.org/10.17226/11340">allowed scientists to estimate the cancer risk</a> for any particular radiation dose.</p> <p>All else being equal and assuming that low doses have risk levels proportionate to high doses, then an overall cancer risk rate of <a href="http://www.imagewisely.org/imaging-modalities/computed-tomography/medical-physicists/articles/how-to-understand-and-communicate-radiation-risk">0.005 percent per mSv</a> is a reasonable and commonly used estimate. Thus, Stuker’s 100-mSv dose would increase his lifetime risk of contracting a potentially fatal cancer by about 0.5 percent.</p> <h2>Contextualizing the risk</h2> <p>The question then becomes whether that’s a high level of risk. Your own feeling might depend on how you see your background cancer risk.</p> <p>Most people <a href="http://www.who.int/whr/2002/chapter3/en/index4.html">underestimate their personal risk of dying from cancer</a>. Although the exact number is debatable, it’s fair to say that <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer.html">about 25 percent of men ultimately contract a potentially fatal cancer</a>. Stuker’s 0.5 percent cancer risk from radiation should be added to his baseline risk – so it would go from 25 percent to 25.5 percent. A cancer risk increase of that size is too small to actually measure in any scientific way, so it must remain a theoretical increase in risk.</p> <p>A 0.5 percent increase in risk is the same as one chance in 200 of getting cancer. In other words, if 200 male travelers logged 18,000,000 miles of air travel, like Stuker did, we might expect just one of them to contract a cancer thanks to his flight time. The other 199 travelers would suffer no health effects. So the chances that Stuker is the specific 18-million-mile traveler who would be so unlucky is quite small.</p> <p>Stuker was logging more air hours per year (greater than 2,000) than most pilots typically log (<a href="http://work.chron.com/duty-limitations-faa-pilot-17646.html">under 1,000</a>). So these airline workers would have risk levels proportionately lower than Stuker’s. But what about you?</p> <p>If you want to know your personal cancer risk from flying, estimate all of your commercial airline miles over the years. Assuming that the values and parameters for speed, radiation dose and risk stated above for Stuker are also true for you, dividing your total miles by 3,700,000,000 will give your approximate odds of getting cancer from your flying time.</p> <p>For example, let’s pretend that you have a mathematically convenient 370,000 total flying miles. That would mean 370,000 miles divided by 3,700,000,000, which comes out to be 1/10,000 odds of contracting cancer (or a 0.01 percent increase in risk). Most people do not fly 370,000 miles (equal to 150 flights from Los Angeles to New York) within their lifetimes. So for the average flyer, the increased risk is far less than 0.01 percent.</p> <p>To make your exercise complete, make a list of all the benefits that you’ve derived from your air travel over your lifetime (job opportunities, vacation travel, family visits and so on) and go back and look at your increased cancer risk again. If you think your benefits have been meager compared to your elevated cancer risk, maybe its time to rethink flying. But for many people today, flying is a necessity of life, and the small elevated cancer risk is worth the price.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/78790/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-jorgensen-239253">Timothy J. Jorgensen</a>, Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program and Professor of Radiation Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/georgetown-university-1239">Georgetown University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/air-travel-exposes-you-to-radiation-how-much-health-risk-comes-with-it-78790">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Victim identified after plane hits deadly turbulence

<p>One man has died and dozens have been left injured after a Singapore Airlines plane encountered deadly turbulence, and was forced to make an emergency landing. </p> <p>The flight was travelling from London to Singapore - a route frequently used to continue on to Australia and New Zealand -  when the plane hit an air pocket while flying over Thailand. </p> <p>The unexpected and extreme turbulence caused the plane to drop over 6,000 feet in a matter of minutes, sending passengers and cabin crew flying around the aircraft. </p> <p>While dozens of people sustained injuries during the terrifying ordeal, authorities said that one elderly man had suffered a heart attack when the turbulence hit and had died onboard. </p> <p>British media named the man as Geoffrey Kitchen, a grandfather and amateur dramatics performer who was on his way to Australia with his wife for a six-week holiday.</p> <p>The 211 passengers - including 56 Australians - and 18 crew on board were diverted to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after the turbulence hit, just a few hours away from their destination. </p> <p>Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport, confirmed in a press conference that seven passengers were severely injured, and 23 passengers and nine crew members had moderate injuries.</p> <p>Sixteen with less serious injuries received hospital treatment and 14 were treated at the airport.</p> <p>One passenger, Jerry, recalled hitting his head on the overhead lockers when the turbulence hit. </p> <p>"My wife did (hit her head too), some poor people were walking around, ended up doing somersaults," he said, adding that his daughter was also injured and would likely stay in hospital for "a few days".</p> <p>"It was absolutely terrible. And then suddenly it stopped, and it was calm again, and the staff did their best to tend to the injured people." </p> <p>"There were a lot of them, and some of the staff were injured themselves."</p> <p>Another passenger recalled the moment the aircraft had begun “tilting up and there was shaking”. </p> <p>“So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop,” 28-year-old Dzafran Azmir said.</p> <p>“Everyone seated and not wearing seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling."</p> <p>“Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it.”</p> <p>Singapore Airlines said the nationalities of the passengers were 56 Australians, two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one from Iceland, four from Ireland, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, five Filipinos, 41 from Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards, 47 from the UK and four from the US.</p> <p>In the hours after the traumatic event, Aviation consultant and pilot Tim Atkinson shared his theory on what caused the “very significant” incident.</p> <p>Atkinson told the BBC that in the increase in air turbulence can be linked to climate change, saying “it’s fairly clear” the Singapore Airlines flight “encountered atmospheric turbulence”.</p> <p>He also noted that the area — called the Intertropical Convergence Zone — is “renowned among pilots, and I dare say passengers, for turbulence”.</p> <p>“Despite abundant caution occasionally, there’s turbulence ahead which can’t be identified, and the unfortunate result of an encounter is injury and, very rarely, fatality,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Atkinson also noted that the larger the aircraft, “the worse the atmospheric perturbation, the disruption in the smoothness of the atmosphere, needs to be to cause major problems”. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Twitter</em></p>

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Flight attendant reveals what happens if a passenger dies onboard

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed what happens if a passenger dies onboard, and the morbid reason the protocol has changed in recent years. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mandy Smith has been a flight attendant for 12 years and thankfully, hasn’t had to encounter such a tragedy during one of her flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the protocol of the airline she serves, previously when passengers passed away on board they used to be put inside the bathrooms, but now their bodies are laid across the front seats. </p> <p dir="ltr">She explained to <em>LadBible</em>, “This has not happened to me, thankfully. It happened to a friend of mine, where they had a passenger pass away on the flight.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now, we used to have to put passengers in the bathrooms, and then lock the bathrooms off. But because they would be seated on the toilet, as they sat there - if rigour mortis set in - then they would be then stuck in that position, and they wouldn't be able to fit in their coffin.”</p> <p dir="ltr">'So, unfortunately, now, we have to lay them across the front of the seats and try and calm their loved ones down, treat them with respect, cover them with blankets, and maybe just cordon the area off with blankets tucked into the overheads, which is what I would probably do.'</p> <p dir="ltr">Mandy also explained that according to different laws, if someone dies on a flight, cabin crew officially have to keep going to their final destination.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said, “If they passed away on board, it's the law that we, as cabin crew, have to keep going. So, we have to keep doing any kind of resuscitation until they're deemed to be deceased.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“So, if it was an accident that happened on board, or if they had a heart attack, we would then just keep going doing CPR.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But if it was someone who passed away from natural causes, or another kind of ailment, then obviously, we wouldn't need to do anything to them then.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We'd need to contact the ground services to be met by an ambulance or the coroner. We wouldn't really do it as an emergency landing, we'd just treat it as a normal landing if that person's definitely passed away.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: YouTube </em></p>

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Man books 58 flights for free

<p dir="ltr">A Jetstar passenger has become locked in a legal battle with the Aussie airline after exploiting a promotion to get 58 flights for free. </p> <p dir="ltr">Lawyer Tyrone Barugh was one of many travellers who made use of Jetstar’s promotion that offered people a free return fare.</p> <p dir="ltr">Barugh booked a flight from Auckland to Sydney for $260 and received the free return, although he soon cancelled the outbound flight and was given credit with the airline. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, he did not cancel the return trip. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Barugh then used the credit to book another flight, before doing the same thing a further 57 times.</p> <p dir="ltr">The would-be passenger told <em>n</em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/travel/man-locked-in-tribunal-battle-with-jetstar-after-booking-58-free-flights/news-story/1e3f67324c952ce232f3a583575d7ddc"><em>ews.com.au</em></a> that he had not planned to board any of the flights, and has taken Jetstar to the Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand, claiming he is entitled to approximately $4,500 in taxes owed on the flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’re [Jetstar] not out here with the most saintly of intentions,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“They have terms and conditions that are designed to potentially avoid having to do the right thing by a lot of their customers and limit their liability to their customers, and they’re pretty happy to pull those out when it suits them.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He claims he is owed the money as he has paid the Passenger Movement Charge,  which is a $60 fee the Australian Government collects when a person leaves the country. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Barugh says he would accept a settlement of a “small flight credit and a toy plane”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There is a spirit of larrikinism,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">A spokesman for Jetstar declined to comment on the case, saying, “As this is a matter before the Tribunal, we won’t be making any comment.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Tourist's shocking behaviour sparks fury

<p>Locals were left fuming after a picture of a tourist wearing next to nothing while shopping down a busy street went viral in Palma, Mallorca. </p> <p>The man confidently made his way through the sunny city centre in nothing but a pair of Speedos and shoes, surrounded by others who were fully dressed. </p> <p>“Please arrest these near naked people,” one woman wrote.</p> <p>“Or the shirtless, near nude, bikini wearing morons who wander around markets, towns and shops. Ukkk! Quality tourism can’t come soon enough!" she added. </p> <p>“Another moron that should be banned from the island," another commented. </p> <p>“If the government/police were serious, they could slowly improve Mallorca by banning all these types of idiots.”</p> <p>Another local added that tourists would not behave like this at home and that his behaviour displayed a “lack of respect” typical of many tourists.</p> <p>Others were confused about where the holidaymaker was keeping his wallet as it seemed like he only held on to his phone and a red garment. </p> <p>One local even asked why he wasn't arrested, and someone replied:  “Mallorca has some great laws in place. Unfortunately, nobody seems to enforce them.”</p> <p>It is illegal to only wear a bikini or swimming shorts in some public parts of Spain – including the Balearic Islands.</p> <p>Tourists can cop a fine of up to $1000 for wearing swimwear or going shirtless anywhere but the beach. </p> <p>The incident comes after weeks of furious anti-tourist protests, with residents in the Tenerife saying they are “fed-up” of “low quality” Brit tourists who only come for the cheap beer, burgers and sunbathing. </p> <p><em>Image:  Majorca Daily Bulletin</em></p> <p> </p>

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World's most disappointing tourist hotspots revealed

<p>While many travellers tend to flock to must-see tourists attractions while exploring somewhere new on their holiday, it turns out not everyone is impressed with the hype. </p> <p>A host of scathing online reviews have targeted landmarks such as Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and even Bondi Beach, calling the sites "unimpressive", "boring" and "pointless".</p> <p>According to travellers, there are 15 tourist hotspots that don't live up to the hype, with many leaving the destinations feeling disappointed. </p> <p><strong>Mona Lisa - Paris, France</strong></p> <p>One of the most "disappointing" attractions, according to travellers, is da Vinci's masterpiece the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre in the French capital city. </p> <p>According to online reviews, nearly four in ten (37.1 per cent) visitors posted negative comments about visiting the work, saying it did not live up to their expectations. </p> <p>One review left on TripAdvisor described the experience as "a bit boring", adding, "The Mona Lisa was very small and not as beautiful as I thought it would be."</p> <p>Several other reviews stated how irritating the experience of actually seeing the artwork was, with one person claiming the Louvre had a "zoo-like atmosphere".</p> <p><strong>The Eiffel Tower - Paris, France</strong></p> <p>Tourists visiting France were double disappointed, after also being let down by the iconic Eiffel Tower, which many described as "not a very special place... it's just an iron building."</p> <p>"It's boring, nothing special about it. You have to wait in a long queue just to go up and take pictures," another person wrote. </p> <p>Others claimed the landmark is nothing but a "tourist trap", claiming it is "seriously underwhelming".</p> <p><strong>Stonehenge - England</strong></p> <p>For many, Stonehenge continues to be a wonder of mystery, as one of the most architecturally sophisticated ancient stone sculptures in the world, but for others, it's just a "big disappointment". </p> <p>One reviewer went so far as to say it was the "biggest disappointment of my life", saying, "I was expecting so much more. Do not waste your time people. The only magical thing about this place is that somehow it has the power to draw people on to look at it."</p> <p>Another person put simply, "It's a pile of rocks. Pointless."</p> <p><strong>The Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy </strong></p> <p>While many tourists visiting Italy opt to check out the famous leaning tower, others tend to lean away from it, calling it a "tourist trap". </p> <p>One person reviewed the famous landmark, saying, "It's literally just a leaning tower. I wouldn’t make a stop here just to see it. It is overly crowded and hot in the summertime."</p> <p>Others claim they were hassled by countless street sellers, writing, "The whole area is crawling with at times aggressive street hawkers who feel it is OK to keep hassling and trying to sell you tourist crap."</p> <p><strong>Checkpoint Charlie - Berlin, Germany</strong></p> <p>Set up as a reminder of the former border crossing and the partition between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie is often known as a must-see spot. </p> <p>However, others have been left feeling let down by the historic spot. </p> <p>One traveller rated the site just one star, writing, "The only place in Berlin where we encountered street traders who were deeply unpleasant. The museum is overpriced and very tired. The whole area was uninspiring and a complete waste of our time."</p> <p><strong>The Empire State Building - New York City, USA</strong></p> <p>Every year, thousands of people pay to head to the top of the iconic Empire State Building to catch a glimpse of the New York City skyline. </p> <p>However, given the over-crowding of the observation platform and the hefty cost to enter, many have left feeling "underwhelmed" and "ripped-off".</p> <p>One person reviewed the landmark, writing, "Wow! What a waste of $185 for a family of three to struggle to fight our way to finally see a view obscured by a metal crisscross railing. Long lines, rude staff, cheesy "museum", and overpriced. It's as bad as an amusement park."</p> <p><strong>Bondi Beach - Sydney, Australia</strong></p> <p>A trip to Bondi Beach is often at the top of a tourist's travel itinerary when heading Down Under for the first time.</p> <p>But as the beach gains popularity, travellers have been increasingly underwhelmed by the picturesque beach given the over-crowding. </p> <p>One review read, "The beach is all the hype and show but it's like having a bath with your entire family and a dozen strangers. It's packed on any normal day and should be regulated with a fence line and tickets so it's not like cramming sardines into a can."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Elderly couple left stranded by cruise ship

<p>An elderly American couple was left behind by a Norwegian Cruise Line while on holiday in Spain this week. </p> <p>Richard and Claudene Gordon- aged 84 and 81 - were on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Norwegian Viva with plans to celebrate Richard's birthday before things went downhill.</p> <p>The couple decided to take an independent excursion by themselves while the ship was docked in Motril, Spain, but on their return, their bus was delayed for an hour due to poor weather, so they ran late for the 5:30pm all-aboard time ahead of a scheduled 6pm departure.</p> <p>“I am a very experienced traveler and have probably been on as many as 30 cruises during my lifetime,” Richard told <em>CNN</em>. </p> <p>“Never before have we ever missed catching a ship on time at a port. So we are not someone who abuses the system.”</p> <p>Richard claimed that at 5:45pm they notified a relative on board who raised the alarm that they were nearby and running late, but nothing could be done at that point as the ship had to leave on time. </p> <p>By the time the couple arrived at 6:10pm, the boat had left the harbour, but Richard claimed that the cruise line had a tendency to depart behind schedule, and made no attempt to contact them until  late Tuesday. </p> <p>“Our cruise began in Lisbon and we departed from Lisbon about one and a half hours after the scheduled departure at 4pm,” he claimed.</p> <p>“Then the next night or two, at least a half-hour late from the dock, so it is clear that they do not always leave on the exact moment scheduled.”</p> <p>The couple were left stranded without their medication, eyeglasses and spare hearing aid batteries, which were left on board. </p> <p>Their daughter ended up having to book her parents a flight to Palma de Mallorca, where the boat was making its next call Wednesday morning, according to the publication. </p> <p>By the time the couple got to Mallorca, they were met with "a beautiful black BMW limousine" which took them back to their ship. </p> <p>"There we were met by the head of ship services who escorted us inside the ship to meet the general manager of the ship, then they escorted us to breakfast, then they escorted us to our cabin.They said they have already complained about the harbour master who was supposed to take care of things for them.</p> <p>"But of course the ship had not contacted us directly for two days so that doesn’t speak so well for them.”</p> <p>The Norwegian Cruise Line disputed the couple’s account of what happened.</p> <p>“After several attempts to contact these guests with the phone numbers provided, as well as trying to phone their emergency contact, we were unable to speak to them directly. However, we worked closely with the local port agents to make arrangements for the guests to rejoin the vessel,” a spokesperson said. </p> <p>“It is important to note that a delayed departure has the potential to impact the ship’s ability to deliver its planned itinerary and thus influence the experience for all guests on-board. While this was a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time.”</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

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“Selfish” husband leaves wife behind for first class upgrade on their honeymoon

<p dir="ltr">A woman has shared her frustration over a journey she took with her new husband to their honeymoon destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">The wife’s “selfish” husband was quick to ditch her on their way to Mexico for their honeymoon after he was offered an upgrade to business class. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman took to Reddit to share the story of what began at the airport shortly after their wedding, while also explaining that as a frequent flyer, she had racked up a hefty amount of points. </p> <p dir="ltr">In comparison, her new husband is an anxious flyer, who often relies on her to keep him calm during take off and landing. </p> <p dir="ltr">“When I booked our flights I requested to use my points if an upgrade to business class became available, but made it clear I only wanted this upgrade if two seats became available... and then I basically forgot about it,” the wife explained in a Reddit thread.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Then comes the day of our flight. I was so excited for this trip, I checked us in online, all is going well, and then when we go to board, the employee scanning our boarding passes stops us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“She says it seems that my husband was upgraded to business class, but only him and asks if that is okay.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The wife immediately replied, “No, we are on our honeymoon and would like to stay together”, however, her husband interjected, saying, “No it’s fine, I’ll go to business class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Approximately 500 of her hard earned points went to his upgrade, while she was left alone in economy for the trip. </p> <p dir="ltr">Stunned by his response, she said: “I look at him in complete shock and he tells me that I fly all the time and have been in business class before, but he hasn’t. So he deserves a chance to experience it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I see we are holding up the line, so I feel like I just need to agree and get on the plane.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To say I am p***ed off is an understatement.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After boarding the flight, the woman became overcome with emotion over her new husband’s actions. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Within maybe five to 10 minutes of sitting there, trying to hold back tears because my husband left me alone on our flight during our honeymoon — and use my points for his upgrade no less, he starts to text me saying he feels anxiety over flying.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of expressing sympathy, she decided to ignore his texts.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I stopped looking at my phone,” the wife said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Just one hour into the flight, her husband began looking for her in economy class.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He comes to the back of the plane to find me, offers me half of his business class breakfast and asks me why I was ignoring him... because he was scared and needed me to tell him it’d be okay since I am such an experienced flyer,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I told him maybe he should have thought about that before leaving me alone before our honeymoon even really began.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“He gets angry, tells me that this may be the only time he gets to fly business class and he was giving me half his breakfast to make up for it so I could at least be supportive of his genuine fear.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When they landed in Mexico, she tried to just “move on and forget” about what her husband did so they could enjoy their honeymoon.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But he guilt tripped me about not comforting him via text before take off and now I am wondering if I am being unreasonable and should have just let him enjoy his time in business class and assure him it’d be okay?” she wondered.</p> <p dir="ltr">She asked the internet whether she was being the a**hole for not being supportive of her husband.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many jumped to the wife’s defence, with one suggesting, “Definitely not the a**hole. Tell your husband actions have consequences and since he wanted to be in business class without you, he gets to fly without you. The fact he did this on your honeymoon trip just makes it worse.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Two men charged over felling of iconic Sycamore Gap tree

<p>Two men have been charged with cutting down the iconic Sycamore Gap tree in northern England. </p> <p>Daniel Graham, 38, and Adam Carruthers, 31, were charged with causing criminal damage to the tree and damaging Hadrian’s Wall, which was built by Emperor Hadrian in AD 122 to guard the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire.</p> <p>The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) added that they will appear in the Newcastle Magistrates Court on May 15.</p> <p>“There has been an ongoing investigation since the Sycamore Gap tree was cut down," <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">said </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Fenney, the Senior Investigation Officer on the case. </span></p> <p>“As a result of those inquiries, two men have now been charged.</p> <p>“We recognise the strength of feeling in the local community and further afield the felling has caused, however we would remind people to avoid speculation, including online, which could impact the ongoing case.”</p> <p>According to <em>The Sun</em>, the two men were arrested back in October and released on bail. </p> <p>The iconic tree became internationally famous when it was used for a scene in Kevin Costner's 1991 blockbuster film <em>Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. </em></p> <p>The felling caused widespread <a href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/finance/legal/you-can-t-forgive-that-teen-arrested-after-felling-of-iconic-200-year-old-tree" target="_blank" rel="noopener">outrage</a> at the time, as police tried to find the culprit behind the "deliberate" act of vandalism. </p> <p>Efforts are currently underway to see if the tree can be regrown from the sycamore's stump, with The National Trust hoping that a third of the seeds and cuttings it collected from the tree could be planted later on. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

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Tourist slapped with $225k bill after simple mistake

<p>An American tourist has revealed the moment he was charged with a $US143k (AU$225k) bill after a short holiday to Switzerland. </p> <p>Rene Remund and his wife Linda went on the trip last September.</p> <p>Prior to their travels, Remund made sure to inform his mobile phone provider, T-Mobile, that he was going overseas and as a customer of 30 years, he was told he was “covered”.</p> <p>So, with no worries at all, the tourist shared photos of his moments in the Swiss countryside with friends and family via photo messages. </p> <p>Imagine his surprise when he came home to a six-figure bill, after he racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in daily roaming costs. </p> <p>“I get this T-Mobile bill and it doesn’t bother me very much because I was reading $143,” he explained, adding it wasn’t until he went to pay the bill that he realised a few more zeros were involved.</p> <p>“I look at the bill and I say, ‘excuse me’,” he said.</p> <p>“$143,000 … are you guys crazy?”</p> <p>According to the bill, Remund had racked up 9.5 gigabytes of data while in Europe, which cost him thousands of dollars each day. While it wasn't a huge amount of data, not being covered by roaming fees will cause a user to run up a huge bill very quickly. </p> <p>“I called [T-Mobile] and the girl put me on hold for a while,” he explained.</p> <p>“She said let me check this out and I’ll get back to you. She gets back and says, yeah this is a good bill.</p> <p>“I said, ‘what do you mean it’s a good bill?’ And she says ‘well, this is what you owe’.</p> <p>“I said ‘you’re kidding me … you’re crazy’.”</p> <p>After confirming that his bill was in fact  AU$225,000, Remund hired a lawyer to argue the fact that he was covered for international roaming. </p> <p>His lawyer issued a letter to the president of T-Mobile, and they only received a reply a few days ago. </p> <p>The letter from T-Mobile allegedly said that the service provider was “sorry” for the charges, and that Remund would receive a “credit” to eliminate the entire bill. </p> <p>In an email shared to local media <em>Scripps News Tampa</em>, the mobile phone provider said that customers should always “check the travel features of their plan, such as international data roaming, before departing”.</p> <p>“If a customer is on an older plan that doesn’t include international roaming for data and calling, they’ll need to make sure they’re using aeroplane mode and wi-fi when using data to be certain the device doesn’t connect to an international network.”</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: ABC Action News</em></p> <p> </p>

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The worst country for pickpockets revealed

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to travelling abroad, there are always different rules to abide by in order to have a stress-free holiday experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">Common sense is a huge key player in staying safe while travelling, with holiday goers often taking extra precautions to keep themselves and their belongings safe in foreign countries. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, there will always be sneaky people who prey on tourists, with these pickpockets having the power to turn a holiday potentially disastrous. </p> <p dir="ltr">While lots of savvy travellers will share their stories about a particular city and a close call they encountered on their journeys, a new survey has proven which European cities are the worst for pickpocketing. </p> <p dir="ltr">Travel insurance experts at <a href="https://www.quotezone.co.uk/presszone/european-pickpocketing-index-top-tourist-destinations-to-watch-out-for">Quotezone</a> have compiled a list of the top 10 cities tourists (as well as locals) are likely to be pickpocketed while travelling around Europe, based on customer feedback and complaints. </p> <p dir="ltr">Italy has come in at the top spot, with the major cities reporting the biggest number of theft complaints in comparison to any other European countries. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tourists named hotspots such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon in Rome, as well as the Duomo di Milano in Milan and the Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence as places they were targeted by pickpockets. </p> <p dir="ltr">Coming in at second place was France, with major tourist hotspots in Paris all being named as places to be wary of pickpockets. </p> <p dir="ltr">Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, said that unfortunately this new research shows that thousands of people have complained about pickpockets in Europe while experiencing the best that European holiday destinations have to offer.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said, “Theft can happen anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target holidaymakers’ wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is essential always to remain vigilant, leave valuables, like expensive jewellery, in a safe in the hotel and always travel with a secure cross-body bag with zips to secure phones and wallets or even a money belt.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Check out the entire top ten list of destinations with the highest pickpocketing rates below. </p> <p dir="ltr">10. Poland</p> <p dir="ltr">9. Ireland </p> <p dir="ltr">8. Turkey </p> <p dir="ltr">7. Portugal </p> <p dir="ltr">6. Spain </p> <p dir="ltr">5. Greece</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Germany</p> <p dir="ltr">3. The Netherlands </p> <p dir="ltr">2. France </p> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">1. Italy</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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