Flight Attendant Stories

Archive for the ‘Events and Happenings’ Category

Stats on Security

What kind of security are we talking about?  All kinds of security that includes protection from a wide range of threats – terrorism, cyber attacks, natural disasters, and other emergencies.  Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will:

– Pre-screen 2 million passengers before they fly into, out of, within, or over the U.S.;

– Screen 1.8 million passengers and their checked baggage for explosives and prohibited items at 448 airports before they board aircraft;

-Perform 200 inspections of air carriers and airport infrastructure;

– Patrol 3.4 million square miles of U.S. waterways;

– Seize 19,040 lbs. of drugs at/near U.S. ports of entry;

– Lead 100+ waterborne patrols near maritime critical infrastructure and key resources;

– Conduct 54 search and rescue cases;

– Train 350 members of law enforcement, faith-based, academic, and private sector communities to respond to Active Shooter scenarios;

– Screen 100% of cargo and vehicles entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico;

– Process 1 million travelers entering the U.S. by air, sea, and land;

– Natualize 3,200 new U.S. citizens;

– Seize $500,000 of counterfeit U.S. currency before it gets into circulation;

– Verify the identities of 109,000+ applicants for visas and border-crossing cards;

– Train 5,880+ federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency management and response personnel;

– Train 2,100 officers and agents from 90+ federal agencies, as well as 125+ state, local, rural, tribal, territorial, and international officers and agents;

– Train 94 stakeholders from critical infrastructure sectors to identify, mitigate, and respond to cyber attacks;

– Provide $3.7+ million in federal disaster grants to individuals and households, following presidentially-declared disaster declarations;

– Provide Secret Service protection for an average of 30 U.S. government officials and their families;

– Prevent $6.8 million in potential loses through cyber crime investigations;

– Respond to 70 cybersecurity incidents per month while issuing warnings for each;

– Issue 20+ actionable cyber alerts for public and private sector to protect their systems.

Note:  Data is approximate and represents daily averages based upon annual Department-wide statistics. 

Source:  DHS.GOV

World View – A Society’s Decline – Violence Against Toddler in China

Warning – Graphic Violence – Toddler Hit by Trucks and Left to Die  (The video is the smaller box on the lower left of the page.  It takes a few seconds to load.)

This story first appeared on October 17, 2011.

GUANGZHOU – A 2-year-old girl who was ignored by passers-by as she lay injured after being run over twice, has been declared “brain dead” by doctors, who say she could die at any time.

Footage from a surveillance camera presented on local TV shows Yue Yue was walking in a hardware market in Foshan, Guangdong province about 100 meters away from her home, when she was run over by a van at 5:26 pm. Three passers-by who noticed the injured girl chose to ignore her.

The girl was then run over by a light-duty truck. The riders of four electric bicycles, a tricycle and three passers-by all chose to ignore her and no one at a shop close to the scene came to her aid.

Seven minutes after she was first hit by the van, a 57-year-old rag collector noticed the girl and moved her to the curb. The woman then tried talking to the shopkeeper but received no response. She then walked into the street and a few seconds later, the girl’s mother appears and rushes away with the girl.

The girl received emergency surgery in Foshan before being transferred to the General Hospital of the Guangzhou Military Command of the People’s Liberation Army in Guangzhou on the same day.

The girl was critically injured, with no spontaneous respiration and close to brain death when she arrived at the hospital, said Wen Qiang, deputy director of the intensive care unit of the hospital.

The little girl was declared “brain dead” by the hospital on Sunday afternoon and could die at any time, according to a doctor surnamed Peng.

The most optimistic estimate is that the girl will remain in a vegetative state on life support.

Police caught the truck driver soon after the incident and the van driver turned himself in on Sunday afternoon.

Before the accident, the girl, just back with her mother from the kindergarten, was left alone at the hardware shop of the family when her mother went to collect dried clothes. When she returned, the mother could not find her daughter at the shop or anywhere nearby until she heard the rag-collecter shout, according to Guangzhou Daily.

According to reports the van driver had just split up from his girlfriend and was talking on his mobile phone when he hit the girl.

“If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($3,125). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands yuan,” said the driver over the phone to the media, before he gave himself up to the police.

When she ran from shop to shop for the identity of the girl, the rag collector was told by a number of shopkeepers to mind her own business.

There have been other examples of the public failing  to assist injured parties. 

The public has been instructed by the Chinese Ministry of Health on how to behave in these kinds of situations.  In guidelines issued in September, 2011 on how to help elderly people who have fallen down, the public are advised: “Don’t rush to lend a hand to the elderly after seeing them fall over. It should be handled by different measures in different situations.”

The Ministry said the guidelines have nothing to do with morality and ethics but explain how to deliver assistance in a scientifically proper way.

Hmmmmm….yeah, sure.  Wouldn’t want to live there [China], thank you very much.

As one travels the globe, or just reads about news collected from different parts of the world, sometimes one is reminded just how lucky it is to be living right here in the good ole USA.

Lawyer Sues Southwest, Says Airline Breached Free-Drink Coupon Contract

The ABAJournal Law News Now posted the information below on Nov. 17, 2011:

Although Southwest Airlines revised its policy in August of last year, notifying customers that such coupons would be honored only on the day of the flight after August 2011, a Chicago lawyer is challenging that change.

Adam J. Levitt, who allegedly has about 45 now-worthless free-drink coupons from Southwest, filed suit yesterday in federal court in Chicago, according to Reuters.

The complaint, which seeks class action status, contends that the carrier breached a contract with passengers by changing its policy and refusing to honor the coupons, which have no expiration date.  Alcoholic beverages purchased on board the aircraft otherwise would cost about $5 each.

Levitt, who practices at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, is the plaintiff in the case. He is represented by Joseph J. Siprut of the Siprut law firm, who tells the ABA Journal that the situation is akin to a retailer refusing to honor a customer’s gift card.

Describing Levitt as a “customer who got burned,” Siprut said his client and many others aren’t getting the benefit of their bargain. When they purchased their Business Select tickets, they expected to get a free drink, too. But now Southwest has changed the terms of their deal, after the fact.

“This is where a class action lawsuit really is the appropriate mechanism to deal with this issue,” Siprut said. Given the $5 value of the free drink, “it only makes sense to do this as a class action on an aggregate basis.”

Attorney Tommy Wells of Alabama, a former president of the ABA, says he himself has quite a collection of worthless Southwest drink tickets, too. He plans to use some of them as exhibits when he defends the airline in the case.

The Levitt suit, he tells the ABA Journal, is the second of two would-be federal class actions filed by attorneys against Southwest over the airline’s cancellation of its free-drink coupons. The plaintiff has since been substituted in the Birmingham, Ala., federal suit, however.  The earlier suit, Wells explained, focused more on another type of free-drink ticket earlier offered by Southwest, which essentially was a bonus gift sent out in a coupon book when a customer used Rapid Reward frequent-flyer miles to purchase a ticket.

It is black-letter contract law, Wells said, that such offers can be rescinded prior to acceptance, which would be manifested, in the case of the bonus drink coupons, by actually presenting them for a drink on a Southwest flight.

Similarly, although the free-drink coupons associated with the Business Select tickets purchased by Levitt and others contained no expiration date, they were intended to be used on the ticketed flight, Wells said. However, the ability of customers to print out or duplicate multiple free-drink tickets while booking a flight thwarted that expectation.

Given a choice between keeping flights affordable for all customers on the highly competitive routes that it flies and continuing to offer free drinks to some customers, Southwest opted to eliminate the booze benefit, Wells explained.

In a statement emailed to the ABA Journal, the carrier said that “Southwest Airlines works to reward our loyal customers by offering perks for their business. The perks that accompany our Business Select product include a complimentary drink for day of travel, in addition to premiere boarding and extra Rapid Reward points.

“When the Business Select program initially launched, drink coupons associated with the purchase of a Business Select fare did not specify an expiration date,” the statement continues. “But we found that some customers were photocopying drink coupons to obtain multiple drinks from a single coupon. We made the decision to post an expiration date on the coupon to prevent the unauthorized copying of the coupons. We cannot directly comment on pending litigation, but we value our customers and we will continue to look for ways to offer rewards for their business.”


Meet Iurii Chumak.

The 53-year-old was recently arrested after allegedly groping a flight attendant while onboard a British Airways flight traveling from London to New York on April 28, 2011. Chumak, seen in the mug shot on the left, was photographed by the United States Marshals Service after being forcibly de-planed in handcuffs.

According to The Smoking Gun, Chumak placed his hand up the flight attendant’s skirt and “grabbed her genital area” when she bent over to pour coffee for another passenger and “began to run his fingers back and forth”. Although the incident was witnessed by a second flight attendant, who immediately placed him in restraints, Chumak maintained that he had simply been “drinking on the airplane, fell asleep, and woke up in restraints.” The second attendant told the FBI that a male passenger had previously complained that Chumak–drinking from a bottle of Dewar’s–had “bothered and verbally abused” his wife.

Since his bust, Chumak has been locked up at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He was named last week in a misdemeanor criminal information charging him in connection with the in-flight April 28 incident (the filing of an information–in lieu of a grand jury presentment by federal prosecutors–often indicates that a defendant is negotiating a guilty plea).

Chumak’s lawyer, Sergei Orel, declined on May 31 to comment about his client’s case.


On March 27, 2011 another groping incident happened but this time on Delta Airlines Flight 269.  

An Israeli rabbi flying to New York from Tel Aviv allegedly twice fondled a female passenger as she slept, and when the woman angrily confronted him, he claimed, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to federal court records.

About 90 minutes into the 12-hour flight, rabbi Bidany allegedly reached over to the sleeping woman seated next to him and “placed his hand under her blanket, on her groin, and was groping her genital area.” When the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe” in the complaint, “jumped back,” Bidany “quickly removed his hand from her groin.”

The woman told the FBI that she then “pulled her blanket back over her head and body.” But minutes later, Bidany allegedly again “reached under the passenger’s blanket, this time groping the passenger’s breasts.” “What are you doing, stop touching me,” she told Bidany.

He replied, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep,” according to FBI agent Ambrisco. The female passenger “then left her seat to advise the flight crew of the incident.” Delta personnel confirmed to the FBI that the passenger had reported the inappropriate touching to them, and one crew member described the woman as “visibly shaken and frantic.”

Saul Bienenfeld, Bidany’s lawyer, declined recently to discuss the case against his client, but said that the rabbi “asserts his total innocence” and states that the alleged sexual contact “never occurred.”

Following his arrest, Bidany posted $250,000 bond and was ordered to surrender his passport and limit his travels to the New York City metropolitan area. At his April 5 arraignment, the Orthodox rabbi sought permission to return to Israel, though that request was denied by a magistrate judge.  Later, Bidany bail was modified and he was allowed to travel to Israel from April 14 to May 1 for the Passover holiday. He had also recently learned his father was gravely ill.  Bidany’s bond was increased to $500,000.  His trail was scheduled for May 4. 

Sheila, Oh Sheila!

A kangaroo snow creature with a baby – called a joey – in her pouch!  Sheila was created by an Australian visitor to NY during the holiday snow storm on Long Island.  Our thanks to Huw for his delightful work!

New Year’s Eve in Times Square

 Celebrating New Year’s Eve for 2011 in New York City with all my friends!

Click this link:  Bringing in the 2011 New Year in Times Square