Southwest Airlines File: Still Flying

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

The Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws (which of course means “the latest news”) is a unique beast: tabloidy in the range of news items it chooses to cover, to be sure, but at the same time lacking that sleazy tinge common to most of the world’s gutter-rags. Even better, it can be relied upon to catch and publish those bizarre tid-bits flowing on the wires that more established papers usually choose to leave alone.

A case in point is the recent attention it has paid to the operations of Southwest Airlines, no less. That American low-budget airline would seem to have little of interest to residents of Belgium. Nevertheless, it is covered by HLN in some recent stories whose common denominator is the apparent resiliance of its planes towards a variety of threats.

Like a well-endowed female passenger displaying rather too much endowment. This happened at the airport in Las Vegas (where else?), where the lady wanted to board a plane for New York, but was told by Southwest officials that her bosom was just too visible. Somehow the woman (known only by “Avital”) managed to board the flight anyway – maybe she used them as a battering-ram – and later recounted the experience to the website, exclaiming “And what do you know, the plane did not fall from the sky!”

Then, a little earlier, there was that other grave threat to flight safety: mobile telephone use. This involved a Southwest flight from Phoenix, AZ to El Paso: a man who rebuffed requests from a stewardess to switch off his phone while the plane was landing was promptly arrested once it was down on the ground. As the HLN article explains, “The [telephone’s] signals can create disturbances, and the pilot’s aids during bad weather can be influenced by a gsm telephone.” But this assertion has of course been debunked repeatedly, such as here.

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