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Stuck in fight-or-flight mode? 5 ways to complete the ‘stress cycle’ and avoid burnout or depression

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p>Can you remember a time when you felt stressed leading up to a big life event and then afterwards felt like a weight had been lifted? This process – the ramping up of the stress response and then feeling this settle back down – shows completion of the “stress cycle”.</p> <p>Some stress in daily life is unavoidable. But remaining stressed is unhealthy. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/">Chronic stress</a> increases <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32886587/">chronic health conditions</a>, including heart disease and stroke and diabetes. It can also lead to <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-all-exhausted-but-are-you-experiencing-burnout-heres-what-to-look-out-for-164393">burnout</a> or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137920/">depression</a>.</p> <p>Exercise, cognitive, creative, social and self-soothing activities help us process stress in healthier ways and complete the stress cycle.</p> <h2>What does the stress cycle look like?</h2> <p>Scientists and researchers refer to the “stress response”, often with a focus on the fight-or-flight reactions. The phrase the “stress cycle” has been made popular by <a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/03/complete-stress-cycle-emotional-exhaustion-burnout">self-help experts</a> but it does have a scientific basis.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541120/">stress cycle</a> is our body’s response to a stressful event, whether real or perceived, physical or psychological. It could be being chased by a vicious dog, an upcoming exam or a difficult conversation.</p> <p>The stress cycle has three stages:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>stage 1</strong> is perceiving the threat</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>stage 2</strong> is the fight-or-flight response, driven by our stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>stage 3</strong> is relief, including physiological and psychological relief. This completes the stress cycle.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Different people will respond to stress differently based on their life experiences and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181835/#:%7E:text=The%20major%20findings%20regarding%20the,renin%2Dangiotensin%2Daldosterone%20system%20or">genetics</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many people experience <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/01/polycrisis-global-risks-report-cost-of-living/">multiple and ongoing stressors</a> out of their control, including the cost-of-living crisis, extreme weather events and <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/family-domestic-and-sexual-violence/types-of-violence/family-domestic-violence">domestic violence</a>.</p> <p>Remaining in stage 2 (the flight-or-flight response), can lead to chronic stress. <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-chronic-stress-changes-the-brain-and-what-you-can-do-to-reverse-the-damage-133194">Chronic stress</a> and high cortisol can increase <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/">inflammation</a>, which damages our brain and other organs.</p> <p>When you are stuck in chronic fight-or-flight mode, you don’t think clearly and are more easily distracted. Activities that provide temporary pleasure, such as eating junk food or drinking alcohol are <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.14518">unhelpful strategies</a> that do not reduce the stress effects on our brain and body. Scrolling through social media is also not an effective way to complete the stress cycle. In fact, this is associated with an <a href="https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/11/strain-media-overload">increased stress response</a>.</p> <h2>Stress and the brain</h2> <p>In the brain, chronic high cortisol can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4561403/">shrink the hippocampus</a>. This can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1557684/#:%7E:text=The%20hippocampal%20formation%20plays%20a,%2C%20memory%2C%20motivation%20and%20emotion.&amp;text=Therefore%2C%20reduced%20hippocampal%20volumes%20should,in%20patients%20with%20major%20depression">impair a person’s memory</a> and their capacity to think and concentrate.</p> <p>Chronic high cortisol also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907136/#:%7E:text=The%20prefrontal%20cortex%20(PFC)%20intelligently,brain%20regions%20(BOX%201).">reduces activity</a> in the prefrontal cortex but <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289514000101">increases activity</a> in the amygdala.</p> <p>The prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher-order control of our thoughts, behaviours and emotions, and is <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00761/full">goal-directed</a> and rational. The amygdala is involved in reflexive and emotional responses. Higher amygdala activity and lower prefrontal cortex activity explains why we are less rational and more emotional and reactive when we are stressed.</p> <p>There are five <a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/03/complete-stress-cycle-emotional-exhaustion-burnout">types of activities</a> that can help our brains complete the stress cycle.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eD1wliuHxHI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">It can help to understand how the brain encounters stress.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>1. Exercise – its own complete stress cycle</h2> <p>When we exercise we get a short-term spike in cortisol, followed by a <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax">healthy reduction</a> in cortisol and adrenaline.</p> <p>Exercise also <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469#:%7E:text=Exercise%20in%20almost%20any%20form,distract%20you%20from%20daily%20worries.&amp;text=You%20know%20that%20exercise%20does,fit%20it%20into%20your%20routine.">increases endorphins and serotonin</a>, which improve mood. Endorphins cause an elated feeling often called “runner’s high” and have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33396962/">anti-inflammatory effects</a>.</p> <p>When you exercise, there is more blood flow to the brain and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6721405/">higher activity</a> in the prefrontal cortex. This is why you can often think more clearly after a walk or run. Exercise can be a helpful way to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/exercise-stress-relief">relieve feelings of stress</a>.</p> <p>Exercise can also increase the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3041121/">volume</a> of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915811/">hippocampus</a>. This is linked to better short-term and long-term memory processing, as well as reduced stress, depression and anxiety.</p> <h2>2. Cognitive activities – reduce negative thinking</h2> <p>Overly negative thinking can trigger or extend the stress response. In our 2019 research, we found the relationship between stress and cortisol was <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6987429/">stronger in people with more negative thinking</a>.</p> <p>Higher amygdala activity and less rational thinking when you are stressed can lead to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18628348/">distorted thinking</a> such as focusing on negatives and rigid “black-and-white” thinking.</p> <p>Activities to reduce negative thinking and promote a more realistic view can reduce the stress response. In clinical settings this is usually called <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-cbt">cognitive behaviour therapy</a>.</p> <p>At home, this could be journalling or writing down worries. This engages the logical and rational parts of our brain and helps us think more realistically. Finding evidence to challenge negative thoughts (“I’ve prepared well for the exam, so I can do my best”) can help to complete the stress cycle.</p> <h2>3. Getting creative – a pathway out of ‘flight or fight’</h2> <p>Creative activities can be art, craft, gardening, cooking or <a href="https://heartmindonline.org/resources/10-exercises-for-your-prefrontal-cortex">other activities</a> such as doing a puzzle, juggling, music, theatre, dancing or simply being absorbed in enjoyable work.</p> <p>Such pursuits increase <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00761/full">prefrontal cortex activity</a> and promote flow and focus.</p> <p>Flow is a <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.645498/full">state of full engagement</a> in an activity you enjoy. It lowers high-stress levels of noradrenaline, the brain’s adrenaline. When you are focussed like this, the brain only processes information relevant to the task and ignores non-relevant information, including stresses.</p> <h2>4. Getting social and releasing feel-good hormones</h2> <p>Talking with someone else, physical affection with a person or pet and laughing can all <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-happens-in-our-brain-and-body-when-were-in-love-198885">increase oxytocin</a>. This is a chemical messenger in the brain that increases social bonding and makes us feel connected and safe.</p> <p>Laughing is also a social activity that <a href="https://neurosciencenews.com/laughter-physical-mental-psychology-17339/">activates parts</a> of the limbic system – the part of the brain involved in emotional and behavioural responses. This increases <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/37/36/8581">endorphins</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27439375/">serotonin</a> and improves our mood.</p> <h2>5. Self-soothing</h2> <p>Breathing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/">exercises</a> and meditation stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (which calms down our stress responses so we can “reset”) via the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-vagus-nerves-help-us-rest-digest-and-restore-can-you-really-reset-them-to-feel-better-210469">vagus nerves</a>, and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17437199.2020.1760727">reduce cortisol</a>.</p> <p>A good <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035568/#:%7E:text=We%20conclude%20that%2C%20in%20addition,self%2Dsoothing%20effects%20of%20crying.">cry can help too</a> by releasing stress energy and increasing oxytocin and endorphins.</p> <p><a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319631#:%7E:text=Possible%20benefits%20of%20crying%20include,of%201.9%20times%20a%20month.">Emotional tears</a> also remove cortisol and the hormone prolactin from the body. Our prior research showed <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29096223/">cortisol</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9216608/">prolactin</a> were associated with depression, anxiety and hostility.<em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/theresa-larkin-952095">Theresa Larkin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-j-thomas-1293985">Susan J. Thomas</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <h2>Action beats distraction</h2> <p>Whether it’s watching a funny or sad movie, exercising, journalling, gardening or doing a puzzle, there is science behind why you should complete the stress cycle.</p> <p>Doing at least one positive activity every day can also reduce our baseline stress level and is beneficial for good mental health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Importantly, chronic stress and <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-you-burnt-out-at-work-ask-yourself-these-4-questions-118128">burnout</a> can also indicate the need for change, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wps.20311">such as in our workplaces</a>. However, not all stressful circumstances can be easily changed. Remember help is always available.</p> <p>If you have concerns about your stress or health, please talk to a doctor.</p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> on 13 11 14 or <a href="https://kidshelpline.com.au/">Kids Helpline</a> on 1800 55 1800.</em><!-- 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/218599/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/theresa-larkin-952095">Theresa Larkin</a>, Associate professor of Medical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-j-thomas-1293985">Susan J. Thomas</a>, Associate professor in Mental Health and Behavioural Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Getty Images </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/stuck-in-fight-or-flight-mode-5-ways-to-complete-the-stress-cycle-and-avoid-burnout-or-depression-218599">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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Flight attendant reveals how to score a free upgrade

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has shared her number one trick for securing an upgrade on your next plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">American flight attendant Cierra Mistt revealed the one question you should ask at check-in to score an upgrade to first class, with the hack working almost every time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt started her now-viral video by saying her hack to get a free upgrade was top secret. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s look at the big picture. Everyone is flying right now, and no one is more excited about that than commercial airlines,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The majority of airlines are overbooking every single flight they have.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It comes from the last month of me trying to get home and not even being able to get on standby because every single flight has been oversold,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am not talking about one or two seats. I am talking about 10-30 seats that have been oversold.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said this overselling of flights presents an opportunity to travellers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If everyone does show up, including the extra passengers that were oversold their tickets, the airlines have no choice but to financially compensate,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flight attendant shared that airlines “normally start off with vouchers for $500 or something”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Normally they say a voucher but you can ask for it in cash,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Depending on the flight and how desperate they are, they will go up to, like three, four, five thousand dollars.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is where the free upgrades come in.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said not only could you ask for a free upgrade in such circumstances, but you could “also ask for other incentives”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For example, drinks, dinners, breakfast, even a hotel if you have to stay overnight until the next flight,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, yes, you can also ask to be upgraded to first class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her video received more than a million views, with people praising the hack and sharing how it has worked for them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I got upgraded to first class by doing this,” said one person. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok / Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Tips

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Dad kicked off Jetstar flight for breaking cardinal rule

<p>A dad has been kicked off a Jetstar flight after snapping a picture of his family boarding the plane from the tarmac. </p> <p>Jimmy Mitchell was with his wife Pauline and their two children as they went to board their flight from Sydney to Brisbane, where they were embarking on a cruise. </p> <p>As the family were boarding the plane from the tarmac, Jimmy quickly took a picture of his kids and his wife who were walking up the rear stairs of the plane. </p> <p>According to Jimmy, who is a seasoned traveller, he didn't hear an announcement be made that passengers were prohibited from taking photos on the tarmac because the plane was refuelling. </p> <p>He was eventually able to board the flight after being confronted by cabin crew, but described the debacle as “one of the most traumatic experiences” he’s had.</p> <p>In a viral TikTok, he alleged that while he was taking the photo, a cabin crew member called him an “idiot”. He said that when she tried to get his attention to put the device away it left him embarrassed and shocked. </p> <p>“This is the worst experience I’ve ever had flying,” he said in the clip.</p> <p>“I try and get on the plane, I take a photo of my kids as they get on the plane, in flight mode, and the lady calls me an idiot,” he said.</p> <p>After he confronted the staff member, Mr Mitchell claims he was told he won’t be allowed to board the flight.</p> <p>“I turned around in disbelief because I was half way up the stairs at this point. I basically stormed over to her and I was like, ‘Are you serious? What did you just call me?’</p> <p>“She was basically saying ‘you can’t take photos on the tarmac, you can’t take photos on the tarmac’.”</p> <p>The pair allegedly went back and forth before the father-of-two, known for his travel content, was rejected from boarding the plane. </p> <p>“If she had literally just said anything else, like ‘get off your phone’, I would have done it.”</p> <p>“Apparently, they made an announcement, but I had noise cancelling headphones, Pauline (wife) told me after the fact – I didn’t hear it, there was no notifications about it, there was no signage, no nothing."</p> <p>“All she had to do was say something constructive. ‘Get off your phone,’ ‘you can’t have your phone out’ and I would have been like ‘sorry’, but she screams across the tarmac calling me an idiot.”</p> <p>“I can see how she maybe felt I was being intimidating because I am a big guy and I am a loud guy. She turns around to me and goes ‘you almost assaulted me, get off the tarmac, you’re not getting on this plane’.”</p> <p>Mr Mitchell then walked back inside the terminal where he awaited further instructions, and was later able to board the flight “after cooler heads prevailed” but wants the airline to apologise to him and his family over the “stressful” situation.</p> <p>“The way they treated Pauline and the kids and not allowing me to communicate with them what was going on, was completely unacceptable,” he said.</p> <p>The debacle has sparked a huge debate on his TikTok and Instagram over who is in the wrong.</p> <p>“Wow … that’s insane! So sorry that happened to you!” one person wrote.</p> <p>“Take it further and don’t let them get away with what they have done,” a second person said.</p> <p>However, others were quick to comment that as a seasoned traveller, Jimmy should've been well versed in the rules of not taking photos on the tarmac.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Airline selling international flights for under $400

<p>Looking to jet off to Europe without breaking the bank? Well, now might be your chance! Budget airline Scoot has just unveiled an irresistible March sale, offering one-way flights to various European and other international destinations for less than $400. With more than 60 destinations on offer, travellers from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are in for a treat.</p> <p>Scoot, known for its affordable fares and quality service, is the low-fare subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. The airline kicked off its one-week sale on Tuesday March 19, much to the delight of eager globetrotters. From Greece to Japan, and from Singapore to Indonesia, there's a plethora of destinations waiting to be explored.</p> <p>Among the highlights of this enticing offer are flights to Singapore starting from a mere $198, Athens from $355, Osaka from $315, and Denpasar from just $189. With such competitive pricing, it's no wonder travellers are scrambling to secure their seats.</p> <p>However, with great deals often come limited availability. While Scoot has not disclosed the exact number of seats up for grabs, travel experts advise acting fast. Graham Turner, from Flight Centre, <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/scoot-launches-march-sale-with-flights-to-europe-from-395-c-14009924" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cautioned 7News</a> that while the deals are fantastic, they're likely to be snapped up quickly. "There won't be a lot," he warned, while stressing the importance of doing thorough research before making a booking.</p> <p>It's essential for travellers to note that the fares advertised are all one-way and do not include additional charges such as taxes, checked baggage, WiFi, in-flight entertainment, food or flight changes. Despite these add-ons, the base fares remain incredibly competitive, making Scoot's March sale an attractive option for those seeking budget-friendly travel options.</p> <p>If you've been dreaming of am international getaway, now is the time to turn those dreams into reality. But don't delay – Scoot's March sale is set to run only until Monday night March 25, giving travellers just a limited window of opportunity to snag these incredible deals.</p> <p>So, whether you're yearning to wander through the historic streets of Athens, indulge in sushi delights in Osaka, or relax on the pristine beaches of Denpasar, Scoot's March sale has something for every traveller's taste and budget. Don't miss out on this chance to explore Europe without breaking the bank!</p> <p><em>Image: Scoot</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Might we see child-free zones on flights?

<p>Ah, the joys of air travel. The excitement of jetting off to exotic locales, the thrill of new adventures, and of course, the endless possibilities for unexpected entertainment. And what's more exhilarating than finding yourself seated next to a rowdy toddler or an inconsolable infant? It's the stuff of dreams, truly.</p> <p>Picture this: you're settling into your seat, envisioning a serene journey ahead, perhaps catching up on your favourite Netflix series or finally finishing that novel you've been meaning to read.</p> <p>But wait, what's this?</p> <p>A couple with a baby approaching your row.</p> <p>You can already hear the distant wails of despair echoing through the cabin. Your heart sinks as you realise that your peaceful flight just took a nosedive before it even began.</p> <p>Yes, it's the age-old dilemma of child-free travellers everywhere. Whether it's the cacophony of a crying baby or the rhythmic drumming of tiny feet on the back of your seat, flying with children nearby can be an experience like no other. And let's not forget the classic game of "Will they or won't they?" as you anxiously await to see if the parents will be able to tame their pint-sized companions or if chaos will reign supreme at 30,000 feet.</p> <p>But fear not, dear passengers, for there may be a solution on the horizon. Could child-free zones be the answer to our airborne woes? According to a <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/planes-should-there-be-child-free-zones/d463b299-5258-418f-831c-f5fb218f1d77" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent poll conducted by Nine News</a>, a whopping 73 per cent of respondents were in favour of such a proposition. Finally, a sanctuary where one can escape the unpredictable antics of tiny humans and bask in the tranquility of uninterrupted inflight bliss.</p> <p>Of course, implementing such a scheme may prove to be a tad challenging. After all, how does we go about segregating the child-rearing masses from the child-free elite without inciting a riot at the boarding gate? It's a logistical nightmare that even the most seasoned airline execs would hesitate to tackle.</p> <p>So, for now, it seems we child-free flyers will have to make do with our trusty noise-cancelling headphones, our steadfast eye masks, and a healthy dose of empathy for our fellow passengers. After all, parenting is no easy feat, especially at 35,000 feet.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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“I lost all ability to fly the plane”: Pilot's shock claim after plane drops mid-flight

<p>At least 50 passengers have been injured with a dozen hospitalised after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner suddenly plunged about two hours into the flight from Sydney to Auckland on Monday. </p> <p>LATAM Airlines said that the plane experienced an unspecified "technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement." </p> <p>Passengers on board the flight have recalled the terrifying moment the plane took a nose-dive mid-flight. </p> <p>"The plane dipped so dramatically into a nose dive for a couple of seconds and around 30 people hit the ceiling hard," Daniel, who was travelling from London, told the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“None of us knew what had happened until after the flight, I was just trying to keep everyone calm. We never heard any announcement from the captain." </p> <p>He added that passengers were screaming and it was hard to tell whether blood or red wine was splattered through the cabin. </p> <p>Another passenger, Brian Jokat, told broadcaster <em>RNZ t</em>hat the incident took place in "split seconds". </p> <p>"There was no pre-turbulence, we were just sailing smoothly the whole way,” he said. </p> <p>“I had just dozed off and I luckily had my seatbelt on, and all of a sudden the plane just dropped. It wasn’t one of those things where you hit turbulence and you drop a few times … we just dropped.”</p> <p>He added that a passenger two seats away from him, who was not wearing his seatbelt, flew up into the ceiling and was suspended mid-air before he fell and broke his ribs. </p> <p>“I thought I was dreaming,” he said. “I opened my eyes and he was on the roof of the plane on his back, looking down on me. It was like <em>The Exorcist</em>.”</p> <p>Paramedics and more than 10 emergency vehicles were waiting for passengers when the plane landed in Auckland. </p> <p>Around 50 patients were treated, with 12 of them hospitalised and one in serious condition. </p> <p>At least three of those treated were cabin crew. </p> <p>Jokat told <em>RNZ </em>that after the plane landed, the pilot came to the back and explained what had happened. </p> <p>"He said to me, ‘I lost my instrumentation briefly and then it just came back all of a sudden,’” Jokat said.</p> <p>In another interview with <em>Stuff.co.nz</em>, Jokat recalled the pilot also saying: “My gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane.” </p> <p>The airline's final destination was Santiago, Chile, but it was landing at Auckland Airport in accordance with its normal flight path, according to <em>Reuters</em>. </p> <p>"LATAM regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards," the airline said.  </p> <p><em>Images: Brian Jokat/ News.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Mistake in email causes Virgin Australia passenger to miss flight

<p>A Virgin Australia passenger was left $800 out of pocket after he arrived at a closed check-in desk despite arriving well before the departure time, and he now believes that it's because of a mistake in the email he received from the airline. </p> <p>Max Cameron, 64, flies several times a week between Launceston airport in Tasmania and Melbourne for work, and received an email from the airline saying his flight was delayed back in January. </p> <p>"I got a text and an email from Virgin saying, very sorry to let you know your plane has been delayed by 45 minutes,"  he told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. </p> <p>The email also read "Check-in will now close 30 minutes prior to this time."</p> <p>"I thought, well done Virgin. You've come through… you've let me know when I have to be there. And as a result, I got out to the airport at 9:25pm for a 9:45pm closure of check-in," Cameron said. </p> <p>However when he arrived there was "literally not one person in the Virgin terminal,"  so he eventually had to leave, with no choice but to buy another flight ticket which cost him $800 including extra accommodation and transport costs. </p> <p>"I put my tail between the legs, went back and bought another ticket. I was very annoyed about that but I had no choice... check-in closed early," he said.</p> <p>After submitting an enquiry to the customer service team, they told him he had to arrive 30 minutes before the <em>original</em> departure time - a different instruction to what he received in the email, with the revised departure time. </p> <p>At the time, the enquiry was closed and the team said he would not receive any compensation. </p> <p>Cameron, who was unsatisfied with the response, then spoke to a supervisor at the airport, who told him: "Oh my God, it looks like they sent you the wrong email".</p> <p>According to Yahoo News Australia, Cameron reportedly did receive incorrect information which led him to miss his flight. </p> <p>Cameron has since been in touch with the airline and hopes to be reimbursed, but remains "unhappy" after what he had to go through. </p> <p>"It's not the money but the lack of accountability... there is no service mentality anymore," he said.</p> <p>"What Virgin has done to me is just so wrong".</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: Yahoo News / Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Luke Davies' final act of kindness for nervous flyer

<p>The colleagues of slain Qantas flight attendant Luke Davies have shared the 29-year-old's final act of kindness for an elderly couple travelling overseas. </p> <p>In one of the last flights before his untimely death, Davies was on a flight from Sydney to Singapore as an elderly woman boarded the plane with her dying husband who was dealing with dementia. </p> <p>The senior couple were travelling to Switzerland so the man could pay one final visit to his son before succumbing to his illness. </p> <p>The caring flight attendant spent the entire eight-and-a-half hour journey, including his break, with the man and his wife as they flew first-class. </p> <p>"The wife had told him [her husband] had severe dementia, and she was really saddened by it because she kept saying he was the most beautiful husband and kindest man, and she was losing him to this cruel disease," Qantas colleague Brooke Walters told the <em><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/luke-davies-act-of-kindness-on-one-of-his-last-flights-20240227-p5f84n.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">Sydney Morning Herald</a></em>.</p> <p>"She was getting exhausted because every 30 seconds he was losing his memory, like a goldfish, and Luke took it upon himself to care for them constantly."</p> <p>Walters shared how her friend and colleague went above and beyond to care for the elderly man, recalling how he tucked the man into his bed, reassured him amid his confusion and consoled his wife, who was at times upset. </p> <p>"Luke had been told they booked the flight a year and a half ago, but the husband had deteriorated in the last three months really badly, so it was going to be their last trip to see their son, and Luke wanted it to be as comfortable as possible," she said.</p> <p>Ms Walters added that Mr Davies had a love of travelling and was a joy to be around.</p> <p>Luke and his partner Jesse Davies' <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/update-on-search-for-bodies-of-murdered-couple" target="_blank" rel="noopener">bodies were found</a> in southern New South Wales on Tuesday, after Constable Beaumont Lamarre-Condon turned himself in over the disappearance of the two men, and has since been <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/police-officer-arrested-amid-search-for-missing-men" target="_blank" rel="noopener">charged</a> with two counts of murder. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

International Travel

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Why can’t WE do this?! UK company unveils "Grans Go Free" flights

<p>EasyJet Holidays has unveiled their "first of its kind" offer allowing older relatives to travel for free on family bookings to popular European destinations, including Spain, Greece and Italy. </p> <p>The offer was announced during the final week of the easyJet Holidays Big Orange Sale last week, where customers could get up to £400 off. </p> <p>The move was made after a survey they conducted found that half of families have never holidayed abroad with grandparents.</p> <p>From the survey of 2,000 British adults, half of them said they regret not spending more time with grandparents and hoped to travel with them in their upcoming holidays. </p> <p>"We're proud to offer thousands of free kids' places, but we feel it's time to recognise the grandparents," easyJet Holidays Chief Operating Officer, Matt Callaghan said. </p> <p>"This research shows how important grandparent and grandchild relationships are and how much can be learned from making time for them."</p> <p>The tour operator hopes to encourage people in the UK to take a "3G" holiday - the term used for getaways with three or more generations. </p> <p>They found that seventy-seven per cent of the people surveyed agreed that the bond between grandparents and grandchildren is one of the most special relationships within a family. </p> <p>73 percent of these people also said that they would use the holiday opportunity to learn more about their grandparents' lives, and almost half of them want to benefit from their grandparents' wisdom. </p> <p>The most popular destinations for multi-generational holidays abroad are Spain (18 per cent), Italy and France, which both sit at 13 per cent. </p> <p>Limited spaces for the offer were made available and to qualify, the grandparent had to travel as part of a family booking with at least one child, and provide proof of age and relation had to be provided upon arrival at the hotel. </p> <p>The offer ended on the 5th of February, but it does make us wonder, when will Australia follow in their footsteps?</p> <p><em>Image: EasyJet/ Getty</em></p>

International Travel

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Flight attendant reveals why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed the gross reason why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">The seasoned cabin crew member, an American woman named Cheryl, shared the three things she would never do on a plane after seeing what really goes on behind closed doors on an aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">Her first tip for any traveller was not to use the toilet paper in a plane bathroom. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing her tips in a TikTok video, she wrote, "If you examine the toilet paper, I promise you're going to see water droplets on it, or what you think are water droplets."</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think we can trust most men to make it in the toilet on a normal day, let alone flying at 36,000 feet with turbulence."</p> <p dir="ltr">To combat this, the flight attendant recommends bringing a travel pack of tissues in your hand luggage to use instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">She also warned her viewers against wearing shorts on their next flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I would never wear shorts on a plane. You're going to freeze to death," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cheryl pointed out another valid reason to opt for long pants on a flight, stating, "Say we have an evacuation. You have to go down the slide. Your butt cheeks are going to be sizzled off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, Cheryl urged travellers to never book less than a three-hour connection between flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Delays can happen for a million and one reasons. The likelihood that you're going to miss your connection is pretty high if you're booking shorter than three hours," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Jetstar announce “free flight” offer

<p dir="ltr">Jetstar has announced an incredible offer for Aussies travelling overseas, giving holiday goers the chance to see the world without breaking the bank. </p> <p dir="ltr">The budget airline announced that it’ll be launching free flights out of Japan, meaning you’ll just have to pay for the first leg of the journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">The popular ‘Return for Free’ sale, which the airline has run in the past as part of their international travel promotion, means that passengers from most major ports along the east coast can return from Tokyo or Osaka without having to pay for the fare home.</p> <p dir="ltr">The sale, which runs from Tuesday for only 72 hours, requires travellers to book an outbound fare from either Brisbane, Cairns or Sydney and on select dates, can return for free from either Tokyo or Osaka.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some of the cheaper fares start from $337 from Cairns to Osaka one-way where a free return flight is available, or Brisbane to Osaka (Kansai) from just $476.</p> <p dir="ltr">While travel dates are set to vary depending on the route, travellers can book a free return journey anywhere from late February until early December 2024.</p> <p dir="ltr">The sale comes as Japan continues to rise in popularity for Aussie travellers, with Expedia revealing that Tokyo had claimed the title over Bali for Australia’s beloved summer holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">New data released by <a href="https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.japan.travel/en/au/__;!!F0Stn7g!Fe29fDLHDgEMgFlKEbiGPEaf5wufMPYYfaMxDE_Gh60ZPBhREGiNDxD6KJ9Mf1DYYoS8kJ2q800pKhhl4Za2sacG1pqO%24">Japan National Tourism Organization</a> shows the number of Australians visiting Japan in 2023 came close to matching levels seen in 2019, reaching 98.6 percent of pre-pandemic visitation numbers.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-84b6d5b1-7fff-dc6f-6401-07b1a05f2ac8"></span></p>

Money & Banking

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Flight cancelled after parents demand free upgrade for their child

<p dir="ltr">A flight was delayed for hours before being ultimately cancelled after two parents demanded that their child was upgraded to first class for free. </p> <p dir="ltr">A plane in China was grounded for three hours after the parents caused a ruckus with the cabin crew, and were eventually kicked off the aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to a fellow passenger, the argument kicked off when an unsupervised child began to sob uncontrollably after boarding a flight from Chengdu to Beijing. </p> <p dir="ltr">As it turned out, the inconsolable toddler’s parents were seated in first class but had only bought their child an economy ticket.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was then that the angry dad confronted the staff, demanding that his son be moved to first class at no extra cost.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the <em>South China Morning Post</em>, the irate dad explained that because he had already paid for two first class tickets, his child’s upgrade should be free. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the clip shot by a fellow passenger, the outraged dad began berating a group of passengers, crew members, and security guards as they repeatedly explained why his child isn’t entitled to an upgrade.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop swearing at me,” fumed the father. “You have no right to do that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When a security guard attempts to de-escalate the situation, the parent lays into him, shouting: “What gives you the right to order me about?”</p> <p dir="ltr">This prompts a woman to retort: “You’ve wasted too much of our time and we won’t tolerate it any longer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After three hours of back and forth, the couple were eventually kicked off the plane, while the flight was cancelled. </p> <p dir="ltr">The entitled passenger has since been rinsed on social media with one commenter fuming, “This man is so selfish.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others suggested solutions for the father that didn’t involve the airline giving the man an extra first-class seat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He can switch seats,” advised one person. “Let him sit in economy class, and have the mum take care of the child in the first-class cabin.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Some on social media were quick to chastise the airline for their handling of the situation, with one person writing, “Keeping the quarrel going for hours? The problem-solving skills of the crew are poor.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Twitter</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-dd8af609-7fff-7da2-9017-179b6317cd24"></span></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Do not panic”: Passenger trapped in plane bathroom for entire flight

<p dir="ltr">A passenger has received the ultimate downgrade on a plane after becoming trapped in the bathroom for an entire flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">The unnamed flyer was travelling from Mumbai to Bengaluru in India on budget airline SpiceJet, when his one-hour-and-45-minute night flight turned into a nightmare. </p> <p dir="ltr">Shortly after takeoff, the man went to use the lavatory and discovered he had become stuck in the bathroom when he attempted to leave.</p> <p dir="ltr">The crew and other passengers desperately attempted to free the flyer from the unfortunate position, but to no avail. </p> <p dir="ltr">As a result, he was relegated to the toilet in the sky for nearly the entire flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an attempt to calm the passenger during his in-flight solitary confinement, crew members slid a note under the door to reassure the man.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Sir we tried our best to open the door, however, we could not,” the letter read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Do not panic. We are landing in a few minutes, so please close the commode lid and sit on it and secure yourself. As soon as the main door is open, an engineer will come. Do not panic.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After landing, two engineers boarded the aircraft and broke open the door, rescuing the captive who later received “immediate medical support.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The airline has since issued the flyer a full reimbursement and shared an apology for the unique flying experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">“SpiceJet regrets and apologises for the inconvenience caused to the passenger,” they said. “The passenger is being provided a full refund.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / X (Twitter)</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"No empathy": Grandmother kicked off flight over unpaid fee

<p>An outraged father has unleashed over Jetstar's decision to remove his mother-in-law and children from a flight over an unpaid fee. </p> <p>Father of three Jay Tee took to social media to slam the airline over their treatment of his family on their flight from the Gold Coast to Melbourne. </p> <p>Tee's kids were being accompanied on the flight by their grandmother, who was informed she needed to pay a $35 fee to check in a bag. </p> <p>The woman forgot to pay the fee before boarding, on what was her second time ever on a plane. </p> <p>Tee was then contacted by the airline after his family had boarded and was told they would not be allowed to travel if the charge wasn’t paid for within 10 minutes. </p> <p>“They informed me I had 10 minutes to pay $35 or else they would be removed from the flight extra fees would accur (sic) for holding up the flight,” he said.</p> <p>“I hung up transferred funds and rang back within four minutes. Jetstar did not take payment and had removed my mother-in-law from the flight altogether leaving her and 3 kids stranded at Gold Coast airport no water no food.”</p> <p>The father slammed the airline for “disgusting service” that was “the worst I have ever been treated” by a company.</p> <p>“My anger is not with the payment for luggage, it is how my mother-in-law and three kids under 10 were treated.”</p> <p>The airline confirmed the family were removed from the flight, with a spokesperson saying the airline was trying to contact Mr Tee for more information.</p> <p>“We’re really sorry to hear about the customers’ experience and are reaching out to get a better understanding about what happened,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>The airline went on to say they had no record of any payment being made, while also clarifying they asked the elderly woman to move to the service desk multiple times to pay the fee, but she didn't.</p> <p>Mr Tee says he was then forced to pay another $600 to book the group on the next flight to Melbourne with discount airline Bonza.</p> <p>The situation stirred up debate on social media, with some blaming the woman for the mishap.</p> <p>“I don’t understand how this is anybody but the mother in laws fault, She would have checked bags in then should have walked over and paid for the excess, not boarded the plane,” one person wrote.</p> <p>But others defended her, and the fact the charge was paid by Mr Tee.</p> <p>“Would have thought Jetstar could have helped in some way, but that sums up Jetstar’s customer service for you. No empathy what so ever.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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"You don’t know why they’re filming or what they’ll do with it": flight attendants on being unwilling stars of viral videos

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/liz-simmons-1376255">Liz Simmons</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gui-lohmann-1476773">Gui Lohmann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rawan-nimri-1482182">Rawan Nimri</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>As any frequent social media user knows, airline passengers often record and post in-flight incidents – from frightening turbulence to unruly members of the public.</p> <p>Often, these viral videos feature flight attendants just trying to do their duties, while being filmed without their consent.</p> <p>These videos usually portray flight attendants either as heroes effortlessly managing difficult passengers or “villains” accused of being rude and unprofessional. Either way, the trend is emerging as an industrial issue, with unions arcing up about it and airlines bringing in new rules aimed at curbing the practice.</p> <h2>Unkind comments about appearance and age</h2> <p>Going to work knowing that at any moment you may become the unwilling star of a viral video can exact a considerable toll on the wellbeing of flight attendants.</p> <p>I (Liz Simmons) speak daily with flight attendants in Australia and abroad as part of my PhD research. From these discussions, I’ve heard from attendants who worry often about discovering videos of themselves featuring unkind comments about their appearance, age or employer.</p> <p>One flight attendant, Kate*, described the disconcerting feeling of someone aiming a smartphone camera at her while she was simply trying to do her job, saying: "You don’t know why they’re filming or what they’ll do with it."</p> <p>Marie spoke of being featured in a TikTok video during a safety demonstration, with viewers making fun of her appearance.</p> <p>Charlotte, after refusing to serve more alcohol to an intoxicated passenger, had a camera thrust in her face, accompanied by threats to her job.</p> <p>Mark told of how uncomfortable he felt having to ask a passenger to stop taking photos of the crew during service.</p> <p>These personal accounts illustrate the <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/health-safety/flight-attendant-reveals-creepy-passenger-behaviour/news-story/3b2b1ad25f758e24ef37b74794684ea6">distress</a> flight attendants can experience when being filmed or photographed without their knowledge.</p> <h2>A broader industrial issue</h2> <p>This issue is drawing the attention of policymakers, airlines and the unions that represent flight attendants.</p> <p>Japan recently introduced <a href="https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20230408-102309/">laws</a> aimed at curbing sneak photography in a range of settings, which may be used to prevent passengers voyeuristically filming flight attendants. <a href="https://mondortiz.com/japan-flight-attendants-call-for-action-versus-stolen-photo-taking/">Research</a> by Japan’s aviation workers union found that about 70% of the 1,573 flight attendants surveyed believed they’d had their pictures taken surreptitiously while they were working.</p> <p>Passengers have been arrested in <a href="https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/crime-in-israel/article-748799">Turkey</a> and <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3554181/IndiGo-passenger-arrested-recording-video-flight-attendants.html">India</a> after unauthorised filming.</p> <p>And flight attendant unions in <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/03/09/national/crime-legal/flight-attendant-photo/">Japan</a>, <a href="https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/204104/Union-says-flight-attendants-can-ask-passengers-to-delete-photos-and-videos-taken-without-consent">Hong Kong</a> and <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/300750512/why-you-shouldnt-film-your-cabin-crew">Australia</a> have voiced concerns about the issue.</p> <p>Of course, videos can occasionally play a crucial role in understanding what transpired during an <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/passenger-assault-attendant-detained-fbi-american-airlines-mexico-cabo-rcna48884">in-flight incident</a>, and flight attendants themselves can also be found on social media sharing their stories, consenting to the video. But many videos still feature airline staff simply going about their job (while being filmed, without their consent).</p> <h2>Unclear rules</h2> <p>News <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/why-you-shouldnt-film-your-cabin-crew-20221122-h2813d.html">reports</a> suggest staff aboard Dutch carrier KLM “now commonly make an announcement during the safety briefing asking passengers not to take photos of any crew members.”</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.klm.com.au/information/legal/conditions-carriage">rules</a> on the KLM website are less clear, saying only that, "Recording videos and/or taking photographs other than personal videos and photographs is prohibited on board the aircraft."</p> <p>Virgin Australia’s rules state anyone travelling on their planes must "use cameras or photographic devices (including mobile phones) for personal use only. You must comply with the directions of flight crew when using cameras or photographic devices while on board.</p> <p>In November 2023, Qantas introduced new <a href="https://www.qantas.com/au/en/book-a-trip/flights/conditions-of-carriage.html#conduct-during-flight">rules</a> requiring passengers to "seek consent before filming or photographing Qantas Group staff, contractors or other customers."</p> <p>This is a start. For most airlines, however, there is a notable absence of clear guidelines against recording and publishing footage of flight attendants in their workplace. The existing rules are often buried in the fine print of terms and conditions, which few passengers take the time to read. This underscores the necessity for airlines to reconsider how these restrictions are communicated to passengers.</p> <p>Looking ahead, it may be timely for more airlines to establish clearer rules on filming cabin crew while they work. There should be an acknowledgement that unsolicited filming is frequently unfair, invasive and distressing. Developing a framework to enforce these provisions and enhancing communication about these rules would help inform passengers about how to respect the privacy and comfort of flight attendants in their workplace.</p> <p><em>* All names have been changed to protect identities.</em><!-- 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/217089/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/liz-simmons-1376255">Liz Simmons</a>, PhD Candidate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gui-lohmann-1476773">Gui Lohmann</a>, Professor in Air Transport and Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rawan-nimri-1482182">Rawan Nimri</a>, Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>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/you-dont-know-why-theyre-filming-or-what-theyll-do-with-it-flight-attendants-on-being-unwilling-stars-of-viral-videos-217089">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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The sky’s the limit: A brief history of in-flight entertainment

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381">Olusola Adewumi John</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a> </em></p> <p>As the winter holidays draw near, many of us are already booking flights to see friends and family or vacation in warmer climates. Nowadays, air travel is synonymous with some form of in-flight entertainment, encompassing everything from the reception offered by the aircrew to the food choices and digital content.</p> <p>These services all add value to flying for customers. Passengers are now so familiar with in-flight entertainment that to travel without it is unthinkable.</p> <p><a href="https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/10/19/2762903/0/en/In-Flight-Entertainment-Connectivity-Market-to-Worth-21-03-Bn-by-2030-Exhibiting-With-a-15-9-CAGR.html">The in-flight entertainment and connectivity market grew to US$5.9 billion as of 2019</a>, a testament to its economic impact on both the airlines and the GDP of countries with airline carriers.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment is so ubiquitous that, even if all other airline services were offered, <a href="https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/19427/will-airlines-compensate-me-if-my-entertainment-system-is-not-working">the airline ensures a refund is made to the passenger affected</a> if television content cannot be accessed.</p> <h2>A brief history</h2> <p>In-flight entertainment has evolved significantly over the years. Before in-flight entertainment media was introduced, passengers entertained themselves by reading books or with food and drink services.</p> <p>The original aim of bringing in-flight entertainment into cabins was to attract more customers, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including the theatrical and domestic media environments. It was not initially for the comfort and ease of travelling, as it is today.</p> <p><a href="https://www.academia.edu/5023683/A_History_of_INFLIGHT_ENTERTAINMENT">Inflight entertainment began as an experiment</a> in 1921, when 11 Aeromarine Airways passengers were shown the film <em>Howdy Chicago!</em> on a screen hung in the cabin during the flight. Four years later, another experiment was carried out in 1925 when 12 passengers on board an Imperial Airlines flight from London were shown the film <em>The Lost World</em>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-space-magazine/when-did-inflight-movies-become-standard-on-airlines-180955566/">It wasn’t until the 1960s</a> that in-flight movies became mainstream for airlines. Trans World Airlines became the first carrier to regularly offer feature films during flights, using a unique film system developed by <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1962/06/02/inflight">David Flexer, then-president of Inflight Motion Pictures</a>.</p> <p>Starting in 1964, in-flight entertainment evolved to include various media types like 16-mm film, closed-circuit television, live television broadcasts and magnetic tape. In the 1970s, for example, airplanes might feature a large screen with a 16-mm projector in one part of the plane, while small screens hung overhead in another section.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/when-did-airlines-install-seatback-entertainment-20190711-h1g51b.html">Seatback screens were introduced in 1988</a> when Airvision installed 6.9-centimetre screens on the backs of airline seats for Northwest Airlines. They have since morphed into the larger screens we are familiar with today, which are found on nearly every airline.</p> <h2>In-flight entertainment today</h2> <p>Most airlines nowadays have personal televisions for every passenger on long-haul flights. On-demand streaming and internet access are also now the norm. Despite initial concerns about speed and cost, in-flight services are becoming faster and more affordable.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment now includes movies, music, radio talk shows, TV talk shows, documentaries, magazines, stand-up comedy, culinary shows, sports shows and kids’ shows.</p> <p>However, the rise of personal devices, like tablets and smartphones, <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/the-weird-and-wonderful-history-of-in-flight-entertainment/">could spell the end for seatback screens</a>. A number of U.S. airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Air, have <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/airline-seatback-screens-may-soon-become-an-endangered-species">removed seatback screens from their domestic planes</a>.</p> <p>This decline is par for the course. To arrive at the complex system used by aircraft today, in-flight entertainment went through a number of different stages, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">as identified by aviation scholar D.A. Reed</a>.</p> <p>It started with an idea phase, which saw the conception of the idea, followed by an arms race phase where most airlines adopted some form of it. Currently, airlines are facing challenges in the final — and current — phase of evolution, and are dealing with failures linked to business concept flaws or low revenue.</p> <p>Now that most air travellers carry electronic devices, fewer airlines are installing seatback screens. From an economic standpoint, this makes sense for airlines: removing seatback screens <a href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/business/airlines-travel-entertainment.html">improves fuel costs</a> and allows airlines to <a href="https://www.flightglobal.com/systems-and-interiors/united-ups-757-density-with-new-slimline-seats/126574.article">install slimmer seats</a>, allowing for more passengers.</p> <h2>More than entertainment</h2> <p>At some point in the evolution of in-flight entertainment, it started to serve as more than just a form of entertainment or comfort. Now, it’s also a competitive tool for airline advertisements, and a form of cultural production.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment has become an economic platform for investors, business people, manufacturers and entertainment providers, especially Hollywood. It also plays a key role in promoting the national culture of destination countries.</p> <p>However, the evolution of in-flight entertainment hasn’t been without its challenges. As a form of cultural production, it often reflects the interests of advertisers, governments and business entities. It also follows that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">certain ideas, products and cultures are sold to passengers</a> via in-flight entertainment.</p> <p>The lucrative practice of capturing and selling passengers’ attention to advertisers was not limited to screens, either. In-flight magazines have always been packed with advertisements, and by the late 1980s, these advertisements had spread to napkins and the audio channels.</p> <p>Despite its shortcomings and precarious future, in-flight entertainment still offers passengers a sense of comfort, alleviating concerns about being suspended over 30,000 feet above sea level. If you end up flying during the holidays, remember your comfort is partly thanks to this innovation.<!-- 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/218996/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/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381"><em>Olusola Adewumi John</em></a><em>, Visiting Researcher, Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</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/the-skys-the-limit-a-brief-history-of-in-flight-entertainment-218996">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Absolutely insane": Dad's plane act goes viral

<p>A man has gone viral on TikTok after his daughter posted a video of him sleeping on the airplane floor during a long-haul flight. </p> <p>"More room for everybody," she captioned the video of her dad lying down wedged between two rows where their feet would normally go. </p> <p>In the video she also added an overlay text which said: "you have ur airport dad I have my Asian dad." </p> <p>The video has since racked up over 12.4 million views, and while most were impressed by the "hack" others were appalled. </p> <p>"This is so smart – never thought of that," one person wrote. </p> <p>"Smart but I'd lay a blanket down underneath. Thank you airport dad I will steal this idea," added another. </p> <p>"I been alive 25 years, ain't never seen this move before," commented a third. </p> <p>"They do [allow it] on long flights. As long as nobody complains then they don't bother you," added a fourth. </p> <div class="embed" 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;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 580px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7290309715286904095&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40bynataliebright%2Fvideo%2F7290309715286904095&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast8-p-0068-tx2%2FoclABAhjhvzjImA6AdbRfwsiNEqBAyICYXEzX8%3Fx-expires%3D1700780400%26x-signature%3D8dYowfoSYD7T5QgGgwn53z%252B4BI8%253D&amp;key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>A few others were shocked and pointed out that airplane floors aren't exactly clean. </p> <p>"As a past flight attendant, you don't want to know what I have seen on those carpets," wrote one person. </p> <p>"When I was taking my flight attendant course one thing they said to us over and over was to never walk barefoot on the aircraft... nevertheless lay down," added another. </p> <p>"Man made his own trundle bed," joked a third. </p> <p>While another eagle-eyed commenter was shocked that he would voluntarily wear jeans for 15-hours, "jeans for 15 hours is absolutely insane," they wrote. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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Flight cancelled after passenger's sickening act

<p dir="ltr">A flight has been cancelled at the last minute after a passenger allegedly defecated on the floor of the airplane bathroom. <br />The EasyJet flight was due to depart from the Spanish island of Tenerife to London’s Gatwick airport, which had already been delayed by several hours when the incident took place. </p> <p dir="ltr">A passenger on board by the name of Aaran Gedhu told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/easyjet-flight-canceled-defecation-incident/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>CNN</em></a> that the problems began when the scheduled plane was switched out for a smaller aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">Passengers were turned away from boarding the plane while the switch took place, which stirred up a frustrated atmosphere amongst passengers. </p> <p dir="ltr">After travellers eventually made it onto the plane two hours after their scheduled departure, they had to wait for their luggage to be transferred to the new plane, which again took several hours. </p> <p dir="ltr">As the delay extended, the atmosphere on the packed flight was characterised by "suspense and anger," Gedhu said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"EasyJet planes, as they are, just aren't very comfortable – it's just a basic seat with okayish legroom room. So everyone was just a bit tense," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Then, the pilot finally gave the all clear, and then he said that it will be about 20 minutes until departure," recalled Gedhu.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And that's when the incident happened with the defecation."</p> <p dir="ltr">Gedhu, who was seated in the middle of the aircraft, saw "two passengers" visit the front airplane bathroom with word quickly spreading that someone had defecated on the bathroom floor. </p> <p dir="ltr">As an unpleasant smell followed, passengers grew more irritated, but Gedhu says most people onboard believed the incident was an "accident".</p> <p dir="ltr">"Everyone was being polite to each other. There was no fighting amongst the passengers," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It was just a very uncomfortable experience. Obviously, the plane was in an unsanitary state. So they had to get external cleaners out from the airport to clean it. So that's when the stairs reconnected, and the cleaners came on to deep clean the flooring."</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Gedhu, passengers remained in their seats during the cleaning process, and after the situation had been resolved, the captain of the aircraft told the plane's occupants they would have to disembark.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It was very frustrating," another passenger, Kitty Streek, told <em>CNN Travel</em>. </p> <p dir="ltr">"We obviously can't prove whether the person simply had an accident or if they had done this out of anger for the delayed flight but it was hard not to be angry either way as nobody wants to be stranded in another country."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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