This Is Why You Can’t Help Yourself to an Empty First-Class Seat When You’re Flying

When you make your way through first-class to your coach class seat, you pass passengers already seated in their wide seats, relaxed, with beverages and their noses stuck to their devices or magazines.

You squeeze yourself into your middle seat and shove your carryon under the seat in front of you because all the overhead space was taken by the time you got there.

Nodding at the guy next to you, you mentally calculate if he’s the kind of guy that would deny you elbow space on the armrest later in the flight.

Photo Credit: Flickr

You also mentally calculate if you could sneak into first class and take one of several empty seats you saw.

The answer? No.

Why? Because it’s stealing.

Photo Credit: Flickr

You’ve paid your fare and it was for coach. Why should you be the one to get an empty first class seat over another passenger?

Recently, on Twitter, United Airlines put it another way when a passenger tweeted this question: “What’s the point of empty seats if they can be filled and your customers can have a better experience?”

Because, United answered, “… If you were to purchase a Toyota, you would not be able to drive off with a Lexus, because it was empty.”

Something else to keep in mind, flight attendants know who is supposed to be in their first class cabin. If they do note someone taking a seat they didn’t pay for, they can confront that passenger.

In forums, tales of passengers getting charged for the upgrade or even getting arrested are frequently discussed.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

More legroom and a free cocktail doesn’t seem to be worth the hassle, does it?

If you’re really determined, you can try asking the flight attendant if you can move up. Don’t count on a warm reception to the idea, though.

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People Who Were Obsessed With a City or Country Share How They Felt About It After Moving There

Have you ever been totally obsessed with a place, but you had never been there? Like you had some totally romantic and idealized version of what it would be like even though you’d never been there?

I felt this way about New York City when I was growing up. I finally went for the first time when I was 21, and I did – and still do – love it, so no big letdown there for me.

But for some folks, the places they’ve fetishized in their minds don’t turn out to be so wonderful.

In this AskReddit thread, people discuss how they feel about the places they were obsessed with that they actually moved to. If you’ve ever done this, tell us about your experience in the comments.

1. At least the summer is nice.

“Into the Wild was my introduction to Alaska. I’m from the tropics.

Met an Alaskan man.

Visited in the summer. Loved it!

Married the Alaskan man.

Moved in the summer after.

Finally found out what an interior Alaskan winter was like.

Hated it, but husband will not move.

Became a reverse Persephone, my cold-weathered husband sends me back to the land of hot weather for a month of the year.

Still completely in love with the Alaskan summer.”

2. A mixed bag.

“Paris, France. I studied French for a long time and eventually moved here to do my master’s degree. I do love the city itself – always something to do, amazing museums/art/culture/architecture – and even though like all cities it can be crowded/dirty sometimes, I still enjoy it. The thing that gets me is how hard it is to get to know and become friends with the French (Parisians in particular).

They are perfectly polite but if I didn’t have a strong foreign student friend community here it would be much more difficult. There are always exceptions of course – I have a handful of good French friends – but a big factor in why I don’t think I can stay in Paris in the long term to settle down (maybe somewhere else in France would be better) is that the coldness can really wear you down. That, and also the bureaucracy. It’s unreal.”

3. Living the dream.

“I dreamed of living in NYC as a teen. I was drawn to the theater, the fashion, the excitement. Now I’ve been living in NYC for about 13 years, basically my entire adult life, and I still love it but my appreciation has changed. A lot of the things that initially attracted me require lots of money, but I’ve discovered so many new things and met so many wonderful people that I don’t miss the loss of that fantasy. I still feel a thrill when I go running over one of the bridges and see the skyline.

I love not driving, and being able to find practically any food or specialty shop I want. I am very plugged into the arts here and love to go to live music, readings, lectures, art shows, and performances, so many of which can be enjoyed for little or no money!

I definitely see how city life doesn’t appeal to many people but whenever I think of leaving I can’t imagine anywhere I might like better.”

4. The good and the bad.

“I’m a small town Midwesterner who really romanticized California (particularly coastal California.) I had the opportunity to move there right after college and it was probably one of the best decisions I’d ever made.

Things I liked: the weather was always perfect (even on rainy days, the temperature was still mild.) There was always something to do. There were so many different beaches and I never got tired of seeing the ocean. I did more hiking in the first year I lived there than I’d ever done in my home state. Lots of good shows and music around the Santa Cruz and SF area. SO MANY GOOD RESTAURANTS. Plus, it felt good to go back to my tiny ass town and tell people I moved to California.

Things I disliked: It’s expensive. The traffic is as bad as they say. There also seems to be an air of ignorance with (not all, but some) people native to the area. For instance, when I told people I was from Iowa, someone asked if we had electricity and running water, another person chimed in that they had a cousin who lived in Montana (which is no where even close to Iowa,) and most people had no idea where to even find Iowa on a map. When you’re from a fly over state, you automatically learn which are the “superior” states because they get a lot of coverage in media and entertainment.”

5. Won’t live there again.

“I’m an American, was a serious Irish dancer my whole childhood. I also play music. I wanted to move to Ireland and go to university there — and I did. Overall, it was a great experience especially in terms of local music / dancing and opportunities to learn more. But also I hated my degree program and ended up studying abroad and then transferring to a school in Canada, where I’m much better settled. I still pinch my pennies to go back to Ireland and visit my friends and stuff, but I’d never ever live there long term again.

Also, I hate cold rainy weather and have asthmatic reactions to mold, so Ireland’s climate was actively trying to kill me the entire time I was there. Good times. No regrets, but also wouldn’t repeat.”

6. The Big Easy.

“New Orleans is deeper and broader than I imagined. 20 years later I have no regrets, only memories that I reflect upon and smile. When I tell stories I have to leave things out, because the reality is unbelievable.”

7. Not in love with London.

“Moved to London with stars in my eyes. A year later, all I think now is how is no one speaks to each other and there’s pigeons everywhere.”

8. Seoul.

“Seoul, South Korea!

It’s my first experience in a big city, and I’m not disappointed! Public transportation is great, food is amazing… i eat a lot of Japanese food here tbh. Depending on where you are in the city, night life is crazy. And i find the older parts of the city to be absolutely beautiful. I know for those born and raised in the system it’s a whole different story, but for a 20 year old foreign student, i can say it’s not half bad.

As far as the negatives go however, the lack of nature can be hugely depressing, i pay $400 a month for a 50 sq ft room, dining alone can be difficult, and there’s always trash everywhere in the streets. Honestly though I think i had a decent grip on reality before coming here. People expect these places to be like an instagram-esque dream world. But at the end of the day, it’s just another place you wake up, do your groceries and pay your bills in. All that fun real life stuff.”

9. Finland = Paradise.

“It was Finland for me. Rather weird country to obsess about, but I started learning the language in high school and fell in love with the culture. Went there for an exchange and was shocked at how close to paradise it was! Beautiful nature, friendly and helpful people, good-quality food and more humane pace of life. It helped that I lived with a wonderful host family in a small town – the people you meet are a huge part of your experience in a place. Best part was getting to learn more Finnish!”

10. Spoiled it…

“Hawai’i. It is absolutely gorgeous. Had land there and spent time there during the downturn.

The tourist thing wears off though, and although it is still an absolutely gorgeous place, the cost of living, the corruption in government, and seemingly like every contractor is trying to rip you off spoiled it for me as a long term relocation.”

11. The old country.

“Not as popular but Greece. My maternal grandparents are Greek. It’s a big loud friendly group and had been my entire life. I had a several month long gap before grad school and a great aunt willing to house me so I moved to Patras. The first few weeks were wonderful I did all the tourist things then I realized how forced all of it was. You can’t just ever have a friend over it has to be a major production.

The food was wonderful but every contractor or small business I interacted with took it at a point of pride to tack on added fees or try to scam me. I was stolen from multiple times. The older people particularly the men had no personal boundaries at all and their wives would hand wave off anything. Everything public that wasn’t intended for tourists was falling to pieces. It was just very sad considering how proud I had been of my Greek roots until then.”

12. Everything they wanted it to be.

“Seattle WA. Spent my first 30 years living up and down the eastern seaboard from PA to GA. I was in grad school in SC and inexplicably Seattle just popped in my head one day – no trigger or anything. For the last 6 months of school (2003) it just consumed me – sight unseen I needed to be there. So that’s what I did. Got my degree, packed up my car with no job, place to live or contacts and drove to Seattle.

It could very well be a self-fulfilling prophecy but it was everything I wanted it to be. The city has changed quite a bit with the Amazon explosion but I’m glad I got to live some “old Seattle”. There’s still plenty of treasure to be mined. Sure the luster is gone but I have a family now and still love to explore the city with my daughter. All my old haunts are gone but the fun now is finding new haunts! It’s what we make of it.”

13. Chicago is a great city!

“Probably not a city that people dream about moving to but for me, Chicago. I loved Chicago from age 6 (saw Ferris Bueller), visited a couple times, loved it even more and then moved here three years ago. It feels like home, I absolutely love it here. Sure the winters can suck but I appreciate the nicer days so much more.”

14. New Zealand is A-OK!

“I wanted to go to New Zealand since I was ten and my best friend moved there, I finally went when I was 25 and got a 1-year working visa. It was awesome, I met my husband there, and saw my old friend again.

It’s still great, I would live there if they’d have me!”

15. Doh!

“Tampa, FL. I’m from the Midwest and we ALWAYS associate Florida with spring break and the beach and happy fun times…

Turns out I live an hour from the beach, traffic is the WORST (largest US city without a commuter rail), and the humidity is always 110% and about to kill me. You can’t really be outside and it sucks.

Edit: because first of all I came back after work to a billion notifications, who knew Tampa would get this much conversation started?

AND SECOND OF ALL because someone remind me about THE DRIVING and I just have to add that to this comment that the driving is the wwwwoooorrrrssttt maybe even worse than humidity, read my comment below for passionate rage about pulling over for emergency vehicles (or the lack thereof I suppose).”

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A Man Had the Perfect Comeback for a Racist Who “Couldn’t Believe” He Belonged in First Class

Stories from all over the country have made clear that doing pretty much anything while also being black can be enough for racists to call a person out – or call the police.

It’s a horrible comment on the state of affairs in the U.S., and a disappointing, frustrating, and humiliating way to expect African-Americans to live on a day-to day basis.

This man, though, when he was confronted by a terrible woman who questioned his right to be in a priority boarding line, had a response that left those in earshot literally applauding him.

Her: excuse me i believe you may be in the wrong place you need to let us thru. This line is for priority boarding Me:…

Posted by Emmit Eclass Walker on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

DC-based music executive Emmit Walker was innocently waiting in line for his flight – right where he belonged – when a fellow passenger tried to cut in front of him.

When he wouldn’t move, she told him he was in the wrong place, because that was the line for priority boarding.

Image Credit: Facebook

Mr. Walker informed her that not only was he in the right place – see his first class boarding pass? – but that he had been there longer than she had, so he wouldn’t be moving.

Image Credir: Facebook

At which point she commented to her companion that he must have gotten the seat because he was in the military or something, and because they had paid for their first class seats, they should get to board first.

Which is when he said the best thing:

Image Credit: Facebook

The other passengers in line burst into applause, and people who read the story online wore out the hand-clap emoji, too.

Image Credit: Facebook

Rightfully so. I wish everyone had the self-confidence and speaking ability to stand up for themselves in times like these.

But not as much as I wish there weren’t so many times like these.

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Here’s Why It’s Impossible for Someone to Open a Plane Door Mid-Flight

On rare occasions, an airplane passenger decides they want to trying to disrupt a flight…while in midair.

The bad news is the rest of the passengers can get quite a scare watching someone, who is usually drunk, have a breakdown and go for the exit door.

The good news is it’s impossible to get the door open while the plane is in flight.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

There are a couple of reasons why no passenger, for any reason, could release a plane door during a flight.

The first reason is that plane doors are mechanically latched closed, and only the pilot has the controls to unlock them. Next time you’re in a plane making a landing, listen for the pilot’s announcement, “doors to manual.” At that point – and only at that point – the unlocking control is undone, allowing someone else to open the doors.

Pilot Patrick Smith, on his blog AskThePilot, explains that the reason why the doors can be opened once the plane is on the ground is in case of an emergency evacuation. A similar announcement, “disarm doors,” refers to the function of deploying slides, if needed. “Those slides can unfurl with enough force to kill a person, and you don’t want them billowing onto the jet bridge or into a catering truck.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

So, yes. If the plane is on the ground, it is possible for a passenger to get a door open.

But, in flight, it is literally impossible – and that’s because of reason #2…

Air pressure. Planes are pressurized on the inside during flights because of the lack of oxygen at typical cruising altitudes. We can’t breathe up there without pumped-in air.

Photo Credit: Flickr

The air that keeps the cabin pressurized so we can breathe also seals the doors shut. The doors actually fit the plane like plugs. To give you an idea of the amount of pressure keeping cabin doors sealed, at usual cruising altitude there will be eight pounds of pressure per square inch of the plane’s interior. This works out to 1,100 pounds pushing against every square foot of door.

Meaning no one is opening any airplane door while it’s flying. So get back to worrying about something more likely to happen: your luggage getting lost.

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Here’s What You Should Do If You Lose Your Passport

Losing your passport is supremely stressful, and getting it replaced is neither convenient or easy. But there are steps you can take to get another one relatively quickly.

US Passport

Once you’ve turned your home or hotel room upside down only to determine your passport’s gone forever, the first thing you should do is report it so it can be canceled. You can do this either by phone or online on the Department of State travel website. This is important because a canceled passport is no longer valid – meaning no one else can use it.

You’ll then need to apply for a replacement. In the U.S., you’ll use form DS-11 for lost or stolen passports, and it’s best if you do it in person at a passport acceptance facility. That way, the documents can be processed there and then mailed in for the replacement. If you have immediate travel plans (i.e. international travel planned within the next 14 days), you should go to a passport agency, where you can get your paperwork handled ASAP – potentially even immediately.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Already in a foreign country when your passport went missing? Don’t worry – you’re not stranded, but you may be delayed. Report the passport as missing, then find the local U.S. embassy or consulate, which, unfortunately, may be in another city. Take a passport photo, another form of government-issued identification (drivers license works), proof of U.S. citizenship (your photocopy of your passport that you bring with you all the time when you travel works), and your travel itinerary. It’s a good idea to have copies of all these things in Google docs or something similar. You will then fill out two forms: DS-11 and DS-64.

In a couple of business days, you should have your replacement. Then, you’ll have to reapply for any visas.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

You could use travel insurance to recoup your expenses in getting a replacement, but check the credit card you travel with – they may be able to reimburse you as well.

Losing your passport is a big pain, so the best way to avoid the hassle of getting a new one is just to always keep it safe.

And be sure make copies of it to help you in case you need to jump through all these hoops.

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Woman Who Wore a “Hail Satan” T-Shirt Onto a Plane Was Forced to Change It or Get Thrown Off

I would probably never wear a shirt like this, but we live in a free society where people can wear whatever they want, wherever they want…actually, never mind, this shirt is pretty cool and I admit it that I would probably wear it in public.

A woman named Swati Runi Goyal was recently flying from Florida to Nevada, and, not thinking of potential consequences, she donned a t-shirt that said “Hail Satan. Est. 666” for the trip. The shirt also featured an upside-down cross (for good measure).

But when Goyal boarded her flight, she was told by an American Airlines crew member that she had to change her shirt or she would be removed from the plane.

Goyal is a member of The Satanic Temple, and she bought the shirt to support the organization. Despite the name, the Temple is known for activism on such issues as the separation of church and state, religious freedom, and free speech. Goyal said, “It’s an ironic shirt. People usually laugh at it, or they give me a thumbs-up because they understand the meaning behind it.”

Goyal said about the incident, a crew-member “said, ‘Our crew has found your shirt to be offensive.’ We initially just thought it was a joke. But he repeated the directive, and there was another female crew member who was behind him with her arms crossed looking very angry.”

Goyal and her husband refused to get off the plane. She continued, “The man said, ‘Your shirt is offensive. Do you know what that means?’” I said, ‘I’m a foreign-born minority woman, I understand ‘offensive,’ and this shirt is not offensive.’”

A standoff ensued and the flight crew brought on a customer service agent to tell Goyal she would not be able to fly while wearing the shirt. Eventually, Goyal’s husband gave her a layer of the clothing he was wearing, and she reluctantly agreed to cover up the language on her shirt so the flight could take off.

Goyal said she was humiliated over the incident. “I’m just an ordinary-looking person.I’m not goth. I don’t have piercings. I wasn’t wearing a shirt that had a goat being beheaded on it. [I was] wearing L.L.Bean hiking pants and vegan sneakers. I mean, I couldn’t look like more of a nerd.”

After the flight, Goyal complained to American Airlines. The airline initially refused to apologize and sent an email that read in part that they “have policies in place to ensure that no passengers are subjected to objectionable situations while on board. Our flight attendants have a responsibility to all passengers in our care, and we must sometimes make difficult decisions associated with the application of our policies.”

After Goyal tweeted about her experience and the story went viral, the company said “Discrimination has no place at American Airlines” on Twitter. A spokesperson for the airline said, “We apologize to Ms. Goyal for her experience, and we are reaching out to her to understand what occurred.”

What do you think about this story? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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The Time Record for Driving Across America Was Just Broken

If you haven’t heard of it, the Cannonball is a race from New York to Los Angeles that racing aficionados are constantly trying to win. There are no official rules or regulations because…well, it’s pretty much illegal; in order to break the record for the fastest cross-country time, you have to break a whole lot of traffic laws.

Just like the movie The Cannonball Run, remember?

But the fact that it’s illegal doesn’t stop people from trying to break that illustrious record all the time. And some guys in a 2015 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG just demolished the previous record, in place since 2013, by driving from New York to L.A. in 27 hours and 25 minutes.

The previous record? 28 hours and 50 minutes.

The two drivers, Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt, and their “spotter,” Berkeley Chadwick, left the east side of Manhattan at 12:57 A.M. on November 10 and reached Redondo Beach, California in literal record time.

They drove on I-80 through Nebraska, took I-76 to Denver, I-70 to the middle of Utah, and then took I-15 to Southern California’s interstate system. They drove a grand total of 2,825 miles, and Toman and Tabbutt averaged a very illegal 104 miles per hour during the journey. Incredibly, they managed to spend only 22-and-a-half minutes on fuel stops. I’m assuming they ate and went to the bathroom in the car.

Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The group was obsessed with beating the previous record, so they outfitted the car with a custom-fabricated fuel cell and all kinds of electronic gadgets. Berkeley Chadwick acted as the spotter using gyro-stabilized binoculars to look out for police.

Here’s a cool video about the newly-broken record.

Let’s see how long this record stands…

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These Are 7 of the Hardest Countries for Americans to Visit

Americans are fortunate to be able to travel most of the globe with minimal restrictions. That said, there are some spots that are less-than-welcoming to people from the States (sometimes, understandably so). Just a warning: you might want to think twice before attempting to stamp your passports in these 7 countries.

7. Iran

The State Department says “There is a very high risk of kidnapping, arrest, and detention of U.S. citizens in Iran.” If you’re dying to visit the Middle East, don’t choose Iraq, either – but Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is totally safe (and has killer authentic Iranian food).

6. Libya

This northern African nation is a hotbed of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict. That’s a trifecta+, so do not go. Nearby Egypt and Morocco are much more popular, but not entirely safe, either.

5. Mali

The State Department says Mali is rife with terrorism, kidnaping, and crime – consider heading to the much safer Senegal, instead.

4. South Sudan

With crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict risks, you should consider the somewhat-safer Ugandan mountain region. Gorillas!

3. Venezuela

Here, you’re looking at the potential for violent crime, like armed robbery, homicide, and carjackings, along with civil unrest, poor healthcare, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. But there are plenty of beautiful South American countries (almost all the others, in fact) waiting to safely welcome you to their shores.

2. Yemen

With a years-long proxy war being waged between Saudi Arabia and Iran here, there is heightened risk of targeted terrorism, civil unrest, disease, kidnapping, and, of course, getting caught in that. armed conflict. Unless you’re with Doctors Without Borders, there’s really no reason to feel pulled to Yemen – it’s one of the most dangerous places in the world.

Oman is also on the Arabian Sea, and it’s supposed to be lovely, though, so consider that!

1. Central African Republic

More crime, more civil unrest, and risk of being kidnapped wait for you in this land-locked African country. And to make matters more dangerous, it’s sandwiched between other countries that come with warning labels.

You can hang out in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, instead – there are gorillas and everything.

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It Took 20 Years for This Woman to Recover Her Lost Luggage

Losing your luggage sucks. I mean sure, you can pack the things you really need in your carry-on, but there’s just something about not having your things that can make you feel so much more lost, and stressed, especially if you’re away from home.

Most of the time, though, the airline is quick to recover and return your things.

That wasn’t the case for Tuscon resident Maria Dellos, whose bags went missing more than two decades ago, never to be seen again.

Image Credit: KVOA Tucson

At least, that’s what she thought…

Until she got a call from TSA.

Because she apparently has terrible luck, she assumed they were ringing about the luggage they lost 4 months ago, but no – it was about her bag that had disappeared twenty years earlier.

She told KVOA news about her reaction to the call.

“Well I actually almost ignored the call because of telemarketing. All day long I get calls.”

We feel you, Maria.

The bag was returned, and inside it she found art supplies she’d purchased from a trade show, as well as a handwritten note that was chock full of nostalgia for her.

Image Credit: KVOA Tucson

“When I looked at this note, it was dated, it dated me as 20 years ago! And I was just absolutely blown away. I’m absolutely thankful to the TSA for calling me today and giving me great faith back into the airline industry.”

I don’t know if I’d have “great faith” if I was her, but it’s also amazing to me that they actually called and got her the bag instead of trashing it in order to never have to discuss their mistake.

TSA says the bag was likely left unattended for so long that someone dumped it in lost and found without researching who it might belong to or where it should properly have been sent.


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Oh, and her more recently lost bags? Those’ve been returned, too, so maybe her faith isn’t totally misplaced.

Time will tell. I’ll be ready for updates the next time she flies.

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