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Another one

Early reports in the past hour indicate that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has been shot down over Ukraine with the loss of all 298 souls on board. It was at a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet when contact was lost and is a tragedy for the families and for Malaysian Airlines after the loss of MH370.

In my previous incarnation when I flew around the world several times a year, I often looked down from a similar height or above on thousands of square miles of nothingness, just wondering if some illiterate raghead, out of his skull on arak or worse, would look up from his flock, see some twinkly lights in the sky, burp and shoulder his missile launcher just for fun.

Likewise coming back into London, flying finals at 5,000 feet and 150 knots over Hounslowistan with gear, flaps and spoilers extended. It don’t take much for one of the ‘Allah akbar’ brigade to ask the mullahs for a missile.

Rather glad I’m no longer required to make such flights.

OZ

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Categories: General
  1. July 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I’m just reading the updates in the press, OZ, absolutely dreadful news, especially so soon after the last Malaysian Airlines disaster. I haven’t flown for ages and I’m rather glad I don’t have to either.

    Why would they route it over Russian/Ukrainian airspace?

  2. Boadicea
    July 17, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Just returned from the UK – and am expected to go again in October.

    It would be very hard to avoid flying over some of these crazy places with trigger-happy lunatics in charge of such dangerous toys. One has to ask whether it was mere coincidence that it was another Malaysian plane.

  3. July 17, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Boadicea.

    Yes, it is hard to avoid but since a couple of Ukrainian military aircraft have been shot down quite recently it would perhaps have been wise to have given that particular route a miss.

    Certainly all the major airlines are re-routing their flights now.

  4. Boadicea
    July 17, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    As far as I can see, a few airlines re-routed before this – let’s hope the rest of them do too!

  5. July 18, 2014 at 7:20 am

    OZ, I know what you mean. I got caught up in the airport security mayhem after the incident at the Munich Olympics; I was in the air from Frankfurt to Stockholm when Chernobyl went up; and a day or two after the Lockerbie disaster I flew on the same service to the USA.

    This latest atrocity is a big one. Putin vs. the West. He has already nicked the black box – without a by-your-leave and with no justification whatever.

  6. July 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

    OZ, returning recently from London, I was horrified when upon my arrival at Heathrow security, I was met by a bunch of Muslim women in the hijabs who instructed me on what I could and could not take on board. F*** I was cross. If it was not for them, I would be able to take pretty much what I wanted. In any event, I then had to go through the charade of taking off my belt and shoes before proceeding through the x ray machine. At the other end I saw a ‘customer service’ desk with forms asking me to rate my experience. I did so, in terms which would have made Mrs Osborne proud. The gist of my message was that, the security efforts were a waste of time as any self respecting terrorist would stand on the edge of the M25 with a SAM which he could fire at any number of heavily laden jets as they took off or landed at the airport. Besides, how difficult would it be to blow up a train or a coach. I ranted that a major reason for the ridiculous measures was to give jobs to people who would otherwise be unemployable. As I posted my response in the box, I was accosted by the head of security, who thanked me for taking the time and who asked me cheerily if I was happy with the experience. I let rip with both barrels. He was taken aback and said that it may not stop all terrorist acts but it would discourage some. I said the opposite was true. It made people like me so angry that I lost any goodwill for the anti-terror brigade felt encouraged to join the rag-heads.. In the end, he stated with extreme smugness, ‘well at least keeps me in a job;.Which was exactly my point.

  7. Boadicea
    July 18, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Sipu! Great!

    I flew out of the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow last Monday – just a few days after Heathrow imposed new security measures at the behest of the USA..

    True, I was flying to Oz and not America, and also true that, at that point, only five airlines were flying out of that terminal (it was like a ghost town – eerily empty and silent) – but one of the airlines was United, and, despite newspaper reports of having to switch on all electronic devices, my two lap-tops, two mobiles, reader and camera went through without even having to take them out of their cases. As indeed did everyone else’s electronic devices.

    I have no problem with airport security – I just wish I had a little more faith in it.

  8. oldmovieguy
    July 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    As one who still has to fly long haul on a frequent basis, albeit my choice, I’m pleased that some of you are relieved that you are finally done with flying and the inherent risks that you mention. There will not be an aircraft passenger today who has not thought about the terrible events of yesterday and is silently sweating the flight through as they listen to every whine and bump and react to every dip and rise of the aircraft. Like Zang I have often approached Heathrow with the same thought in mind of someone below lurking with a shoulder launched missile but I then consign it to the same place I keep thoughts about a suitcase nuke going off in Central London, It could happen but then could a lot of things and as someone once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

  9. christinaosborne
    July 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Sipu,When tooing and froing for the boy whilst he was ill I used to go out of Brum to Amsterdam to Vancouver.
    Brum security was beset by carpet munchers. Bloody women dressed in pillar boxes muttering ‘Bombay Welsh’, I used to make myself a total irritant by asking them to speak English, (They thought they were!) Failing quite deliberately to understand instructions, But being so unfailingly polite that they could never actually nick me for anything! You could see the hate in their eyes, I used to smile sweetly! What really irritated them was the fact I never carried anything they could confiscate. I always made sure to take oodles of dirty stinking clothes carefully packed on the top of my suitcase if possible just to make them handle my dirty knickers!!! What fun! Exquisite, elaborate smiling politeness can be such a weapon.

    I have to admit I would never have taken a job than involved constant air travel being claustrophobic. Getting anywhere is a bloody nightmare. I never travel for pleasure, never have.

    One wonders if it is true that Malaysia Airlines flew that route just to cheese pare the fuel costs? Can’t see them doing too much business in the future! I do think people should be aware of the hotspots in the world and if possible take routes to avoid them. I always leave for the UK via Vancouver on Air Canada rather than leave from the USA. Putatively less nutters? But rather difficult getting to Australia without going over all sorts of unsavoury places! Maybe we should all just stay home.

  10. July 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    OMG! Don’t be a stranger! 🙂

  11. O Zangado
    July 19, 2014 at 5:01 am

    Yehaay! I’ve snagged me an OMG after all these months. Welcome back and where the hell have you been?

    Sipu and Christina – I know exactly what you mean. Upon returning to Blighty after three years in Oz we moved from Heathrow’s international T4 to T1 for the shuttle flight to Manchester at stupid o’clock in the morning. Went into the ‘blue’ channel reserved for EU subjects and fronted up against something in a booth wearing a rug on her head.

    ”Welcome to the United States of Europe”, I quipped quietly to A Zangada. The rug bristled. ”If it wasn’t for the European Union you would be queuing over there with everyone else.” Red rag moment after 12 hours from Singapore. ”And you’re from where? Excuse me, missy. I have a UK passport, as does my wife, and we will come and go from OUR country as and whenever we bloody well please.”

    OZ

  12. O Zangado
    July 19, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Come to think of it, I would rather queue up in the foreigners’ channel with the Australians, Canadians, Fijians and other nationalities who fought with us in the last contretemps rather than in the blue lane with the Germans, Belgians and Italians who didn’t. And don’t even mention Luxembourg whence cometh Herr Junker, the EU’s latest talking head.

    OZ

  13. sheona
    July 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Your “rug” got it wrong, OZ. If it weren’t for the EU we’d be going through the British Passport Holders Only channel. I can’t wait to see that again.

  14. July 19, 2014 at 11:26 am

    And while we’re at it, the border Stasi at Stansted in May seemed to be running a scam of some kind which allowed people who complained about the 15 min queue could jump it. Did money change hands? Who knows? 😦

    Any ideas?

  15. O Zangado
    July 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Sheona – Amen to that. There should be a dedicated channel at every port and airport in the world. Perhaps it could also be introduced at Thiefrow and at all the other UK border posts.

    Janus – It wouldn’t surprise me, particularly as the border Stasi in the UK are mainly of the rug wearing persuasion these days and will look after their own – at a price, of course, whereas the infidels, whose country it is, can wait.

    I’ve been thinking and wherever I’ve been in the world it was obvious where you had arrived. An intimidating pile of sinew and muscles in Abidjan or a chunky meri in Papua New Guinea with an Afro so thick she used it to park her biro – no kidding! It would be nice to get back to Blighty and be met by Fred Arkwright.

    OZ

  16. July 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Hm. Spilt beer at 11.26. Syntactical collapse. :.(

  17. christinaosborne
    July 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I too regret the politically correct passing of the UK only lane. I am being suitably polite because I do not want to blister the electronic page!!!

    Vancouver is even weirder. Everyone is lumped together, they are so PC, up themselves, non judgmental, ecumenical, colour blind and full of shit and smarm it isn’t true!!!
    They have it organised so that 17 flights from China arrive 15 minutes before several from Europe. Net result, a replica of the Black Hole of Calcutta with noodles in the arrival hall! God the stench! I swear they do it deliberately.
    It is such a relief to get to the land border with the USA it isn’t true. Takes all of 30 seconds!
    Why anyone travels for pleasure is so totally beyond me, before long I’m going to pay not to go!!!

  18. July 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Sipu: one of the most fortunate things about living in the Trier region is that the nearest airport, Luxembourg, has 6 daily flights to the civilised London City Airport, not the notorious Heathrow and almost equally atrocious Gatwick. What I find unfortunate is that governments bow down to the USA and its schizophrenia far too easily. I’m half convinced that there should be a special section of a terminal dedicated to flights to the USA with counsellors on hand to prepare travellers for the harrowing experiences that await them as a result of their decision.

    CO: Vancouver is a dive. I prefer Québec — prickly and militantly protective of its culture and heritage it is arguably Canada’s least PC province. I still enjoy travelling, but I’ve learnt to choose airports, airlines and countries very, very carefully.

  19. O Zangado
    July 20, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Hee hee – love the comments, Christina and Christopher. You can’t beat personal experience.

    OZ

  20. Four-eyed English Genius
    July 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Christopher: I found Toronto immigration to be most tiresome. The guy there practically wanted to know whether I dress to the left or right, he wanted so much personal information! It makes Dulles International at Washington DC seem very easy going!

  21. July 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    FEEG: my experience at Toronto wasn’t unpleasant. A few quick, sensible questions before my passport was stamped and I was admitted into Canada. The worst experiences were at the US border at Toronto-Pearson and San Francisco International. I managed to get into shouting matches — in both cases they backed down.

    OZ: if possible, I may have to request sanctuary at your cave this summer. My 11-year-old terrorist cousin will spend a week here. He’s the one who goes through department stores on a scooter and throws food products across stores.

  22. O Zangado
    July 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Christopher – You would be very welcome. I don’t know when the terrorist is due with you, but my pack has already booked from end of this month to 10th August, 30th thereof to 10th September and the Great Wolves will be here 16th to 24th September. I’ll be away myself 26th Sept to 9th October helping the NSW feed the horses on our own summer holidays. If any gaps suit you, get a flight to Faro and I’ll collect you. Bring budgie smugglers, sunblock, a long book and beer money. Leave the kid behind, there’s a good chap.

    OZ

  23. July 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    🙂

  24. July 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Ozinho: He is likely due between the 10th and the 30th of August, so that would work. I’d likely fly to Lisbon and take the train as one of my friends would kill me if I didn’t visit the city while in Portugal. I will let you know.

  25. O Zangado
    July 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Christopher – Somewhere between 12th and 28th August would suit just fine, giving me time either side to get The Cave tidied between visits. Send me your mobile number at wolfielobo@gmail.com and hop on the train to Tavira. Alternatively, TAP do shuttle flights from Lisbon to Faro. Whichever way you come, but only if you have the time, a box of pasteis de nata from the Fábrica de Belém in Lisboa would loosen the door locks considerably and make the NSW a very, very happy bunny.

    OZ

  26. July 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you, Ozinho! I’ve just send you my number.

  27. July 21, 2014 at 12:12 am

    “……Likewise coming back into London, flying finals at 5,000 feet and 150 knots over Hounslowistan with gear, flaps and spoilers extended. It don’t take much for one of the ‘Allah akbar’ brigade to ask the mullahs for a missile..”

    It used to cross my mind too, and like you I don’t have to do it any more.

  28. July 21, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Hello, Jazz! Nice to see you. 🙂

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