Weekend what we’re reading: Breaking into Alcatraz, Passenger lights up and plane forced to land, Alaska ends prayer cards,

by Charlie Leocha on January 28, 2012

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This weekend we take a look at the phenomenon of people breaking into Alcatraz, rather than breaking out; all to search for fictional rooms. A smoker on a flight forces the plane to divert when he fights with the flight attendant insisting that he put it out. Alaska Air stops handing out prayer cards with meals.

Tourists leave Alcatraz tours in search of secrets

Since the recent launch of the new TV show “Alcatraz,” tourists have been sneaking away from the normal tour routes in search of a fictional bunker pictured in the TV show.

National Parks Service rep Alexandra Picavet tells TMZ … tourists are starting to stray from their tours and sneak into “closed areas” on the former federal prison.

Picavet says many of the not-so-super sleuths have confessed they’re looking for a high tech control room (below) … described on the show as a “bat-cave underneath Alcatraz.”

Keep in mind the show just debuted last week. Crazy spreads quickly.

Picavet says they’ve now posted the following sign on the island: “The TV show Alcatraz is fictional, many areas it depicts are not real. Closed areas protect you, historic structures and nesting birds.”

Plane makes forced landing because of smoker

A non-stop flight from Houston to Ontario, California, ended up becoming a one-stop flight when a passenger decided to light up and start puffing away on a cigarette. Though instructed to put his smoke out, he persisted. Eventually, after a fight with the flight attendant, the plane diverted to San Antonio for an unscheduled stop. The flight landed in California about two hours late.

San Antonio police Capt. Cris Andersen said the man allegedly lit the cigarette while in the cabin. He reportedly refused to put out the cigarette and when a flight attendant tried to take it from him there was a struggle, Andersen said.

The pilot notified the Transportation Security Administration about the disturbance and the plane was diverted to the San Antonio International Airport where it landed just before 7:45 p.m., according Andersen and the Continental Airlines website.

Upon landing, the man was taken into custody, Andersen said. He added it is standard protocol to inform the FBI when someone needs to be removed from a flight. The FBI then reviews the case to see if federal or state charges would apply. In this case, Andersen said, he was told the passenger possibly faced federal charges.

Alaska Airlines stops distributing prayer cards on flights

What was once a gesture to calm frazzled nerves, has become too controversial to continue. Alaska Airlines’ prayer cards provided on meal trays are relegated to the religious diversity bin as a relic of the past.

The prayer cards, which the Seattle-based airline began offering in the 1970s after an executive spotted them on another airline, were intended to serve as a marketing strategy and to put passengers at ease, a spokeswoman said.

The airline sent an email to its frequent flyers on Wednesday explaining the change, which takes effect from February 1.

“This difficult decision was not made lightly. We believe it’s the right thing to do in order to respect the diverse religious beliefs and cultural attitudes of all our customers and employees,” Alaska Air Group chief executive Bill Ayer and Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden wrote to customers.

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  • Anonymous

    “Crazy spreads quickly.”  Oh how I love that.

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