What we’re reading: 8 rude holiday travelers, can’t use our favorite names to fly, Virgin’s fear of flying app,


Travelocity lists 8 travel rudies

This poll came up with a list of travelers that we all strive to avoid but never quite seem to be able to succeed. Take a deep breath and read through these irritating travelers. Do you agree?

The Over Packer: Hey, if you want to pay $100 round-trip to check two bags, that’s your business. Your over packing, however, becomes everyone else’s business when you stuff your oversized bag into the overhead. You may have snuck your too-big bag by the airline employees, but you will not escape the judgment of your fellow travelers forced to gate check because of you taking up all the space.

The Over-Eager Boarder: Hey buddy, what’s the rush? You know the one – the guy or gal who, for some inexplicable reason, is dying to get on that plane. Frankly, I would prefer to spend as little time on the plane as possible, but these travelers crowd the boarding line in an effort to be first.

There are six more irritating travel types.

TSA’s Secure Flight making travel rougher? or more secure?

The new TSA Secure Flight program that is now requiring names to exactly match passports and driver’s licenses is having some unintended consequences. USAToday.com looks at the bad consequences and then at the better security side of the equation.

About a year ago, an airport screener in Indianapolis warned him that the difference between the “Scott McKain” on his boarding pass and the “D. Scott McKain” on his driver’s license would soon cause him hassles. And, boy, was the screener right. McKain was stopped, questioned, screened and wanded in airports from Denver to Des Moines to Orlando.

A few months ago, McKain finally gave up and gave in: He became “Dallas Scott McKain” in the air and on his driver’s license.

The opposite side of the argument for better security says,

Many airlines are fully participating in the program today, and more are coming on board each week. It will be fully implemented for all domestic flights early next year.

Initially, the Secure Flight program was part of a larger debate about how to identify terrorists consistently while maintaining the privacy of fliers in the post-9/11 world. Once watch list matching was determined to be the correct mechanism, TSA designed the program with privacy and security embedded into its foundation. Secure Flight now uses advanced watch list matching technology and has taken the time to get it right.

Virgin Atlantic releases iPhone app to fight fear of flying

The Flying Without Fear app contains a personal introduction by Sir Richard Branson, a video-based in-flight explanation from start to finish of a flight, frequently-asked questions, relaxation exercises and fear therapy, a fear attack button for emergencies with breathing exercises and quick tips, and a “My Program” section where each user can rate their personal fears and add future flights to prepare them for their next trip.

Virgin Atlantic, the award-winning long-haul airline, today announced its highly acclaimed Flying Without Fear course — with a success rate in excess of 98% — is now available as an app for the iPhone and iPod touch from the App Store — the first of its kind.

Many people suffer anxiety at the prospect of flying. These fears range from anxiety at booking a trip to complete inability to board an aircraft. Whether it is the unfamiliar aircraft, the strange noises a plane makes, or the fear of losing control, this app is designed to help people overcome their personal fears.

  • Hapgood

    I’m going to ask the question I always ask whenever the so-called “secure flight” program comes up: Have all the agencies that maintain the watch lists updated each of the million-odd entries to include the full legal name, gender, and date of birth for each terrorist? If not, how can “advanced watch list matching technology” provide any kind of enhanced security, even assuming that the watch lists are accurate? Especially when it all ultimately depends on how much latitude the uniformed “officer” entrusted with matching the boarding pass with the proffered document chooses to apply– and we all know how inconsistently those “officers” enforce the rules.

    I’m sure there’s a good answer to the question. But of course it’s classified for National Security reasons. So the only answer we’ll get is to accept on faith and unquestioning trust that it all provides highly effective protection from the terrorist threat, no matter how absurd it appears. I can only hope that my public expression a lack of faith and trust doesn’t land me on someone’s list.

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  • http://www.fearofflying.com Capt Tom Bunn LCSW

    Unfortunately, this app is based on the level of treatment used back in 1975 in the original fear of flying course offered by Pan Am, education about how flying works and breathing exercises.

    I worked on that program and was appalled at the distress experienced by far too many of the course participants. The methods used worked only for people with mild difficulty.

    Recent research shows why the results were poor. Though they work on the ground, breathing exercises – the only psychological aid the course offered – are completely useless for fear of flying. See: http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/42/13/25

    Though this app and the course offered by Virgin can, as the Pan Am course did over thirty years ago, help people with mild flying problems, more advanced methods are required for people with a moderate to severe problem with flying.

    Advanced methods are based on brain scan research that has shown us much about how the brain regulates emotion, in particular the work of Allan N. Schore, Ph.D., author of Affect Regulation. It is now clear than early relationship with the primary caregiver is key in forming the emotional sequences that we depend on for stability. When good-enough sequences were not established, increased emotional strength is needed in order to fly without distress.

    This means the fear of flying client has to be taught how to build inside new sequences of emotion, sequences that start with the initiation of stress but instead of leading to greater stress, lead instead to less stress, and then to calm.

    This kind of advanced help is available, but certainly not by an app or a course based on breathing exercises.

  • Bill

    I don’t think Travelocity put a lot of thought into this. The comments allude to far more annoying behavior.