Alaska Airlines is to amend its baggage rules, following a high-profile campaign by one-time Republican presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, pressuring airlines to allow the complimentary carriage of one dead moose per adult on flights from Alaska.
The new rules exclude moose that are roadkill.To qualify for free carriage, evidence must be produced that the antlered beast was actually shot by an American. Ms Palin’s moose campaign centred on the rights of all Americans to carry hunting rifles to visit Alaska to meet hockey moms and experience “the real America”. Ms Palin said: “If visitors want to take home a little memento of their stay, mooses look just great with lipstick on.”
Alaska Airlines has worked with the FAA over the implications of the additional moose weight on operational performance as, following the Palin campaign, the airline is also now required to fly at maximum permissible altitude so passengers can see Russia from all windows on flights from Alaskan points.
Editor's Note: Icelandair considered a similar concept at the same time last year, proferring to carry live reindeer from the North Pole “to give them a flying start”. However, restrictions were imposed on flights to many jurisdictions due to concerns that the bearded driver of the sleigh that the reindeer were to pull offered a high-risk terrorist profile, with a persistent record of illegal entry and poor dress sense.
TSA offers seasonal goodwill solution as alternative to friendly gropes
The US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) implementation of new full-body scanners – which show in intimate detail every feature of the traveller’s body – has ruffled a few feathers, among other things. If would-be passengers do not want to provide their naked pictures to the world’s least-friendly security guards, they also have the option of being comprehensively groped by one of them prior to boarding. Having embarked on the security check, it is not open to travellers to change their minds and decide not to travel; if they do not proceed, they are subject to a USD10,000 fine, as well as the privilege of not flying (for non-US readers, the story so far is actually true).
But now, for a limited period only at this time of goodwill, if a traveller does not wish to accept any of these options, he or she may opt to go to TSA heaven. This exclusive and little- known last resort is host to thousands of former travellers with the whitest teeth, the softest skin, the sweetest smelling under-arms, the best clipped fingernails and where liquor and water flow freely. Here, mountains of confiscated toothpaste, lotions and the like nestle side-by-side with rivers of the best cognacs and whiskies and the mineral water flows like, well, water. And, for removing boy scouts from horses’ hooves, there are warehouses full to the roof with Swiss Army penknives and knitting needles.
There is one downside to this option, at least for other travellers. On at least one occasion, it has led to departing aircraft being deprived of one or more flight crew, who decided it would be a good time to cash-in. In turn, this has delayed takeoff, leaving the airline in question exposed to FAA fines and passenger claims for the delay. A TSA official expressed regret that travellers were unhappy with the overall procedures, but believed that “they’ll get over it”.
“After all, people have put up with being confined in dark tiny spaces for up to 15 hours on flights. Compared with that, this is just a bit of good-natured fun. And anyway, they can opt not to go to heaven. Lots of people actually enjoy a full grope - some even say it is the highlight of their trip.”
This collection of "It could be true..." items comes from the light-hearted closing pages of CAPA's boardroom strategy journal, Airline Leader. CAPA is running a series of these items over the New Year holiday. For more quirky news - real and fake - see CAPA's funny blog Birdstrike.