Monthly Archives: May 2012

Plane slides off runway at Chicago airport

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET — An American Eagle plane slid off the runway Thursday morning at O’Hare International Airport.

Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said American Eagle Flight 4069 departed for Tulsa reported mechanical problems after takeoff and turned back toward the airport.

The plane landed, Pride said, veered onto the grass, then onto the pavement.

The Chicago Fire Department confirmed no injuries were reported. American Eagle spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said 28 passengers and three crew members were taken to the terminal by buses and were being “re-accommodated.”

Fagan said the plane’s captain decided to return to O’Hare because of an indicator light in the cockpit.

“An emergency was declared, as per procedure,” Mary Frances Fagan said in a statement. “The aircraft landed on the runway at ORD at 8:38 a.m. and then veered off onto a cargo taxiway.”

American Airlines said Flight 4069 was scheduled to depart again at 11:08 a.m. to Tulsa.

The same aircraft made an emergency landing yesterday for a similar issue, according to NBC News’ Jay Blackman.

American Airlines told Blackman that the plane, which was scheduled to fly from O’Hare to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, was taken out of service and went through “rigorous testing” before it was put back into service.

Passengers on other flights at O’Hare told NBC Chicago the incident is a little disconcerting.

“It makes us a little nervous,” said passenger Jason Gulting on his way to Traverse City, “but we still have to go places.”

“It doesn’t bother me,” said passenger Roni Gray.

It’s not known if weather was a factor in the incident. Rain is expected to continue on and off throughout the day.

This is the second incident in as many days at O’Hare. On Wednesday, a 747 cargo jet clipped the tail of an American Eagle regional jet that was completing its arrival at a gate. No injuries were reported in the incident.

This story originally appeared on NBCChicago.

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26 bus operators shuttered over safety concerns

Federal transportation officials have shut down 26 bus operators in the Northeast corridor after a year-long investigation found that the companies posed an “imminent hazard” to public safety.

The Department of Transportation, which oversaw the investigation, called the shutdown orders the “largest single safety crackdown in the agency’s history” in a press release issued Thursday.

The action applies to nine active bus companies, 13 companies that had been ordered out of service but continued to operate and three companies that had applied to become operators, as well as one ticket seller. The companies were primarily run by Apex Bus, Inc., I-95 Coach, Inc. and New Century Travel, Inc. and collectively transported more than 1,800 passengers daily from New York to Florida along Interstate 95.

The carriers had multiple safety violations, according to safety investigators. The companies employed drivers without valid commercial driver’s licenses, failed to create drug and alcohol testing programs and operated buses that had not been routinely inspected and repaired.

The investigation began last year after a series of deadly bus crashes along I-95.

Related: Deadly bus crashes highlight safety issues

The companies cited in the investigation will not be allowed to operate under another name in the future under a new rule that revokes the carrier’s operating authority and matches new companies to ones previously shut down.

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Unruly 3-year-old kicked off Alaska Air flight

Alaska Airlines ordered a screaming, squirming toddler off a plane over Memorial Day weekend when he would not stay buckled in his seat.

The incident happened Saturday night on a flight from Seattle to Miami — the first leg of a long journey to the Virgin Islands for Mark Yanchuk, a computer salesman from Everett, Wash., his wife, mother-in-law and two small children.

The family was allowed to board early and they split up once on the plane. Yanchuk and his 3-year-old son, Daniel, sat in the main cabin, while his wife, mother-in-law and one-year-old child took their seats in first class.

Daniel played with an iPad until passengers were asked to turn off their electronic devices and Yanchuk took the gadget away.

“He got a little bit cranky, started screaming, maybe yelling a little bit, crying,” Yanchuk told

“During this whole time I’m trying to put him in his seat and his seat belt. I put the seat belt on him but not all the way, so I’m struggling to put in on and he’s still yelling.”

Alaska Airlines spokesman Paul McElroy said flight attendants came to check on the father and the boy several times before departure to try to help calm the child down, but Daniel was restless and wouldn’t get buckled in.

“Everybody wanted to make this work, just trying to work with the child and get him to sit upright,” McElroy said.

“He kept lying down in his seat, his legs were dangling over the arm rest. At one point, we did have the seat belt fastened but because the child was lying down, now the belt was across his neck and the flight attendants were worried that he would begin to choke himself.”

Yanchuk disputes that account, saying he would never allow his son to get into such a precarious position. He said he tried to calm Daniel down, but couldn’t do it as well as his wife, who was far away.

When the boy finally sat up, the plane pushed back from the gate. But then a flight attendant noticed that the child was lying down in his seat again, so the captain was notified and decided to return to the gate, McElroy said.

“We certainly regret the inconvenience to this family, but the flight crew in their best judgment did make the necessary decision to direct the family to take another flight,” McElroy said, adding it was a safety issue.

Yanchuk and his son were asked to leave. His wife, mother-in-law and one-year-old child were told they could continue the trip, but the family didn’t want to split up, so all five disembarked.

Alaska Airlines offered to rebook them on the same flight the next day, but Yanchuk declined, saying he would be uncomfortable flying the airline again. The family will receive a refund for the flight, McElroy said. Their baggage, which continued on to the Virgin Islands, will be returned soon. The vacation is canceled for now and Yanchuk is still trying to figure out what went wrong.

“I think they overreacted. I know you get kicked off planes for dangerous situations like not wearing a seat belt or running around or something dangerous. But I didn’t see the situation as being dangerous at all,” Yanchuk said.

The next time he flies with Daniel, Yanchuk plans to keep the family seated more closely together and try to distract the toddler more, he added.

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New fragrance line offers whiff of a city in a bottle

Courtesy Scent of Departure

Do you long to smell the scents encountered on a stroll through Paris? Now you can spray it on every morning..

I smell London, I smell France. And, if I shell out $45 per bottle, I can get a whiff of Miami, Munich, Tokyo and 14 other cities.

A new line of city-centric scents, identified by their airport city codes — CDG (Paris), LHR (London), DXB (Dubai) — and packaged in slender bottles with labels that look like checked baggage tags, are available at some duty free shops in international airports and a few beyond-the-airport-boutiques.

Scent of Departure is advertised as “the essence of a city in a bottle.” Each 50-milliliter bottle (about 1.7 ounces, which means it won’t be confiscated by TSA) is collectible, offbeat and wearable by men and women.

“The packaging is great and they each smell like that city in a weird way,” said Jessica Richards, co-owner of Shen Beauty, a boutique cosmetic and beauty shop in Brooklyn. Richards prefers the DPS scent (Bali), a city she’s not yet visited. Tourists are coming in to buy multiple bottles of the NYC fragrance as mementos of their trips, she said. The scent is designed to “recreate a walk in the middle of Central Park” and smell “crisp … with sparkling and sourish notes of apple,” according promotional materials.

“You’re like, ‘Ew, New York City. What comes to mind are rats and the smell of nuts, hot dog stands and other street meat,” Richards said. “But the NYC scent doesn’t smell like trash at all. In fact, you’d never imagine that New York City smelled that good.”

Scent of Departure isn’t the first company to link scents to a city. “I definitely think of fragrances when I think of a place,” said David Klass, co-owner of Archipelago Botanicals which has an Excursion candles collection bearing the names and evocative scents of destinations such as Havana, Kashmir, Istanbul and Charleston.

“I like the association of the name of the airport with a fragrance,” he said. “I see CDG and I don’t think of just the airport. In my mind I’m in Paris, France. And that evokes very specific meanings in terms of what I will feel like when walking around that city. I think Scent of Departure will be successful, especially if the fragrances are true.”

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Find more by Harriet Baskas on and follow her on Twitter.

Protecting your identity on the road

Some people travel to learn, others to forget. And some end up learning tough lessons because they don’t take basic precautions to protect their identities.

Sid Kirchheimer, an AARP Bulletin columnist and the author of “Scam-Proof Your Life,” has a few basic rules of thumb for travelers:

Alert your credit card providers

Let them know when, where and how long you’ll be traveling so fraud departments can stop bogus charges if your accounts are used someplace you’re not.

Weed your wallet
Bring only essential ID (i.e., a driver’s license) and just two credit cards. Carry one and lock the other in you hotel room safe in case your wallet is stolen.

Carry a space
In addition to your real wallet, carry a throwaway with a few dollars and some old hotel key cards. If you get held up, you can hand over the spare wallet and keep the real thing.  

“That tip about the spare wallet came to me from a professional pickpocket,” Kirchheimer told “A thief in a hurry will think those old hotel key cards are credit cards and he’ll think he has something good.”

Kirchheimer, who does carry a spare wallet “just in case,” also warns of front-desk fraudsters, or people who call your hotel room late at night when you’re likely sleeping and, thus, off guard. The caller pretends to be a front-desk clerk trying to resolve an issue with your credit card.

“It’s never the front desk calling. It’s a scammer. Don’t give them your number,” he said.

“Identity thieves wait for summer vacation too,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for Experian’s ProtectMyID. “Not to take in some beautiful sights, but to take unsuspecting travelers’ information.”

If you’re a victim, don’t panic. “There are steps you can take to recover,” Chaplin said. They include:

File a police report and start making calls
If your wallet is stolen, call the issuers of your credit, debit and medical cards and your driver’s license. Close accounts and get new numbers. You may get your wallet back, but don’t assume the thieves haven’t taken note of your card numbers and personal information.

Monitor account statements for several months
Be on the lookout for small and large purchases and services you did not authorize.

Contact credit bureaus and review credit reports
If your wallet is lost or stolen, monitor your credit reports to make sure new accounts aren’t opened in your name.

And if you’re heading out for several months, consider putting a fraud alert on your credit report that tells lenders or service providers to take extra precautions before granting credit in your name. “It’s free and if you notify any one of the three credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Equifax or TransUnion — they will notify the others,” Kirchheimer said.

A more secure option is a credit freeze that effectively puts your credit history off limits to everyone — including thieves. “There may be a fee from each credit reporting bureau to enact the freeze, and you’ll need to actively thaw that freeze later, but I consider that a good investment for some peace of mind while traveling,” he said.

Find more by Harriet Baskas on and follow her on Twitter. 

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