Straight & Level 8 July

No subtle Dutch with KLM tweet
The perils of social media #927. KLM pressed the self-destruct button when one of its marketing minions tweeted following The Netherlands’ defeat of Mexico in the World Cup: “Adios Amigos” with a picture of an airport departures sign and graphic of a sombrero and moustache.
The comment provoked outrage in the central American country with Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal tweeting – in somewhat colourful language – that he would never fly on the Dutch airline again.
KLM, which flies daily to Mexico City, later apologised, explaining that it had been intended to be a “joke”. A humbled social media editor explained in a blog: “We posted it without checking well enough to see if the majority of our readers understand our ‘blunt’ Dutch humour.
“What happened next was never our intention. Our own customers really laid into us, with 92,000 tweets!”

Sopwith star
Biggles’s aeroplane, the Sopwith Camel, will be a centrepiece of a display by the RAF Museum in London to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, highlighting aviation’s contribution to the fighting.
The exhibition begins in December and will allow visitors to “discover and explore the unique and often overlooked role of air power during the First World War through the incredible stories of the men and women who took part”.

Wife after death
Keith Crowden writes to say that our piece “Discreetly Dead” (Flight International, 10-16 June), reminded him of a story a captain friend told him, recounted in turn by a flight attendant.
“While flying between Liverpool, Heathrow and Majorca in the 1960s, a male passenger died in the cabin.
“On landing at London, the captain went back and assured the lady travelling with the unfortunate gentleman that he would arrange for her and her late husband to be returned to Liverpool, whereupon she said: ‘Oh, we’re not married. I’ll travel on to Palma.’”

Belting up
Top salesmen from Airbus and Boeing are known for spending weeks of their lives travelling the world on airliners to persuade airlines to buy their airliners.
Boeing’s now-retired senior vice president of international sales, Seddik Belyamani, recalled sitting down at home for dinner one evening.
Curious why he was fumbling around his seat, his wife asked him: “What are you looking for?”
His reply: “My seatbelt.”

Neo con
Boeing’s Pat Shanahan dug deep for the best way to ridicule Toulouse’s mooted A330neo at a recent pre-Farnborough shindig in Seattle. The re-engined widebody, he claimed, is basically Boeing’s problem with the 747-8 – applied to Airbus. He meant it as an insult.

Winging it
Aircraft aerodynamicist reveals his true colours: “The most aerodynamic design would be just to have a pair of wings. A fuselage is just a drag creator.”

Oslo slowly
BA may have the answer to insomnia on a long-haul flight. Passengers will soon be able to watch on the IFE system a real-time film of a 7h train trip through southern Norway.
It seems the video, which shows the minute-by-minute journey from Bergen to Oslo, attracted 1m viewers when it aired on Norwegian TV, which may say a lot about what passes for excitement in that country.
Reading a certain US aviation weekly works for us.


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