The lighter side of Flight International.

Breakfast club

Swedish commercial drone courier service Aerit is celebrating the country’s accession to NATO by cheekily offering – well, a limited-edition breakfast cereal, naturally.

Branded as ‘NAT-Os’, the coloured cereal rings come in a box featuring a cartoon hedgehog – the multinational organisation’s unofficial mascot, in reference to the defence strategy proposed by General Dwight Eisenhower.

But the illustration also shows a rather displeased bear watching from behind a hedge. No prizes for guessing what that’s all about.

NAT-Os cereal

Source: Aerit

Out of the box thinking

Aerit plans to begin delivering the boxes of NAT-Os – of which there are a limited edition of only 500 – in the second quarter.

“We wanted to do something to show our support, celebrate the occasion, and have some fun,” says Aerit chief Alexander Perrien, although the price-tag of €35 a box – even with a toy drone inside – might put you off your, er, corn flakes.


Different world

In another sign that Covid is firmly in the history books as far as its impact on air travel is concerned, Frontier Airlines is reviving its plan to offer passengers in the front two rows of its aircraft a guaranteed empty middle seat in return for a higher fare.

It comes almost four years after the low-cost carrier attracted opprobrium by supposedly profiteering from the pandemic with a proposal to charge travellers extra for guaranteeing they would sit next to an empty seat.

Frontier rapidly withdrew the proposal in mid-2020 and boss Barry Biffle was forced to apologise to Congressional lawmakers, insisting that “profiting from safety… was never our intent”.

That got us recalling some of the other initiatives to attract wary passengers back to the petri-dish that is an airliner cabin in a post-Covid world. It was a time when many in the industry feared that demand would be achingly slow to return – rather than, as actually happened, snap back like an elastic band as soon as restrictions were lifted.

Avio Janus

Source: Avio Interiors

About face: the Avio Interiors Janus concept

Who remembers Avio Interiors’ Janus seats, a concept named after the double-faced Roman god that saw the middle seat in a row of three facing the opposite way? The Italian seating company was also one of several promoting see-through bubble canopies that would envelop each seat and prevent “breath propagation” between neighbours.

The innovations largely went the way of retrofittable touchless lavatories and Honeywell’s cabin-disinfecting robot, a device the size of a drinks trolley that would travel up the aisle after a flight beaming high-intensity ultraviolet-c light across rows of passenger seats, blitzing pesky bacteria and viruses in an instant.

Doha airport even unveiled “smart screening helmets” that used thermal imaging and artificial intelligence to detect passengers who had a higher-than-average body temperature as they walked through the terminal and gave those wearing them the unfortunate appearance of Star Wars stormtroopers.


Apple whack

An apple a day might keep the doctor away – but that doesn’t necessarily apply to Russian cops, especially if you’re drunk and have decided to use the fruit as a weapon.

Such was the case at Tomsk airport where, according to the Siberian police, a passenger on a flight bound for Moscow was detained.

The police service says the 29-year-old was – surprise, surprise – showing “visible signs” of intoxication during the 4 March incident.

“During boarding he began to throw apples at those around him,” it states, adding that he provoked “conflict with passengers”, presumably those who had grown tired of being hit with fruit.

As a consequence authorities sent in the, er, peelers to arrest the gentleman over alleged “petty hooliganism”, in all likelihood to re-educate him on ‘core’ values and encourage him to ‘turnover’ a new leaf. (No more apple puns – Ed)


It’s a start

Reader Ian James draws our attention to a BBC News report that states that the government intends the UK’s first vertiport for electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles to be operational this year.

“That is excellent news for urban air mobility,” he says. “And when they build a second one, you’ll actually be able to go somewhere.”