Tag: Dr. Shahram Shirkhani

The 10 most unusual objects confiscated by airport security officers

The 10 most unusual objects confiscated by airport security officers

The most interesting thing about airports is the variety of people and cultures that you can find inside them. People arriving and departing from and to any country in the world. People with adventures that are just about to start or experiences that have just finished with the landing of the plane they just hopped of. Airports carry all sorts of stories and feelings all day and all night long, 24/7. It is a never-ending activity that has so many things going on, not only people speaking different languages, or practicing different religions but also different ways of dressing and even different types of objects contained in their luggage.  As all passengers normally know, not all objects are allowed through customs. There are many restrictions that most people are aware of, when it comes to travelling with luggage that contain certain items that are just not that common, but instead dangerous, sometimes even creepy and therefore prohibited on airplanes.

Here is a list of unusual, strange and even creepy objects that have been found and confiscated by customs or airport security in different airports around the world. Objects that airport personnel are still not sure why someone would carry in their luggage, or even think about achieving.

A plastic bag with 40 vacuum packed frogs

This is certainly a very odd piece of luggage content. Not only because it involves 40 animals, but also because they are vacuum packed, meaning they are already dead and someone is keeping them well packed for a very special reason. In this case that reason is rather uncertain, but still the idea of having a bag with 40 dead frogs in a suitcase it not exactly what you can call “normal”. There are regulations for the transportation of animals that are alive or dead, in every airline.

A Samurai Sword

The person who tried to get on a plane with a Samurai Sword, was handling this as an antique, not as a weapon, and since a sword is a weapon, it doesn’t matter if it’s an antique or not.

A human skull

A man was carrying a skull in his luggage while he was traveling in Italy. Carrying human parts will definitely get you in trouble at any airport, especially if you don’t have any permission or something that demonstrates the legal permits for handling it.

Dried caterpillars

The border agency officer who found these insects in the luggage of someone who had soldier luggage, was pretty shocked since the only explanation experts could find was that these insects were transported this way with the purpose of doing some kind of harm in terms of food and therefore health.

Snakes hidden in a bra

In Sweden, a woman was arrested in an airport for carrying more than 70 snakes inside her bra. Of course the snakes were not very big, but still, there are restrictions and regulations  if you want to carry animals as luggage, especially is they are alive, and even more important, when the passenger hides them inside their clothes.

A Chameleon

A girl was able to travel with her pet chameleon sitting quietly on her head, under a hat, from the Arab Emirates to the UK.

Poisonous Tarantulas

A person got his luggage confiscated after more than 40 living poisonous tarantulas were found in his luggage. The tarantulas were hidden in their clothes but they were kept in plastic containers adapted to keep them alive during the trip. This is a very dangerous kind of luggage that departed originally from Peru.

Human eyeballs

As crazy as it sounds, a jar filled with human eyeballs and some kind of liquid was found and confiscated by customs in London. This is one of the creepiest items of this list.

luggage_aviation_airport security
Image courtesy of Fermín R.F. at Flickr.com


Even if it seems kind of impossible, a man landed in Australia with live pigeons inside of his pants. The birds were alive when they were found. They were confiscated  

An Egyptian sarcophagus

This was a very big item found in Miami Airport. It was supposed to travel in a casket so people wouldn’t easily find out what it really was. Egyptian experts that examined the piece, mentioned this piece was probably one of a group of Egyptian treasures that were stolen a century ago.

What are air miles and how do they work?

What are air miles and how do they work?

Travel for free with your everyday purchases and get great benefits being a frequent traveler. We’ll take a look at what an air miles plan is, who can participate and how you can start earning points for your next trip.

What is an air miles plan?

Air miles are a program created by major airlines, which allows travelers to earn points -by miles or kilometers, according to each company’s policies- every time they buy an airline ticket or make a purchase with their credit cards.

The miles or points you accumulate are themselves worth something. Once you’ve accumulated enough miles, you can redeem them for airline tickets and other benefits such as upgrades on your flights, hotel stays, car rentals, among others.

How to participate in an air miles plan?

Each airline has a different plan, but they all agree on one thing: To earn as many miles as possible, you must make purchases with your credit card. The two modalities that exist are:

  1. Directly with the airline: You accumulate miles in a frequent flyer account every time you use the services of the airline. It is the most convenient option for people who travel frequently.
  2. Through the bank: You get points with your credit card every time you make a purchase or payment. Then you can exchange points for miles in the airline associated with the plan. It is the most convenient mode if you are not a frequent traveler.

If you’re not a frequent traveler

After air travel, one of the main sources for miles are credit cards. If you are not a frequent flyer, you can earn miles with your credit card’s loyalty program without becoming a member of the frequent flyer program. Most banks have an agreement with an airline or a group of partner airlines. Almost all airlines have a frequent flyer program.

For this you must make sure that your bank has an agreement with an airline or group of airlines, and that this agreement will be convenient for you.

Each card and airline has a different mile earning system. In addition, even if your bank offers this plan, it is possible that your credit card doesn’t have it activated right away and all you have to do is request it. You can do so through the internet or through the phone, by contacting your bank. If you are not a member of any airline, you will get a frequent flyer account instantly so you can earn miles every time you make a purchase with your credit card. The amount of miles is calculated differently depending on each bank.

You can earn miles with your everyday expenses, each time you make a purchase or pay for a service. Credit cards are one of the most practical and useful ways to accumulate miles in the frequent flyer programs of airlines, because you can do it without even getting on a plane while taking advantage of the payments you make in your everyday life.

We also recommend you to keep an eye on the special promotions that often vary according to the partnership the bank has with the company at any given time. Some banks only provide such benefits to their select clients.

Tips to earn miles with your credit card

  1. Before acquiring a credit card, find out what are the current promotions regarding air miles plans, and how long do those promotions last.
  2. Check if they award points with any type of purchase or if there are any restrictions. And if you have multiple credit cards, make sure to do most of your purchases with the credit card associated with your miles plan.
  3. Check the expiry date of your miles. The accumulated miles will expire after certain period of time if your account is inactive. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions of your miles plan.

If you are a frequent traveler

If you are a frequent traveler, you’ll be able to take advantage of all those hours of flight, and you’ll earn miles with each purchase of airline tickets. Within frequent flyer plans, you can also earn miles with the purchase of goods and services in any of the companies associated with your airline, by staying in certain hotels or renting cars in certain companies.

But for this to work, you must first become a member of a frequent flyer program of any airline. Most airlines have a frequent flyer program. Choosing the best program depends on each person and their customs when traveling. However, it is advisable to choose an airline that, from your place of residence, offers flights to a wide variety of destinations. Please note that miles can not be transferred from one frequent flyer program to another, so to earn miles it’s important to always travel with the same airline or group of partner airlines, in order to centralize in a single account all of the miles you earn.

You can sign up by entering the website of your preferred airline. Most frequent flyer programs allow you to register on their websites and the registration is usually free. Remember that enrollment in such programs is per passenger; therefore, if all of your family is traveling, you must register each person separately. There’s no need to be a citizen of the country to which the airline belongs.

Once you have entered your data, you will receive a membership number and password. You are now ready to start accumulating miles!

As a member of a frequent flyer plan, remember that you can earn miles with the expenses that you make with your credit card. Your credit card must have an agreement with the airline or group of airlines of which you are a member.

Iran Air A300-605R_fly_tickets_miles_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of Peter Russell at Flickr.com

Redeem your airline miles

Once you’ve accumulated enough miles, you’re ready to redeem them. The main objective of those who accumulate miles is to redeem them for free airline tickets. But the miles can also be used for upgrades or as part of payment of a ticket.

The vast majority of frequent flyer programs also allow you to redeem other products or services such as hotel accommodations, magazine subscriptions, car rentals and all kinds of objects. In this case you should evaluate what is best for you, if you spend your miles on certain products or services or whether it is preferable to continue to keep your miles for future trips.

What are the most important rulings on the convention on international civil aviation?

View from the airplane_aviation

Image courtesy of Nathaniel C. at Flickr.com

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), also known as the Chicago Convention, was created to update the rules on aviation. It is the most important normative treaty related to international aeronautical public laws.

In 1944, with the end of World War II in the corner, United States promoted a Conference in order to update international agreements on civil aviation, stagnant since 1919 Paris Convention. The Conference was held in Chicago from November the 1st until December 7th of 1944, with the attendance of delegates from 52 States. At that time the civil aviation committee was awaiting the end of the war for its re launch, there had been great technological advances in aeronautics, US economic potential was in full swing, while the major European powers, the USSR and Japan were completely in debt, with a virtually destroyed civil aeronautics industry. This brought a showdown in between the U.S. which had a very strong economic position that was seeking a policy of free international air transport trade compared to the rest of the countries that wanted to adopt a protectionist policy to rebuild their economies and their aviation industries.

Finally, the agreement regulated in a liberal way the aspects of navigation and air traffic, together with the non-remunerated air traffic. The costly air transport was at the mercy of bilateral agreements between the United States, which would be reported within the ICAO.

It was agreed to establish a permanent body that would continue the task started in 1919, initially called the Provisional organization of International Civil Aviation, until it was renamed The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1947, this agreement was endorsed by the Member States.

Airplane at Centenial Airport_aviation
Image courtesy of Heath Alseike at Flickr.com

Here are the most important parts of the convention, The Air Navigation.

Article 1: All States have full and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory

Article 5: All civil aircraft can fly over the airspace of another State (1st freedom) and perform non-commercial technical scales on it (2nd freedom) without obtaining prior permission from that country. These freedoms are to be subject to the conditions of air navigation imposed by that State (for example military exclusion zones) and also the country may require the airplane to land and allow inspection inside the aircraft for security reasons.

Article 6: No scheduled air service may be operated over a territory without a permission or special agreement with such State.

Article 10: The State may require that foreign aircraft land on Customs’ Airports and allow the state to inspect them.

Article 12: Every State can keep its own rules of the air always and require them to aircrafts that are flying its airspace provided that they are consistent with the given statements in this agreement

Article 13: The laws of each State with regard to entry and exit of passengers or goods (customs, passports…) must be complied with during the arrival, the departure and the stay in that country.

Article 16: The authorities of every State have the right to inspect the aircrafts and examine the certificates and documents of the same

Article 24: Spare parts, oil, fuel, etc. from an aircraft entering one of the Member States of the Convention will be free of taxes provided that these are not discharged in that State.

Article 29: Aircraft intending to make an international flight must carry the following documents on board:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Certificate of airworthiness
  • Licenses suitable for every Member of the crew
  • Log-book.
  • Aircraft radio license.
  • List of passengers with their names and places of embarkation and disembarkation
  • Detail on the load being carried.


Image courtesy of Jonathan Cohen at Flickr.com

Article 30: The Aircraft that is flying over another State can only have a radio that has been previously approved by the ruling of the country in which the aircraft is registered. Radio operators shall bear the appropriate license that allows them to use it.

Article 32: Pilots and crew should carry certificates of suitability to perform their task, these issued by the State in which the aircraft is registered. However, a third party Member State may not recognize the certificates of suitability issued by another country.

Article 33: The certificates of suitability airworthiness, etc. Those are issued by a State and will be recognized by all the signatory States of the Convention only if such certificates meet minimum requirements imposed by this Convention.

Article 40: No aircraft, not even a personal one that has the certificates or licenses in order as previously specified, shall participate in international navigation, without the permission of the State or States in whose territory they fly on. The registration or use of such aircraft, or of any of its certificated aircraft parts, over a State that is not the one the aircraft’s original homeland will be at the discretion of the State in which the aircraft or part is being imported.

Medical Device Industry Booming in China

China has been an economic powerhouse for years now, and against the backdrop of the country’s current overall economic growth, its medical device industry is doing extremely well. By 2013, the country had become the world’s second-biggest medical device market, spending some RMB 200 billion, an astounding figure given that medical devices are often the second choice of Chinese physicians, who often prefer medication. The industry’s continued growth in China is practically assured. The country’s population is aging, and while the government has only expanded health care expenditures by 20 percent over the last decade, the rapid increase in living standards across the country has driven demand for high-tech medical services.

Despite this astounding growth, China still accounts for only 2 to 3 percent of the international medical device market. The country depends on imports for most of its high-end medical devices, with some 90 percent of MRI and ultrasound machines manufactured abroad. These figures are falling, in part because many medical device manufacturers have begun moving their operations to China. The country remains a very attractive export market for device manufacturers in the United States, Japan, and Germany. This dynamic is changing, due in part to the Chinese government’s recent pledge to spend some RMB 400 billion to digitize its health care systems between 2012 and 2020.

The government’s investment in its health care industry has resulted in exciting new devices that will soon reach the market. One medical device company, FinlTop, has focused its attention on the miniaturization of equipment that was previously only available in hospitals. Its latest product, a handheld electrocardiogram (ECG), eschews the usual electrodes in favor of two thumb sensors on a smartphone-shaped device, providing quick information and simple diagnosis for some $50 a unit. The company also produces a variety of other devices that bring the hospital into the home, such as blood pressure monitors, urine analyzers, and pulse oximeters. Due to the efforts of companies like FinlTop, as well as new government regulations that seek to encourage hospitals to use Chinese-produced devices, the country appears on track to further its growth in the medical devices industry.

A Brief Guide to Renting Property in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) plays host to a thriving rental market. For the most part, renting property in the UAE is just like renting property in Europe and the United States. In general, you should always conduct extensive research via rental websites and newspapers. Many prospective renters in the UAE use registered agents to help them find the property that most closely matches their needs.

In many cases, tenants must register with the government of the emirate in which they will be living. In Dubai, renters must submit a legal contract that clearly outlines the responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. Once signed, such contracts cannot be altered. In Abu Dhabi, a similar system, known as Tawtheeq, guarantees the rights of tenants and landlords. Visitors to the UAE must also provide a copy of their passports, submit proof of residency, and pay 5% of their annual rent as a security deposit.