POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 15, 2013
If you worry about picking up a funky bacteria on your next airplane trip, fear not: The GermFalcon is on the way.
GermFalcon, an idea that was unveiled last month at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Los Angeles, looks like an airplane snack cart with retractable arms that stretch out over the airplane seats.
Built into the arms are ultraviolet lights, which the GermFalcon shines on the plane's seats while it rolls down the aisle. The light is designed to kill 99.9 percent of all surface germs.
Dr. Arthur Kreitenberg, an orthopedic surgeon who invented the GermFalcon, said he got the idea after hearing about a study that found flight attendants are at a higher risk of getting ill than other workers because of the time they spend in an airplane cabin.
"It's a technology that is already being used in hospitals," said Kreitenberg, who already has a patent on a device that sterilizes sports balls called the GermNinja.
A prototype of the GermFalcon has been built by summer interns working at an electronics manufacturer in Santa Ana, but no airline has yet committed to the device, he said.
Onboard Wi-Fi tops comfort, fliers say
Wireless Internet on planes has become so essential that some travelers are willing to give up comfort, sustenance and even peace and quiet to get it.
For example, 61 percent of fliers questioned said having no Wi-Fi on a flight is worse than sitting in a seat that doesn't recline, according to a survey of more than 2,000 American adults conducted on behalf of Honeywell Aerospace, a division of Honeywell Inc. The survey also found that 32 percent of passengers say getting disconnected from onboard Wi-Fi is worse than sitting next to a crying baby.
If fliers had to give up a service or comfort to get the best Wi-Fi possible, 32 percent of U.S. travelers said they would give up a reclining seat, 42 percent said they would do without snacks and 13 percent said they forgo access to bathrooms on the plane.
What can fliers accomplish with access to onboard Internet? One U.S. passenger planned an entire wedding from a plane, according to the survey.
--Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times