Pilot makes a Derry error
The Eirjet airliner that left Liverpool on Wednesday bound for Derry in Northern Ireland is seen at Ballykelly Army Base after landing there by accident Wednesday.
By Brian Tracey Business Editor

The frequent flyers among us can easily recount the times their flights have been rerouted to a different airport due to bad weather. But for an Ireland-bound Ryanair jet this week, an unexpected change in destination wasn't due to fog on the ground, but instead was caused by a similar condition in the pilot's brain.

The airliner landed at the wrong airport in Northern Ireland after the pilot appeared to have made "a stupid mistake," according to the discount carrier's chief executive Michael O'Leary.

The aircraft, operated by Irish airline Eirjet on behalf of Dublin-based Ryanair, was flying from Liverpool, England, to Derry in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but landed instead at a British military base, a few miles away from its intended arrival point.

"Never in our 20-year history has an incident like this happened," Ryanair said in a statement.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch, part of the Department of Transport (DoT), was investigating the incident, a DoT spokesman said.

Passengers were taken by bus from the military base to Derry airport while the pilot has been grounded until the investigation into the incident is finished, Eirjet said.

While we certainly feel bad for the unnamed pilot, we're just glad he didn't pull this stunt on St. Patrick's Day, as we shudder at the thought of all the late-night talk show jokes that would have spawned.

Not-so bad ideas

  • Those of us who enjoy downing a few frosty adult malt beverages know that too much of a good thing can lead to some unhappy health consequences. But one Czech brewer wants to counter that notion by opening earlier this month what is being billed as the world's first "beer health center."

Image: Beer bathing
Eret Petr  /  AP
Jana Tymlova, left, enjoys a soak in the Real Beer Baths launched by the brewery Chodovar in Chodova Plana, Czech Republic. The bath consists of water and mineral water, but the major bath ingredient is Chodovar's distinctive dark beer. No word if it's known for its "clean, crisp taste."
Beer baths, beer massages and beer skin-care products are all on sale at the Chodovar Family brewery in the Czech Republic.

"Beer can treat a range of conditions, particularly skin conditions, and the health center should appeal to men who are put off by 'posh' traditional spas," owner Jiri Plevka was quoted as saying on the British Web portal Ananova. "I have heard of some places in other countries where people can swim in beer, but it's just a gimmick."

The converted beer cellars include seven huge Victorian style baths where guests can soak in the brewery's namesake dark beer while enjoying a pint poured at a bathside bar, a nice touch to circumvent the urge to taste what you're bathing in.

Another upside to lathering in lager: If your bath suddenly gets a little bit foamier, who's going to notice?

  • Now here's a Whopper of a story: Four burgers at his neighborhood Burger King cost George Beane a super-sized $4,334.33.

Beane ordered two Whopper Juniors and two Rodeo cheeseburgers when he pulled up to the fast-food joint's drive-through window in Palmdale, Calif., on March 21. The cashier, however, forgot that she'd entered the $4.33 charge on his debit card and punched in the numbers again without erasing the original ones — thus creating a four-figure bill.

The electronic charge went through to George and Pat Beane's Bank of America checking account and left the couple penniless. Their mortgage payment was due and they worried checks they had written would bounce, Pat Beane said.

"We were thinking, 'No, not now!'" she said of the overcharge.

Terri Woody, the restaurant manager, said Burger King officials tried to get the charge refunded. But the bank said the funds were on a three-day hold and could not be released, Pat Beane said.

The hold is designed to prevent customers from spending money that no longer is available in their accounts and to let the bank confirm a transaction is legitimate before transferring funds, said Bank of America supervisor Joel Solorio.

Burger King did not charge the Beanes for their meal, and the couple got their $4,334.33 back on the following Friday.

"For those three days, those were the most expensive value burgers in history," Pat Beane said.

Bet they're glad they didn't get fries with that.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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