On The Road Again — and the Classlessness of Virgin Blue

by Kevin Jon Heller

I’m traveling in Europe for the next few weeks, so posting will be a bit light.  As always, I’m happy to meet up with Opinio Juris readers in the places I’m visiting.  Here’s my schedule: June 4-7, Helsinki; June 7-9, Tallinn; June 9-13, Berlin; June 13-15, Leuven; June 15-18, Amsterdam; June 18-20, London.  On June 6, I’m giving a talk at the University of Helsinki about prosecuting WikiLeaks for espionage; and on June 14, I’m giving a talk at Katholik University Leuven about the Nuremberg Military Tribunals’ contribution to crimes against humanity.  I’ll also be defending my dissertation — a version of my book on the NMTs — at Leiden University on June 16, which means that you’ll have to call me “Dr. Kevin” very soon.  Apparently, Leiden’s defence is one of the most formal in the world, including requiring students (ie., me) to wear waistcoats.  I plan on blogging about the experience after it’s over.

On a different note, I had one of the most insulting flying experiences ever on my Virgin Blue flight from Melbourne to Sydney this morning.  (I’m writing this post in L.A.)  I did not have a seat assigned, and the woman at the check-in counter was nice enough to give me an exit-row aisle, so I’d have a bit more leg room.  Then, when I got to the gate, one of Virgin Blue’s agents pulled me aside and told me that they were moving me back to a regular seat, because someone had paid $45.00 for the exit-row aisle.  When I expressed amazement that they would assign me a seat and then kick me out of it, the agent simply shrugged and reiterated that someone had paid for it.  No apology, no sympathy.  No class. In general, Virgin is an excellent airline — I always fly Virgin Australia to the U.S. and Virgin Atlantic from the U.S. to London.  But I will certainly do what I can to avoid flying Virgin Blue within Australia in the future; there are too many other domestic airlines to put up with that kind of treatment.

To close on a more positive note, my book will be out in the next couple of weeks, which is very exciting!  My thanks to all the readers who gave me feedback on the cover and who read chapters during the writing and editing process.


2 Responses

  1. Have fun with your defence! I’m defending in the Netherlands in September, and I assure you it’s a lot of fun, if you don’t mind the waistcoats, the rising and sitting, parading, etc.

    (This high level of formality is roughly the same for all Dutch universities. On the upside, it’s all just a play. There is virtually no chance that you will actually fail in your defence.)

  2. Enjoy the experience if you can!  Just think of being the next in a long line of people who have been in that room defending something that they had spent way too much time on!

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