Fake passengers wanted: LAX needs 500 people to test out new airport terminal

Feel like going to LAX and acting like an out-of-control passenger or a parent with kids in meltdown mode? Here’s your chance. Los Angeles International Airport is looking for 500 people to come to its newest concourse and behave badly, or sickly, or feebly. It’s all part of a readiness drill to make sure the upcoming Midfield Satellite Concourse will be safe and passenger-ready when it opens this summer. It’s also the first time the airport will be performing what’s called a full Operation Readiness and Transition trial. People who volunteer will be asked to do what fliers do every day at LAX: Catch a flight. Sounds easy, right? Except you’ll be heading to a satellite terminal with 12 new gates that have never been used — and you may be part of planned obstacles along the way. “We are going to write scenarios to check the processes that happen on a given day,” says L.A. World Airports strategic adviser Robert L. Gilbert. “With 150 to 300 people going through the … concourse, some will be in wheelchairs, some will be young people racing for the gate, some will be elderly.” The test will be staged to ensure that emergency responders, airline and concessionaire staffers, an...

Sporting a buzz cut, prison blues and a chin-strap beard, the slim 24-year-old Floridian Brandon Hatfield

Sporting a buzz cut, prison blues and a chin-strap beard, the slim 24-year-old Floridian Brandon Hatfield leans sideways in a rolling office chair inside the St. Johns County Jail. With a warm Southern drawl and a crooked smirk, he says, “I remember half of what happened … and half of what didn’t.” Hatfield finds it hard to separate the fact from the fiction of what took place on the night of Nov. 5, 2018, for a few reasons. That night, at a Best Western not far from the Fountain of Youth theme park in St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, he was drinking Jack Daniel’s. He’s sure the bourbon led to smoking weed, but he’s not as clear on how that led to fentanyl, Ecstasy and whatever else ended up in his toxicology report. He remembers the rest of the night in “blackout splatches,” which have since mixed with the stories he’s heard about himself: how he jumped into a crocodile pool at a local zoological park after hours, got bit by an American crocodile, and barely escaped with his life — but not his Crocs shoes, which were found floating in the water the next day. Next thing he knew, he was waking up “at the hospital shackled to a bed with my foot gnawed off.” Another reason Ha...