Not Your Average Air Travel Stories: Week of May 20

This week: Bad movies, must-see monsters and much, much more!

Ooh that stings: United baggage handler at San Francisco’s airport allegedly had iPads, purses and more that had been rifled from passenger luggage. How’d they get him? Cops attached GPS trackers to the loot.

Take one tablet per flight: Headline says use of electronic tablets on planes “soars” which means it’s jumped to 10.7%. Whatever. Study does not say what passengers do with these gizmos but entertainment’s a good bet. Currently playing on United: The Guilt Trip.

Gun discovery: A Montana man got 3-years in prison for trying to bring a gun on a plane in Sacramento. Make that “guns”. One was in a shoulder holster and the AP says “Screeners also found guns in his three carry-on bags.” Three carry-ons? Forget the jail time – imagine the fees!

Monster madness: Find Japanese landmarks demolished by Godzilla and Rodan in unique travel book called Monster Movie Fan’s Guide to Japan by Armand Vaquer. It’ll even point you in the direction of Tokyo’s 30 foot tall statue of Godzilla. Poor Mr. Garden Yeti is feeling a little jealous (heh – green-eyed monster).

Reasonable fee: That’s what Time mag calls JetBlue’s recent change fee hike. No wonder everyone loves them so.

Travel gizmos: The big inventors show called INPEX runs June 19-23 in Pittsburgh and there will be plenty of never-before-seen travel-related items including some from our friends at SkyMall. No word yet on whether the Bigfoot Garden Yeti will make a surprise appearance.

Packing pro: New app tells you how to pack like you know what you’re doing. Fine, but will it tell me if those new jeans make me look fat?

Sticky fingers in the air: In-flight theft reports are way up, according to police at Los Angeles International (and the local TV station that got this scoop, but remember – it’s sweeps month). As our pal Rick Seaney always says, never take valuables with you when traveling, “But if you must, keep them on your person.”

Laugh of the day: Sen. Charles Schumer, bless his heart, is asking the airlines to reverse course and lower their change fees. Good luck, Chuck!

Travel nightmare, Part I: A couple thought they were flying to Africa but the airline sent them to the wrong continent and sadly, they had no particular desire to visit Bangladesh. Says Rick Seaney, “A lot worse than losing your bag.” You got that right, Rick.

Travel nightmare, Part II: A Swedish family of 7 cut a trip to California short due to a family emergency. Airline change fees wiped them out so there was no money for food, hotels or transportation which is why L.A. sheriff’s deputies found the group (which included a two-year-old) on a miles-long trek to the airport along a busy roadway at 4:30 a.m. The cops passed the hat to get them a room, some food and a ride. Nice job, guys. Change fees – worst fees ever.

Time machine: Want to know what one airline charged a few years back for a flight to Europe? Try $400. Yes, round-trip. Find this and other fascinating facts with a trip on the Airline Time Machine (it’s easy and doesn’t cost a dime).

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Published: May 20, 2013