Not Your Average Air Travel Stories: Week of May 27

This week: Former boy-band singer faces nightmare fees while teen endures nightmare seatmate!

This airline stinks: That’s what Irish singer Brian McFadden seemed to suggest when he tweeted some very bad things about Dublin-based Ryanair. His biggest complaint: a fee of $109 just to print out a boarding pass. So angry Brian took the train, but Ryanair may have had the last laugh since the train cost more than the flight.

Oh my! A 17-year-old girl flying solo on United says a man repeatedly subjected her to the sight of his, uh, self-gratification – and flight attendants did nothing to help her. The girl told her dad who called the cops and the man was ultimately convicted. Now, she’s suing United which says it will “review” the matter.

Sick on a plane: Falling ill in-flight is not such a bad thing, at least from a medical care standpoint. A new study says “most in-flight medical emergencies are evaluated and treated effectively.” Most common complaints: fainting, breathing trouble, cardiac symptoms and gastrointestinal problems. We know all about that last one thanks to a recent study of flatulence on planes.

Puppies for passengers: Need a hug? Try a dog. More and more airports are offering therapy canines to relieve travel stress. All shapes, sizes and breeds but the star of Miami is a golden retriever. Goldens – best dogs ever?

UPDATE on door-opening passenger: You may have heard about the passenger on an Alaska Airlines plane who tried to open a door in mid-flight (but as we all know, it can’t be done!). News reports now say the fellow was hearing voices, and his voice was heard too when he asked his seatmates, “What would you do I open the exit door?” He found out when they tackled him.

Start driving, Hoosiers: Gary, Indiana’s, airport (which prefers to be called Gary-Chicago) is losing its last passenger airline as Allegiant pulls out. Problem is, it’s only an hour from Chicago, and as the Tribune points out, Gary’s “reputation for serious crime” isn’t helping.

What’s worse than having the paparazzi hound you at the airport? Not having the paparazzi hound you. If you’re a celebrity in need of ego-reinforcement, just look for the photogs who hang out at LAX night and day.

Quick, someone call Guinness: Last week, the TSA found a record-smashing 65 guns at the nation’s airports and most were loaded including a .22 strapped to a man’s prosthetic leg. Question: What would you rather find, a gun on a guy or primate in pants?

That’s the spirit: San Diego passengers heading to Vegas on Spirit Airlines say they were kicked off the plane for speaking their native language – Russian. Spirit says they were loud and disruptive (but they’re investigating). Maybe these folks should have checked out Spirit’s Consumer Reports ranking before they flew.

Memorial Day: Here’s to our men and women in the service. For those at home, happy grilling. To anyone who’s flying, happy travels.


Published: May 27, 2013