Not Your Average Air Travel Story: Week of May 13

This week: Gremlins on planes, rude passengers and 3 unusual videos!

How to board ahead of the herd: American Airlines now allows passengers with teeny-tiny carry-ons that can fit under the seats in front of them to board early. Bam! That’s the sound of a million folks ditching hard-sided hand luggage.

Rude passengers: See the gremlin on the wing? No? Pretend you do as it may allow you to wrestle away the armrest from a rude seatmate. Lots more rude passengers tips here plus that amazing Twilight Zone episode about the gremlin.

Fight, fight: It was passengers vs. gate agents of China Eastern Airlines at a mob scene in Beijing with lots of screaming over a delayed flight, and a metal chair was almost thrown. So, if flights are delayed you can throw stuff? No, but you do have some rights.

Pilot locked out: Air India pilot leaves cockpit to go to the bathroom but can’t get back in because door is jammed. Luckily a co-pilot was on other side and landed the plane safely. Dumbest pilot incident? Oh, there have been worse.

Want to play doctor?  Some European airlines are offering MDs miles in exchange for helping sick passengers on flights, but as the head of Turkish Airlines stated (with refreshing candor), “What we are giving is almost nothing.” No problem, since it seems it’s not all that easy to use miles on Turkish Airlines.

You paid $6 billion last year: Well, you helped – and so did I and so did anyone that paid a bag fee last year because that’s what the airlines raked in. Makes that carry-on look more attractive, doesn’t it? [Well, except on Frontier and Spirit, that is]

Now here’s how to sing when up in the air:  Astronaut Chris Hadfield plays guitar and sings from space and it’s just beautiful. See video #2 below (by the way, he’s home safe now).

Singin’ in the plane: Woman is removed from American flight after belting out the famous Whitney Houston anthem, “I Will Always Love You”. Fellow passengers say the woman’s rendition left something to be desired but you be the judge (see video #1 below).

What happens when you lose a bet: Virgin Emperor Richard Branson played flight attendant on AirAsia complete with red lip stick and shaved legs. He did not however shave his signature goatee which some believe detracted from Branson’s beauty (see video #3 below).

How to rack up miles: You’re confused about frequent flyer programs. You’re not alone. Let the master-of-all-things-air-travel find the right miles program for you.

The family that schemes together: Heartwarming tale of father and son Viktor and Evgenii Ryzhkin who allegedly worked separate frauds that could have netted $38 million. Alas, the feds were on to them and the familial duo was taken into custody at LAX as they tried to flee on a flight to Moscow.

Hot and bothered: Lufthansa plane idles on Denver tarmac for three hours with broken AC and a load of very hot and unhappy passengers. But that’s nothing compared to a couple of years ago when a bunch of folks were trapped on a plane for nine hours – with no working toilets.

Ruff time at security: Woman says a TSA bomb-sniffing dog at the Atlanta airport bit her. It might have been worse – some airports have reported alligators.

Video #1: Wrong way to sing.


Video #2: Right way to sing.

Video #3: Beautiful Branson (in the Bizarro World).

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Published: May 13, 2013