Not Your Average Travel Stories (And Video): Week of Feb. 10

This week: Sparks fly and so do those bobsledders in the video below.

Lightning strikes! No, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day electricity, we’re talking real lightning that hit a Spirit plane. No one was hurt but frankly this is not something you have to worry about.

No cell phone calls: The flight attendants union has come out against passengers making calls on planes. So far we haven’t heard from anyone who actually likes the idea beyond the FCC.

Troubled airport art: Officials at Indianapolis International hired an artist to create something to zip up the airport. What they got was multi-colored letters that spell out the hashtag “#Belieb”. Maybe they don’t like Justin Bieber but the artist was cool with that, he just took the work home along with his commission – all 500 bucks of it.

Southwest, good news/bad news: Headlines say, “Southwest has worst on-time record”. True, for December, anyway. So how come it also has the fewest complaints?

Roses: European discounter Airberlin has gathered 20,000 roses to hand out to passengers on Valentine’s Day. In the U.S., travelers can submit a “how I fell in love on a United flight” for a chance to win a pair of tickets. [Editor’s note: I once fell in love with a flight attendant who told me, “You can move over here and there will be an empty seat next to you.”]

Security and Valentine’s Day: The TSA says yes, you can bring chocolates through checkpoints (even those liquid-filled, gooshy ones) but you may not bring flowers in water-filled vases because A.) that’s too much liquid and B.) you’ll make the rest of us jealous (oh, just kidding).

Highway to hell: If heading to Los Angeles International this weekend, a big chunk of the 405 freeway that gets you to LAX will be closed. How bad will it be? They’re already calling the closure, Jamzilla.

Safety first, bikinis second: The fun folks at Air New Zealand will release a new safety demonstration video on Feb. 12 but it won’t feature bored flight attendants. Passengers will be told to buckle up by Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. [Can’t wait? View the ‘making of the video’ teaser here]

Best Olympic airline ad: United’s ode to Olympians is everything you’d want in a TV commercial – zany, lovely, inspiring. Fun, too. Check out the skater gliding down the aisle, below.

Worst Olympic travel rule: The TSA says, no liquids (or gels or aerosols) in carry-on bags on flights between the U.S. and Russia. Actually, that’s not the very worst, according to some journalists who noted at one point hotel water could be – how to put it? – a bit iffy.

VIDEO: The thrill of victory, the agony of bobsledding through a packed plane.

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Published: February 10, 2014