Not Your Average Travel Stories (and Video): Week of Jan. 6

This week: Super Bowl fun, UFO fun, bad celebrity fun – plus, video.

Super Bowl fun: PR people are working overtime coming up with game day promotions like NYC’s The Court hotel’s Super Bowl viewing party with a two-tiered package: Pay $35 and get hors d’oeuvres; pay $85 and get hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.* Let’s see, drinks – or no drinks. Gosh, which would you choose?

*But will they serve Milky Ways? See ‘Say it ain’t so‘ below.

World Cup caps: The airline known as Azul will limit airfare prices during next summer’s big games in Brazil and officials hope more do the same since they’ve threatened to slap price controls on other airlines and hotels, too. Now if they can just get those stadiums finished.

Aggressive and rude: That’s how a British tourism organization describes some UK visitors. Other are said to be “cold, impolite”. Guess the country! [find the answers here]

First bad celebrity passenger of the year: And the honor goes to Jennifer Lauren (certified celeb since she’s designer Ralph’s niece). According to Gawker, she apparently threw a drunken fit aboard a Delta flight from Barcelona to New York, insulting multiple flight attendants and even the pilot while using some very bad words. It got so bad the flight diverted to Ireland. Kind of makes Alec Baldwin’s trouble with American Airlines look downright tame.

Billion with a “b”: How much did this past week’s polar vortex/mega storm cost? $1.4 billion in airline operating costs plus lost expenses/work time for passengers. Yow.

Boeing blues: Fascinating article on recent union vote – check out “The Boeing vote and the death of the middle class”. Real eye-opener.

Say it ain’t so! The architectural wonder that stuck up out of the middle of Los Angeles International like a bizarre vision of the future – the Encounter restaurant – is closed. Airport officials say they hope to get another vendor for the flying saucer building (the Jetsons, perhaps?) and I sure hope so because how many airports can boast an on-the-premises UFO? Never did get to try their Milky Way cocktail (Absolut vodka, Crème de Cacao).

More guns at the airport: New report says 2013 was a big year for TSA gun confiscations at U.S. airports with 20% more than in 2012 (and yeah, the vast majority of these guns were loaded). The top three airports for passengers trying to board planes with guns: Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. In a word, don’t. Here’s how to travel with guns legally.

UFO collision averted: We’re taking this report with a grain of salt since no airline is mentioned but supposedly a captain flying over the British countryside in July came this close to hitting a UFO which was “shaped like a rugby ball.” Normally, of course, they are shaped like flying saucers (or Los Angeles airport restaurants – see above).

Cartoon planes: American Airlines’ featured website video which plays off the carrier’s cameo in Disney’s Planes (Aug. 2013) asks, “What’s different about American? Just about everything.” Maybe the video’s just an excuse to let us know that AA employees voted to keep the new flag logo livery. [see video below]

Flash drive emergency: Speaking of American, one of its planes had to make an emergency landing in Kansas City after a flash drive was found in one of the bathrooms. Flash drive? “It’s a new day and age since 9/11,” said a KC airport spokesman solemnly.

Delta’s ice skid: They had to shut down JFK for two hours Sunday (Jan. 5) after a Delta plane skidded off an icy runway. No one was hurt but there might have been a few aching backs since ground workers had to physically shovel the snow away from the aircraft’s wheels before it could be towed.

VIDEO: American plane becomes cartoon star.

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Published: January 6, 2014