Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of March 17

This week: Wrapping up an exciting week with a swimsuit calendar and video starring a blow-up doll.

LISTEN FareCompare’s Alexandria Williams and Anne McDermott like bizarre stories and boy does it show.

Odd Stories of the Week

PR pitch-of-the-week: The subject line on our email reads, “Celebrate spring in Jamaica with NFL cheerleaders!” which refers to the young ladies who brighten the sidelines for the Baltimore Ravens but you may not wish to disturb them as they will be very busy shooting one of those boring swimsuit calendars.

Mickey D’s vs. the airlines: Who gave better customer service, your favorite fast food restaurant or your favorite airline? If you don’t know, you’re probably not a regular reader of this blog.

Dreamliner is safe: You may recall that this aircraft – officially the Boeing 787 – was grounded for quite some time last year. Now the FAA says, it’s fine but a couple of recommendations have been called for including the “FAA [should improve] its oversight of Boeing’s parts suppliers, including those outside the United States.”

More airport fun: Fun as in cool amenities like more spas and self-service kiosks selling electronics and even make-up and maybe deliciousness like Camille’s Hand-Dipped Ice Cream Bars which is trying to break into the ranks of the airport outlets (when you get there, let me know).

Winner: In January, American Airlines beat the other legacy carriers in on-time arrival statistics so each employee got $100. However, AA still finished behind Hawaiian, Alaska and Virgin America.

Fake names: A Delta passenger flew from Atlanta using one name (not his own) then flew United from Birmingham with another name. The man is also accused of trying to access secure airport areas by going up a down escalator. He’s in jail and the FBI is involved.

Can’t blame her: A 62 year old woman was arrested at San Francisco’s airport on suspicion that she’d try to sneak onto a flight to Hawaii. Why so suspicious? She’s reportedly done it before – three times! There’s even a restraining order against her for being at the airport without a ticket.

Perfume grenade: Phoenix TSA confiscated a bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume because the security guy thought the bottle looked like a grenade (FYI, even replicas of weapons are no-nos). So some poor soul is out $83 but that’s nothing since Mr. Choo’s shoes can set you back $2K.

No go: Hawaii’s discount carrier – go! – will cease operations as of April 1. If you have tickets for travel after that, look here.

Airlines giveth, airlines taketh away: We’re talking about you, San Jose, Calif. Virgin America says flights from your airport weren’t as profitable as they’d hoped so they’re ending them as of May. However, Hawaiian plans to add flights from San Jose to Honolulu, also in May.

Flying casinos: The CEO of Allegiant suggests ticket “price discrimination” will become more pronounced in the future: “It’s kind of like a casino here in Las Vegas. They treat you a certain way depending on how much you play.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day: See if there are any Celtic-themed bargains on the Deals Blog.

Airplane II: Wisconsin’s tourism scores with an Airplane! video spoof featuring Kareem and Ted Striker.

VIDEO: Look for the return of the blow-up pilot (and note his special hat).

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Published: March 17, 2014