Not Your Average Travel Stories (and Video): Week of March 3

This week: Bad passengers, fake dogs, real rockets – and delightful video.

LISTEN: More odd stuff from FareCompare’s Alex Williams and Anne McDermott – your aficiondos of awesome.

Very bad passenger (allegedly): A man on Southwest’s Seattle-Sacramento flight reportedly “terrorized” the crew, starting before take-off by repeatedly pressing the call button, screaming, “I need a [blanking] drink!” Bet they wish they’d removed him from the plane then but they didn’t and he kept screaming while demanding to see the pilot and flashing gang signs he said were “for Jesus”. No divine intervention, though, just a flight diversion to Portland, Ore. where our hero was arrested.

Doris Day is 90: She is indeed (and like any actress, is no doubt thrilled to be reminded). We mention it for San Francisco travelers who may want to detour to the Monterey Peninsula where Day’s Carmel, Calif. hotel is hosting a month-long celebration in April to benefit animals in need. This is a gorgeous spot always worth visiting, and note to Sparky: This is a pet-friendly hotel.

Hey, Sparky: New problem at airports, according to a report – an increasing number of “fake” service dogs. OK, the dogs are real but they couldn’t guide their way out of a paper bag because they’re just family pets. Not a very nice way to save on expensive airline pet transport fees.

Refund, please: TechCrunch reviews AirHelp, a site that helps you get money back when airlines delay, cancel or bump you. The only problem is, in a lot of cases they don’t owe you a thing (involuntary bumping excepted).

Why, hello, Love: Virgin America hopes to settle into Dallas’ Love Field in October and give Southwest for a run for its money. I smell fare war.

Rocket misses plane: A China Southern Airlines plane carrying 220 people “passed through the trajectory of a rocket launched seven minutes earlier” by the North Koreans. The North Koreans apparently did not tell anyone about this little episode but we’re not sure because they’re not commenting.

Carry-on capers: United says your carry-on bag better be the right size or you’ll pay to check it. They’re serious, too, because they’re placing a whole bunch of those ‘put your bag in this thingie to see if it fits’ contraptions throughout U.S. airports.

Worst winter: Philly.com is calling this the “worst winter for air travel since 9/11″ and the never-ending storms have cost passengers and airlines billions – but nothing compares to Sept. 11. And speaking of that terrible day –

Ship named for 9/11: The USS Somerset was formally commissioned over the weekend. It is named for the Pennsylvania county where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on 9/11 when its passengers fought back. Two other Navy ships are named for those who died that day: The USS New York and the USS Arlington (in honor of the passengers aboard the plane that crashed into the Pentagon).

Beauty of flight: Lots of strife in this world of ours at the moment so perhaps you might enjoy a video that’s nothing more than a thing of beauty: A time-lapse production of an Air Tahiti Nui flight. See it below.

Oscars: 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and Gravity – big, big winners. Now did you know you can save money on flights like an Oscar winner? You can.

Storm cancelations: Sounding like a broken record this yeah, huh? (Or broken CD, broken iTunes link, whatever). Flights are being canceled around the country, yes, even in Florida, and if you’re stuck, here’s what you do.

VIDEO: The beauty of flight on Air Tahiti Nui. Things start getting really good around 1:00 in.

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Published: March 3, 2014