Not Your Average Travel Stories (and Video): Week of Nov. 4

This week: Very good airline, very good meteor, very good parachuting video.

Very good airline: A woman stuck in the airport during the horror of the TSA shooting at LAX missed her flight – but Virgin America said, no problem. They automatically refunded her ticket and delivered her bag to her home free of charge. The hotel she booked for a 3 night stay for about $1,000? Too bad, she was reportedly told, no refund for you.

Celeb snafu: Kanye West pleads not guilty to attack on paparazzo at LAX. No shock there, nor is it surprising that the LA airport is the favorite hunting ground of celebrity photogs.

Strange fireball: No, it wasn’t a bird or a plane or even Superman in the skies over Southern California. It was part of the South Taurid meteor shower, and you can crane your neck to see it through Nov.

It’s been nice knowing you, AirTran: As USA Today reports, Southwest is now “flying its own aircraft to the last of AirTran’s domestic cities it did not yet serve.” Still in AirTran’s clutches: The Caribbean.

Good or bad celeb passenger? TMZ is all over the map on whether or not Tropic Thunder star Brandon T. Jackson was behaving badly on a US Airways flight this week. He says no, the airline says yes and we say we can’t muster the energy to care.

New Spirit ads: The Florida-based discounter has hired a new advertising agency: Barkley. We can only hope they match such previous gems such as the campaign blasting a former New York congressman’s alleged sexting woes with the tag-line, “Have You Seen Our Weiner?”

San Francisco fog: New FAA rules allowing “staggered landings” at SFO runways should help with delays in San Francisco despite the fog. But if you do run into delays, here’s what to do.

Death of a labor leader: You may not recall machinist Charlie Bryan but his 1989 strike against Frank Lorenzo-led Eastern Air Lines (which shut down two years later) is the stuff of history and his Forbes obit is worth a read.

Your wildest fantasy: No, not that. We mean ‘fantasy fees’ and travel expert Rick Seaney has got some good ones like the Disobedience Fee.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day: Got your bonfire ready? Great. Now we’ll help you find a cheap flight to London.

Bad baggage scales: Report says Arizona officials found “inaccuracies” in airline bag-weighing scales at Phoenix and Tucson airports. This is a big deal since a single excess pound can cost $200 in overweight luggage charges.

When planes collide: Sometimes, bad things don’t happen – like when two Cessnas collided Saturday over Wisconsin. Everyone came out in good shape as one pilot managed to land his plane while the other 10 people parachuted to safety. Want to try and imagine what that was like? Check out the video of Felix Baumgartner’s death defying leap (below).

Guess the airline: Time magazine calls this carrier “fee-crazed.” We’ve called them “shameless.” And wildly popular.

TSA shooting: LAX and its flights are back to normal. If you were one of the 167,000 passengers affected by this horrible event, contact your airline. And save a kind word for the people that try to keep us safe in the air.

VIDEO: Now here’s how to jump out of a plane – from 128,000 feet above the earth, that is.


Published: November 4, 2013