Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week Ending Oct. 11

This week: Robots, ranters, retro dining and so much more. Plus fun video.

Strange, Weird, Unusual & Odd Stories

I am Robot. I am here to help: Go to the Indianapolis airport and look for the roaming robot; picture a sort of a motorized cart wearing a polo shirt with a tablet for a head (or don’t picture it at all, just see the video of Mr. Robot here). The tablet features a live person’s head who will answer your questions. Mine would be, you are getting paid extra for this, right? [Oh, so cynical, especially since I actually like this idea]

Tweet rant: Black Eyed Peaster will.i.am tweeted that he got to the airport 45 minutes before his flight to China but United had already given away his seat. Here’s the confusing part: According to United’s site, a China flight requires passengers to be in the gate area 30 minutes before departure, while check-in and bag check must be completed 60 minutes before. Mr. Am does not make it clear where he was in this process, nor does he say if he was a first class passenger (in which case, this wouldn’t have happened – maybe). So we’ve just used up a lot of real estate to explain that will.he.won’t be getting on a flight to China.

Happy Birthday, KLM: What is generally considered to be the world’s oldest airline, Dutch carrier KLM, turned 95 this week. To celebrate, it’s adding a “95 years” decal to its planes. A decal? I was hoping for free champagne on all its flights.

Worst airports: If there was one thing you thought you could always count on in life, it’s that any list of airport amenities would rank Newark near the bottom. Not this time! In fact, EWR finishes in right in the middle. Top honors – 3 way tie between Atlanta,  Minneapolis and Seattle. The real shocker was the airport in last place: Denver. Huh?

Dine in style in an old Pan Am airplane cabin: Here’s a hot-ticket reservation in LA – dinner in an original Pan Am 747 (well, part of it, anyway) which has been lovingly refurbished by our old friend Anthony Toth. You won’t go anywhere but you will pay close to the cost of an actual ticket since dinner starts at $267 (includes a movie and cocktails). The first seating is already sold out.

Cruisin’ in your Caddy: That could be you, now that American Airlines and Cadillac have teamed up. Certain passengers (okay, elite miles members) may be driven from terminal to terminal in an Escalade to make a tight transfer. That would be cool.

Balloon flight lands in Pacific: A wayward hot air balloon surprised beachgoers near San Diego when it made a landing just a few yards off shore. Fortunately, a nearby pod of surfers rushed to the rescue and there were no injuries.

Bubble travel: Man had to be rescued in his attempt to run from Miami to Bermuda – in a large plastic bubble. He does this to raise money for charity and he’s done this before in other locations (see the video below).

Smoking is bad for security: Passenger goes through the TSA screening at JFK then decides to step out for a smoke. Trouble is, you can’t do that there but somehow how he did, returning through a gate that wasn’t supposed to be open. No arrests but the incident delayed screening for 90 minutes which couldn’t have been fun.

VIDEO: Watch extreme marathoner Reza Baluchi create his run-on-water bubble contraption.

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Updated: November 11, 2014