Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week Ending Sept. 13

This week: Holidays are coming – is the perfect gift a home airport? Plus, fun video.

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Anne McDermott and Alex Williams on angry flyers and soothing enchiladas.

Strange, Weird, Unusual, Odd!

My house is an airport: John Travolta could say that since his Florida house outside Orlando includes two runways for his five planes, one of which is a Boeing 707 which can hold up to 189 passengers. But we thought the most interesting thing about this article was Johnny is now 60 years old. Tempus fugit, fer sure.

Jingle bells: A recent article says, time to book for Christmas. We think you’re doing good if you book Thanksgiving flights and if you haven’t, do it soon.

“We remember”: That simple message appeared on JetBlue’s site early Thursday morning. The date: Sept. 11.

The old knife-in-the-enchilada trick: How we missed this I have no idea but this airport security discovery was made back in April when officers seized a scary-looking knife hidden in a tasty-looking enchilada (and you can see the TSA’s picture here). Scene of the crime: Northern California’s Sonoma County Airport.

Hell flight? Depends who you ask. Passengers on an American flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas say they sat on the tarmac for five hours with no info about the delay. AA says it was only two hours and the reason was an “air traffic control hold” due to flooding in Vegas. Either way it sounds uncomfortable. It also sounds like someone’s communication skills could use a little sharpening.

Pilots and drugs: Nothing amusing in a new study from the NTSB that says “the rate that pilots test positive for drugs after dying in plane crashes has quadrupled since 1990” but there are a few things you should know: 1.) A lot of the drugs were over-the-counter. 2.) The vast majority of the pilots in the study flew small, private planes. 3.) It did include 14 airline pilots but none of those tested positive. I repeat – none.

Alcohol ads at LAX: A move to ban signs advertising alcoholic beverages at the Los Angeles airport is not making much headway, despite activists’ worries that these ads help shape the city’s image. Said one, “When people come to L.A., they should get to know the city for its great food, for its culture, not for alcohol, not as a party town.” Did I just hear a scream from the tourism folks?

How to avoid recliner rage: Silly us, we thought we had the answer but it turns out Slate does. Just fly Allegiant or Spirit – their airplane seats don’t recline at all. [Added a commenter: “How about we get rid of seats and have shelves where you lie flat instead?” Please, don’t give them any ideas.]

Cheaper tickets + “boozing passengers”: While that may sound like a great combo, the Sydney Morning Herald says it’s why we’re having so many “abusive incidents” on flights. Just an aside here: We write about a lot of bad passenger adventures in this space, but in all my years of flying, I have yet to personally witness a single abusive incident.

Stuck at the airport: Spirit passengers were not happy to be stuck at the Ft. Lauderdale airport after a luggage problem caused them the miss connections. Spirit said, don’t worry, we’ll get you on the next flight but in some cases the next flight was several days away. There were more complaints because Spirit would not provide food or lodging  but there are no regulations that say they have to.

New looks leaked: We’ve been hearing that both Southwest and Frontier planes were getting a makeover and it appears the new looks have been leaked to AirwaysNews and you can see photos here. Southwest has the same colors but it’s definitely a zippier look. Frontier changes seem less radical and you’ll be glad to know their ‘tail animals’ like Larry the Lynx have not disappeared. By the way, neither airline has confirmed the leaked-looks and we can’t imagine they’re happy about this but hey, worse things have been leaked.

UPDATE: Southwest has just released a video of its brand new look. See for yourself:

Fun safety video: Not sure how we missed this but Delta came out with an amusing pre-flight safety video back in May that’s worth a look for the pizza, the triplets and the disappointed BBQ chef.

VIDEO: See if you catch Delta’s reference to an old Star Trek episode (4:38).

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Published: September 8, 2014