Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week Ending Sept. 27

This week: The Beagle is a fake. But our delightful videos are officially certified as ‘real’.

  • NOTE: This is updated daily, Monday to Friday – so keep coming back!

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Anne McDermott and Alex Williams discuss dogs and other dramas.

Strange, Weird, Unusual, Odd

Fire delays O’Hare, Midway flights: CNN reports that a fire at a regional FAA control center has shut down flights in Chicago’s airports (Friday, Sept. 26) and delayed others heading that way. In case you’re wondering how big a deal this is, O’Hare alone serves more than 1,000 flights a day.

Going to Grandma’s house? Then you should see our Thanksgiving Guide – before you buy your tickets. Seriously, it’ll help you save some money.

Heads up, Indianapolis: Parts of your airport are shut down this week through Saturday, Sept. 27 while the TSA “makes a film about how to respond to an active shooter at airports.” This occurred for real almost a year ago at LAX when TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez was shot to death.

Beagle to the rescue: As we learned from Mashable, KLM has a cute Beagle that returns lost things to passengers. See this amazing dog in video #1 below. Sure, most of it looks totally staged, but who cares? It’s a CUTE PUPPY. Yes you are! UPDATE: Rats. There is no super-sleuth dog at KLM. Bobo the Beagle or whatever his name is was just another actor hired for a commercial. Well, we said it looked staged.

Singing TSA agent: Los Angeles International screener Damien Lawson wowed judges (Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, et al) with his “elegant, tearjerking performance” during the season premiere of The Voice. Then he patted them down. Just kidding!

Sinatra sings again: Or at least we think that’s Ol’ Blue Eyes in a lovely new ad from the folks at Virgin Australia (see video #2 below).

Lavatory squeeze: The LA Times reports on changes coming in the 2016 Airbus 380 that’ll mean more room for bags in bins but less for you in the bathroom. Genius!

Nicest story you’ll hear this week: A couple of years ago, a blind man was heading into an airport when a taxi side-swiped his service dog. Apparently the dog didn’t make a peep – just kept working – because his owner was unaware the dog was bleeding until a Southwest employee spotted it. So what did the Southwest employee – one Troy Anderson – do? Gripped the dog’s leg to stop the bleeding then took him in his car to the vet. The dog recovered and I’m still recovering from such a sweet story.

Airline food at home? Oh, boy! If you live in Germany, are you ever in luck. For about $12, you can order a meal for home delivery from LSG Sky Chefs and eat the same business class food served by Lufthansa. If you hear about pizza joints in Berlin and  Munich going bankrupt, you’ll know why.

Merry Christmas! Spirit announces it’ll raise bag fees by $2 for trips between Dec. 18 and Jan. 5. Explains Spirit, “To make sure we have room for everyone’s bags, we’re encouraging customers to pack a bit lighter.” Of course, you might also be encouraging customers to fly another airline.

Secret service for tourists: The New York Times reports the Secret Service is considering screening tourists “at checkpoints a few blocks from the White House” in the wake of last week’s security breach. It probably won’t include “measures taken at airports,” which is good since the First Lady probably wouldn’t appreciate a bunch of people tromping through her home barefoot.

Race and pilots: The Hill says there is a “culture of whiteness and masculinity in the flight deck” and cites the following figures for airline transport pilots: “4.1 percent are women, 2.7 percent are black or African-American, 2.5 percent are Asian and 5 percent are Hispanic or Latino.” Thoughts?

VIDEO #1: Cute hound helps passengers. Trust us, this is worth a look.

VIDEO #2: Come fly with me, says Ol’ Blue Eyes* and Virgin Australia says, sure!

*Or at least someone who sounds just like Sinatra.

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Published: September 22, 2014