Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of April 14

This week: Most complained about airlines – and least complained about animals – puppies! Yes, there’s video.

LISTEN: The way Alex Williams and Anne McDermott dissect these items, you’ll swear you’re listening to CSI. Maybe.

Strange, Unusual and Just Plain Odd

Los Angeles loses a route: American Airlines is dropping its LA to Santa Barbara flight which will probably not be missed by a single Angeleno since it’s like, what? An hour’s drive? Pretty much.

Complaints about Spirit: A new study calls it the ‘most complained about’ airline but the ultra-low cost carrier’s CEO makes a pretty good case that its lack of extras keep fares down. And fares can be cheap but don’t count on comfort (or free water or soda).

This is why your flight was late: United’s Wednesday night flight from Dulles to JFK was delayed for two hours after authorities searched the aircraft for nonexistent explosives. Where did the bomb threat come from? Twitter. Hey, guys – just stop.

Plan a spontaneous getaway: Good tips in a Mashable article but here’s one they don’t include: If a hotel website says ‘no rooms’ you still might get one (and maybe a better price) by calling. Not the 800 number for the chain, call the local number of the specific hotel you want to stay in. You’re welcome.

Bomb trolls: The foolish teen who tweeted a bomb threat (see below) now has lots of imitators. Hey, guys – didn’t her arrest teach you anything?

Banish boredom: USA Today has a story on “7 apps to tackle in-flight boredom.” And to think there are still Luddites who pick up a book.

Porn tweet: US Airways is very very sorry about a pornographic photo it tweeted out to a disgruntled passenger (who is no doubt now beyond gruntled). A mistake, they say. We don’t doubt it.

Wrong-way pilot retires: Remember those Southwest pilots who landed at a tiny regional airfield in Branson instead of the correct airport seven miles away? Both were on paid leave since the incident but the captain has resumed flying while the co-pilot has just retired.

TSA #1: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on airport security measures: “I am beginning to think there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States.”

TSA #2: San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International after airport police say he made a bomb threat. They also said he appeared to have been drinking.

TSA #3: Passover begins tonight (April 14) at sundown and the TSA has let it be known that anyone traveling with delicate and fragile matzoh (unleavened bread) can request a hand inspection.

Bad passenger (allegedly): A man aboard a Southwest flight from Chicago to Sacramento tried to open one of the plane’s doors. In mid-flight. As fans of travel expert Rick Seaney know, this cannot be done but the attempt was enough for the pilot to divert the plane Omaha whereupon the passenger was arrested.

Bad tweeter (allegedly): American Airlines receives a tweet supposedly from a terrorist but according to news reports, it’s from a 14-year-old girl who apparently thought this would be an amusing prank. AA said, we’re forwarding it the FBI.

VIDEO:  JetBlue’s ‘Pet PDA’ video, remarkable in that it does not appear to be trying to sell you anything.


Published: April 14, 2014