Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of April 7

This week: A nice mix of shrunken heads, wedding blues and tasty video.

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Alex Williams and Anne McDermott add a little nuance, add a little sledgehammer.

Strange, Unusual and Just Plain Odd

Whoa! Passengers on a Cathay Pacific flight from New York to Hong Kong had already spent 16 hours on the plane when a storm forced it to divert to Zhuhai, China but instead of getting off at that point, Chinese authorities insisted all 256 passengers remain on the plane. So they did – for the next 15 hours! Yikes.

Tech tycoon: Skycast partners with Microsoft to develop  next-gen inflight entertainment systems for Windows tablets which is all very nice but the real story is the guy who founded Skycast, Bill Boyer. He used to work for Alaska Airlines – as a baggage handler.

Spirit to Miami? Maybe. The crazy little airline we love and hate is in talks to fly out of Miami. Watch out for those fees, Florida.

Shrunken heads: False teeth are just one of the things people leave behind at Washington D.C.’s Dulles airport along with belts, electronics, ID and shrunken heads. Yes, shrunken heads but Rick Seaney told you about them in 2011.

I do, I do: Look for a story on destination weddings in the News Blog in the next couple of weeks but in the meantime, our crack investigative team has turned up a weird new wedding trend – sending out “You’re Not Invited” cards. What?

Number one airline: That would be Virgin America, based on latest quality ranking. Try them sometime – you won’t be sorry.

World Cup airports ‘not ready': Brazil  airport improvements are reportedly not going well as they prepare for the global games. The airport in Fortaleza will use a “temporary canvas terminal”. A guy who runs a travel agency in Rio de Janeiro was quoted as saying, “People coming to Brazil are going to be shocked, especially Americans, by the how bad the airports are.” Are you ready for some futebol?

Chocolate airport dance: An ad for Cadbury candy features a young man dancing through an airport. Worth a look (and you can look below).

TSA and the disabled woman: A 58-year-old woman in a wheelchair since a stroke 10 years ago was reportedly not allowed to fly because her driver’s license ID had expired. A TSA spokesman was quoted saying they could have handled this differently but also noted the woman’s family could have handled it differently. We’ve contacted the TSA for clarification. UPDATE: The TSA tells us passengers with disabilities or medical issues can get help through the TSA Cares program by calling the hotline at 1-855-787-2227 and you can even request a Passenger Support Specialist (which was apparently not done in this case). The TSA added that normally, when IDs are expired or lost, you can still get through security but you need to chat with a TSA representative at the checkpoint (the disabled woman in this case could not speak; apparently she was going to fly all by herself).

You special flyers, you: Over on the Deals Blog, we’re trying an experiment – pulling together deals just for folks in certain big cities. See if your city is one of them.

Darth Vader plane: Air New Zealand has a cool new paint job – on at least one of its planes – dramatic black with a little white. Unfortunately the airline’s photo on Twitter is black and white so it lacks a certain something but the New Zealand Herald has a good one.

VIDEO: Chocolate, dancing, airport security – our three favorite things!

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Published: April 7, 2014