Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of Aug. 11, 2014

This week: Amazing pilots, amazing shark and some amazingly cool dog video.

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Anne McDermott and Alex Williams share some  – uh – interesting stories.

Strange, Weird, Unusual, Odd

Most heroic pilots: A fascinating list of astounding incidents like a 1990 British Airways flight where the windshield blew out, sucking the pilot halfway out of the plane. While the man was battered by 300 m.p.h. winds, flight attendants held onto his legs as the co-pilot somehow managed to land the plane with no loss of life.

Best plane vs. shark video: If you haven’t seen this clip from Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009), drop everything. It features a giant shark that leaps 30,000 feet in the air to battle a Boeing 747. Spoiler alert: The shark wins.

Pilot’s fake arm falls off: The captain of a Flybe airliner coming in for a landing at Belfast ran into a small problem when his prosthetic arm fell off. Actually, it was a small problem because the plane – with 47 people onboard – landed safely. A British government report about the incident (which took place in February) stated the pilot agreed to be “more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis” while Flybe noted the captain involved was one of its “most experienced and trusted” pilots, and that the airline was proud to be an equal opportunities employer.

One way to avoid overweight bag fees: Two young guys flying the melodiously named Scoot were told by the airline rep in Singapore that their carry-ons were too heavy and they’d have to fork over an additional $130. Did the lads pay up? Of course not. These geniuses simply began pulling out clothes and putting them on – lots and lots of clothes – which you can see on Reddit. Best part: The sneakers shoved down one of the guy’s pants.

Nut allergies: A four year old British child on a Ryanair flight became seriously ill when a passenger a few rows back ignored crew members’ warnings about the little girl’s nut allegery and munched away. The child recovered; the nut-eating passenger has reportedly been banned from the airline for two years. You can read about U.S. airline nut policies here but note  that flight attendants cannot police everyone.

Coolest airline museum: CNN names Delta’s in Atlanta which includes lots of planes (semi-yawn) and a “collection of stylish luggage and Delta uniforms” (OK, I’m in).

What pilots won’t tell you: They don’t mind telling Reader’s Digest, though, and the gems include “I’ve been hit by lightning twice” (that’s reassuring) and “Some FAA rules don’t make sense to us either” (oh, dear, we were hoping somebody understood them).

Attention, business travelers: If you fly to France, there’s a new airline with New York to Paris flights featuring an all-business class cabin. The carrier is called LaCompagnie and according to Bloomberg it sells round-trip tickets for about half what Air France does.

Bad birds (kind of): If only Hitchcock knew what our feathered friends could do – like get sucked up into aircraft engines – he might appreciate all the airport experiments to deter them. The latest is at Dayton where they are planting long prairie grass because birds “fear predators might be hiding within.”

Oh, no! Clowns on planes: Didn’t we learn anything from Stephen King? Not Israeli airline El Al it seems because it’s added a clown to its “expanded family entertainment” program on certain long haul flights. What’s next, zombies on Spirit?

Bad engine: A Thomson Airways Dreamliner (Boeing 787) had to divert to the Azores on a flight from the U.K. to the Dominican Republic because one of the plane’s engines stopped working. Yes, we know they’ve got another one and the plane only needs one to fly, but still – unnerving.

Bad passenger: In the never-ending saga known as Guys You Don’t Want to Sit Next To, a London-bound Virgin Atlantic plane turned around and went back to Hong Kong when an allegedly shouting passenger would not shut up. Apparently he was a fairly cheerful fellow; besides the yelling, he was said to be “singing” and “waving his arms” but his downfall may have been pushing a flight attendant who asked him to calm down.

Dog flight: Thanks to those ubiquitous GoPro cameras, a man shows air travel from the perspective of his crated German Shepherd. It actually looks like the pup had a good flight.

VIDEO: Watch a dog get ready to fly. Stick around; the happy ending is just after the credits.

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Published: August 11, 2014