Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of Aug. 18, 2014

This week:  Violently ill passengers and violence against guitars. Plus peaceful video.

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Alex Williams and Anne McDermott on airport security, fear-of-flying and Play-Doh.

Strange, Weird, Unusual, Odd

Violently ill: That’s how four passengers on a Jet2 flight that had just landed in Edinburgh were described and the plane was said to be quarantined for about an hour. In case you’re wondering, the plane was coming from Budapest. According to the news report, one of the passenger was hospitalized.

American Airlines retirees lose out: American plans to reduce some of the travel benefits currently enjoyed by retired workers, which would mean a current employee who’s been with the airline 6 months would have a higher stand-by priority than a retired person who’d been there 40 years. They’re not happy and they’ve done some picketing.

Another broken guitar: The lead singer for Big Time Rush (boy band) says American Airlines broke his $4,000 custom guitar (my, that sounds familiar). Too bad this fellow didn’t read our post called, “When Airlines Break Guitars: Your Rights When Traveling with Valuables”.

Animal tales: Rick Seaney reports on flying German Shepherds, cats on the loose and a horde of rampaging rodents.

New FAA no-fly zone: U.S. airlines have been told not to fly over Syria due to armed conflict there, but as CBS reports, most of them (and most others around the world) haven’t been doing that for years.

Not all faster airport programs are equal: So find out if you should get PreCheck or Global Entry thanks to this handy comparison chart.

Conquer your fear of flying: A former airline pilot has built a Boeing 737 near Exeter in England to help people overcome their fear of flying. The £100 course ($166) includes counseling and you even get to fly the plane! How you get to this guy if you live in the U.S. is anybody’s guess (boat?) but don’t worry, Rick Seaney also has info on overcoming this very real fear.

Bardarbunga: Iceland has raised the ‘aviation risk’ for volcano activity at Bardarbunga – the nation’s largest volcano system – to the next-to-highest warning level. This is potentially a very big deal since eruptions at the smaller Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 shut down most of Europe’s airspace for nearly a week.

Not enough vacation time: Does your company give you enough vacation days? It may not be the company – it might be the country. If you lived in Brazil, you’d get 30 days paid vacation days guaranteed. No such guarantee in the U.S.

Addicted to travel: Well, this would be hard in the U.S. what with our lack of vacation days, but supposedly travel addiction is a thing (or at least it’s a thing for the author of this story).

Amazing photos: Check out these pictures of the ground as seen from the very top of famous buildings and attractions (like the Eiffel Tower). I don’t know about you but just glancing at these makes me want to grab a railing. Look if you dare.

Best toys on planes: British Airways conducted an experiment (see the video below) and found that the most popular toys for kids on planes were – Play-Doh and Legos. Note: A few years back, a TSA agent confiscated a kid’s Play-Doh. Now they say, it’s OK (we did a search), but they also say, even items that are “generally accepted” can be taken away. Yikes.

VIDEO: I like Play-Doh. I also like all these British accents.

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Published: August 18, 2014