Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of June 30, 2014

This week: Dog roams runways and football player gets “advice”. Plus soaring, swooping video.

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Anne McDermott and Alex Williams sparkle in the pre-Fourth of July podcast. Well, kind of!

Strange, Weird, Unusual and Odd

Happy Fourth, but don’t do this: And by “this” we mean bring fireworks on a plane. The TSA says you have no idea how many people try this. Actually, we do because we live to chronicle such things.

Plane springs leak: A “river” of water went flowing down the aisle of a Qantas jet shortly after take-off from LAX so the Melbourne-bound plane turned around and came back. No word on what caused the leak (or what that ‘water’ was!) but the airline said no one was in danger and they all flew out the next day.

Dog hates France: Well, that could explain why a “large brown boxer” chewed through his kennel then ran across two runways at Los Angeles International (delaying a few flights) before finally being captured unharmed. His owner, who’d already departed for Paris, was apparently unaware of the drama but that’ll change as soon as he lands and says, “Where the heck is Sparky?”

Football player and alleged threat: Remember when 49er Aldon Smith was taken into custody at LAX for supposedly making a bomb threat? [He was also suspected of drinking but was not tested.] Was he fined or given house arrest? Heck no! He is “expected to attend a hearing later this month to explain his side of the story and to receive advice on how to avoid similar circumstances in the future.”

Bouncer on board: That’s what the New York Times suggests is needed on airplanes during beverage service (we’re talking about alcoholic drinks, of course). Rick Seaney has plenty of other ideas.

$22 million fraud: A longtime Delta employee and another fellow were indicted for carrying out what authorities called an “astonishing” long-term racket against the airline which supposedly involved approving fake invoices to the tune of $22 million. What happened to the money? Not clear but one of the accused was arrested on his yacht.

As if planes aren’t cramped enough: An emergency slide accidentally deployed on a United flight from Chicago to Southern California, blocking the aisle and prompting the pilot to divert to Wichita. So far they haven’t figured out what went wrong, only that it’s happened before.

Death of an airline founder: If the name Roland King doesn’t ring a bell, that probably wouldn’t have surprised the 83-year-old Texan since he was one of the lesser-known founders of Southwest Airlines. According to his obit in the Los Angeles Times, King later “expressed regret at letting go of the management reins and allowing much of the credit for the company’s success go to others.”

20 best places to see in USA: This CNN list has lots of don’t-miss destinations. Number one is Maui on Hawaii; two is Yellowstone; three is Washington, D.C. [I know which I’d choose but how about you?]

Travel by drone: A jaunty wave to our friends at Skift for discovering TravelByDrone which features countless aerial videos including a particularly restful one of a Southern California beach, below. Per the caption, the images are via “FPV Quadcopter – Aqua Amarga”.

VIDEO: An overcast yet serene morning in Southern California with surfers, mega-mansions and a few brave souls on the perilous cliffs above the beach.


Published: June 30, 2014