Not Your Average Travel Stories + Video: Week of May 27, 2014

This week: Mile high madness with cocaine swallowing pilots, grenades at security and f-bombs on video.

LISTEN: FareCompare’s Alexandria Williams and Anne McDermott add hors d’oeuvres to this week’s gossip menu.

Strange, Unusual and Just Plain Odd

Worst headline of the week (or year): From the UK’s Telegraph – “What do airlines do with dead passengers?” We refer of course to someone unfortunate enough to breathe his or her last while on a plane. The short answer: Stowing them in first class is OK, stowing them in the lavatory is not OK. Yikes.

Southwest’s bad ads: The Department of Transportation has slammed Southwest Airlines with a $200K fine, say news reports because of an ad for “$59 one-way fares”. The DOT took the trouble to look for some of these fares and could not find them. An airline spokesman said it was a matter of a “flawed review of the ad copy” but as the Associated Press reports, the carrier was cited for a similar offense last year.

Electronic boarding passes: Southwest now has e-boarding passes so forget the paper, just show your phone at security and the gate. How 2011! But glad you made it.

Every time a plane flies: We know what you’re thinking – “Every time a plane flies, an angel gets his wings”, but no! Every time an S7 plane flies over your head, you get miles. It’s a new promotion from the Russian airline S7 (cool name). Just get their app and get points any time one of their planes flies above you. Tip: Don’t stand around waiting for this to happen in Kansas since the carrier is based in Siberia.

Ka-boom – maybe: Part of Los Angeles International had to be evacuated Tuesday after a man came through the TSA line a souvenir, WWII-era grenade [all I get are lousy T-shirts]. He thought it was inert but the cops said it could’ve been live and blew it up to be on the safe side. The grenade belonged to recently deceased dad of our traveler who happens to be a professor at Stanford. His expertise is in political science and not physics, in case you were wondering.

Drunkest passengers – maybe: GuestLogix took a look at beverage sale receipts from airlines and says people heading to Las Vegas bought the most booze [you were expecting Des Moines?] but who knew number two would be Seattle? Luckily, sobering up will be a snap there thanks to all that great coffee.

Cocaine swallowing pilot: A Houston TV station reportsthat a “commercial airline pilot” who was a passenger on a flight from Columbia to Houston went to a hospital after a bag of cocaine he swallowed ruptured inside his stomach. We’ll update if we find out which carrier he worked for. UPDATE: Reports say the pilot “works for a large regional carrier that serves four separate airlines” but that’s it for specifics.

Mile-high selfies: Get your mind out of the gutter, these are innocent photos of travelers in the air. In fact a flight attendant says they are not allowed to post any sort of risqué photos so don’t go looking for any, you won’t find them. Well, maybe.

Lost guitar: A lad from Michigan (according to his Facebook page) wrote a song about how US Airways allegedly lost his guitar (see video below) and he’s pretty upset – there are some very bad words in the song. If this sounds familiar, that’s because United Airlines broke Dave Carroll’s guitar back in 2009 and he, too, recorded a song about it.

VIDEO: Warning – adult language. Clearly the singer is very unhappy with his airline.

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Published: May 27, 2014