Not Your Average Travel Stories: Week of Aug. 19

This week: Secrets revealed, intimate items found, and crazy airline names!

Odd things found on planes: Skyscanner reports on such lost-and-found items as false teeth and top hats (who knew Mr. Peanut flew?) but FareCompare has a far more exciting list which includes a shrunken head and – well – let’s just say “intimate personal items” and leave it at that.

Secret airline club: United has a secret invitation-only club for best customers says the Wall Street Journal; perks include rides to terminals in Mercedes, buttons sewn on shirts, suits pressed, even getting other passengers bumped so you get their seat. Joining is the club is simple: just spend a gazillion dollars flying a gazillion miles each year.

Here’s where your missing stuff went: Ex-United baggage handler is ordered to pay $32K to travelers whose bags he stole from, but don’t look for a check immediately as there’s the little matter of a six month prison term to get through first.

Don’t mess with the paparazzi: Wow, who saw this one coming? Lawsuit filed on behalf of photographer allegedly roughed up by Kanye West at LAX. Attorneys for West say, hey, he was just trying to stop the guy from taking his picture, that’s all.

Concert in mid-flight: Singer-songwriter Gavin McGraw serenaded passengers on a Southwest flight. More than a few onboard had no clue who he was, but seemed to like what they heard. No doubt those buckled-seat belts were the only thing in the way of a standing ovation.

Amazingly odd airline name: Thought this was a joke at first but Wall Street Journal says otherwise – discount carrier AirAsia Japan will be reborn as Vanilla Air. But trust us, there are far, FAR weirder airline names out there.

Hell flight, take-two: Allegiant plane is stuck on the tarmac in Vegas for three-and-a-half hours. Those onboard said there was no A/C, no bathrooms. How bad was it? Quote from a stranded traveler: “One passenger had to go so bad that she urinated in a Pringles can.” And this isn’t Allegiant’s first rodeo!

So what’s this merger thing REALLY mean? We’ve got a video that explains it all for you.

“Project Jewel”: That’s the code name for the expansion effort underway at Singapore’s Changi Airport which is already pretty darn snazzy what with its live butterfly habitat and all.

More diaper changing tables on planes, please: That’s the request of one father during a recent United flight – but I can’t figure out how he could keep his eyes open long enough to notice any missing tables since he was traveling with a 15 month old and a 2 month old.

White Mexicans only: Aeromexico’s ad agency issued a casting call that said no dark skinned people would be allowed to audition for upcoming commercials. Now everyone is falling all over themselves apologizing but so far we haven’t seen either company say, “Yes, dark skinned people, please try out for our ads!” [If we’re wrong, tell us, OK?]

Manchester United unites with Russians: The iconic football team (soccer to you Yanks) has just struck a marketing deal with Aeroflot. Sounds as crazy as Barcelona partnering with Qatar Airways, right? Oh, wait.

Pilot fired: Remember we told you about a pilot who questioned some of Ryanair’s safety practices? The airline countered with, “We are safe” – then swung the axe on the doubting pilot.

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Published: August 19, 2013