Not Your Average Travel Stories: Week of Feb. 18

Funny, scary, bizarre – that’s the kind of travel stories you’ll find here, and we update every day.

Oh, my: It’s never a good idea to confuse your airport gate area with a toilet as a Twilight actor found out this week; the allegedly intoxicated lad got probation for the caught-on-video incident. But if you think this is the most embarrassing-bodily-function travel story of the week, you missed this one.

Here’s why you should fly instead of drive: According to a list of 10 worst cities for driving, stay far away from New York City (stick with the Midwest). Better yet, fly – then you only have to worry about bizarre new airline seats that could cause sardine syndrome.

Writer booted: Travel blogger is kicked off United flight for taking a picture of his seat (he also takes pictures of airline meals). He politely tried to explain himself to the flight attendant by saying, “I hope you didn’t think I was a terrorist.” There’s his mistake – unnecessary use of the ‘t-word’.

Who left half-million dollars at security? We all did, penny-by-penny, according to a TSA report. This is the 2012 total for pocket change passengers forgot to pick up after screening. You won’t forget now, will you?

Most family friendly airlines? A recent report lauds carriers like Emirates, then calls Southwest the “most family-oriented” in the U.S. (just be sure your child doesn’t scream too loudly – and you’re not too-fat-to-fly).

Airfares down 50%: Don’t get too excited, that’s over the past 30 years and the report doesn’t mention little details like deregulation or 9/11 but yes, you can find cheap flights now.

Crazy talk: Travel writer tells airlines, “Stop forcing that default complimentary soda and snack on your economy passengers on domestic flights. Most of us don’t want it.” Speak for yourself, pal. I’ll take all the free snacks I can get.

Diamonds stolen at airport: Thieves make off with $50 million in diamonds from Brussels International. And to think that TSA guy only managed to steal $36.

Plane rudeness: A flight attendant allegedly made fun of a passenger who had urgent restroom needs, but passenger gets last laugh with a free voucher. On the other hand, it took one of those ‘on your side’ consumer reporters to get it.

Gas on planes? Go for it: Experts say, flatulence on planes is a good thing. There’s a whole scientific study about it. Really.

Goodbye, here’s your cash: American CEO Tom Horton wasn’t selected to lead the new mega-merger carrier but he will get a nice parting gift – $20 million. And you thought getting dumped was a bad thing.

Baby blues: Top executive with Idaho-based aerospace firm  is arrested after allegedly slapping the face of crying toddler on Delta flight. Man denied it (also denied use of racial slur against the child) but witness says otherwise. Sure sounds like someone could have used a child-free quiet zone. UPDATE: Alleged slapper has been fired.

Slumber party: Charlotte snowstorm prompts US Airways set up cots and pass out blankets/pillows. Note to the stranded: if the pillow sports a US Airways logo, hang on to it – will soon be a collector’s item.

Player grounded: Knicks guard with nickname “Flight” misses all seven attempts in slam dunk competition. Winner plays for Raptors – a dinosaur that cannot fly.

United bags: Business class flyers get their baggage allowance “slashed” for some cities. Instead of three free bags, they now only get two. Uh, do you really need even two bags?

Freakjet photo of the day: You know that Snuggie or Slanket you got for Christmas? Turns out it’s the perfect ensemble for your next flight.

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Published: February 18, 2013