Not Your Average Travel Stories: Week of July 29

This week: Travel fantasies come true, featuring video of cute little penguins!

Travel fantasies: No, not that fantasy – we’re talking about dreams coming true! But here’s the real reason to click this story – penguin video.

Bag fees to soar: They might on Ryanair if the wacky guy who runs the airline has anything to say about it (and Michael O’Leary always has something to say). Note: a checked-bag on this European low cost carrier already costs you $38 to $243 and that’s just one-way.

You’re weighing my what? Purse. Some overseas airlines now weigh women’s handbags and if they’re too hefty, there is a fee. We’re talking about you, Jetstar and Tiger.

Zzzzzz: New government report slams TSA officers for sleeping on the job, allowing friends and family to skip screening – and worse. Stealing, for example.

FareCompare beats AP by four years: Astrophysicist is quoted by Associated Press on quicker ways to board airplanes but our Rick Seaney interviewed Dr. Jason Steffen way back in 2009. Forget boarding by row numbers, he told us, the best method for getting everyone onboard fast is, “randomly.”

Finger lickin’ good turtle: China passenger placed his “beloved tortoise” in KFC bag so he could smuggle him aboard his flight since who wants to be separated from his reptile? Didn’t work.

Big bag caper: Passenger with a bunch of bags learned he’d have to fork over $1,400 in excess/overweight fees. Instead of paying, he just dumped the bags! Of course when he arrived at JFK, New York’s Finest needed to talk to him since there was quite the to-do back at Sea-Tac where he left the bags (authorities worried they might contain explosives; they didn’t). Have you ever been tempted?

Dangerous odor: Five TSA officers were hospitalized after complaining about an odor coming from a suitcase at Miami’s airport. Turns out the bag’s owner was transporting pesticide. No, we don’t know why, but we do know of weirder things found in bags.

Crash landing: Tech guy Nick Bradbury writes about his chilling experience on the Southwest plane that landed nose-first. Icing on the cake: when his carry-on was returned, his MacBook Pro was missing (but Southwest did reimburse him). Normally using a carry-on is super-smart.

Frontier on the block: The CEO of Republic which is trying to unload its low cost carrier says they may have found a buyer for Frontier – but no one’s naming names.

Never-ending debate: NY Times notes the TSA’s “notoriously burdensome” airport security procedures in a column that begins, “The chance of dying in an airplane is vanishingly small. The chance of being killed by a terrorist in an airplane is smaller still.” But if it does happen, which agency will get all the blame?

Oddest reason to fly: CNN promotes“adorable zoo babies” in its travel section. To be fair, it sounds nicer than other animal-travel stories we’ve run across like ‘primates in pants’.

Worst airline? Allegiant may be in the running based on an AP story which notes, “Once onboard, Allegiant passengers are bombarded with sales pitches. On a recent flight [to Vegas] flight attendants came over the loudspeaker and hawked show tickets and airport shuttles.” In case you’re wondering, yes, they do make commissions on these sales.

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Published: July 29, 2013