Not Your Average Travel Stories: Week of Sept. 16

This week: Legless lizards, abominable snowmen, elegant eagles – plus the coolest video you’ll see today (below).

Ditch the yak: China begins flights at world’s highest airport in Tibet (higher elevation than any of the Rockies). Fun fact: Passengers are warned of “light-headedness and other symptoms of altitude sickness on arrival”. But the real question is, will Yeti Airlines fly there?

Security slam: TSA reportedly fires five officers and suspends dozens more at Pittsburgh International for an illegal gambling ring but did you know this involved “an office betting pool of sorts”? Any cubicle denizens re-thinking Fantasy Football?

Fly like an eagle: But if you can’t, no problem since someone strapped a tiny camera onto the back of an eagle so we could enjoy a bird’s-eye-view video of his flight. See the cool video below.

Whoa! Strange new creature: A brand new species of “legless lizard” has been found quietly going about his business at the end of a runway at Los Angeles International. Legless lizards? Isn’t that we non-scientists call snakes?

Steer clear of volcano: Airlines are being told to avoid an ash-spewing volcano in Indonesia. These things can really make life hell for airlines and passengers.

Should you tip a flight attendant? We are actually rather shocked at the idea but apparently it happens. Would you tip a cabin crew member? And you flight attendants – does this strike you as the least bit tacky?

Sanity check: An American Airlines flight attendant is asked how she keeps her sanity amidst the merger chaos and says, “I go home and don?t think about work.” Too bad they didn’t ask her about tipping.

Green is good: Most fuel efficient airline of 2010 (most recent figures)? Take a bow, Alaska. Worst? Take a hike, Allegiant.

Flight attendant wannabe: 13 year old girl, desperate to become a flight attendant, camps out at airport in China. Police keep escorting her out of but can’t keep her away. I know – let’s tell her about this next item.

Scary passenger: A 23 year old woman on a US Airways plane about to take off from Philly to Miami allegedly threw her phone at a flight attendant, then slapped and scratched him. Other passengers say she was actually quite frightening. Scary woman was removed and arrested.

Puppies: Those therapy dogs at LAX – used for the de-stressification of crazed passengers – is going well. Judging by the pictures anyway. Best thing: Pups wear little jackets that say, “Pet me!”

Tough flight attendants: Cabin crew member talks about what’s changed since 9/11: “We’re taught karate. We talk about throwing hot coffee at lunging terrorists.” Yet some critics say they’re just a bunch of old ladies.

Riskiest time to shop: Good thing the weekend is past – now get ready to shop on Tuesday.

Free tickets: Did you manage to get any of the nearly free airline tickets when United had that glitch last Thursday? Oh, man is this your lucky day.

VIDEO: Flight from an eagle’s perspective. Enjoy.

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Published: September 16, 2013