Weird Travel Stories + Video: Week Ending Jan. 17

This week: A trifecta of bad passengers, bad etiquette, bad air rage. Note: We update these weekly round-ups often so keep coming back.

Strange, Weird, Unusual or Just Plain Odd

Southwest fined, big-time: The Dept. of Transportation fined the popular carrier a record $1.6 million for keeping passengers on planes on the tarmac beyond the 3 hour limit. After 3 hours, you’re supposed to let them off. In Southwest’s defense the Jan. 2014 incident occurred during terrible weather at Chicago’s Midway and an airline spokesman says things have since improved.

Here’s a shocker: The print/online magazine Business Traveler has named its Best Airport in North America for 2014 and it is – LAX. Yep, the aging hub of Los Angeles. Comments??

Which airlines are on-time: None, if you mean being punctual all the time, but Hawaiian is always a good bet and Delta is really coming on strong, performance-wise.

iPads at Newark: The lovely New Jersey hub airport is installing thousands of iPads in waiting areas and on food court tables so you can browse – and, it is hoped – buy stuff. In some cases, you’ll even be able to pay with frequent flyer miles which strikes us as a good thing.

Hey, guys! Going to Vegas? In case you can’t think of anything to do there, we have some ideas.

Southwest passengers at LAX: You are being asked to leave a little earlier for flights out of Los Angeles International due to construction, but don’t worry – shouldn’t last longer than a year or so.

Maybe everyone should get to the airport earlier: TSA security screening has been ramped up in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. Get to your airport just a little earlier than you normally would.

Air rage in China: I’m sure most Chinese folks are lovely travelers but angry stories keep popping up like the gal that culminated an argument with a Thai AirAsia flight attendant by dumping hot water on her, or the multiple passengers on the China Eastern Airlines flight who hated the lack of air conditioning on their plane during a maintenance procedure  so they all opened exit doors to cool themselves down – as the plane was leaving the gate.

Airline employee sentenced for fraud: When Michael Yedor oversaw the installation and maintenance of radio communications at Northwest and later Delta Air Lines, he also kept busy submitting fake invoices for fake companies. How lucrative was this sideline? He was arrested on his 72-foot yacht. He and his accomplice netted about $36M over the years, but it will cost Mr. Yedor the next 10 years of his freedom.

Etiquette for flyers: JetBlue wants to help you be a better person. Or at least a better flyer. Step one: See the video below.

VIDEO: This guy looks very familiar.


Updated: January 16, 2015