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  • August 29, 2008

    Ex-Baggage Handler: Will Work 4 Haggis

    Filed under: Airplane,Frustration,Haggis — Rick Seaney @ 2:03 pm
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    A baggage handler at Glasgow’s airport performed a remarkable feat recently; he ripped a 5-foot wide hole in the side of a Boeing 757.

    Unfortunately, details were hard to come by on precisely how this gaping wound was created: was our hero was having a bad day? Did he spot some luggage containing anvils and decide to toss it about? I could nae say.

    This much is certain: he was unceremoniously sacked.

    August 28, 2008

    “What ya got there in the bag, Your Holiness?”

    Filed under: Security,Water — Rick Seaney @ 8:35 am
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    Pope Benedict is traveling to Lourdes next month – you Catholics out there will know it as the shrine in Southern France with supposedly miraculous/healing waters.

    All well and good.

    But…but…journalists traveling with the Pope have been warned by the Vatican – don’t expect to nab a couple of bottles of eau de Lourdes and think you can get away with carrying them onboard. Oh no.

    You scribes will be traveling on Air France, and just like in the U.S., no sizeable containers of liquid can be brought on the plane. However, if you’d like to chance flooding your checked-bag, go right ahead. Merci!

    August 27, 2008

    Alaska Airlines says, what does our state mean to you?

    Filed under: Alaska,Children — Rick Seaney @ 4:01 pm
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    Let see…Alaska…killer polar bears…death-inducing cold…murderous mosquitoes…

    Okay, Alaska Airlines doesn’t care what I think, but they do want to know what the state’s schoolchildren think, and in order to do so, they’ve started a “Paint the Plane” contest.

    Here’s the deal: whoever comes up with a design that “best captures the theme of ‘The Spirit of Alaska’” will get to see that design painted on one of the carrier’s aircraft. And there’s a prize, too – the winner gets to go to…Disneyland!

    Wait a sec — they had to go out of state for a decent prize?

    Just kidding, I do like Alaska. It’s beautiful. Now go enter the contest – but please, the killer polar bear concept has been spoken for.

    ABC Column: Cattle Call for Business Travelers

    Filed under: ABC — Rick Seaney @ 9:16 am
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    Yes, the boss has written another column for – this one is all about business travelers and the “minimum stay” rule.

    Want just the highlights? Easy – just click here.

    Want the entire column, in all its fact-filled and fascinating glory? Click here.

    Want to skip this altogether?

    Not an option.

    August 26, 2008

    OBIT: Dave Freeman, co-author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die”

    Filed under: Destinations,Rememberance — Rick Seaney @ 7:50 am
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    Dave Freeman, an advertising exec who co-wrote the wildly popular book, “100 Things to Do Before You Die: Travel Events You Just Can’t Miss” has himself died.

    Freeman was only 47. According to the Los Angeles Times, he died after falling and hitting his head at his home in Venice, Calif.

    The point of his book: live every day like it’s your last. And Freeman did a pretty good job at that — in the short amount of time he was allotted, he managed to cross off about half the things on his book’s list.

    August 25, 2008

    Part V: My Pal at the Olympics – The Homecoming (and a looooong flight)

    Filed under: China,Olympics — Rick Seaney @ 7:44 am
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    This is the last in a series of reports on my friend – a sportswriter for a Very Important Paper – who has been in Beijing covering the Olympics. Read about her long flight to China, how the Chinese deal with water bottles at security, her adventures with exotic cuisine and her taste in TV shows.

    My pal says, you better have some good sneakers on, if you’re going to see the Great Wall of China, and that’s because all the stones on the “floor” of the wall stick up all over the place – making for a rocky romp, but the view, she says, is worth it – an incredible vista.

    Note: get there before 9am if you can — otherwise, it is mobbed by locals.

    Her Continental flight from Beijing to the U.S. was delayed a couple of hours; so our sports writer took the time to ingratiate herself with some flight attendants, offering them Olympic pins with her Very Important Paper’s logo on them, which were happily accepted. “Don’t worry, hon, I’m gonna take care of you!” said one of the grinning hostesses, and indeed she did – providing my pal with free drinks of an unspecified but alcoholic nature.

    That made the trip go a little more smoothly. However, our scribe was most distressed to note that the video screen on her seatback was broken. And alas, there was not a single empty seat to move to.

    And so, she read and dozed – dreaming of all those Mary Tyler Moore re-runs she was missing out on…and no doubt pondering that question for the ages: exactly how old are those Chinese gymnasts, anyway??

    August 22, 2008

    How’s your etiquette? Let Hyatt help. Or just ask me.

    Filed under: Manners — Rick Seaney @ 1:42 pm
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    Okay, Hyatt has “partnered” with Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post, to teach you lugs some manners.

    Anna seems like a nice woman, very polite and all, but I do have a couple of questions:

    • 1. When did “partner” become a verb? And why?
    • 2. What’s the point of learning manners from Anna when we still have Emily?

    Oh, not in the flesh — the lady died 48 years ago. But she lives on in her “Etiquette” books. Get one, and read it. Try for an original at an old bookshop – I like the 1945 Funk & Wagnalls edition.

    No, it doesn’t say anything specifically about cell phone use in polite society, but do you really need a book for that? Just remember what Mom used to say about doing unto others and you’ll be okay. Common sense, folks. And when it comes to everything else, trust me – everything you need to know about etiquette — and life — is contained in this volume. Everything.

    August 21, 2008

    Travel Trends — Babymoons! Well, whatever floats your boat…

    Filed under: Children,Family,Luxury Travel — anne @ 8:13 am
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    I’ve been reading about the babymoon trend for some time — a last big travel fling for expectant parents. ABC recently has this story on it.

    The whole idea is “last minute pampering” before Junior arrives — at resorts that include such things as massages and even “craving chefs”.

    Wonder if these guys have ever been pregnant? The last thing I wanted to do was “travel” — that’s just work, these days. And forget that “glow” everyone talks about — sometimes, pregnant women don’t look their best — and may not be all that keen on frolicking in public.

    Another thought — do we really want to blow Junior’s college fund on a last minute fling?

    Relax. I have an alternative:

    1.) Stay home. 2.) Sit on couch. 3.) Surround self with snacks. 4.) Watch old episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore show, to remind you what it was like to be carefree, single and childless. Or watch the Brady Bunch.

    Note: this do-it-yourself “babymoon” can be enjoyed by all. Try it today!

    August 20, 2008

    The Sins of the Middle Seaters (Why, Hello There, “Smelly Feet”)

    Filed under: List,Manners,Pests — anne @ 11:16 am
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    Are you a sinner? You are, according to my boss, if you remove your shoes and socks on a plane and have the bathing habits of a crazed wolverine.

    Don’t believe me? Check out his column for

    Oh, and be sure and read about “Snuggle Bunny” and “Bean Burrito” and “Bin-man” and all the other guys that make flying such a pleasure these days.

    Wait, did I mention the “Texting Twit”?

    “Lavatory Lizard”?


    August 19, 2008

    Part IV: My Pal at the Olympics – Sightseeing

    Filed under: China,Olympics — anne @ 6:52 am
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    This is the latest in a series of reports on my friend – a sportswriter for a Very Important Paper – who is now in Beijing covering the Olympics. Read about her long flight to China, how the Chinese deal with water bottles at security, and her adventures with exotic cuisine.

    Haven’t written about my pal lately — apparently she’s been busy, busy, busy, writing about some guy who’s speedo-ing his way into the record books.

    All I can say is, you may have more medals, Mr. Phelps — but you’ll never have a mustache as cool as Mark Spitz’s.

    So anyway, my friend had some down time — and what does she do? Why, she goes to the Great Wall, of course. How was it? Well it was great, of course.

    You ask — why the Great Wall? Well, it’s a “tourist must” and this sports-writing scribe is a bit of a traditionalist. After all, consider what she watched on her Continental flight to Beijing: ESPN? No. CNN? No. Discovery? No. Mary Tyler Moore re-runs? Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner.

    August 18, 2008

    The Case of the Mummified Arm

    Filed under: Mystery — anne @ 9:03 am
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    Here’s a detective story:

    First the background: 60 years ago, a chartered Northwest Airlines plane left China and crashed into a mountain side in Alaska — and was never heard from again.

    Well, that’s not quite true; back in 1999, a couple of Northwest pilots were intrigued by the story — oh, did I mention this?

    The plane was thought to be carrying a load of gold.

    Anyway, these modern day pilots decided to see if they could find the wreckage. They did find it. They didn’t find any gold, but they did find a mummified arm. It took 9-years of sleuthing, but experts eventually identified its owner — a 36 year old merchant marine named Francis Joseph Van Zandt. He and some of his fellow merchant marines had just delivered an oil tanker to Shanghai, and it was thought to have been paid for in gold.

    If it was — the gold is still out there — somewhere. Any takers?

    August 15, 2008

    Who Will the VP Candidates Be? It’s All in the Planes

    Filed under: Airplane — mike @ 12:26 pm
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    While pundits, Washington insiders, and the general electorate do their best to figure out who Senators Obama and McCain will choose to be their Vice Presidential candidates, we might be better off just keeping an eye on airplane hangers.

    After all, that’s what gave things away last time around when an US Airways mechanic caught a glimpse of a John Kerry campaign plane:

    “Around 6 that evening, I peeked in and saw they were putting John Edwards’ name on the airplane…They concealed it rather quickly — they taped paper over the logos. I just happened to peek in at the right time.” — mechanic, from the Los Angeles Times

    So, why not turn the talking heads off and just wait for a wily airline employee to break the big news?

    August 14, 2008

    United Ruins Vacation and Doesn’t Seem to Care Too Much

    Filed under: Family,Hawaii,United — anne @ 12:48 pm
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    Saw this on Consumerist — and they got it from Gerry Braun of the San Diego Union-Tribune — and we bring it to you. Got that?

    Anyway, it seems there was going to be this big family reunion in Hawaii. Tickets were purchased months in advance, a beach house was rented, all was in readiness. UNTIL — the day before. United told them the flight was canceled.

    Only, it wasn’t. United reportedly, just bumped the family. Eventually they admitted that but never said why (couldn’t be because tickets purchased closer to the trip — more expensive tickets — would be more profitable for the airline, could it?).

    The alternatives offered by the airline didn’t work — family members would have missed most of the vacation. Oh, and it wasn’t just a vacation: these people were getting together for a farewell visit to a family member who was dying in Hawaii.

    You guessed it. Vacation was a no-go. Family member died. Read all about it.

    Grandma Shoots Video on JetBlue Flight, Gets Arrested

    Filed under: ABC,Arrested,JetBlue — anne @ 12:30 pm
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    My goodness!

    A 56-year old grandmother videotaped what was apparently some minor altercation between a couple of passengers (and thanks, Chris Elliott, for all the details).

    Then, flight attendants asked her to delete it. She didn’t want to. She got arrested.

    Sound nutty? Sure does to us. Makes us REALLY wonder what’s on that videotape. Oh, wait — we’re about to find out. Apparently Grandma is going to be on ABC sometime soon — with her tape.

    August 13, 2008

    Dogs are cool. Dogs on planes? Less cool. Maybe.

    Filed under: ABC,Pets — anne @ 1:05 pm
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    Look at the dog on the left.


    Now, just imagine if he was on a plane and something “happened to him”.


    So don’t let anything “happen” — and you can start by reading Rick Seaney’s latest column — it’s all about pets and flying — and if you pay attention, you’ll figure out the best way to transport your pup.

    The “best way” might be — leaving him at home.

    Wild and Crazy Brits (Well, some anyway…not all. Really.)

    Filed under: Drunk,Europe — anne @ 12:51 pm
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    You know those mean-spirited stereotypes about British travelers being drunken louts?

    Well, according to an article in Gadling…there’s a reason for the stereotype: it’s true!

    Now, now, before you get your knickers in a twist, understand that I’ve got plenty of relatives in England and Ireland, and they all strike me as perfectly respectable types as do the vast majority of the folks I’ve encountered in this sceptred isle (and that emerald one, too).

    That said, the Brits’ own Foreign Office issued a report saying the number of Britons arrested overseas — mostly for excessive drinking — is soaring.

    Again, most are “good tourists” but the fun folks have a money-saving tip for the rest of us: don’t waste money on hotels, just stay up all night and party. Is that genius or what?

    August 12, 2008

    Part III: My Pal at the Olympics — Eating Chinese Food

    Filed under: China,Olympics — anne @ 7:16 am
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    This is the latest in a series of reports on my friend – a sportswriter for a Very Important Paper – who is now in Beijing covering the Olympics. Read about her long flight to China, and how the Chinese deal with water bottles at security.

    My pal isn’t the only one covering the Olympics for her Very Important Newspaper, and one night all the colleagues decided to get together for dinner.

    So where did they decide to go? A Chinese restaurant (you may have seen that one coming).

    Anyway, as you may have heard, real Chinese food is a bit different from the take-out variety, but by all accounts, the meal was very good, and my friend enjoyed her chicken.

    Except…except…the plate was garnished with the chicken’s head.

    Pal was not completely delighted with this decorative touch. However, one of her colleagues had a different take:

    “Personally, I thought the chicken had a proud look on his face, knowing he had served this great news organization from across the sea.” — Writer for Very Important Newspaper

    Reminds me of the time I attended a family meal at a splendid lodge in Wyoming, and one of the youngsters in the party — upon being served a whole trout — spent most of the meal practicing ventriloquism with Mr. Fish’s head.

    August 11, 2008

    Part II: My Pal at the Olympics — Getting Thru Security with Water

    Filed under: China,Olympics,Water — anne @ 7:35 am
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    This is the latest in a series of reports on my friend — a sportswriter for a Very Important Paper — who is now in Beijing covering the Olympics. See Part I here.

    My pal says, the Chinese security folks seem to be taking a tip from the “olden days” when every monarch worth his crown had an official “food taster.”

    Here’s what I mean: at all the security check-points at the various Olympic venues, you can take a bottle of water through security, if you do one simple thing:

    Take a swig.

    Yes, you must taste it, sip it, swallow it — in the presence of security.

    Hmmm. Wonder how that would work going through TSA lines? I’d do it.

    August 8, 2008

    My Pal Goes to the Olympics

    Filed under: China,Olympics — anne @ 1:15 pm
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    A friend of mine is a sports reporter for a Very Important Newspaper — and she’s in China to cover the Olympics, that lucky duck.

    Anyway, getting there is not half the fun. Not on a 13 hour flight.

    Here’s what happened: she boarded a Continental jet in Newark, got as comfy as she could, and while waiting for the flight to take off for Beijing, she — fell asleep. She woke up something like 2-and-a-half, 3 hours later, and thought, “This is just great! Why, I’ve already knocked out a good chunk of this boring flight!”

    Not so fast, pal. Just at that moment, the pilot’s voice came booming over the speakers, asking everyone to please sit down because he was pretty sure they’d be taking off soon. Oh, my.

    Anyway, when they fiiiiiiinally landed, she breezed through all the lines, and upon emerging from customs, her first sight of this exotic, mysterious land was — a Starbucks.

    Well, that’s one Starbucks they didn’t close, anyway.

    Airline a la Carte Fees = Jokes

    Filed under: American,Joke — anne @ 7:32 am
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    You heard about that recent American Airlines emergency landing and slide evacuation, right?

    Well somebody smelled smoke — but they never did find anything.

    Which brings us to good/bad jokes. There’s plenty of them out there these days, ripping the airlines over those exciting new fees they’re forcing us to pay ($2 for a little bottle of water? Thanks, US Airways!). Anyway, saw a decent joke about the emergency landing on Fark, and goodness knows, it’s one of the few I can print — so I thought I’d share.

    “An American Airlines jet made an emergency landing at LAX — all passengers willing to pay the $10 emergency egress fee, were evacuated via slides.”

    I didn’t say it was going to be brilliant.

    Now, the picture of the bulldog in green — that, you must admit, is special.

    August 7, 2008

    Mysterious “crop circle” will appear to Democrats in Denver

    Filed under: Pizza — anne @ 2:14 pm
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    I can’t believe I’m doing this. This — is free advertising — plus, it’s kind of dumb.

    But it’s my kind of dumb.

    Couple of things: Papa John’s Pizza People are behind this crop “circle” which as you can see is actually a “crop square” — and — I lied, in that there is nothing “mysterious” about it. This is what is known as PR. Round one to Papa.

    Anyway, this “circle” is about a mile from Denver International, so the thinking of the PJ PR team is that Democrats who will convene here later this month (and others!) “will be treated to an out-of-this-world sight just outside their plane windows – a six-acre crop circle created…to promote the company’s new whole wheat pizza crust.”

    Whole wheat = healthy. Pizza = vitamins. I’ve cracked the code. Round two to me.

    August 6, 2008

    New poll shows business travelers want brand name booze

    Filed under: Drunk — anne @ 2:38 pm
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    No, I never heard of the “National Survey of American Cocktail Culture, Attitudes and Trends” before, but then again, I don’t get out much.

    Nevertheless, there is such a survey, and according to the 2008 edition, more than half of all business travelers (66%) will “happily pay more for cocktails made with premium or top shelf’ brands”.

    Wait — do the biz travelers “happily” pay? Or does the company? And how happy is the company about all this premium-imbibing by their intrepid road warriors?

    Okay business people, watch my finger. Now, touch your nose. Steady there!

    August 5, 2008

    Movie Plot or Real Life? 3-Year-Old Child Left Stranded at Airport

    Filed under: Airport,Children — mike @ 10:48 am
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    In a story that seems to have been concocted by a screenwriting robot in Hollywood, a 3-year-old girl was left behind at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel as her parents and her four brothers flew to Paris.

    In all of the confusion that it takes to get a large family to the airport and on to the plane, the little girl got lost in the mix and was left wandering the duty-free section of the terminal. Luckily, the child sought out a police officer for help. Once the officer and airline employees figured out what was going on, the little girl flew to Paris on a separate flight, accompanied by an airline official. Eventually, the family was reunited in the City of Lights.

    Here’s the catch, though. The parents didn’t realize the little girl was gone until 40 minutes into the flight when they were informed by an airline employee. OK, you have five kids. We know things can get crazy out there, but whatever happened to the good old buddy system or a quick roll call or something?

    Luckily, this story turned out OK, and other than those potential parental negligence charges facing the parents, the family is alright.

    Visit City News for more on the story and check out Home Alone – okay, LEFT alone (at the airport, anyway) for more tales of children getting stranded at airports.

    August 4, 2008

    Irish airline execs have “words” — of course, we can’t print most of them…

    Filed under: Airlines,Frustration — anne @ 2:58 pm
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    The head of Ireland’s regional Aer Arann airline says Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told him to “(blank) off to Connemara where you come from.”

    As everyone with a drop of Irish in ‘em knows, Connemara has lovely marble and beautiful ponies and does not deserve to be invoked in such an unseemly manner.

    But, according to Aer Arann honcho Padraig O Ceidigh, that’s what O’Leary said, because Ryanair supposedly wants to put the much smaller airline out of business. So far, O’Leary admits to nothing.

    August 1, 2008

    VIDEO: New Zealand Cruise Ship Chaos

    Filed under: Cruises,Video,Weather — anne @ 2:51 pm
    Comments (0)

    Well, it’s not all THAT chaotic, but there is some interesting video of chairs hurtling along a deck of the Pacific Sun (of P&O Cruises).

    The rumpus was caused by a really, really bad storm.

    How bad was it? 40 passengers were injured (some with broken bones).

    How bad was it? The waves were 23-feet high.

    How bad was it? One woman texted a “Goodbye-I’m-Going-to-Die” message to her family.

    Never would have happened if they followed the code I live by: Avoid boats in storms.