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  • April 29, 2009

    2 Baggage Handling Thieves, One Incredibly Stupid Supervisor…

    Filed under: Arrested,Crime,Robbery — anne @ 3:24 pm
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    …and One Completely Clueless Airline.

    The airline is Northwest – the action takes place at Oregon’s Portland International – and the tale is courtesy of the Oregonian.

    A Northwest baggage handler – one Bridgette Bunnell – calls the cops back in January to report that one of her underlings, Jose Trejo Romero, is stealing stuff from checked-bags.

    According to an affidavit, the police put in surveillance cameras and sure enough, there’s Jose shoving stuff down his shirt and later hauling it off to his locker. Good stuff like jewelry, laptops, designer handbags and more.

    And then, the cops get another tip – suggesting they might want to question Bunnell a little more closely. Turns out (again, according the affidavit) the woman who ratted out the baggage handler, was in on the thefts, and only called the cops when Jose quit giving her a share of the loot!

    It gets better. Way back last summer, several employees actually went to Northwest management and told them about the thefts – and nothing was done! In fact the supervisor of the two alleged thieves admits he heard rumors, but apparently didn’t do anything about it – even though he was aware that Bunnell was “frequently on the airline computer listing purses on eBay”.

    Couple of questions:

    • How come the cops had to put in surveillance cameras? Why weren’t any in place?
    • How come (according to the affidavit) Jose and Bunnell were able to get away with this for two years?
    • How come the supervisor lets employees use airline computers for personal fencing?

    April 28, 2009

    Felony Stupidity

    Filed under: Crime,Rememberance — anne @ 3:36 pm
    Comments (2)

    That’s a pretty good description of what happened in Manhattan yesterday – “felony stupidity”.

    Here’s the deal: there was some sort of “classified” government photo shoot by the military – of course it was classified! – which involved a low flying plane near some of those tall buildings in New York, and gosh if it didn’t remind people of something…

    And some ran screaming out of their buildings in terror.

    You know, it hasn’t even been eight years. Did you think we’d forget? Ever?

    Yeah, they’re all apologizing. As if.

    April 27, 2009

    Man Rushes Cockpit, Gets Subdued. Swine Flu Not an Issue.

    Filed under: Arrested,Crime,Delta,Frustration,Mystery — anne @ 11:55 am
    Comments (0)

    With everything there is to worry about in the world of travel today like catching swine flu – you’d think the idiots would calm down for awhile.

    But, no.

    A man rushed the cockpit of a Tel Aviv-bound Delta flight on Friday, banged on the door – and was then rushed by passengers and crew. Nice work, everyone.

    I heard they tied him up with a bunch of seatbelts – “Here’s your straitjacket, sir” – and naturally, the flight had to be diverted. It went to Boston, where the cops were waiting.

    Unfortunately no one seems to know why he did what he did. And that kills me – all this tsuris what with the delays and all – and no one even asks him why? Believe me – I would have.

    April 24, 2009

    Get Cheap Airfare to Spain and Throw Tomatoes at People

    Filed under: Destinations,Food,Weird — anne @ 12:48 pm
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    Feel the squish.

    You will if you join the La Tomatina – the annual festival where people throw tomatoes at eachother.

    Nobody knows why they do it, but they do – and judging from the pictures, it’s a ton of messy, decadent fun – and you can join the melee this August.

    Read all about it here on our Deals Blog — which also tells you how to find cheap airfare to the festival.

    Don’t worry, Mom: according to the official website, La Tomatina has?rules (rules? for a tomato fight??). One rule is, “Tomatoes must be crushed before throwing so that they don’t hurt anybody.”


    April 22, 2009

    Turbulence Paralyzes Woman

    Filed under: Airplane,Passengers,Tips,Weird — anne @ 1:29 pm
    Comments (2)

    Terrible, terrible story about a woman who was on a flight from Houston to McAllen, Texas on Saturday when the plane encountered severe turbulence – and the woman broke her neck.

    Yes, the seatbelt sign was on – but she was in the restroom.

    Two others were sent to the hospital – a crew member and a passenger – they were treated and released. The unidentified woman underwent six hours of surgery -it’s not known at this point if her paralysis will be permanent.

    Two things: When you’re in your seat, always keep your seatbelt buckled. And stay in your seat. Seriously. Use the restroom before you board – use it after you land.

    April 21, 2009

    That Killer Economy of Ours: Goodbye, Free Hotel Shampoo Bottles

    Filed under: Frustration,Hotels,Luxury,Women — anne @ 3:43 pm
    Comments (0)

    Read a VERY disturbing report today…Travelista Christopher Elliott says hotels are trying to save money, so they’re cutting back on all those things like little bottles of shampoo or little bottles of lotion – you know, the stuff that makes you go, “Oooh, nice place!”

    Well, that’s what I’d always say.

    But hold on, it gets worse – places that serve free breakfast may not be doing that much longer, either. Or, you’ll find less variety (farewell, sausage links).

    This saddens me. Oh, not that I’ll notice. I don’t think Motel 6 is real big on a lot of this stuff anyway.

    April 20, 2009

    Mom Helps Son Plan a Big Trip. Son is in his 50′s.

    Filed under: Children,Destinations,Family — anne @ 9:47 am
    Comments (0)

    Love this letter from the “Travel Diva” in the Detroit Free Press:

    Dear Travel Diva: Where can I find a bed-and-breakfast in Oslo? It’s not for me. It’s for my son. He’s in his 50s. — Helpful Mom

    Travel Diva tells Mom that he should plan his own trip – then adds, “Better yet, go yourself and leave him at home.”

    Amen, sister.

    Let the boy fend for himself. It’ll make a man out of him.

    April 17, 2009

    Snakes on a Plane! For Real!

    Filed under: Animals,Australia,Celebrities,Pests,Pets — anne @ 3:15 pm
    Comments (0)

    Yes, snakes on a plane – a plane in Australia, wouldn’t ya know.

    But alas, no Samuel L. Jackson. On the plus side, nobody got snake bit. Not that it would have mattered. The snakes – four baby Stimson pythons – are non-venomous – they were also non-materializing when Qantas employees went to look for them in the cargo bay. Yikes.

    They never did find them – and eventually the plane was fumigated and returned to service.

    Poor snakes – they met nearly as ignominious an end as Mr. Jackson’s movie.

    April 16, 2009

    Andy Rooney Hates Travel. We Show Him the Error of His Ways

    Filed under: Airfares,Airlines,Celebrities,Frustration — anne @ 3:23 pm
    Comments (0)


    Read your recent column in the Albany Times Union. Love that second line: “Travel is still so expensive that I think people ought to stay home.”

    Andy – travel is not expensive; it’s cheaper than it’s been in years. Seriously – (plug alert) if you need proof, go to FareCompare and see for yourself.

    Now, let’s look at your third paragraph where you write: “Is everything done around your house? If you don’t like it, sell it, otherwise stick around on vacation and take your pleasure doing the things that need to be done.”

    Andy, Andy – you sound like my mother. First of all, according to Webster’s, the word vacation is from the Latin vacatio”, meaning “being free from a duty or service”. In other words, IT MEANS YOU’RE ON VACATION AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORK AROUND THE HOUSE. Sorry to be so loud, but c’mon.

    One last thing – you gave another reason for not traveling that was almost a throwaway line, to wit: “Many hotels still have the shower in the bathtub, which I dislike…”

    Andy, Andy, ANDY! Boy, the rich are different. Don’t you know that fancy bathrooms with separate tub and shower facilities are, uh, not found in most American homes — let alone, hotels? Yeah, regular folks have showers in tubs – those lucky enough to have tubs at all.

    Andy, write us. Call us. We’ll get you a good deal. And a bangin’ bathroom, too.


    Your Pals at Standard Upright Position

    (Once again, thanks, Gadling)

    April 15, 2009

    Take Pictures of America, Win Valuable Prizes

    Filed under: Beauty,Destinations — anne @ 12:43 pm
    Comments (0)

    What’s an iconic image of America? I got it – a cowboy riding the range. Okay, go ahead and take that picture, but you must split your winnings with me.

    Or not. But do go to this site on USA Today and they’ll give you the details.

    The winning photos will actually be displayed on a new site called DiscoverAmerica, which is part of the U.S. Travel Association’s marketing campaign to lure more foreign travelers here. And that’s what you have to keep in mind -your picture is supposed to be an “iconic image of America that will attract foreign visitors to the USA.” Like I said — cowboy.

    You can win hotel stays, air travel vouchers and more. Plus, the judges will include some of those cool dudes from National Geographic -so – get going.

    April 14, 2009

    WestJet Passenger Appreciates Normal Service

    Filed under: Passengers,Security — anne @ 7:46 am
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    Look, we all trash the airline industry from time to time – especially when it comes to surly customer service – so when a woman writes in praise of a couple of airport employees, we should be happy, right?

    Well…yes…and no. Here’s the story:

    A woman flew WestJet last Saturday, from Orlando to Hamilton. She needed a wheelchair at the Florida airport and requested one. Wheelchair was there – and so were the wheelchair attendants who were apparently quite pleasant. Woman was delighted, and wrote a thank-you note.

    “Too often we complain about poor service so this time I was determined to report excellent service and especially the friendliness and patience shown to me by your employees.” - WestJet passenger, 4-12-09

    I’m having trouble getting excited here, but maybe you, too, are getting a sense “low expectations”.

    I mean, it’s not like these attendants went “above and beyond” – they did not save the woman from a speeding baggage cart or reunite her with a lost puppy. What did they do? They got her to her gate.

    They did their job.

    C’mon – isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? I can hear Chris Rock now

    April 10, 2009

    Free Airfare to Exotic Destinations? Go to “Survivor” Casting Call

    Filed under: Celebrities,Destinations — anne @ 12:55 pm
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    Saw a note in the Baltimore Sun that alerts us to a “Survivor” TV show casting call – tomorrow in Baltimore.

    Hey, if you win- you will go to exotic destinations – for free!

    Of course, you will probably have to eat grubs or something and hang out with a bunch of weirdo’s, but hey – free is free. If you’re in Baltimore, you’re in luck: the casting call is being held at Antwerpen Hyundai (yes, a car dealership – don’t ask me) on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. in Catonsville – just west of Baltimore.

    You will have to fill out an application that asks questions like, “What are your pet peeves?”

    Okay, so it ain’t rocket science, but you do have to pass a physical and, ahem, psychological exam.

    April 9, 2009

    Desperate or Dastardly? The Story of a Bathroom Emergency

    Filed under: Arrested,Delta,Manners,Passengers — anne @ 1:17 pm
    Comments (0)

    So this man claims he ate something “bad” and had to use the bathroom. Like, immediately. But a cart is blocking his way to the coach lavatories.

    This, btw, is on a Delta flight last month – from Honduras to Atlanta.

    Anyway, he asks if he can use the bathroom in business class. No. So he waits…and waits…but as we all know, a watched cart never comes to a boil, or moves, or something. He can’t get by.

    At this point, our Hero is so desperate – that he runs to business class. He says a flight attendant put out her arm to block his way, and he grabbed it so he wouldn’t fall. The flight attendant says, he grabbed her arm – and twisted it. Ow.

    According to the AP, the guy was arrested upon arrival and spent 2 days in jail (seems kind of harsh, no?). What the story doesn’t tell us is whether or not he actually got inside the business class lavatory, but we will assume – mission accomplished.

    April 8, 2009

    Here Comes the Sun – the Beatles and Pan Am

    Filed under: Airlines,Celebrities,Music,Rememberance — anne @ 12:52 pm
    Comments (0)

    Nice story on the Beatles in the Los Angeles Times today – which reminds us that they began touring America 45 years ago.

    Tempus fugit.

    One of the things I liked best about the piece is the photo – there are the boys in front of an old Pan Am plane (a Pan Am Boeing 707-321 to be precise). Notice John clutching his little Pan Am bag – the sort of thing airlines used to give away as part of their, ahem, customer service.

    Well, Pan Am as an entity lasted a little longer than the Fab Four did – it wouldn’t collapse until 1991. But the airline lives on, in movies like the early James Bond films, “2001″, “Scarface” and “Catch Me If You Can”.

    Oh, and don’t worry about the boys – I understand their music is still doing pretty well.

    April 7, 2009

    Make Sure Your Travel Insurance is NOT a Fake

    Filed under: Crime,Passengers,Security,Tips — anne @ 1:21 pm
    Comments (0)

    Great article by travel expert Christopher Elliott here – he warns, there are more and more trip insurance scams out there.

    Elliott has some excellent tips. The bummer is, you have to do some work — a fair amount of research just to figure out if you are or aren’t being scammed. But it could save you thousands.

    For example, is the policy you’re being sold “insurance” or “protection”? As Elliott points out, insurance is regulated by your state, while protection is not. And even if your trip insurance is legit, does it cover what you want it to? Beware those “existing medical condition” clauses.

    Above all – don’t take anyone’s word for anything – read the policy yourself. Every word. And if you don’t understand it, give it to someone who does. Someone you trust.

    April 6, 2009

    Do You Care About the Favorite Travel Destinations of Celebrities?

    Filed under: Celebrities,Destinations — anne @ 3:54 pm
    Comments (0)

    Of course you do. Which is handy, because the Los Angeles Times has the scoop on a new book on the subject, and here’s what we learn:

    Alex “Mr. Jeopardy” Trebek likes England.

    Suze “Show Me the Money” Orman likes San Francisco.

    Matt “Homer’s Homie” Groening likes Hawaii.

    Tom “I Used to be a Famous Anchor” Brokaw likes Tibet.

    But, enough with the stars – where do you like to go? We’re not going to put it in a book – but your favorites will appear in our celebrity-friendly comments section, below.

    April 3, 2009

    Flights from Hell

    Filed under: Frustration,Manners,Passengers,Pests,Weird — anne @ 11:20 am
    Comments (0)

    Got a story to share about a hell flight? Goodness knows we’ve told our share (remember the “Something about Mary” tale?)

    Or maybe you just like to read hellish flight stories.

    If so, Flights from Hell is the website for you. Entertaining and informative! And no, I own no stock in this venture. I just know a good read when I see it.

    It’s almost as good as Etiquette Hell, but that’s another post.

    April 2, 2009

    Need a Scale to Weigh Your Luggage? Visit Your Veterinarian.

    Filed under: Animals,Luggage,Tips — anne @ 12:29 pm
    Comments (0)

    Yes, this sounds nutty – but what the heck.

    Once again, I bring you a Hint from Heloise, courtesy of a woman who doesn’t own a bathroom scale…

    “Dear Heloise: Where can I weigh my bags before going to the airport? My vet’s office! It has front-door parking, with the scale a few feet inside the front door and at floor level, thus no high lifting.” –Carolyn in Va.

    Heloise’s response was to call the vet first to get permission. Such a nice lady!

    My response? Buy a scale.

    April 1, 2009

    Baggage Thieves in Houston (and elsewhere)

    Filed under: Continental,Crime,Luggage — anne @ 10:51 am
    Comments (0)

    Simply shocking.

    According to ABC, there are baggage thieves at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport -and an unidentified Continental employee claims, the thieves are her colleagues.

    The woman goes on to say that she’s actually seen these jerks rifle through bags and take stuff.

    That stinks of course, but I’m not too crazy about this unidentified woman either – I mean, nowhere in this report does it say what this woman did with the knowledge that some of her co-workers were stripping peoples’ bags – did she tell her superiors, call the cops? I don’t know. I’d like to know.

    Continental naturally, says thefts are rare, but they have security in place, work with the police, blah and blah. And, as ABC points out, plenty of other airlines have had their problems with employee theft.

    Tip: Don’t put valuables in checked-bags. Ever.