Category Archives: Travel

An Off-Duty Pilot, Helps Land Lufthansa Plane At Dublin Airport During Emergency

But where is Karen Black when you need her?

When the copilot of a Lufthansa flight was struck with a debilitating migraine while mid-air on Monday, the crew could have used a doctor — but what they got was a pilot.

Luckily, one brave passenger happened to work for North American Airlines, making him fully qualified to fly commercial aircraft.

“It was a miracle,” a source involved in the operation told “It had all the elements of a Hollywood movie but thankfully one with a happy ending.”

via Hero Passenger, An Off-Duty Pilot, Helps Land Lufthansa Plane At Dublin Airport During Emergency.


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Hassles of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak

Great article in today’s New York Times….

The airlines simply regard people as cargo to move from place to place.  As someone who travels by air at least once a month or so, I can tell you, there is nothing pleasant about air travel anymore.  It is uncomfortable.  The planes are often old and dirty.  Customer Service is non-existent.  If anything goes wrong, you can be stranded for days- at your own expense.  It’s just horrible…

I wish train travel were a viable alternative….

It’s truly a shame how America has let it’s passenger rail system decline over the last 50 years.  I wish it was a more viable alternative to air travel in other parts of the country besides the Washington-New York- Boston route.

If we had more trains and more convenient scheduling, I’m convinced train travel would take off outside the Northeast Corridor.  It certainly works in Europe and it would encourage more local tourism, without as much negative environmental impact as car and plane travel.   I would love to be able to catch a train for a day trip somewhere like you can in the UK….

Unfortunately, this will probably not happen in my lifetime.  The “conservatives” have let our infrastructure crumble and aren’t willing to invest in it anymore….

But at least it’s working in the Northeast….

Now, if only we had visionaries who would build on this success….

A decade ago, Delta and US Airways shuttles were the preferred mode of travel between the cities. But high fares, slow airport security and frequent flight delays — along with Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains, online ticketing and workstation amenities — have eaten away at the airlines’ share of passengers.

Between New York and Washington, Amtrak said, 75 percent of travelers go by train, a huge share that has been building steadily since the Acela was introduced in 2000 and airport security was tightened after 2001. Before that, Amtrak had just over a third of the business between New York and Washington.

In the same period, Amtrak said, its market share between New York and Boston grew to 54 percent from 20 percent.

Nationally, Amtrak ridership is at a record 30 million people; the Northeast accounts for more than a third of that and is virtually the only portion of Amtrak’s system that makes money.

via Hassles of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak –

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Judge: Stripping Naked to Protest TSA is Protected Speech

Well, seeing this type of protest would certainly liven up my travel experiences!

And for those who know I do travel a lot, don’t worry.  I realize I’m several years past making this particular type of political protest statement and having “The Ruins” on display in the papers and on TV!  Talk about losing credibility….

From RawStory.Com

A circuit court judge has ruled that a man who stripped down to his birthday suit to protest against airport security was not guilty of indecent exposure, according to the Associated Press.

Fifty-year-old John Brennan of Oregon took off his all clothes while going through an airport screening at Portland International Airport in April. He was arrested after refusing requests from Transportation Security Administration officers to put his clothes back on. Brennan was charged with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge David Rees ruled Wednesday that Brennan’s airport strip show was an act of protest and therefore protected speech under the First Amendment.

via Judge: Stripping naked to protest TSA is protected speech | The Raw Story.

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Angeline O’Grady: U.S. Airways Lost My Husband’s Ashes

As if we need another reason to hate USAirways….

They really are the tackiest, most incompetent airline I’ve ever dealt with….

And I’ve flown over a million miles…

Their petty “rules” are just unbelievable- especially if you are flying from the UK to the USA.  I’ve sworn I will never fly them internationally again…

And they haven’t even lost a loved one’s ashes yet…

They are just horrible.  If we had a decent regulatory system, they would not be allowed to fly passengers due to their rudeness, incompetence. lack of common sense and caring and petty cheapness…

They are truly unbelievable…

From the Huffington Post:

PHILADELPHIA — A suburban Philadelphia woman is searching for her husband’s ashes, which she says went missing from her luggage after she flew to England to bury them in his hometown of Hull.

Angeline O’Grady, of Trumbauersville, says her husband, Brian, died of cancer in October. On Nov. 1, she says security screeners told her she could not take the ashes through airport security.

She says she was directed to the US Airways counter and put the ashes in her checked luggage. She told WCAU-TV that when she got off in England, the ashes were gone.

The airline told the station it’s investigating and working with the Transportation Security Administration to figure out what happened. A message left with the airline by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

via Angeline O’Grady: U.S. Airways Lost My Husband’s Ashes (VIDEO).

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Forget Planes and Automobiles….

Believe it or not, there was a time when Trains where an integral part of American Culture and  a viable travel option…

I wish those days would come back…

Then, we might be able to travel as freely, cheaply, easily and comfortably as the rest of the world….



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Dead Man to be Sued Over Flying Body Parts

Let’s start the year off with a bit of the absurd…

It’s sure to only get stranger- it’s an election year in the USA!


An 18-year-old man who was hit and killed by a train in 2008 will be the subject of a present-day lawsuit after an appellate judge ruled that a woman injured by his flying body parts may pursue a claim against his estate.

Ruling that the man was negligent, and that the result was “reasonably foreseeable,” the judge granted the woman’s request to allow the suit to proceed.

The initial suit had been blocked by a lower court in Cook County, which said the elderly Gayane Zokhrabov may not sue the now-deceased Hiroyuki Joho because Joho could not have anticipated the potential for third-party injury posed by his actions.

Steve Schmadeke, reporter for The Chicago Tribune, noted that the decision was reversed on Thursday by an appeals court.

The vehicle was reportedly traveling over 70 miles-per-hour when it hit Joho, who was allegedly running across the track to catch another train.

Zokhrabov suffered a broken leg, broken wrist and an injured shoulder after a portion of Joho’s body was flung more than 100 feet, smacking into her on a train platform.

“If you do something as stupid as this guy did, you have to be responsible for what comes from it,” her attorney reportedly said.

It was not immediately clear what sort of “estate” the young man’s family has.

via Dead man to be sued over flying body parts | The Raw Story.

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Flying with Judy Garland

I just came across an interesting quote on flying from Judy Garland….

I can only imagine what she would have to say if she were flying today…

“I hate flying. I don’t want to die. I’ve never met a cast of people I wanted to die with. You go on an airplane and see the people sitting there reading Reader’s Digest…you don’t want to die with them, you KNOW, you don’t want to die with them!

First of all I get top billing: JUDY GARLAND dies in plane crash. For other deceased, turn to section D page eighteen, where they have them listed alphabetically.

What are we doing flying around in airplanes? The birds don’t even go that high! You have to strap yourself in and HOPE…and there’s no hope and NO OXYGEN!

I have to make friends with the pilot, whereupon he tells me that his children are just as important to him as mine are…forget it! His life isn’t NEARLY as important as my life is to me! Call it sheer selfishness, I don’t really CARE!”


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Woman Trapped In Airport For Eight Days Due To Hidden Fees on USAirways

Do you really need any further proof that USAirways is evil?

I’m waiting for Occupy Wall Street to set off an Occupy Airports movement.  These U.S. Airlines are too incompetently managed by too many over paid executives to make a profit, so they find ways of nickel and diming the passengers to death.  Now that airlines are about the only means of public transportation in the US, they have become the equivalent of buses.  Hence, poor people like this unfortunate woman end up at their mercy.

And they have no mercy…..

From AOL.  Emphasis is mine….


For Terri Weissinger, who was trapped in San Francisco International Airport for over a week, it was nothing short of a nightmare.

With only $30 to her name, the Sonoma native was virtually broke and looking to start afresh in Idaho. She booked a ticket from San Francisco to the Gem State on the travel website Orbitz but, because she purchased her ticket before a new federal law went into effect requiring ticket brokers to disclose all hidden fees, Weissinger was unaware of the extra $60 U.S. Airways would charge at the airport to check her two bags.

Weissinger offered to pay the fee once she got to her destination or leave one of her bags behind; however, U.S. Airways personnel refused, citing airline policy for denying her former request and airport security regulations for denying the latter.

While attempting to resolve her situation, Weissinger missed her plane—thereby racking up another $150 in fees.

Weissinger ended up spending eight stressful days living in the terminal and sleeping in an out-of-the-way stairwell. She was treated for anxiety at the airport medical clinic. When she attempted to plead with airport authorities for help, she was threatened with arrest on vagrancy charges.

“[It’s] ridiculous,” said Weissinger to ABC 7. “I couldn’t believe it sometimes, you know, it’s just incredibly ridiculous situation to be in.”

Out of options, Weissinger saw a listing for the nearby Airport Church of Christ in a phone book and placed a call. Moved by her situation, the church quickly raised the necessary $210 to get Weissinger out of her predicament and on her way.

When ABC 7 asked U.S. Airways about Weissinger’s situation, the airline responded: “We have apologized to Ms. Weissinger for her experience, but unfortunately are unable to offer a refund. When you purchase a non-refundable ticket, you accept the terms and conditions. If a passenger cannot travel with their bags, they need to make other arrangements.”

Airline fees have spiraled in recent years as sites like Orbitz and Travelocity have allowed customers to instantly compare ticket prices between competing airlines. The easy access to this information has pushed airlines to offer cheaper ticket prices up front, ensuring their results appear closer to the top of any given search. As a result, they are relying more heavily on additional fees popping up later in the ticketing process to make up a larger portion of their revenue.

MORE:   Terri Weissinger Trapped In Airport For Eight Grueling Days Due To Hidden Fees (VIDEO).

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Airplane Caught In Duct-Taped Window Shocker

Oh, god….please don’t give USAirways any ideas!  I have to fly home on them Friday and I wouldn’t put behavior like this past them.  I think they find Ryanair inspirational….

At least this does show there is at least one non-U.S. airline as cheap, tacky and undependable as all the U.S. Airlines.

This has to be exaggerated- has to be- but still, it’s not outside the realm of the possible.


200 passengers got the shock of their lives when their plane was forced to do a U-turn and head straight back to the airport after their pilot’s window, which had been ‘patched up’ with duct tape, came loose.

Apparently the mental-underachievers in the Ryanair maintenance crew thought that just taping the window down on a jetliner would be a good idea. But according to the Irish Aviation Authority the tape was there just as a precaution to secure a new window seal. One passenger told The Sun:

“We were kept in the dark, and were terrified. I could see guys taping in the windscreen with what looked like duct tape or gaffer tape.”

I’m surprised Ryanair didn’t call the tape a ‘cost-saving measure’, or indeed charge the customers more for the thrill. [The Sun via Aol via Gizmodo UK]

Update: Many readers have pointed out that it was most likely “speed tape” used to patch the window up, which is reportedly stronger stuff than your average duct tape. We can only go on what was reported at the source (in this case, The Sun – not the bastion of facts, as you’re all aware).

via Airplane Caught In Duct-Taped Window Shocker.

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JetBlue Passenger Pees On Sleeping Passenger

What is going on with the Airlines?  First, as I previously posted,  it was the man who’s luggage was peed in while being handled by Delta.  Now this…

It’s getting to be like traveling in a Third World Country….

From AOL News:

A drunk male passenger was caught peeing on a sleeping 11-year old girl on a JFK-bound JetBlue flight on Wednesday.

18-year old Robert Vietze of South Warren, Vermont was on a red eye flight from Portland, Oregon when he started peeing on a sleeping 11-year old girl who was traveling with her sister and father, the New York Post reports.

Vietze was drunk, having consumed eight drinks, and stumbled five rows behind him (presumably towards the bathroom?!) when he started peeing on the girl. The girl’s family was using the bathroom at the time.

“I was drunk, and I did not realize I was pissing on her leg,” the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Vietze told law enforcement.

The unidentified girl’s father caught Vietze peeing on his daughter and started screaming, “F— that kid! I don’t want him near my family!” a fellow passenger told the Post.

Flight attendants separated the father and Vietze, whom they moved to the back of the plane. They also tried to clean up the pee with soap from the bathrooms.

Yet the already exciting flight was far from over. An hour before the plane landed, another passenger started complaining of chest pains and vomited. The pilot addressed the plane, asking “Is anybody on this flight a nurse or doctor? We have a medical emergency.” Yet no one stepped forward so flight attendants worked to keep him calm.

A witness told the Post that the pilots “kept coming out of the cockpit to talk to the flight crew about what was going on.”

Six Port Authority cops greeted the plane when it landed at 6:30am. Two helped the sick passenger while four carted Vietze into custody.

Vietze has been issued a federal summons for indecent exposure.

This is not, surprisingly, the first time a passenger has peed on another under the influence of alcohol. Back in June, a drunk New Zealand man on a Jetstar flight from Auckland to Singapore peed on the plane’s carpet, a man’s leg and a woman’s scarf after drinking whiskey out of Burger King cups with friends. The man, Michael Aitkin, eventually came forward and apologized profusely to his fellow passengers for his actions.

via Robert Vietze, JetBlue Passenger, Pees On Sleeping Passenger – AOL Travel News.

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