Everybody Panic! (Just Kidding): Weirdest Travel Stories of 2012
CNBC.com News Editor
We've all had a weird travel experience – like that time I got dusted for explosives TWICE within an hour and the only thing that changed since the first one was that I sat with my mother while waiting for a delayed flight -- in plain view of the TSA screeners. (Yeah, I wouldn't trust an adorable lady in a festive sweater, either!) But chances are, most of us haven't had experiences quite as extreme as the ones described by Independent Traveler in their "Weirdest Travel News of 2012."
Did you hear the one about the British Airways flight when, at 3 a.m., a flight attendant announcement jolted everyone out of their nighttime eye masks, telling them to prepare for a crash landing into the sea? Then -- Whoops! Sorry, wrong button. Everybody go back to sleep. You wanna know the worst part? It wasn't the first time this has happened on a British Airways flight!
Maybe it's time to rethink the protocol of pre-recording an OH-MY-GOODNESS-WE'RE-GOING-TO-CRASH recording. I mean, if I make a grocery list in a Word document – or, say, a list of all the paper clips, Post-It Notes and other stuff in my desk – and then try to delete it, it would ask me – Are you sure you want to move this item to the Recycle Bin? Maybe – and I'm just thinking out loud here – it's time to think about some sort of ARE-YOU-SURE-YOU-WANT-TO-HIT-THE-PANIC –BUTTON button.
Check out THESE weird travel stories:
"Family Guy" References Could Get You Deported. Then there was the one about the couple who tweeted a reference to British slang and to "Family Guy." One tweet was: "Free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?" Apparently, in the U.K., "destroy" means "party." The other was "3 weeks today, we're totally in LA pissing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!" – a quote from a "Family Guy" episode. They tried to explain themselves, while law enforcement rummaged through their luggage for shovels, but to no avail – they were still cuffed, detained, interrogated and then sent back to England on a plane the next day.
Seatbelts Schmeatbelts! Oh, and remember when Ryanair's quirky CEO said "seat belts don't matter" in an attempt to justify standing-room only seating areas? Then, he called aviation regulators who took issue with the statement "a bunch of plonkers." Yeah, we're filing that under "W" for weird, too! Also "W" for "What was he thinking?!" So, quick recap: "Family Guy" references – threat to national security, anti-seatbelt position -- just another day in the life of a CEO?!
Man, That Guy Next to You Is a Pig. If you thought that screaming kid behind you was distracting, wait until you – oo! Oo! Ee! Ee! – hear this next one: The Department of Transportation is considering allowing pig, horses and monkeys to travel in the main cabin with their owners if there are providing a service to their owners – like a seeing-eye horse or something. (That's actually a thing.)
Is That Child Drunk? If you thought kids on a sugar high were crazy – wait until you hear this next story. It seems there was a little mix-up on an Alaii Kai Catamaran cruise in Hawaii and 3-year-old Michael Cai was served a cocktail. Halfway through his orange juice he started acting, um drunk and his parents realized there was vodka in his drink. Most of us would probably get tossed off a cruise for acting drunk and unruly but young Michael was actually given a full refund.
Anchors Away! A passenger on a Holland America cruise stole a pint of vodka from the ship's bar, broke into a restricted area and dropped the ship's 18-ton anchor. Sounds like a pretty cool story to tell your buddies EXCEPT it wasn't buddies from high school or buddies from college, it was BUDDIES FROM PRISON because that stunt landed him two months in jail. "Seems like the 3-year-old can hold his vodka better," Independent Traveler quipped.
Yes, But Did He Take His Shoes Off? Somehow, travel and booze just seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. A Norwegian tourist fell asleep with a beer in his hand – so far, a pretty uneventful story, except it was – on a luggage conveyer belt! The man made it 160 feet before someone realized he was on it. And by someone, I mean the X-ray scanner.
OK, so what have we learned here today? If you hear an announcement that the plane is about to crash, statistically, on a British Airlines flight, there's a good chance it may not be true. Don't make references to destroying America – no matter what it means in your country – or digging up the body of a celebrity – no matter what a grumpy talking baby says. Beware of drunken children. And no drinking on the luggage conveyor belt.
So there you have it – a few fun stories to share when you're stuck in an airport security line or trapped in a blizzard with the in-laws.
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