In May, an Air India pilot and co-pilot showed flight attendants how to monitor the cockpit as they retired to take naps while the Airbus caring 166 passengers cruised from Bangkok to New Delhi on autopilot.
That’s just one of the bizarre travel stories of 2013.
The two pilots didn’t get much of a nap because they had to rush back to the cockpit and seize the controls after a flight attendant accidentally turned off the autopilot. Both pilots were suspended.
And speaking of falling asleep, just this month a passenger didn’t wake up when his plane landed in Houston at night. He awoke to find himself alone on a dark, cold, and empty plane. Locked inside, he had to call his girlfriend to get authorities to free him.
This summer the US airline that brought you fees for stashing luggage in an overhead bin came up with something new: wine in a can. Spirit, the Florida-based discount carrier, charged $7 a can for a wine with half the alcohol of most wines. Called “Friends Wine in a Can,” it came with names like Strawberry Moscato and Friends White.
More weird travel stories tomorrow.
While state laws are beginning to change, federal law has not. It’s still illegal on the national level, and so marijuana is banned from any federal property or areas under federal control which means the screening areas in airports and on airplanes. So even if you stash your stash in your checked luggage, you’re violating the law. Nor can you ship marijuana home legally.
And federal law makes no distinction between medical marijuana and marijuana used for other purposes, so even if you have a medical prescription, don’t expect to find much sympathy if a TSA agent stops you while going through security.
TSA agents are not law enforcement officers, so if they find marijuana in your carry-on luggage—which, by the way, they aren’t specifically tasked to look for—they’ll turn the situation over to a local law enforcement officer.
Travelers coming in the US, however, are banned from bringing in marijuana or any articles intended to be used with grass.
You’ve been warned.
So you think you can dance? Or would like to dance? I have just the tour operation for you. Led by a professional dancer, these tours take you around the world so you can learn to clog dance in Ireland or tango in Brazil.
The company is called Travel Bare Feet. Its run by Mikela Mallozi, a classically trained dancer whose travels around the world developed her interest in folk dance. Which is how she came to lead small groups of similar-mined people on trips to learn local dances.
This March, she’ll lead a tour to Puerto Rico where participants will learn salsa and bomba dance. Bali, Indonesia, is April’s trip, and Ireland is in September.
It’s not all dance. Travelers enjoy sightseeing, as well. Mikela curates a rich blog that includes videos of sightseeing trips she’s taken in Italy, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. Of course, dance is part of the videos—I like the one of her this past July in Uzbekistan at the Annual Asrlar Sadosi Festival in the town of Navoi.
Her videos are of professional quality, and if you’re a dancer, you’ll want to hit the dance floor with her.
If you have a lot of United miles and have been saving them for a big trip, this is the time to go shopping. That’s because in some cases, your miles will lose a lot of their value beginning February first of the new year.
There’s no change in the 30,000 miles you need to get a coach ticket in the 40 states—that excludes Hawaii, of course. But if you want a round-trip, business class ticket for travel in the US, it’ll take you 57,500 miles; today it’s 50 thousand.
The big jump is the cost of a first class ticket. That’s 67,500 miles now; on February first, you’ll have to spend 80,000. And if you’re shopping for first class space on one of United’s alliance partners, what costs you 80,000 miles through the end of January will cost you 42% more—110,000 miles after that.
It’s simple: If you know you’ll want a United ticket or a first class ticket on one of its partners sometime in 2014, book now.