Travel News – Icarus Award: The Top Five Travel Failures of 2011

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We launched our Icarus Award series in the middle of this year and so far we have chronicled more than 100 different travel failures. From passengers getting kicked off planes, to celebrity tantrums, to celebrity passengers being kicked off planes for having a tantrum, we’ve covered it all.

Last week we highlighted the top 10 travel fails of the year. This week, we’ve tailed up your votes and narrowed it down to the top five travel failures for 2011. Vote here to determine the 2011 Icarus Award winner.

A Not-So-Virgin Flyer

British citizen Katherine Goldberg got a little cheeky as she flew from South Africa to London this past August. A Northwest London court alleges that Goldberg sexually assaulted one of the male crew members by demanding to have sex with him and grabbing his penis and crotch area.

Heart-Attack Sandwich

On an August flight from the UK to Sweden, a 63-year-old passenger suffered from a cardiac episode. In response, the Ryanair crew offered him a sandwich and a soda, claiming that the situation was caused by low blood sugar. Then they returned to charge him for the sandwich and soda. To add insult to injury, after making an emergency landing for the sick passenger, an ambulance was not waiting and he had to be driven to the nearest hospital.

Too Close for Comfort

Fliers are conditioned to expect uncomfortable travel experiences, but Arthur Berkowitz’s U.S. Airways flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia breaks the mold. Berkowitz, a Philadelphia business man, was seated next to a morbidly obese passenger who was not asked to purchase two seats and instead raised the armrests in his row of seats, spilling over into both seat mates’ space. Given that his seat was a tight squeeze, Berkowitz spent the majority of his 7-hour flight walking the cabin.
The Parachute High Club

image credit Big Stock

Porn actor and skydiver Alex Torres was under investigation by the FAA after shooting an amateur porn video of himself having sex with Hope Howell, the receptionist at Skydive Taft School. Set to the tune of Katy Perry’s “E.T,” the film depicted the couple having relations aboard the plane, and as they jumped out of the aircraft and fell toward the ground. In a glorious climax, the two landed without incident only to find out they had violated federal regulations by having sex on a plane and potentially distracting the pilot.

Pay Up or Get Off the Plane

Austrian-based Comtel Air made no friends when it went bankrupt in the middle of a flight. While most flights were canceled, a plane already bound from India to England made a refueling stop in Vienna and asked passengers to chip in or get off. The plane sat on the runway for 6 hours in a standoff between passengers and crew. Officials were called in to escort the livid travelers off the aircraft…and over to an ATM where they could withdraw enough money to cover the fuel costs, which totaled roughly $31,500.

Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. We provide the most recent travel news, reviews and expert travel tips.

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