Welcome to the very first Travel News post of 2011! If, like us, you spent the holidays either in an airport, frantically trying to re-book canceled flights, or cursing British Airways for refusing to let you switch out your overbooked flight for an empty one, then the last few weeks’ travel madness will have come as no surprise. Apparently Mercury, the planet of communication and travel, was in retrograde for most of December, which may have accounted for the general absurdity of holiday travel but doesn’t explain this week’s weird happenings. Coming up: thwarted imaginary terrorists, flights diverted by a cup of coffee, and an iPhone fail (as well as deals to Ireland, Vegas, and more).Who among us hasn’t spilled a cup of coffee all over his or her desk at one time or another? Turns out, if you’re an airline pilot, said spill can cause more than just frazzled nerves, as a United Airlines pilot found out this week. Flight 940 from Chicago to Frankfurt had to be diverted to Toronto after the pilot’s spilled coffee caused the plane to send out a distress signal indicating a hijacking.
In Turkey this week, passengers thwarted an attempted hijacking on a Turkish Airlines flight. They overpowered a man threatening to blow up a bomb he had on his body. Cuma Yasar, 40, tried to persuade the pilot to turn the plane around and fly back to Oslo but was tackled by passengers and arrested at Ataturk International Airport. No explosives were found on his person.
If you have an iPhone and use its built-in alarm, you probably noticed that it failed to go off Sunday morning. Or Monday. An Apple programming bug meant that iPhones all across the country were the culprit of delayed meetings, missed flights, and a new trending topic on Twitter. We usually like to set two alarms the night before traveling, but it might be worth dusting off that old Nokia phone—or maybe one of these.
January is usually one of the best times of the year to snap up cheap international flights, so keep an eye out now if you have any travel planned for 2011. CheapCaribbean.com is celebrating the New Year with 11 deals in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and more. Deals include four nights at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna in the Bahamas for $299, including flights from Florida, meals, and leisure activities. For more offers, check out CheapCaribbean.com.
Travelzoo alerted us to another great Ireland deal this week, featuring roundtrip, nonstop flights from New York or Boston, car rental, and a three-bedroom private villa for six nights at the five-star Adare Manor Resort. The place has an 18-hole golf course, trout river for fishing, two restaurants, a cocktail bar, and naturally, a pub.
And finally, the four-star MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas is offering its signature suites for just $79 a night through March, reduced from the usual $200 rate. Stays are limited to Sunday through Thursday, but each suite has a kitchen, whirlpool hot tub, and wifi, and children under 15 sleep free.