Diseases, drunk flight attendants and rude bosses ... maybe we stay home?
Yesterday I was touting travel to lots of great places in the world for "shoulder season."
I take it all back.
Why? Because perusing (or even reading) this morning's headlines makes me think we should all stay home, at least for a while. Folks seem to be getting sick all over the place, flight attendants are showing up dead drunk and the head of RyanAir in Britain is accusing passengers of being idiots for not printing their boarding passes in advance. More on that at the bottom of this posting, including some hilarious quotes from RyanAir chief Michael O'Leary from over the years.
Travelmole.com reports that "British holidaymakers who visited the US over the summer are being contacted by the Health Protection Agency following the outbreak of a deadly virus in Yosemite National Park (in California, see photo) which has killed two people and infected six.
The agency said it was not aware of any cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) - which is carried by rodents - in Britons who had been there on holiday. But it sounds a little scary.
In case you missed it, three folks who visited a downtown Chicago Marriott hotel died of Legionnaires' disease, city officials announced the other day.
The Chicago Department of Public Health released test results that showed that the primary source of the outbreak at the Marriott, located at 151 W. Adams St., was likely the spa and a decorative fountain in the main lobby. Samples taken from the fountain, the men's and women's locker rooms, and the spa's whirlpool all tested positive for the same type of Legionella bacteria found in the sick patients.
Marriott said it has removed the fountain and also closed parts of its luxury spa. The hotel said it is working with a water safety consulting company to install cleaner water systems and, according to Dr. Kathleen Ritger, medical director of communicable disease at the Chicago Department of Public Health, the hotel is now safe.
It's a little better in the air, but not much. Travelmole reports an air stewardess who was drunk on a UK-bound flight from Dubai has been fired "after she was found to be eight times over the drink flying limit."
The 24-year-old (no doubt a freshman at a Canadian university?) as arrested when her Emirates plane touched down in Birmingham after fellow cabin crew members raised the alarm over her behaviour.
Yeah, I guess so.
Folks in airline management don't appear to be a whole lot better. Michael O'Leary, the oft-quoted, often silly chief of RyanAir, has been quoted as calling passengers "idiots" if they fail to print their boarding passes in advance.
According to the Mirror in London, his launch-code attack "came after mother-of-two Suzy McLeod complained about being hit with $370 worth of fees when she arrived for a return flight home without printed boarding cards."
Ryanair users are supposed to print their boarding passes up to two weeks in advance. McLeod said she was at a rural villa in Spain without internet access for 15 days and couldn't print the passes. So she was hit with the (in my opinion, inordinately high and ridiculous) fees for printing out boarding passes for her family.
She launched a Facebook complaint that got the attention of thousands of folks. Including, apparently, O'Leary.
O’Leary (see photo) was taking no prisoners Monday, issuing a statement that said “Mother pays £200 for being an idiot and failing to comply with her agreement at the time of booking.”
He went on: “We think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid."
“She wasn’t able to print her boarding card because, as you know, there are no internet cafes in Alicante, no hotels where they could print them out for you, and you couldn’t get to a fax machine so some friend at home can print them and fax them to you.
“She then comes home and gets on Twitter, God help us all, and somehow we are going to change our policies. No we’re not.
“She wrote to me last week asking for compensation and a gesture of goodwill.
“To which we have replied, politely but firmly, thank you Mrs McLeod but it was your f***-up and if you screw up, you compensate us and you send us a gesture of goodwill.”
Asked if Mrs McLeod was its only passenger to behave in this way, Mr O’Leary replied: “No, there are 0.02% of passengers who are equally stupid.
"We say quite politely to those passengers, bu**er off.”
The Telegraph listed a few of O'Leary's top quotes. Here are a few:
O'Leary on his idea of charging folks to use washrooms on board his planes: "One thing we have looked at is maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in the future. If someone wanted to pay £5 to go to the toilet I would carry them myself. I would wipe their bums for a fiver."
On overweight passengers: "Nobody wants to sit beside a really fat ****** on board. We have been frankly astonished at the number of customers who don't only want to tax fat people but torture them."
On environmentalists: “We want to annoy the ******* whenever we can. The best thing you can do with environmentalists is shoot them. These headbangers want to make air travel the preserve of the rich. They are luddites marching us back to the 18th century. If preserving the environment means stopping poor people flying so the rich can fly, then screw it.”
On turbulence: "If drink sales are falling off we get the pilots to engineer a bit of turbulence. That usually spikes up the drink sales."
On travel agents: "Screw the travel agents. Take the ******* out and shoot them. They are a waste of bloody time. What have they done for passengers over the years?"
On ordering aircraft from Boeing: “The message to Boeing today is: ‘You keep building them, we’ll keep buying them’, and together both of us will kick the crap out of Airbus in Europe. We love Boeing. **** the French.”
On not ordering more aircraft from Boeing: “Boeing had their chance. Eventually you lose interest, dealing with a bunch of idiots who can’t make a decision. They are a bunch of numpties out in Seattle.”
Personally, I'd love it if one of our top Canadian airline officials were half this colourful. Then again, we here in Toronto have Rob Ford so we can't be greedy.