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Air Travel’s Top 3 Service Animals: Cat, Dog and … Mini Horses?

Well, the ranking is according to a recent guidance manual from the US Dept of Transportation, noting cats, dogs and mini horses are the three most recognized service animals worldwide?  Mini-horses require a minimum three-seat row, less than 34-in high and be able to lay down during a flight.  I wonder what kind of carry on mini horses are allowed?

World’s Crooked Street Now Requires Reservations and a Fee?

San Francisco’s famous “crooked” Lombard Street now requires vehicle users to have reservations and PAY A USE FEE that can range from $5 on weekdays to over $10 on weekends. Local residents are responsible for getting the fee approved and claim that over 6,000 people daily visit the 600-foot long street — causing all sorts of congestion (lines of vehicles stretching for blocks), traffic jams, trash clutter and even trespassing.  Street residents claim the scenic street has become more of an “amusement park” than scenic destination!

Hot Cockpit Mess Forces Flight Return

It was a very hot mess in the cockpit of a recent Condor Air flight when the pilot spilled a cup of hot coffee on the cockpit controls on a flight over the Atlantic. The hot liquid melted some of the control instruments and the flight was diverted to Ireland for a “safety clean up.”  Some communications and navigation equipment were disabled and there was smoke inside. Condor now requires crew members to use coffee cup lids — and might think of adding “cup holders” — at a spot away from the controls?

More Trouble for Boeing?

Unable to get their new 737 MAX back in the air this year so far, inspectors have recently found “wing related cracks and damage” in nearly 40 older 737s.  The cracks or structural damage has been found in the parts that attach the wings to the body of the aircraft — Boeing said  they were “looking for the root cause” of the damage?  Guess that’s Boeing talk for “we have no idea what to look for.”

Conde Nast Says Alaska Air is the Best!

Conde Nast Traveler readers have once again — 2 years running now — picked Alaska as the best US carrier! Although the TC thinks they could use some help with their checked bag programs — after the carrier recently misplaced his bag on a normally short and easy flight from Sonoma County to LAX — all ended well after the carrier found the bag in Las Vegas and delivered 2 days later —  reminding the TC to remind you “don’t put anything valuable in your checked luggage!!!

Alaska Airlines Students Invited for Delivery Flight

NASA Opens International Space Station Reservations to Tourists

NASA is, for the first time ever, allowing tourists to make reservations to visit international space stations — prices will start at $35,000 a night and do not include costs for the rocket to get you there and back.  Your nightly fee will include air, bed, water, internet and the use of a toilet — with a maximum of a 30 day visit!  The transport rocket, being developed for NASA by Boeing and Space X, will run a minimum of $60 million and could go as hight as $90 million.  No word on baggage and carry on restrictions?

US Global Entry Program in Slow Motion

The popular “fast track” US Passport expedited screening program has slowed service because of a a huge backlog of applicants and staff available to process applications.  The program, run by U.S Customs and Border Protection, has even had to close some of their airport application centers with staff being moved to help out with other priorities on the southern boarders of the US.  The agency says it could take more than 100 days to process a new or renewal application —might be worthwhile to check out other options, especially if just interested in TSA Pre-Check domestic programs??? 

The new US Customs and Border Protetion Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network kiosks are seen at Dulles International Airport (IAD), December 21, 2011 in Sterling, Virgina, near Washington, DC. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Watch Out for Restroom Cameras When You Fly?

Yes — it really can happen, and has recently on a United flight from San Diego to Houston. Female passenger noticed a video camera in the jets first class bathroom, but the passenger who installed the camera shot video of himself first. the FBI is now “talking” with him (seems they also found other bathroom flight videos on his camera).  Be watchful when you travel — especially of small blinking lights when using the aircraft restroom!!!