Airline Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

gadling airline madness

It’s that time of year again! All around the country, people are filling out their brackets and arguing over match-ups. That’s right; it’s March Madness Airline Madness! Just like last year’s Hotel Madness, we’ve compiled a list of travel pet peeves. Only this time around the competition is for the title of Worst Airline Annoyance. Our selection committee vetted the pool of candidates and chose the 16 worst offenders. Now it’s time for you to vote. Over the next two days, all of the first round match-ups will be posted here on Gadling for you to weigh in. The winners will advance to the second round, then the Final Four and so on until we crown an Airline Madness champion.It’s going to be an exciting few weeks of debates, arguments and rants about cry babies, overhead space and baggage fees. We know you’ll have some opinions to share and we hope that you’ll speak up in the comments.

Below is a list of our first round match-ups that will be up for voting later today for the first four match-ups of the first round. The second half of the first round will be open for voting tomorrow, so keep checking back for all of the action! [Update: The first round has ended and voting is closed.]


#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures



#3 Lack of free food/prices for food vs. #14 Cold cabin/no blankets


#4 Baggage fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats


#5 Lack of overhead space vs. #12 Inattentive parents of crying babies


#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment


#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing


#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats

Welcome to Airline Madness! It’s up to you to pick the champion (because everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy)!

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

Americans still don’t like dollar coins

dollar coinsAccording to an NPR story this week, the Federal Reserve is sitting on a billion dollars worth of the $1 Sacagawean and Presidential coins, and the program to replace dollar bills with the metal coins has largely been deemed a failure. The government spends millions annually to mint new coins in order to introduce all the US presidents, resulting in millions languishing in vaults a la “Scrooge McDuck” said Planet Money’s David Kestenbaum. Despite the fact that they are legal tender and the government’s many efforts to promote their use, Americans still distrust the dollar coin.

Why the reason for the distrust? Americans claim they are difficult to spend, not recognized by many merchants, or just weigh down pockets too much. Perhaps we should ask our foreign neighbors how they have integrated them into daily life. America is one of the few countries in the developed world to use a $1 banknote and the only one of the top five traded currencies (including the Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen, and Australian dollars) to use a bill in such a small denomination. Canada replaced the dollar bill with the “loonie” coin in 1987 and the British pound note has been out of circulation since 1983. Is taking away the $1 bill the only way to get Americans to use the coin? We reported earlier this year on a possible way to earn frequent flyer miles by purchasing dollar coins, a legal (but not encouraged by the US Mint) practice that may actually contribute to this back log of currency. Maybe go out and spend the coins instead and hope the trend catches on.

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Photo courtesy Flickr user cometstarmoon. Hat tip to Honza Kerver for the NPR story link.

Vietnam’s secret tradition of annual adultery

by Leo Chuoi via FlickrIt may sound strange to us, but in the mountains of Vietnam, a yearly tryst with an ex-lover is a time-honored tradition.

Up near the Chinese border, in a small Vietnamese mountain village called Khau Vai, a celebration of love takes place two days per year (the 26th and 27th of the lunar calendar’s third month). Hundreds of people come from near and far to meet and, well, “have relations” with people other than their spouses.

Reuters found one couple who had come together for trysts with their ex lovers. “In the past, we were lovers, but we couldn’t get married because we were far apart,” said Lau Minh Pao of the woman he had come to meet. The ill-fated pair meets in Khau Vai every year and “we pour our hearts out about the time when we were in love.”

His wife was there to see an old flame of her own. Everyone wins?
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[via Reuters]
[Photo by Leo Chuoi via Flickr]

How do you pass the time in airports during delays?

With nasty weather once again enveloping the Northeastern United States and winter showing no signs of ending anytime soon, thousands of travelers find themselves killing a lot of time at airports. Flight delays are a fact of life and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it unless you want to pay the fees necessary to change your flights. That leaves us all spending much of our holiday or business trip twiddling our thumbs in crowded, boring airport terminals.

Earlier this week, we showed you how one imaginative traveler entertained herself in Pittsburgh International Airport. However, not all of us are that creative (or bold), so we have to find other activities to keep us sane. Gadling wants to know what your favorite time-killer is during a long flight delay.

Let us know by voting in the poll below and feel free to elaborate in the comments.

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Poll: Is your GPS male or female?

I’ve been in plenty of cars on several continents that had GPS units. I’ve heard robotic male Aussies instruct me through a roundabout and seductive French women tell me to U-turn in 300 meters. And for giggles, I’ve set the devices to Chinese, Portuguese and several other languages that I do not speak or understand simply to hear them come out of a tiny box mounted on my windshield. But, at the end of the day, I need to hear my directions in English and I like to hear them dictated in a woman’s voice (particularly one with a sensual British accent). I’m not sure what that says about me, but it’s the truth.

What about you? Do you set your GPS to a male or female voice? Vote in our poll and explain your preference in the comments below.

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Photo by flickr user Jimmy_Joe.