World Cup travelers outraged by high airfares

Eager fans headed to this summer’s World Cup in South Africa have been finding plenty of frustration due to sky-high airline prices. According to a story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, there may be a reason why: South Africa’s two main carriers are currently under investigation due to allegations of price collusion.

South Africa’s antitrust “Competition Commission” recently began an investigation of South African Airways and the country’s budget carrier Mango. Both carriers are suspected of agreeing to keep airfare prices artificially high during the ever-popular World Cup, with the country expecting around 350,000 visitors. Other airlines targeted by the probe include British Airways and partner Comair, as well as 1Time. South African Airways has offered to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Is behind-the-scenes price fixing at work? The jury is still out, though the $1700-1900 tickets we found on Kayak from New York City did not exactly remove our doubts. Tickets to South Africa have never been cheap, and the higher demand during World Cup is sure to keep prices up as well. If you’re heading to South Africa for the Cup this summer, make sure to have good look around the airfare sites at prices before you purchase.

Bad behavior at the airport, Hollywood style and how to tips for keeping your cool

When passengers show bad behavior at the airport, everyone notices. Bad airport behavior is one place Hollywood gets it right, even when scenes are a bit outlandish.

Here are two scenes that show just what can happen when a passenger is vexed beyond sanity–either due to traveling with a family member or the actions of another passenger coupled with airline staff reactions.

Perhaps you’ll see an element of yourself or someone you know in one of these scenerios. If you happen to have one of these moments when traveling for the holidays, try to keep a sense of humor. It can help.

Along with a sense of humor, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help you not go bonkers. If you do go bonkers, check in with Gadling, we’d love to tell your tale. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

First up: Rain Man. Here’s what happens when two family members have a different notion of travel. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman may be brothers, but their travel preferences don’t match.

To keep from having your own Rain Man situation, particularly when traveling with children, talk over the trip beforehand. Explain what will happen at the airport before you get there. Go over the various steps like waiting in line, going through TSA and boarding the plane. One resource that’s helpful for traveling with children is Shae By Air, a DVD made for children about taking an airplane trip.

For adults who have a fear of flying, there are resources aimed for you. Scott previewed Flying without Fear. Also, in one of his Plane Answers posts, Gadling’s own pilot extraordinaire, Kent Wien presents other tips for those afraid to fly.

Second up: Honeymoon in Vegas. If there was ever an example of passenger rage, this is it. Nicolas Cage perfectly nails the emotions. Here’s what happens when a customer service agent is overly solicitous to one very irritating customer. Tom warned about this in his post about the problem with travel professionals going that extra mile.

When another passenger is driving you nuts, try to stay calm by realizing you’re about to reach your limit. If you are in a hurry because you may miss your flight, calmly ask if you can please cut because you are about to miss your plane. I’ve seen people do this before and it works. At all costs, don’t raise your voice and start spewing spittle. It just won’t help at all.

Third up: Meet the Parents. Ben Stiller doesn’t go nuts when he’s dealing with this gate attendant’s power hungry nonsense, but her behavior does add fuel to his going bonkers behavior once he’s on the plane. Let’s call this priming the pump. The video embedding function is disabled, thus I couldn’t put it in this post but it’s an hysterical scene that’s so worth the watch.

For another example of airline personnel’s bad behavior check out these videos. This is one flight attendant who needs a chill pill.

–And, once again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Pilots and crew brawl at 30,000 feet because of a flight attendant

The wide open skies turned into the Wild West on an Air India flight when the pilots and crew started fist-fighting. The plane was heading to New Delhi from Sharjah, UAE when the altercation that had started before the plane took off heated up.

This was not a remake of the 1980’s movie Airplane, although the scenario that unfolded at 30,000 feet sounds as if it could be. Picture an Airbus A-320 bouncing around in the skies, if you will.

The fight started when one of the pilots supposedly molested one of the female flight attendants. In response to the allegation, the pilot and the co-pilot and two of the crew members threw punches in a display of fisticuffs that began in the cockpit and spilled out into the galley.

As they looked on, the 106 passengers probably wondered what the heck was going on and who exactly was flying the plane, as in should one of them offer to take control.

By the end of the incident that has subsequently grounded the four brawlers, one of the female flight attendants and one of the co-pilots did end up with bruises. There is an investigation as to what happened exactly. Sorting out who did what may not be all that difficult considering there were eyewitnesses.

I’m wondering if beverage service was disrupted. It sounds like this would have been a flight to add popcorn into the snack option. You can read more about this truth is stranger than fiction story here.

Man threatens to explode bomb at SFO, gets one-way ticket to jail

If you have a problem with your plane ticket, do not, I repeat, DO NOT do what Oregonian Mark Field did this past Tuesday at San Francisco International Airport: He threatened Philippine Airlines‘ staff by waving his cellphone and saying, I’m going to press this and blow up the plane.”

Mention a bomb in an airport and you’re in BIG trouble as Field quickly discovered. It doesn’t matter how hopping-, spitting-, head-about-to-burst-mad you are. It also doesn’t matter that you don’t actually have a bomb.

Evidently, the problem started when Mr. Field tried to check in for an international flight and discovered he was being charged for a round-trip ticket even though he only wanted a one-way ticket. No matter how much he argued with staff, they weren’t budging, and the situation heated up until … Field finally snapped.

Once the word “bomb” spewed from his mouth, in rushed the bomb-sniffing dogs. After it was established that Field didn’t have a bomb after all — just a trigger mouth — he was arrested for making a false bomb threat. Now, Field sits in jail with a hefty $50,000 bail and a one-way ticket to a court date on October 19.

If convicted, Field could remain in jail for up to one year.

As Sargent Sergeant Wesley Matsuura of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office explained, one-way tickets aren’t normally sold for international flights due to security issues. That’s why the airline staff wasn’t giving in to Mr. Field’s complaints. Too bad for him he didn’t understand this.

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One Hundred Very Angry U.S. Cities

US FlagWhy this list of angry U.S. cities makes me laugh – I don’t know? Could it be that Orlando, the very home of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse ranks number one for some bizarre reason? Maybe it’s because my city (Tampa, FL) ranks 12 and the near by St. Petersburg, FL comes in second? So my first question is this – what’s up with all the anger Florida?

World Hum points readers to a fine piece from Men’s Health focusing on 100 very angry U.S. cities. The ranking was based off factors like percentage of men with high blood pressure, FBI rates of aggravated assaults, Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers on workplace deaths from assaults and other violence in addition to road rage. Whew! With all those ugly factors and Orlando placing tops on the anger totem, some of you may be a little afraid to see where your place of residence ranks. Others may not be so surprised.