United Pilot Has Meltdown Over Intercom; Might Not Have Happy Valentine’s Day

There seems to be a story everyday about a passenger doing something crazy. The “Cash Me Outside” chick used 5 of her 15 minutes for an in-flight rant. For this story, it’s the pilot going off the rails.

Many outlets are reporting about a United Airlines pilot showed up late for a Austin-San Francisco run late and in street clothes. The unnamed captain grabbed the intercom to rant about her divorce, the past election and her “cute little uniform.” Many passengers chronicled it on social media. After watching the video, it’s more disturbing than ha ha funny.

My reaction would be to find a flight attendant and ask, “Pardon me. I’m going to open the emergency doors and deploy the slide.”

About a dozen did get off, but the police arrived and escorted the pilot off the plane. She’s been suspended pending investigation.

While there are plenty of jokes to be made, this incident is not good for anyone. A Germanwings pilot had undisclosed mental problems and downed an entire plane in 2015. In 2012, a JetBlue pilot freaked out mid-flight yelling about a bomb on the plane, had to be locked out of the cockpit and restrained.

Pilots have one of the most stressful jobs out there with the pressure to be on-time, the hours of being away from home and the burden of having 180 souls trusting your skills. I hope this is a rare incident because they are the lifeblood of a whole industry.


Notice A Theme With Travel-Related Super Bowl Ads?

While the immigrant story of Adolphus Busch is grabbing headlines at juuuuuuust the right time during the Super Bowl,  there was  a theme to several travel-related Super Bowl ads.

There’s the AirBnb ad featuring people of many nationalities using the popular LL Brown/Circular font the company uses to showcase their desire for inclusion. Not included is when you find out your AirBnb host is creepy.

I enjoyed the Expedia advert of the red head traveling at every stage of her life — hitchhiking, making out with a guy in Japan, saving refugees, being a humanitarian and getting stopped by a soldier at a checkpoint. It’s pretty bold.

Last year, Turkish Airlines had Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg from Batman v. Super: Dawn of Boredom. This year, they had the voice of God Morgan Freeman taking his first class seat to an open field.

The theme — travel is awesome because it gets you out of your bubble … and a little trolling of the new U.S. President doesn’t hurt.


Guinness Building a Brewery in Maryland; Won’t Actually Brew Guinness

Travelling to Ireland must be such a pain these days. You have to buy tickets, leave your house, pack your crap and get on a plane. Meh.

Luckily, you can get the Guinness experience without leaving the U.S. of A. It turns out that the fine Irish lads of Guinness are building a production facility in Relay, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. The plan is to replicate the experience of visiting St. James Gate in Dublin complete with a tour, museum experience, tap room and epic merch store.

Before you get your pitchforks and torches, the catch is that the famous Guinness stout won’t be made there. It will continue to be produced at the main Dublin factory. The beers in the Maryland facility will be exclusively made for the U.S. market similar to the Guinness Blonde. Taking a page from the craft beer movement, the beers will include experimental test batches.

With all this said, don’t go visiting the new storehouse thinking it will replace going to Ireland. It’s just a way for Guinness introducing new beers by extended the iconic name. It’s all about branding and marketing.

Go to Ireland. The Storehouse is the best beer destination I’ve visited. It’s extensive, educational, modern but honers tradition. Plus, it has the best view of Dublin in the city at the top bar when you finally get to drink.


Beer Voyage — Mikkeller Bar, Vesterbro, Copenhagen

In beer circles, Mikkeller is either wildly popular or not even known. It separates beer geeks from those jumping on the craft beer bandwagon. When I visited their first bar in 2012, they were just in the infancy of gaining a cult status.

Just to give you an overview of Mikkeller, you need to start with the man and his story. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is the mastermind behind the brand. He started as a high school teacher in Denmark who stumbled onto brewing. As it turns out, his mind is fertile for creating unique, experimental beers. He writes down the recipe, gives it to somebody else to make and then waits for the resulst. The irony is that he doesn’t like brewing — it’s boring to him.

That’s not the most interesting part of the story. His twin brother is Jeppe Borg Bjergsø, the founder of Evil Twin Brewing and owner of the great Brooklyn beer bar Tørst. As detailed in a New York Times profile, the two don’t get along and don’t speak to each other.

Mikkel, and his partner Kristian Keller, built their first Mikkeller Bar in the trendy Vesterbro neighborhood. The design is Scandinavian minimalism at it’s finest with white walls, steel stools and wood table tops. At night, most of the light is provided by votive candles and dimly lit Edison light bulbs.

This was my introduction to the classy beer bar where the beer glasses look more like wine glasses. It took a few more years for that style to carry over into America. Case in point, Tørst. Where do you think he got the idea?

Beer wise you have a few titles that have become staples in the Mikkeller catalog like Beer Geek Breakfast, Single Hops and It’s Alive. I remember having the super powerful Black Hole, a 19.1% stout that was aged in Tequila barrels. It was served in a champagne flute. The other than I can’t remember the name was brewed for the Copenhagen Half Marathon to benefit Breast Cancer because that’s what you want after running 13 miles.

Since the opening on their first bar, they’ve opened up bars in Barcelona, Iceland, Thailand, Japan, San Francisco, Oakland, South Korea and their first production facility in San Diego.

There’s A Guy Who Wrote 1,934 TripAdvisor Reviews in Two Years

logoIn an achievement that makes those dumb-ass elite reviews on Yelp look like Foursquare reviews, Stephen Kelly of Liverpool, UK has the dubious achievement of writing 1,934 reviews since February 2015. That’s about 2 or 3 a day.

My first thought is that his inbox must be hella jammed with TripAdvisor e-mails. I looked up hotels in Buenos Aires a few weeks ago and I still get two e-mails day with subjects along the lines of “You still thinking about Buenos Aires?” They might set up an e-mail server just for him.

The Independent profiled the gentleman and here are the takeaways:

  • TripAdvisor named him “UK Review Contributor of the Year”. I would hope so!
  • He works as a hospital porter (or orderly)
  • He’s gained 577 helpful votes.
  • He travels once a month.
  • Most of his reviews are positive.
  • He’s taken 15,426 photos.

I don’t think I can come up with 1,900 places I’ve visited. I would have to start reviewing individual toilets in airports around the world. “The 2nd to left stall in Terminal 3 by the Cinnabon had plenty of toilet paper and was sanitary. *****”

By comparison, I have 22 reviews with 16 helpful votes. Level 8 Hotel reviews. Y’all jealous?


Something Is Making American Airlines Flight Attendants Sick — And It’s Not Your B.O.

Somebody needs to call Dr. Gregory House because one in 10 of American Airlines flight attendants are getting rashes, sore throats, wheezing, fatigue and vertigo. That’s the same reactions I get from watching Suicide Squad on their on-board entertainment.

The obvious culprit are their new uniforms which were distributed to their 70,000 employees back in September. By October, 450 complaints were filed to their call center.

The makers of the uniforms also made them for Alaska Airlines, and what do you know?, the employees were complaining as well, according to the Chicago Tribune.  It might time to rethink your manufacturing. My favorite quote for the article — “A hospital gown seems to be the most popular flight-attendant accessory this season. That or an inhaler,” said flight attendant Heather Poole

Here’s the thing, AA spent $1 million on toxicology tests and they found nothing. My guess resembles the plot of 1989 Batman — mix the clothes with perfume/cologne, make-up and deodorant and the results could be toxic.

While the battle continues among the airline, the union that represents the stewards and stewardesses and the uniform supplier, those who are getting a reaction will get cotton uniforms instead of polyester. I don’t know about you, I would like the in-flight staff not scratching themselves while saving us during the unlikely event of a water landing.


I Applied and Was Approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card, Let’s See How This Goes

The big news in the mega-nerdy world of frequent flier miles is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is cutting bonus miles in half because the benefits worked too well.

— 100,000 miles if you spend $4000 in the first 4 months (worth $1500)
— 3x Points on travel and dining worldwide
— $300 credit towards travel
— 1:1 points points transfer
— Access to airport lounges
— 24/7 service

The big caveat is that it comes with a $450 annual fee that is somewhere off-set by the $300 travel credit. My Virgin and Barclay travel cards have $95 fees.

I was a little hesitant to sign-up because of that annual fee, but I might just cancel it after I get that sweet 100,000 miles. They loved my credit history so much that they gave me a credit limit of $18,000. Let’s go to Vegas, bitches!

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up. After that, you can sign up in person at a Chase branch and still get that 100K until March 12.

I’m loyal to my Virgin Atlantic card because of my frequent visits to London and I just adore their service. So, I feel like I’m cheeting on them. I could transfer my miles to Virgin, even though I have 190,000 miles racked up and ready to use.

I will report on my activity in the coming months.