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Damaged luggage? That's nothing compared with the top travel horror stories 2010. (Digital Vision./iStockphoto)
Damaged luggage? That's nothing compared with the top travel horror stories 2010. (Digital Vision./iStockphoto)

Pat-downs, screw-ups and Steven Slater: The 2010 Travel Hall of Infamy Awards Add to ...

The Heads You Lose Award to two American men who bought unusual souvenirs while holidaying on the Greek island of Mykonos - six fake skulls, or so they thought. They planned to use them for Halloween. Security agents at Athens airport found their treasures. They called in the coroner who ruled the skulls were real. The tourists were charged with desecrating the dead. They were later released.

The Hell Hath No Fury Award to a woman miffed that her ex-boyfriend was flying from Toronto to Karachi, Pakistan, to get married. According to Swedish news reports, she phoned in a hoax bomb alert that forced his Pakistan International Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in Stockholm. The 273 passengers were delayed for nine hours. The hapless man was arrested briefly, but released once police checked out his story.

The It Never Hurts To Ask Award to companies and associations that bombard Best Western hotels in Britain with strange requests. A pet lovers' group wanted all twin rooms so guests and dogs could have separate beds. On the other hand, a support group for sex addicts demanded only singles, plus a staff member to make sure delegates made it to bed alone. The chain says it tries to fill all orders, but had to turn down the Tall Persons Club of Great Britain because of a shortage of seven-foot beds.

The Bag of Tricks Award to a Transportation Security Administration worker at Philadelphia airport for his warped sense of humour. After college student Rebecca Solomon had passed through a metal detector, the man pulled a plastic bag filled with white powder from her carry-on. "Where did you get it?" he asked. Turns out the substance was creatine powder, not cocaine, and had been placed by the worker as a prank. He said she would have to admit it was funny. She filed a complaint. The worker is no longer with the TSA.

The Lost In Translation Award to an employee at the luxury Vilu Reef Beach and Spa resort in the Maldives. He conducted a marriage renewal ceremony for a Swiss couple, both dressed in white for the occasion. But his words in the local language weren't what the pair thought he was saying. Instead of blessing their union, he declared their marriage illegal and branded them swine and infidels. The video went viral on YouTube. The celebrant was arrested.

The Do You Know Who I Am Award to two Tory cabinet ministers for throwing snit fits at airports. In February, Helena Guergis, then minister of state for the status of women, reportedly arrived at Charlottetown airport at the last minute, berated Air Canada staff, initially refused to remove her boots after they set off a metal detector, complained loudly about being "stuck on this hell hole," proclaimed she was "down here working my ass off for you people," and tried to force open a security door. Days later Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn threw a tantrum at Ottawa airport when he had to surrender a bottle of tequila that exceeded the carry-on limits.

The Cruisin' For A Bruisin' Award to Bethsaida Sandoval, a vacation planner with the Royal Caribbean cruise line in Florida. She lifted clients' addresses from her work database, supposedly so she could send out birthday and Christmas cards. Palm Beach police suspected another motive. They charged the woman and her husband with breaking into 24 homes while the owners were cruising and making off with flat-screen TVs, guns and jewellery.

The Honeymoon Is Over Award to Moses, a Massachusetts basset hound who chewed his master's passport shortly before Eric Mann was to leave on a Cancun honeymoon vacation with his bride Brooke Blew. The local postmaster told him not to apply for a new one as the photo and barcodes were undamaged. Come flight day, both the airline and airport security accepted the tattered document. But Cancun authorities ruled it - and the newlyweds - inadmissible and immediately sent them home. The tour operator initially refused to give a refund. Instead the firm sent a letter wishing them "the joy, funds and time to enjoy multiple honeymoons!"

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