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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 Vicious Circle Award to a would-be sailor who set off in his motor cruiser for a voyage along the English coast to Southampton. He brought no navigation equipment and no maritime charts. But he had a road map and figured he couldn't go wrong as long as he kept the shore on his right. Hours later, when he had used up his gas and run aground, he was rescued by the coast guard. Turns out he had never left the Thames estuary and had been going round and round the same small island.

The Sorry Wrong Number Award to the man in Room 119 at a motel in Wenatchee, Wash. Another guest attempted to phone him, but dialled 911 by mistake. Police arrived to see if there was a problem. They arrested the man in 119 on an outstanding warrant and seized heroin and other drugs.

The Blue Streak Award to a 19-year-old Australian man who bet a friend he could travel through Europe naked. All went well until Munich, the 11th city on his tour. Although the temperature was freezing, city police spotted him dressed only in his shoes. They pursued him through the main train station and caught him when he slipped on a wet floor. He was fined €100 ($131). His excuse: "I simply like to be naked."

The Way The Cookie Crumbles Award to a California man who started acting strangely while flying home from a conference in the Dominican Republic. Kinman Chan screamed while in the restroom and came out with his pants down. While being led to his seat he attempted to hit a female flight attendant. Mr. Chan told police, who laid charges, that he has a medical marijuana card. While waiting for his flight he had eaten double his dose of marijuana cookies.

The Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed Award to three British Holiday Inns for launching another new amenity - human bed-warmers. During a January cold snap, guests who paid an extra fee could have a staff member in a one-piece sleeper suit crawl between their sheets to preheat the bed to 20 C. The service is "a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed," chain spokeswoman Jane Bednall said. Guest Evan Jones disagreed. "It's slightly creepy," he said. "I might pay to not have it."

The New Kid In Town Award to Delta Air Lines for its careless handling of unaccompanied minors. When a woman went to Cleveland airport to pick up her granddaughter who was flying in alone, she was presented with a nine-year-old boy. Meanwhile, the boy's grandfather was anticipating the lad's arrival at Boston airport. The carrier had mixed the kids up in Minneapolis-St. Paul and put each on the other's connecting flight. The airline put the blame on "a paperwork swap."

The Please Remain Seated Award to WestJet passenger Barbara Morton for having a mid-flight meltdown. Getting up from her seat, she told a flight attendant, "I need morphine now, I'm on major withdrawal. I'm going to open that [expletive]door, I'm getting off." Passengers and cabin crew restrained her, but not before she had reached for the cabin door, bit a 77-year-old man and kicked a flight attendant in the face. The plane, heading to Halifax from Calgary, made an emergency landing in Winnipeg. The woman was jailed and banned from WestJet for life.

The Take This Job And Shove It Award to JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater. As the flight he was working landed at New York's Kennedy airport, Mr. Slater cursed the passengers over the PA system, helped himself to beer and made his exit down the inflatable emergency chute. A judge ordered him to pay $10,000 (U.S.) in restitution to the airline. But to disgruntled workers everywhere, Mr. Slater became an instant folk hero.

Sources: Associated Press, Athens News Agency, Australian Broadcasting Corp., BBC, Chicago Tribune, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New York Daily News, News.com.au, Philadelphia Daily News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Press Association, Reuters, The Boston Globe, The Canadian Press, The National Law Journal, The Palm Beach Post, The Scotsman, Tripadvisor.com, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Free Press, Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

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