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Travel hall of shame for 2012 Add to ...

… goes to Maygan Sensenberger, the 23-year-old wife of Canadian Senator Rod Zimmer, 46 years her senior. There are various versions of what happened on an Air Canada flight to Saskatoon from Ottawa, but it seems that the woman’s loud outbursts resulted in police meeting the plane and putting her under arrest. She claims she was worried hubby was having a heart attack. Some passengers insist she threatened to kill him. She was placed on probation and ordered to undergo counselling. “I think,” she told the court, “that when you’re in that kind of situation – when you’re distraught, you have few drinks in your system – you do things that you might not do [in normal] circumstances.” Still, the publicity boosted her lifelong dream of becoming an actor. She soon landed roles in two indie films.

The Unfitting Behaviour Award

… goes to two first-class passengers on a Qantas flight to Melbourne from Los Angeles. Prior to takeoff they threw a tantrum on learning there were no pyjamas available in their size – XL. Cabin crew offered PJs from business class that would fit them, but the couple demanded to leave. Offloading their luggage delayed the flight for 30 minutes. Expecting sympathy, the couple ordered the captain to announce the reason for the holdup. When he did, the other passengers erupted in laughter.

The Only Following Orders Award

… goes to TSA screeners at the Wichita, Kan., airport. They ordered a physical pat-down for a four-year-old girl because she ran back to hug her grandmother after she and her mother had passed through security without incident. The girl, who had just been taught about “stranger danger” at school, became hysterical. The screeners called her an unco-operative suspect and threatened to shut down the airport. The mother later wrote on Facebook that the girl had been treated like a terrorist. The TSA insisted it only followed normal procedures.

The Standard of Indecency Award

… goes to the Standard Hotel, operator of boutique hotels in five U.S. cities. Its fall ad campaign featured three photographs by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. One shows a woman urinating on a rug in front of a male onlooker. In another, a woman spits into a bowl of soup, while in a third a man sticks his head down a woman’s sweater in a restaurant. The chain says the ads are intended to be “cool” and are aimed at its target clientele of tastemakers, influencers and trendsetters.

The Las Vegas Strip Award

… goes to Prince Harry, who lost a game of strip billiards while partying in a Las Vegas hotel suite. Someone snapped cellphone photos of the royal in the raw hugging an equally nude woman. The shot revealed everything but the crown jewels. A tight-lipped Buckingham Palace flack said only that Harry was on a private holiday before returning to Afghanistan. Las Vegas reacted with a major ad campaign stressing its old motto that what happens in Vegas should stay there.

The Shirt Off His Back Award

… goes to the WestJet flight attendant who ordered Ted Carson to take off his T-shirt before boarding a flight. She insisted its Ragged Ass Rd. logo didn’t suit the carrier’s family friendly policy. Carson explained that the Yellowknife street is a tourist landmark and that images of its sign are popular souvenirs. The airline, which has flown to Yellowknife since 2000, issued an apology on Twitter. It was accompanied by a photo of President Gregg Saretsky’s office door, which has sported a Ragged Ass Rd. bumper sticker for the last two years.

The Binders Full of Windows Award

… goes to U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for revealing his fuzzy understanding of aircraft engineering. Speaking at a fundraiser, he talked of his worries when his wife Ann’s plane had to make an emergency landing. “When you have a fire in an aircraft,” he said, “there’s no place to go, exactly … and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

The Maybe They Should Have Used Twist-ties Award

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