This week’s travel crimes are merely crimes of association. A vindictive wife turned a stuffed animals into a weapon, carb-loving hackers turned a doctor into a Twitter threat, an airline turned to the FAA to enforce Wi-Fi, and a poorly named toddler suddenly turned into an alleged terrorist. And only time or heavy litigation will tell if the cruise, hospitality staff implicated in the Travolta lawsuits are looking to cash in or weren’t on board for a happy ending. Keep reading to see Lily J. Kosner’s round up of all the guilty and innocent parties in this week’s Icarus Award.
No Kruse on Your Cruise
Dr. Jack Kruse, the neurosurgeon turned low-carb diet advocate, seems to have some carb-loving enemies. Earlier in the week, Dr. Kruse was kicked off the 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise on the Carnival Magic before it was due to depart from Galveston, Texas. Prior to departure, staff learned of a threatening tweet alleging that the doctor was planning to use a “vial of Legionnaires for epic biohack” bio-terrorist attack on board. Perhaps the account name “@s***krusesays” might have been an indication of the phony threat, but the FBI, Homeland Security, the Galveston police and the U.S. Coast Guard were all notified. The doctor was removed from the ship, his possessions were searched and the ship left port without him. The ship’s Captain Giovanni Cutugno did apologized to passengers for the missed appearance.
Violating Voice Chat
VoIP (Voice-over-Internet-Protocol) is become more popular, but don’t plan on Skyping on your next fight. Founder of the VoIP app Viber, Talmon Marco, learned this lesson the hard way on a recent Delta flight. Marco was met by Port Authority Police in New York, after a flight attendant was displeased by him using GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi to make a Viber call. Marc ended his call immediately, but began a policy debate with staffers. While one flight attendant alleged that there was an FAA rule against VoIP use in the air, another accurately stated it was part of GoGo terms of service with the airline. Port Authority police don’t pursue policy debates so Marco was soon free to go.
Third-Party Troubles from Travolta Travels
Two time Icarus nominee John Travolta, notably nominated for his attempt to reserve a table at KFC, has brought three travel employees into the spotlight with his latest scandal. All three alleged incidents of sexual harassment (some plaintiffs are also filing sexual battery and assault lawsuits) took place at different five-star destination. The first accuser alleges the incident took place in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the second still works at an unnamed Atlanta-area resort and the third and the most recent was a Royal Caribbean cruise employee. As of press time, it’s unclear if the third accuser has filed paperwork. All three men tell similar stories of massages or guest service jobs taking a sexual turn. Travolta’s lawyer, Marty Singer, has fired back against all three accusers. Both sides claim to have proof, and it seems like the cases will be decided by the court and not the media.
Toddler or Terrorist
On Tuesday, Riyanna, an 18 month-old child, and her parents were escorted off a JetBlue flight after boarding. Flying from the Ft. Lauderdale Airport the family was removed from the flight and told the TSA needed to speak with them. Both parents were born and raised in New Jersey, but the mother was wearing a hijab. Turns out it wasn’t a TSA issue, but the airline had mistakenly indicated the toddler was on a government watch list. The family was allowed to re-board the flight, but were too embarrassed after the incident to get back on the flight.
A domestic dispute plays out in the airport in Providence, Rhode Island this week. There, airport screeners found a disassembled .40 caliber gun hidden inside the stuffed animals of a young boy en route to Detroit with his father, who was unaware that three of his son’s toys contained separate parts of the gun. A teddy bear held the main frame, a bunny held a loaded magazine and Mickey Mouse held a firing pin. According to an airport statement, the loaded toys were part of a “domestic custody dispute.”
Looks like Spirit Airlines took home this week’s Icarus Award. It won 42 percent of the vote for “Honor our Troops with a Refund” and then took home another 38 percent for Quite the Costly Carry-On. From Spirit Airlines to Ryanair and beyond, see all the Icarus Award winners in our archives. Then vote in this week’s Icarus Awards:
By Lily J. Kosner for Peter Greenberg.com