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Icarus Awards: On and Off the Radar

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Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of the summer travel season. As one of the nation’s busiest travel days, the high volume of travelers results in a high volume of travel failures. From a publicity-hungry reality TV star to a parolee on the lam, Lily J. Kosner looks at the week’s most egregious travel crimes that failed to fly under the radar.

Unbelted Bandit

Most parents with young kids hope to sneak by without incident when flying, but Mark Yanchuk and his 3-year old son were not so lucky. The family, five travelers in total, were taken off a Saturday Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Miami. Trouble started when the child’s iPad was turned off, prompting him to refuse to sit up straight with his seat belt properly fastened. While lying down, with his legs danging over the armrest, the seat belt went across the boy’s neck, almost appearing to strangle him. Flight attendants attempted to rectify the situation, but eventually the captain returned the plane to the gate and the boy and his father were escorted off. Yanchuk claims the airline overreacted, though the family is set to receive a full refund.

Homeward Bound

After being released from jail on Memorial Day, Marc Rory Duncan, a 38-year-old parolee is already back in trouble after he attempted to score a free Southwest flight to Los Angeles. One day after his release, Duncan sneaked onto a flight from San Diego’s Lindberg Field. Duncan was undetected until flight attendants noticed one too many passengers. He was then arrested and charged with two counts of trespassing. He claimed to be en route to Alaska to see his family. The TSA and airport authorities are investigating further.

Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood Life Magazine Awards. Photo Credit: Luke Ford

Sentiment or Publicity?

When you lose something precious, what’s the first thing you do? Retrace your steps then tweet, right? So was the case for Kim Kardashian who took to the social network last Friday night claiming that British Airways employees ransacked her luggage and stole expensive purses and vintage sunglasses, which were a memento from her deceased father and only worn on special occasions. Kardashian tweeted, “Some things are sentimental & not replaceable.” In addition to her Twitter protest, Kardashian has filed a complaint with the airline stating that if they do not produce surveillance footage she will go to the police.

Oversized Error

Bags are lost every day, but one might suspect that 14-Foot polls are easier to keep track of. Not so for Kati Davis a NCAA Division II Track & Field competitor, who was trying for her third All-American title. Delta Airlines lost the Central Washington University athlete’s gear in a three day ordeal that contributed to a poor showing at nationals. In a statement in the athlete didn’t blame the airline but did acknowledge that mix-up resulted in her “not jumping [her] best.” Davis has been given two $100 vouchers in addition to a $200 fee refund.

Double Trouble

United Airlines is getting two lawsuits for the price of one. On Tuesday, African American pilots filed a federal bias lawsuit claiming that few minority workers make the ranks of upper management. The airline has released a statement denying the allegations. At the end of last week, George Lagen sued the airline for breach of contract claiming that the company immorally rescinded perks for the Million Milers program after merging with Continental Airlines. The airline released a statement arguing that Lagen’s suit is also without merit.

Granny Diving won last week’s Icarus Award, see all the winners and loser in our Icarus Award archives. And remember to vote in this week’s Icarus Awards:

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By Lily J. Kosner for

Related links: Washington Post, USA Today, TMZ, Fox News, Overhead Bin, ABC News, MSNBC