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Craziest Travel Stories of 2014

Happy New Year everyone! Being a news junkie, I love to follow hot stories and am constantly reading on my iPhone.  With all the apps out there, it’s so much easier to get the news than ever before.  So much so that I started collecting travel stories that got my attention.  To close out 2014, here are my top picks for the year’s craziest travel stories:

People have to actually be warned not to take selfies with live bears #bearselfies

You know this one has to be my favorite. Yes there are people out there living on the edge every day just to make themselves stand out on their favorite social network. The U.S. Forest Service had to issue a warning to these beautifully naive (I’m being generous) people who were coming dangerously close to black bears just to take #bearselfies.   Being a star on Instagram definitely isn’t worth an encounter with a wild bear who can kill you in seconds while you are trying to frame-up the perfect selfie.

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Seat reclining haters go on an epic rant against invasion of personal space

Another hot topic which made its way through just about every news feed was the long overdue blow-up over airplane seat reclining.  This despised invasion of space has been bugging people for as long as we’ve had commercial airlines, yet suddenly it goes viral and everyone finally had an opportunity to vent.  Tall people, short people and me.  [Related:  6 Thoughts About the Reclining Seat Kerfuffle]

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LAX Flight delayed after WiFi hotspot is discovered with terrorist group’s name

This one caught my eye because it sounded seriously scary and completely ridiculous all at the same time.  It proves that any idiot armed with a smartphone or tablet can delay your flight and ruin your day just by doing something that scares another passenger.  Like naming your personal hotspot after a terror organization.  Not cute.  Not funny.  Just ridiculous.

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Venice has had enough of the noise and destruction created by wheeled luggage

You have to love Venice.  It’s absolutely one of the most amazing and charming cities to visit.  But apparently all the tourists with their annoying wheeled suitcases have been ruining the historic marbled steps, pathways and bridges around the city.  And the noise from all those wheels hitting the hard surfaces has been deemed a serious disturbance to people trying to sleep or enjoy a quiet moment.  Therefore, all wheeled suitcases have been banned in Venice.  Get caught rolling one around and you could face a stiff fine of up to 500 euros.

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Support pig is kicked off of flight for causing a stink

This was another OMG moment for me.  The day before Thanksgiving (think rush hour) a passenger boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C. with a big brown pig that weighed about 70-80 pounds.  Your government (DOT), hard at work to be a service to the people actually permitted the carry-on pig as an “emotional support animal.”  Guess what happened?  Yep the big brown pig left a big brown pile in the aisle.  Never saw that coming!

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Korean Air executive orders flight turned around in nut tantrum

This story went viral in the worst way possible.  You probably heard about Heather Cho, the rich and perhaps spoiled daughter of the head of Korean Airlines.  In a complete hissy fit, she ordered the plane to return to the gate so she could boot a flight attendant off the airplane for serving nuts in a bag instead of a plate.  While it was funny for a while, the situation has escalated and she was arrested for the temper tantrum a few days ago.  Yes she behaved badly.  Yes it was inexcusable.  But criminal?  Probably just fired would be enough.

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Pilots of Instagram provide gorgeous views from the cockpit

This story is so fun to follow.  Pilots everywhere have become Instagram celebrities by taking some pretty incredible photos from the cockpit.  The debate that has come out of this is how and why these pilots are using their smartphones during flight and how it violates the rules on just about every level.  While I love the photos, you have to admit that here on Earth, drivers can’t use their phones while on the road in a moving vehicle.  So why would it be okay at 30,000 feet?  Go figure.

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More from Samantha Brown:

Don’t Be One of These 11 Annoying Travelers

2014 Top Gifts for Travelers

9 Ridiculous SkyMall Products

 7 of the World’s Most Stunning Libraries

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