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Top 5 Travel Stories of 2011

Iguazu Falls was named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011 (#1). Photo by James Walters.

By Waheeda Harris

Which articles captured our attention in the travel world this past year? From the disappearance of Jack the Cat to the stress of a possible Air Canada strike, travellers had many stories keeping their eyes on the news:

Alec Baldwin was kicked off a flight for refusing to turn of his iPad (#5). Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

1. Seven new natural wonders. The online voting for the planet’s latest list amazing spots culminated on auspicious November 11, with the announcement of the seven new wonders of nature, which recognized amazing landscapes like South America’s Amazon and Iguazu Falls, Vietnam’s Halong Bay and South Africa’s Table Mountain. Canada’s Bay of Fundy was a finalist, but ultimately didn’t make the cut.

2. Air Canada tries to strike twice. Canadian travellers stressed out twice this fall in September and October with the possibility of strikes by flight attendants at the nation’s largest airline. Thankfully, the looming federal government threat to legislate employees back to work forced a settlement and calmed many nerves.

3. TSA complaints. Our neighbours to the south were repeatedly vocal about the over-the-top behaviour by the country’s airport security staff, with grandmas and kids reporting being strip searched and groped. A female passenger even received a note from a TSA security staff member (on an official TSA Notice of Inspection slip, no less) reading “Get your freak on, girl” after his discovery of a sex toy packed in her luggage.

4. Jack the Cat. This tabby didn’t want to travel to California and escaped his carrier, spending two months in the environs of New York City’s JFK airport, until he fell through the ceiling of Terminal 8’s customs area. Due to severe injuries, poor Jack was put down, a sad day for his owner and Jack’s 24,000 Facebook friends.

5. Celebs behaving badly. A-listers may have VIP status almost everywhere they go, but flagrantly disregarding airline rules can land them them back in the terminal and on the front page. French actor Gerard Depardieu left his mark by urinating in the plane’s cabin before takeoff, forcing a two hour flight delay while the carpet was cleaned. Actor Alec Baldwin refused to stop playing the game Words With Friends on his iPad and was removed from an American Airlines flight.

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