In brief: Southwest Airlines, Ryanair and reunited brothers
Southwest Airlines has a bittersweet day, Ryanair finds out it's too cold for bikinis, long lost brothers have chance encounter in Hawaii and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Southwest gets stuck on runway, cleared to acquire AirTran
It was a day of ups and downs for Southwest Airlines. A jet got stuck in the mud at Chicago Midway International Airport after skidding off the rain-soaked runway. No passengers were injured, according to CNN, making this the second time this month Southwest passengers escaped a scary incident unharmed.
Meanwhile, the United States Justice Department cleared Southwest's $1.4 billion acquisition of AirTran, which was originally announced in September. AirTran will continue to maintain its own operational standards until Southwest secures certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the two budget airlines to operate as a single entity, which probably won't happen until early 2012. Taking over AirTran's routes to Mexico and the Caribbean means Southwest will offer flights outside the continental United States for the first time.
ASA reprimands Ryanair for bikini adverts
Two years after getting in trouble over an advertisement featuring a sexually suggestive model in a school girl uniform, Ryanair is once again receiving criticism for featuring a scantly dressed woman in an advert. However, this time the issue is regarding misleading consumers rather than being sexually inappropriate. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned the ad featuring a woman in a dressed in a bikini, laying on a beach with a cocktail, because the ad was promoting cheap fares to 11 destinations that struggled to reach double-digit temperatures during the February-March promotion. The misleading promotion is already over, but the ASA will not allow the budget airline to run such advertisements in the future, the Guardian reports.
Long lost brothers meet on vacation in 'miracle' encounter
When Rick Hill and his family posed for a picture to document their holiday in Waikiki, the stranger taking the photo told the visitors to "say Leominster," the name of his hometown 6,000 miles away in Massachusetts. Hill and his family happen to be from the next town over, which was a strange enough as it was. But soon, things got weirder.
After talking, the two men discovered they shared a father. While each brother was aware of the other's existence, neither knew the other's name or how to get in touch with him.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"I've been traveling around New York with Chewbacca. He's more than just a friend, he's a backpack. http://yfrog.com/h2nftgdj"
@chriscolfer, the Glee star included a photo of the Chewy pack. Unfortunately there was no photo of him wearing it in the city, which would have been priceless.