May 27, 2009 -- Are you a savvy traveler? Of course, you are, or you wouldn't be reading this. But how much real insider info are you familiar with, and how much do you know about the nuttier nuances of air travel?
Let's find out. Take my quiz to see if you're an "On-Time Arrival" or a "Grounded Flight." I think it's safe to say that some of the answers will surprise you. You'll find them at the very end, along with the scoring key. Have fun!
1. Graduation time is here; from which university did Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson get his degree?
C. He didn't graduate from college
D. He didn't graduate from high school
2. The passengers of the January "Miracle on the Hudson" landing (thanks again, Capt. Sully) recently got back some of their belongings that were rescued from the water-logged cabin. What did many of these recipients say they failed to get back?
A. Paper money
D. Car keys
3. Many summer travelers like to plan vacations around fun festivals; which of the festivals listed below is a fake?
A. Beach Blanket Bingo Days, dancing, games and who knows what
B. La Tomatino, participants hurl tomatoes at one another
C. Blobfest, a '50s sci-fi/horror movie extravaganza
D. Voodoo Fest, a festival about, well ... voodoo
E. They're all fake
F. They're all real
4. In the past couple of years, all sorts of creatures have made their way onboard airplanes; which of the following was not found in an aircraft?
C. Bed bugs
5. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced "body imaging" machines at several airports to better detect "metallic and non-metallic" threats. What do some critics of this screening technology call it?
A. "Virtual X-rays"
B. "Virtual nudity"
C. "Virtual strip search"
D. "Virtual pat down"
6. Once again, researchers at the University of Michigan (and others) put out their "American Customer Satisfaction Index," which ranks companies and industries in terms of the public's fondness for them or, in other words, their "satisfaction" with them. Which of the following ranked lower than the airlines?
A. The IRS
B. Pet food manufacturers
C. Personal grooming companies
D. Cable and satellite TV
E. All of the above
F. None of the above
Travel Quiz Answers
1) D. Richard Branson left school at 16 to start a mail-order record business. It eventually grew into Virgin Records and today the Virgin brand is attached to everything from wine, books, mobile phones and several airlines. The billionaire Brit is dyslexic, but does not believe that has hindered him in the business world.
2) A. According to the New York Times, several people noted that while coins were returned to them (along with favorite jeans, car keys, an Our Lady of Lourdes medallion and more), the cash they had onboard with them went missing.
3) F. Beach Blanket Bingo Days will be held in Southern California this summer; La Tomatino occurs during August in Bunol, Spain; Phoenixville, Pennsylvania is the place to go in July for Blobfest; and New Orleans' Voodoo Fest starts in late October, in time for Halloween.
4) A. Security officers detained a man at the airport in Cairo, Egypt, as he was about to get onboard with a bag loaded with 250 baby crocodiles. The snakes were discovered on a plane in Australia earlier this year (actor Samuel L. Jackson was nowhere in sight); last September, there was a bit of a bed bug infestation in the United Kingdom and, yes, they were discovered on planes (as well as trains and buses); and, in July, passengers complained about "three ticks" discovered on a United flight from Denver to Des Moines.
5) C. "Virtual strip search" is the phrase critics such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center are using, saying the images are too explicit. The TSA says that the images will not show passengers' faces (they will be blurred), and no cameras, cell phones or video will be allowed anywhere near the images.
6) D. This has to hurt but, yes, the IRS ranked higher than the airlines in terms of customer satisfaction (and it's not the first time). As for this list, only cable/satellite TV fared worse than the nation's carrier and, if you've ever had to wait for the cable guy to show up, you know why.
Give yourself one point for each correct response and grade yourself accordingly:
"On-Time Arrival" -- Answered five to six correctly
"One-Hour Delay" -- Answered three to four correctly
"Stuck on the Tarmac" -- Answered 2 correctly
"Grounded Flight" -- Answered 1 correctly
"Goes to Airport to Watch the Airplanes" -- Answered 0 correctly
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.