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Labor Day 2011: The Travel News That Shaped The Summer

09/02/2011 01:23 pm ET | Updated Nov 02, 2011

With Labor Day upon us, and the kiddies heading back to school, the end of summer is sadly in sight. To bring the season to a close, we have rounded up the biggest stories of the past few months.

Mother Nature was without a doubt one of the summer’s biggest news makers. She decided to end the season with a bang, literally, after bestowing a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast, causing damage at Washington D.C. tourist spots.

But, her piece de resistance was the Category 3 (later a Category 2 and 1 as it swept up the East Coast) Hurricane Irene that whirled through the Caribbean and U.S. East Coast leaving damage in her wake and ruining travel in the region for days. Some of North Carolina’s Outer Banks towns were totally cut off from the mainland.

Besides uprooting residents and vacationers along the Eastern Seaboard, Irene also forced President Obama to cut short his vacation days of eating out or playing golf, playing golf and playing more golf on Martha’s Vineyard short.

In more somber news, we also solved the riddle of the Air France flight that crashed off the coast of Brazil in 2009. The search is still on for Robyn Gardner, who went missing in Aruba. And, a stage collapse at a concert in Indiana proved deadly.

The TSA and the airlines also had a rough time this summer, with story after story about airport security and airline flubs surfaced. There was the 95-year-old woman who was forced to remove her adult diaper during a screening. And, there was the man who twice had his own urine spilled on him during a screening. A woman was kicked off a flight for apparently not wearing underwear, and a man was removed from an airplane and eventually arrested because of his too-baggy pants. Even Donald Rumsfeld couldn’t escape the TSA patdown experience.

But, the TSA did improve new screening technology that eliminated those “naked” images generated by full-body scans.

Speaking of the “friendly skies,” who could forget when Octomom and Kristen Johnson got into a mid-air fight or when a man apparently peed on an 11-year-old in-flight. And, there was that time Gerard Depardieu didn't quite make it to the lavatory. Did you catch Anderson Cooper's fit of giggles while reporting about the incident?

Oh, and there was that whole FAA shutdown thing.

Air travel did triumph, however, when Thomas Stuker logged his 10 millionth mile on United.

It was certainly a summer of drama. What news stories stuck out for you as we head into this final day of summer on Labor Day?

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