American Airlines Flight Attendants Can Now Offer Instant Compensation In-flight — But There's a Catch

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 06:49
<p><a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> <a href="" target="_blank">flight attendants</a> will now be able to offer compensation for problems that occur while in the air.</p><p>When a passenger encounters a meal shortage, issue with seat or a broken in-flight entertainment system, flight attendants will be able to offer compensation in the form of AAdvantage Miles, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Chicago Business Journal</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The system will work on tablets that the flight attendants can carry around while on service. Through a program called iSolve, flight attendants will be able to offer concrete customer service fixes while the aircraft is flying.</p><p>The technology is already in use by American Airlines’ customer service managers, reservations agents and social media support.</p><p>In order to receive compensation in the skies, passengers must already be enrolled in the AAdvantage program. Flight attendants will only be able to credit accounts with miles and cannot offer solutions, like cash or vouchers, to those who are not members of the airline’s loyalty program.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Chicago Business Journal</em></a>, flight attendants will be able to start using the program at the end of the month.</p><p>As flight attendants receive this new technology, they are also undergoing a mandatory 12.5-hour course in “de-escalation.” <a href="" target="_blank">The new course</a> is meant to teach flight attendants how to manage crises onboard aircraft, particularly how to stop customer service confrontations <a href="" target="_blank">from being recorded and going viral online</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Car Struck by Engine Part That Fell From Plane During Takeoff

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 06:40
<p>A driver in Newport Beach was shocked when a piece of a part from a plane taking off from John Wayne International Airport landed on their car.</p><p>The incident on December 29 was confirmed on Wednesday and there were no injuries, according to <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>. The part was a fuel vent, “about the size of a dinner plate,” that fell on the car's hood and left a gash.</p><p>The fuel vent cover reportedly came off a United Airlines Airbus A320. The plane itself would have been about 1,000 feet in the air at the time the cover came off, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, as reported by the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>. As concerning as the issue is, there is also a failsafe in case the cover comes off. In this instance, there is a valve that keeps fuel from leaking out of the plane.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Why You Can’t Get Up to Go to the Bathroom Before Takeoff</a></p><p>“At United, safety is our top priority,” airline spokesman Charles Hobart said in a statement. “We are reviewing this incident internally and working with the authorities and manufacturers.”</p><p>Members of the Newport Beach community have been campaigning to <a href="" target="_blank">move airport departures</a> closer to the bay. The FAA just recently reached a tentative settlement with Newport Beach and Orange County to adjust airplane routes to reduce noise and pollution over neighborhoods, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>OC Register</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The FAA is working with United to investigate what happened.</p>
Categories: Travel

Where Every Travel Expert and Outlet Says You Should Travel in 2018

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:35
<p>With the start of a new year, many travelers have already begun making lists of their travel plans for 2018, plotting out everything from three-day weekends to off-the-grid getaways.</p><p>Travel publications and industry experts have also done the same, offering their recommendations for the best places to go this year. <em>Travel + Leisure</em> has <a href="" target="_blank">its own stellar list</a>, and along with our own recommendations, we've compiled a list of all of the top places recommended by publications and experts from <em>National Geographic</em> to <a href=";smtyp=cur" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a> to the U.S. Tour Operators Association.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure's 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018</a></p><p>To qualify for this super-list, these destinations had to be recommended at least four times. We've broken down the exact cities, national parks, and even waterfalls that will make 2018 the best year of travel yet.</p><h2>Japan</h2><p>T+L recommends the Iya Valley, which offers its turquoise Class Four rapids for adventure travelers. <em>Fodor's</em> and <em>AFAR</em> both recommend <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a>, where visitors can admire the futuristic cityscape, sample sushi, and shop at some of the most unique stores around. Travelers looking for something off the beaten path should check out the Kii Peninsula, recommended by <em>Lonely Planet</em>.</p><h2>Ireland</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Dublin</a> is a great destination for book lovers, whiskey aficionados, or anyone looking for a city vacation, and <em>Fodor's</em> and <em>National Geographic</em> agree. Travelers seeking steep cliff views and charming villages should head to County Clare, <em>Frommer's</em> suggests.</p><h2>France</h2><p>France has long been one of the top destinations for tourists around the world, and 2018 is no exception. <em>Fodor's</em>, <em>Lonely Planet</em>, <em>AFAR</em>, the U.S. Tour Operators Association, Luxury Travel Agents, and DK Eyewitness Travel all agree. <em>The New York Times</em> suggests the lesser-known village of Megève in the French Alps.</p><h2>Mexico</h2><p>Despite a <a href="" target="_blank">devastating earthquake</a> in Mexico City in 2017, this country's tourism rebounded quickly, continuing to draw visitors looking to appreciate the vibrant art city in the capital or explore stunning beaches. Nine different outlets put Mexican destinations on their lists, making it tied with Australia as the top recommended place.</p><h2>Canada</h2><p>T+L's <a href="" target="_blank">Destination of the Year</a> saw love from multiple publications, particularly for its spectacular natural beauty. <em>National Geographic</em> suggested a visit to Labrador, and <em>Fodor's</em> listed Prince Edward Island as a top pick.</p><img alt="New Zealand "src=""><h2>New Zealand</h2><p>Up to 24 hours of travel time from the U.S. is not enough to deter travelers from its vast beaches, welcoming people, and abundance of wildlife. <em>Fodor's</em>, <em>Lonely Planet</em>, Luxury Travel Agents, and ABTA all agree. Adventurers can check out the mud baths in Rotorua, New Zealand, according to <em>The Times</em>.</p><h2>Argentina</h2><p>Hike in the Jujuy Province, selected by <em>National Geographic</em>, or explore the European-inspired city of Buenos Aires, as recommended by T+L, <em>Fodor's</em>, and Robb Report.</p><h2>Italy</h2><p>Italy offers something new for visitors, whether it's the first, second, or twentieth time to the country. Try Ischia (<em>Fodor's</em>), Matera (<em>Lonely Planet)</em>, or the Aeolian Islands (<em>Lonely Planet</em>),</p><h2>South Korea</h2><p>Set as the home to the <a href="" target="_blank">2018 Winter Olympics</a>, there's no better time to visit Pyeongchang. T+L, Robb Report, and <em>AFAR</em> all recommend it.</p><h2>South Africa</h2><p>Five outlets suggested South Africa for 2018 travel. <a href="" target="_blank">The country offers diverse destinations</a>, from wildlife reserves to vineyards to scenic roadtrip routes.</p><img alt="Marrakech "src=""><h2>Morocco</h2><p>T+L, Robb Report, and Fodor's all recommend <a href="" target="_blank">Marrakesh</a>, a city known for its sprawling souks, or markets. <em>Lonely Planet</em> recommended the lesser known port city of Essaouira.</p><h2>Australia</h2><p>Tied with Mexico for the top recommended place to visit, suggested activities ranged from people watching at Bondi Beach to scuba diving near the Great Barrier Reef.</p><h2>Malta</h2><p>Malta's famous <a href="" target="_blank">azure window</a> may have collapsed last year, but the island nation still has plenty to offer, and it was rated as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe.</p><h2>India</h2><p>Check out the Lahaul and Spiti districts for breathtaking mountain views, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Lonely Planet</em></a>, or head to the ancient city of Madurai, according to <em>Frommer's</em>.</p><h2>Mauritius</h2><p>The East African island of Mauritius might not yet be on your 2018 travel list, but with its waterfalls, national parks, and exotic plant gardens, it should be.</p><img alt="Mauritius "src=""><h2>Spain</h2><p>Returning visitors to Spain can explore beyond the mainstays of Madrid and Barcelona to check out Bilbao (<em>Fodor's</em>), Seville (<em>Lonely Planet</em>), or Lanzarote in the Canary Islands (<em>Lonely Planet</em>). <em>The New York Times</em> suggested Spain's wine region of Ribera del Duero, only an hour away from Madrid via high-speed train.</p><h2>China</h2><p>Visit the Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Chengdu or explore the bustling city of Shanghai. With more than 3.7 million square miles in China, you will never run out of new places to see.</p><h2>Germany</h2><p>Robb Report, <em>Lonely Planet</em>, and Frommers all suggested Hamburg, the second-largest German city. For a slower pace, travel to Bayreuth in Bavaria.</p><h2>Jordan</h2><p>Jordan remains a safe and welcoming country to visit — the perfect destination for history buffs to explore <a href="" target="_blank">Petra</a> or the lesser-known <a href="" target="_blank">Jerash</a>.</p><h2>Chile</h2><p>AFAR recommends Torres Del Paine National Park and <em>National Geographic</em> suggested the Chilean capital of Santiago.</p><img alt="Colombia "src=""><h2>U.K.</h2><p>London is an amazing destination for culture, food, and shopping, but the U.K. is much more than just London. Explore favorite filming spots from “Game of Thrones” in Belfast, or check out <a href="" target="_blank">England's Lake District</a>, per <em>Frommer's'</em> recommendation.</p><h2>Colombia</h2><p>T+L recommends the Pacific Coast for fishing villages and eco-lodges, and Bookingdotcom suggests Bogota. You can't go wrong.</p><h2>California</h2><p>The Golden State saw some of the <a href="" target="_blank">worst wildfires</a> in its history this year, with separate fires damaging the Los Angeles region as well as Northern wine country. Almost all attractions in the state have already reopened to visitors, with <a href="" target="_blank"><em>AFAR</em> suggesting a trip to Northern California's</a> wine country and T+L suggesting Big Sur among its top places to visit.</p><h2>Texas</h2><p>Head to the Lone Star State and visit Austin for BBQ and live music, or <a href="" target="_blank">San Antonio</a> for their scenic Riverwalk.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southern California Mudslides Kill 15, Trap Hundreds in Their Neighborhoods

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:12
<p>At least 15 people are dead and 160 injured after flooding rain caused powerful mudslides in Santa Barbara County.</p><p>The damage was felt most in Montecito, a suburb of Santa Barbara, where at least five of the deaths were reported. Homes came loose from their foundations and were “wiped away by mudflow and debris,” <a href="" target="_blank">an official told CNN</a>.</p><p>The mudslides come just a few weeks <a href="" target="_blank">after a wildfire in Santa Barbara</a> scorched <a href="" target="_blank">more than 280,000 acres of land</a> in California’s largest wildfire on record. Burn scars from the fire left parts of Santa Barbara’s hilly terrain particularly vulnerable to erosion.</p><p>The rain began shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning and fell as heavy as one inch per hour. By late afternoon, a total of five inches of rainfall was recorded in Ventura County. It was the first major rainfall in southern California’s rainy season.</p><img alt="Hydrant in California mudslide "src=""><p>However the mixture of rainwater and loosened debris quickly became a cement-like consistency, which easily slid down Santa Barbara’s hilly topography.</p><p>“You bring that down at 20 miles per hour and it can do a lot of damage,” Dr. Godt of the United States Geological Survey, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The New York Times</em></a>.</p><img alt="Evacuated Burbank, California neighborhood due to mudslide "src=""><p>"It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere, with huge boulders, rocks, (downed) trees, power lines, wrecked cars,” Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County <a href="" target="_blank">told local KTLA news</a>. “Lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes.”</p><img alt="Interior of car destroyed by mudslide "src=""><p>On Sunday evening, Santa Barbara Country issued a mandatory evacuation order for roughly 7,000 residents in anticipation of the rain, although many chose to remain in their homes, Brown said. More than 30,000 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara were without power on Tuesday morning. At least 300 people are trapped in Montecito’s Romero Canyon neighborhood as debris blocks their way out.</p><img alt="US 101 freeway in California "src=""><p>Transportation officials expect a 30-mile portion of Highway 101 between Montecito and Santa Barbara to remain closed at least through Thursday. Weather forecasts predict clear skies through the end of the week.</p><p>Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to California’s five-year drought in April 2017. At the end of December, meteorologists <a href="" target="_blank">spoke to the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a> about the possibility of a drier-than-normal winter season after rain failed to arrive from October through the end of the year.</p>
Categories: Travel

What to Know About the 7.6-magnitude Earthquake in the Caribbean

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:53
<p>An earthquake that registered at 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the <a href="" target="_blank">Caribbean</a> Tuesday night off the coast of Honduras.</p><p>The earthquake was one of the strongest in recent history in the region, the <a href=";utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=AP" target="_blank">Associated Press reported</a>. Despite the strength of th earthquake, only minor damage has been reported so far, particularly in Honduras.</p><p>Tsunami warnings were issued for parts of the coast of Central America, as well as <a href="" target="_blank">Puerto Rico</a>, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, and other Caribbean islands, but no tsunami occurred.</p><p>In addition to Honduras, residents of Belize City and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo felt tremors, <a href="" target="_blank">NBC reported</a>.</p><p>The Caribbean is an active seismic zone, and the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in 2010 registered at a 7.0 on the Richter scale. More than a dozen earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher took place in the region in the past 500 years, according to <a href=";tid=3622&amp;cid=2430&amp;c=2" target="_blank">Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution</a>. One quake in 1946 that registered at a whopping 8.1 resulted in the deaths of 1,600 people, according to Woods Hole.</p><p>The earthquake struck as the Caribbean region continues to rebuild following a powerful hurricane season. The situation in Puerto Rico has remained dire where many people are still lacking basic supplies and medicines they need to survive following a September 2017 hurricane.</p><p>Other islands in the Caribbean saw far less damage than Puerto Rico or survived the season relatively unscathed and are urging tourists to return to the region. Places like <a href="" target="_blank">Turks and Caicos</a> and the Bahamas were welcoming visitors back to their islands just weeks after the hurricane, and islands have urged travelers to check on the specifics of their destination before canceling a trip.</p>
Categories: Travel

It Was Cold Enough in Maine to Go Ice Skating on the Beach

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:46
<p>Icy temperatures on the East Coast aren’t always bad. They can also lead to some fun winter activities in some of the most unlikely places.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Boston Globe</em></a>, a man found the perfect place to go ice skating on Sunday: Long Sands Beach, in York, Maine.</p><p>Peter and Sandra Lekousi recorded the man as the surf came to a frozen halt as it met the sandy beach. But along the shoreline was a perfectly smooth surface that made for a nice skate. Plus, there’s no worry of thin ice.</p><p>The recorded <a href="" target="_blank">lowest temperature</a> for York, Maine, was -9 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, which only goes to show that this man must have been some sort of superhuman who is impervious to cold. Sandra Lekousi noted to the <em>Globe</em> that it was “too cold for [them] to be on the beach” that day.</p><p>She also told the <em>Globe</em> that the freezing temperatures made the ocean water into “slush.” Peter jokingly said on <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, “I keep trying to tell you all, every day is a beach day in Maine.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Virgin America Will Officially Be No More After Thursday (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:36
<p>It’s the end of an era in the aviation industry.</p><p>On Thursday, January 11, Virgin America pilots will call out the company’s call sign, “Redwood,” for the very last time, Alaska Airlines confirmed to <em>Travel+Leisure</em>.</p><p>The rumor of Virgin’s final flight date was first reported by <em>Airlinegeeks</em>, which noted that after Thursday both Virgin America and Alaska Airlines will fly under one call signal. To the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this makes the two airlines one.</p><p>There are still a few more steps before this airline acquisition is complete: For customers, the final day of Virgin America will come <a href="" target="_blank">April 24</a>, after which it is no longer possible to book a flight on the airline. (<a href="" target="_blank"></a> directs travelers to April 25 and after.)</p><p>There will be further changes coming to Virgin America’s fleet of planes. That, <a href="" target="_blank">AirlineGeeks</a> theorized, will include the planes being fitted with the Alaska livery and the carrier’s next three Airbus A321neo deliveries will feature special paint schemes. However, as the Alaska Airlines spokesperson told <em>Travel+Leisure</em>, it will take “some time for the fleet to all get updated paint.”</p><p>But one plane, N925VA, has already left the factory in Hamburg with the airline’s new colors. It arrived in Miami on December, 2, where it was fitted with new decals that read “Most West Coast.” That line is apparently a tribute to the Alaska’s growing West Coast presence.</p><p>The exterior of the planes won’t be the only thing changing. In March, 2017 Alaska <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that it will be keeping a few of Virgin’s creature comforts, including its in-flight entertainment. Alaska plans to expand meal pre-ordering to the Airbus fleet and to economy class as well. But Alaska also plans to shorten the seat pitch in first class to add in more seats. Now, ex-Virgin planes will have 12 rather than 8 first class seats, which will no longer be deep-reclining.</p><p>As for <a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson’s take on his brand’s demise</a>, he seemed <a href="" target="_blank">none too pleased</a> in October when he appeared on <a href="" target="_blank">CNBC</a>'s “Squawk Box” and said: “I think Alaska is very foolish to just absorb it.”</p><p>Though, he did also cryptically add, “Watch this space...I don't normally take these things lying down.” So maybe Virgin America, or at least the idea behind it, isn’t gone forever.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Airlines' Controversial Uniforms Are Finally Getting a Makeover

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:06
<p>Five months after American Airlines employees filed a lawsuit over their uniforms, the airline announced that Lands’ End will design a new version.</p><p>After American Airlines introduced its new uniforms in September 2016 (<a href="" target="_blank">the first update in almost 30 years</a>), more than 5,000 flight attendants filed complaints that the clothing was making them sick. Complaints ranged from <a href="" target="_blank">rashes to severe headaches to difficulty breathing</a>.</p><p>American Airlines announced in June that it would not renew its contract with Twin Hill, the company that produced the clothing, and offered flight attendants the option to wear an alternative uniform. In August, two flight attendants filed a federal lawsuit against Twin Hill, asking the company to recall the uniforms.</p><p>After months of back and forth with union leaders, the airline announced Tuesday that it has chosen <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Lands’ End</a> to produce the new uniforms.</p><p>"Now that the supplier is chosen, core members of the uniform committee and union leaders will shift their focus to fabric and color choices," the airline said in a letter to employees, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>CNN Money</em></a>.</p><p>Lands’ End, which already provides the uniforms for Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines, will soon begin designing the new American Airlines garments. <a href="" target="_blank">About 1,000 employees</a> in different roles and locations will begin testing the new uniforms in October. If the tests are successful, the new uniforms will roll out to 51,000 American Airlines employees in 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

Milan Is Opening a Boutique That Makes Custom Couture for Dogs

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Milan</a> is one of the fashion capitals of the world. And it’s no longer just for humans.</p><p>A new boutique will open later this month in the Italian city where fashion-conscious dog owners can purchase custom couture outfits for their well-heeled, four-legged companions.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Hotel Offers Puppy Cuddles on Demand</a></p><img alt="Italian designer Giovanna Temellini designed a line of clothing "Dog-à-Porter" dedicated to dogs. "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Temellini Dog a Porter</a> is the creation of Giovanna Temellini, a fashion designer and supporter of animal welfare groups. Over her 25-year career, Temellini has worked for fashion houses like Bottega Veneta and Armani, but last year, she turned her attention to canine customers.</p><p>After Temellini’s daughter complained that her dog’s ears got wet every time it rained, the designer set out to create a canine clothing line that could be tailored to fit each individual dog client. The Dog a Porter collection sprung from this first hooded coat.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">These Customized Swimsuits Are Perfect for When You Miss Your Pet on Vacation</a></p><p>For each piece, dogs come in for a measurement to ensure the clothing will fit properly.</p><p>The canine clothing currently for sale online ranges from $169 for <a href="" target="_blank">a cashmere t-shirt</a> to $334 for a <a href="" target="_blank">striped cashmere blanket</a>. Owners can match their dogs with human coats and shirts as well.</p><p>At the atelier, Dog a Porter creations are tested by Temellini’s three dogs: two Afghan hounds named Ulisse and Anubi, and a mixed dog named Willy.</p><img alt="Italian designer Giovanna Temellini designed a line of clothing "Dog-à-Porter" dedicated to dogs. "src=""><p>"I am very respectful and attentive to all the requirements of dogs which are to be able to move, run, get dirty and socialize,” Temellini <a href="" target="_blank">told Agence France Presse</a>. "I refuse to do something that would restrict or ridicule a dog, because they'll be aware of it."</p><p>Temellini Dog a Porter will open in Milan on Jan. 15.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Gorgeous, Giant Lily Pads Are Back 10 Years After Everyone Thought They Went Extinct

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:39
<p>Gigantic lily pads have reappeared in a Paraguayan lagoon after disappearing for more than 10 years.</p><p>The impressive lily pads, which can reach a diameter of more than five feet, <a href="" target="_blank">have not been seen since 2006</a> when they were listed as endangered. But they reappeared this year in the Salado River, a tributary of the Paraguay River, in a small town called Piquete Cue.</p><img alt="Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018. "src=""><p>The town has started offering boat rides to tourists up the river to get up close to the enormous lily pads. The lily pads have a pink and white flower in the center that <a href="" target="_blank">blooms only for 48 hours at a time</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The World’s Biggest Flower Garden Sits in the Middle of a Desert</a></p><p>Known as <i>victoria cruziana</i>, the lily pads were believed to have disappeared due in part to dredging and tourists fishing them out of the water.</p><img alt="Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018. "src=""><p>"I have lived in the area since I was a child. The neighbours and I thought the plant had already become extinct, but it has returned," a local named <a href="" target="_blank">Antonio Benítez told the Associated Press</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Village Has Been Covered in Flower Paintings Since the 19th Century</a></p><p>Locals refer to the plants as “alligator liles” because their enormous size is large enough to hide an alligator underneath. In the past, they have used it as <a href="" target="_blank">a cure for asthma or breathing problems</a>. But because of the plants’ endangered status, anybody caught trying to harvest the plant will be fined.</p><p><i>Take </i>Travel + Leisure<i>'s <a href="" target="_blank">World's Best Awards survey</a> for the chance to win a $10,000 dream trip.</i></p>
Categories: Travel

Why Passengers Prefer the Right Side of the Plane

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:30
<p>Forget the debate between aisle and window seat. The newest question concerning <a href="" target="_blank">seat selection</a> is over passengers' preference of a side of the plane.</p><p>Air travelers tend to prefer the right side of a plane, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a small study</a> led by a psychology lecturer at Queen Margaret University and carried out at the University of Edinburgh.</p><p>Dr. Stephen Darling led a group that surveyed some 32 people as to their seating preferences. All of the participants were right-handed, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the BBC</a> (a detail that is not surprising given the fact that <a href="" target="_blank">70-95 percent of the population</a> is right-handed).</p><p>The researchers changed the orientation of the seating diagram to rule out a preference for a side of the screen and found that participants overwhelmingly still chose the right side of the plane.</p><p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, <a href="" target="_blank">people also favored seats</a> toward the front of the aircraft and those that were not in the <a href="" target="_blank">middle of an aisle</a>.</p><p>"The result clearly showed that the orientation of the plane made no difference to the preference, with most participants still making an active choice to choose seating on the right of the plane," Sergio Della Sala, a member of the research team, told BBC.</p><p>“The research shows that people’s preference as to which side they sit on in an airplane is dictated by our mind’s rightward bias in representing the real world,” Darling added.</p><p>A rightward bias has been demonstrated in other studies stretching back decades. <a href=";pg=PA306&amp;lpg=PA306&amp;dq=mind%27s+rightward+bias&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=4NBzgJrPnI&amp;sig=3IFTOA7P1f5wJFBko5kKlevvRNk&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwip5Pe72cvYAhUJ6GMKHeohA2cQ6AEISTAH#v=onepage&amp;q=mind's%20rightward%20bias&amp;f=false" target="_blank">A study in 1978</a> for instance asked passersby to choose between four pairs of identical nylons or four identical nightgowns. They overwhelmingly chose the objects that were on the right side of a department store window, justifying their choice by saying that it was of higher quality, not knowing that the objects were in fact the same.</p>
Categories: Travel

How I Plan to Keep Traveling After Losing My Job

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:16
<p>In 2017, we bodysurfed in <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii</a>, ogled the crown jewels in London, crooned under the <a href="" target="_blank">Eiffel Tower</a>, and stuffed our faces in New York.</p><p>At the end of the year, I got laid off from my job.</p><p>Money was my first concern. My husband had only recently landed a new job, and we’d already significantly dented our savings that year. We have a mortgage, a car payment, and health insurance. There was never much room for luxury purchases, and what we did consider spare cash always went toward our travel budget.</p><p>I’m the kind of person who gets antsy without vacation plans — even if they exist in the distant future, and even if they’re only a short road trip away. The best advice I’ve ever received is to book my next trip <a href="" target="_blank">immediately after returning from my most recent</a>, during that brief period of sublime exhaustion and wonder at what I’ve just experienced. A month ago, when I got the news about my layoff as staff writer at a <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco</a> media startup, I felt literally trapped in place.</p><p>But after a week of panicking and processing, I remained determined. No stranger to budget travel, I am a firm believer that modest travel plans are never a bad investment. There’s too much to learn and too many new people to meet to ever regret it.</p><p>Here’s how I plan to pull it off, while staying ahead of my finances and my sanity, in 2018.</p><h2>Plan necessary travel first.</h2><p>I try not to discriminate when it comes to fun trips, but the fact is, some are mandatory. My best friend’s wedding? A given. My overdue promise to visit my aunt? Very important.</p><p>The first thing I did when assessing my budget is to map out all the travel I’d committed to the following year and calculate how much I’d already paid toward it. Thankfully, I’d already booked an Airbnb and made plans to carpool. I realized I had more outings to look forward to than I initially thought, at a time when I seemed doomed to my house forever — or at least, until I found a job.</p><h2>Check airline miles and use them (smartly).</h2><p>The month before I got laid off, I got a warning from <a href="" target="_blank">United</a> that my <a href="" target="_blank">airline miles would expire</a> the following April. I had a built-in excuse to travel, or otherwise lose those rewards. After a quick search, I discovered that by keeping my dates flexible and flying during off-peak hours, I could use those points to book a round-trip flight, from <a href="" target="_blank">Sacramento</a> to Seattle, for free. And once I get to the rainy city, I have the option of crashing on at least two couches.</p><p>With my leftover miles, or those I managed to rack up on my credit card, I should have enough for one more domestic flight. I’m thinking <a href="" target="_blank">Nashville</a>.</p><h2>Crash with friends and work from everywhere.</h2><p>Couch-surfing isn’t just a ploy for saving money. Almost immediately after I was disconnected from my coworkers, staff meetings, and everyday office chatter one takes for granted, I felt really lonely. The isolation of unemployment is real.</p><p>This year, I plan to take advantage of offers to crash with friends and family, because staying social is key to lifting my spirits and getting me out of my bubble. In that way, travel is truly therapeutic and further proves my investment theory.</p><p>Secondly, I made a goal to get creative with my work environments. Although I’m not on anyone’s payroll just yet, applying for jobs is a full-time job in itself. And did I mention I <a href="" target="_blank">started a business, too</a>? For the latter, it’s crucial that I get to know my community, which means being proactive about coffee meetings, striking up conversations with fellow entrepreneurs, attending free seminars, and — gasp — networking. I would never have lumped networking and travel together, until I suddenly felt cooped up and broke. Now it’s more than tolerable; it’s actually enjoyable.</p><h2>Rediscover local offerings — and blog about it.</h2><p>Consider it a new spin on the staycation. I recently moved back to my hometown of <a href="" target="_blank">Sacramento</a>, California, and it’s alarming how much has changed. Either that, or I have. Ever since the Bay Area got too expensive, people have discovered all that Sacramento has to offer: an inspiring arts scene, farm-to-fork menus, heaps of outdoor activities, and much more.</p><p>I scour local magazines for free or low-cost activities, then I bring my camera and start talking to people. Being able to say you’re a writer helps, but pro tip: Many people will talk to you or pose for a photo these days if you have an Instagram presence. Just be transparent about your intentions. Consider Instagram your new “blog.” Along with photos and video, followers respond to longer, insightful, and authentic captions. Bonus if they help people learn insider tips, such as an off-menu item at a local restaurant.</p><h2>Take work trips and get the tax deduction.</h2><p>One of the amazing things about being self-employed is the freedom of schedule. Yes, freelance writing is a hustle but I can do it from virtually anywhere. While I can’t necessarily write that travel off on my taxes, I am discovering the perks of traveling for a small business. Recently, a friend asked to book my services (a video interview of her 96-year-old grandma) in Minneapolis. My travel there for business would be <a href="" target="_blank">tax deductible</a>. Additional sightseeing is not covered, but hey, it’s a trip!</p><h2>Don’t be afraid to go off the grid.</h2><p>Last week, I made a to-do list for myself. My tasks quickly overwhelmed me. By the time my husband got home from work, I had plans to answer emails until I fell asleep on the keyboard. He calmly suggested I head to a yoga class instead, to set aside time for myself so I didn’t burn out. (This is why I married him.)</p><p>Go to yoga I did, whereupon I felt immediately calmer. I intend to apply this philosophy to regular travel intervals in the new year. Luckily, unplugging, while a luxury few can spare, can and should be inexpensive. For me, it means camping in one of California’s stunning state parks, hiking around Lake Tahoe, dipping into natural hot springs, or joining small, bohemian travel groups — anything from music festivals to women’s biker retreats. I know, I know. It’s all <em>very</em> California.</p><p>I might not be stamping my passport soon, but travel is in my near future. Incidentally, I’m falling back in love with my local community in 2018.</p><p>And with any luck, I’ll be back in <a href="" target="_blank">Paris</a> before the tourists discover that quaint café tucked into a dusky alleyway. Until then, I’ll never tell.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You Can’t Get Up to Go to the Bathroom Before Takeoff (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:06
<p>You should always go to the bathroom before boarding an aircraft.</p><p>It’s not just your mother’s advice, it’s also an issue of security and international aviation law.</p><p>Last year, <a href="" target="_blank">a man was removed from a Delta Air Lines flight</a> when he tried to using the toilet before takeoff — even though the aircraft was not moving. In this particular case, most of the people on the flight sided with the passenger. However, they did not understand one crucial piece of aviation safety: A pilot <a href="" target="_blank">cannot legally takeoff with a passenger in the lavatory</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Real Reason Why There's a Tiny Hole in Airplane Windows</a></p><p>The issue doesn’t change from airline to airline. The reason why is similar to most other standard procedures during takeoff and landing. They are the two most (relatively) dangerous times of the flight. Passengers must remain in their seats and with a clear, unobstructed escape route.</p><p>In the event that a pilot must perform a hard landing, nobody would want to be trapped in the toilet. There aren’t any safety features in the lavatory (like a seatbelt) that would keep a passenger in place, however there are many potentially painful sharp edges. In the event of an emergency evacuation, a passenger could also become trapped in the restroom and unable to escape.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Gizmodo</em></a>, one of the more gruesome reasons the “takeoff toilet” is banned is that in the event of a fiery, fatal landing, emergency response teams can identify bodies based on seating charts.</p><p>The one loophole that passengers may have is a 2010 ruling from the Department of Transportation stating that during a tarmac delay, airline crew <a href="" target="_blank">must make the toilet available to passengers</a>. But as soon as the plane enters an active taxiway, everyone must remain in their seats.</p><p>Flight attendants say that <a href="" target="_blank">the best time to use the airplane restroom</a> is immediately after the captain turns off the fasten seatbelt sign and before drink service begins.</p>
Categories: Travel

Pilot Who Scammed Air Canada Out of $30,000 in Free Flights Forced to Pay It All Back

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:54
<p>A Cathay Pacific pilot has been found guilty of scamming <a href="" target="_blank">Air Canada</a> out of almost $30,000 in free flights. A Canadian court ordered last month that he must pay back full restitution and complete 20 hours of community service.</p><p><a href=";region=3&amp;m_id=Y!Y!vY!_rY!~A&amp;w_id=34036&amp;news_id=2030527" target="_blank">From March through July 2013</a>, Marc Anthony Tacchi, a pilot for Cathay Dragon, used a friend to gain fraudulent codes to redeem free flights on Air Canada, according to <a href="" target="_blank">court documents</a>. Tacchi is a Canadian citizen but a permanent resident of Hong Kong. He made money selling these free flights to acquaintances for a “service fee.”</p><p>Tacchi’s friend was reportedly part of a mystery shopper program with <a href="" target="_blank">Sensors Quality Management Inc</a>. Through the program, he could book flights and receive a full or partial refund on flights <a href=";t=121811" target="_blank">for completing a review afterwards</a>. He allegedly shared his promotional code with Tacchi, who booked free flights but did not complete any reviews. </p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Don't Get Ripped Off by This Common Hotel Booking Scam</a></p><p>With the promotional code, Tacchi booked four trips for himself and his family over 13 different legs of flights, <a href="" target="_blank">including some in first class</a>. He also accrued more than $500 in frequent flier miles from these bookings. He must pay Air Canada back a full restitution of $29,135.08 (CAD$36,551.27).</p><p>"The amount involved in these frauds is not insubstantial,” the judge wrote in the sentence. “The sole motivation for these offenses was greed.”</p>
Categories: Travel

A Guide to Enjoying Inflight Entertainment on American Airlines

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:47
<p><a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> knows what passengers want. When it comes to passing those empty hours in the air, the airline has a reputation for quality programming. While the entertainment menu varies by flight, one thing’s for sure: you won’t be bored. American Airlines maintains one of the largest content libraries of any U.S. carrier, with over 250 movies and 300 episodes of TV shows stocked up.</p><p>And as of August, <a href="" target="_blank">all of that content is free</a>, even without the <a href="" target="_blank">purchase of Wi-Fi</a>. </p><h2>What Will Be Streaming On Your Flight?</h2><p>American Airlines passengers won’t have to wait until they step onboard to find out what’s on view. To plan in advance, travelers can head to the carrier's <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>, type in the flight number, and populate a full listing of all the movies, television shows, and music stations available the day of the trip. With exciting new releases like <i>Baywatch, The Beguiled, </i>and <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>, you might run out of flight time before you get to them all.</p><p>Just because you flew American recently doesn’t mean you’ve seen all that’s on offer, either. The inflight entertainment library is updated every month with both new releases as well as classic movies and special audio channels dedicated to famous recording artists. </p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>How Do You Access American's Inflight Entertainment?</h2><p>Easy access to an entire library of pre-selected contemporary movies and TV episodes means there’s a little something for everyone. On an American Airlines flight, travelers are in control of their own mini-cinema.</p><p>At this time, many American Airlines passengers will enjoy content by way of seat-back screens. But the carrier is slowly transitioning travelers to a system where they <a href="" target="_blank">stream content instead to personal devices</a> like phones, laptops, and tablets. The new fleet of Boeing 737MAX aircraft, for example, is already flying without traditional built-in screens. </p><img alt="Onboard Movie Touchscreen "src=""><h2>American's Special Inflight Offerings </h2><p>While travelers can enjoy popular, live TV stations like CNN, CNBC, and BBC World News, there are a few perks of flying American Airlines. The airline recently partnered with Austin City Limits to include live performances filmed at the famous Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, there are also exclusive clips and behind-the-scenes footage from famous Broadway shows in New York City.</p><h2>Other Types of Inflight Entertainment</h2><p>In addition to movies, TV, and music, travelers can also spend a flight honing their poker skills. The digital card game is just one of several on-screen games you can play to pass the time. There are classic picks like Tetris and Plants vs. Zombies, as well as head-to-head games like Battleship and Trivia.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Hotel Made Entirely of Ice Caught Fire in Canada

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:30
<p>Quebec City’s <a href="" target="_blank">Village Vacances Valcartier</a> winter park ice hotel had quite the scare on Tuesday morning when a small fire broke out in one of the 45 guest rooms. </p><p>"When I received the phone call they had to repeat twice that there was a fire in the ice hotel," manager Jacques Desbois told <a href="" target="_blank">CBC</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This ‘Game Of Thrones’ Ice Hotel Will Make Anyone Feel Like They’re in Winterfell</a></p><p>Luckily for those inside, the fire remained contained to the one guest room and was extinguished. However, while the physical flames only damaged that room, smoke from the fire did enter the rest of the hotel, affecting guest along the way. Several guests were reportedly treated at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation.</p><p>But even with the minor injuries, all guests were quickly alerted of the danger and were able to evacuate in a timely fashion, according to CBC. Fire officials arrived on the scene within 15 minutes.</p><p>"Everyone responded the accurate way to make this was an event from which we can learn, and make sure this first time will be the last time in the hotel's life," Desbois said.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Forget Tropical Getaways. This Ice Hotel Is the Place to Be This Winter.</a></p><p>Even after the flames went out and the smoke cleared, how the fire started remained quite a mystery. The fire was reported to have started when a candle fell on a guest’s sleeping bag. However, Desbois would not confirm that claim with local news outlets.</p><p>For now, <a href="" target="_blank">the hotel remains closed</a> and 33 guest were moved to Valcartier's main hotel. The hotel will also have to contend with some pretty warm weather on Thursday and Friday when <a href="" target="_blank">temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40s</a>. But, after that it should be smooth sailing for the hotel made of snow and ice, with temperatures dropping well below freezing for the foreseeable future.</p>
Categories: Travel

How Airlines Are Adding Even More Seats to Economy

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:15
<p>Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly feel more like a sardine on your flight, another airline has announced they’re making their planes even more crowded.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Flight Global</a>, United will be retrofitting its Boeing 757-300 fleet with new slimline seats by mid-2018, adding 21 seats to the economy cabin on the aircraft for a total of 210 seats. First class seating will remain the same, with a total of 24 seats. It’s unclear whether the new seating will offer outlets or personal TV screens (as economy seats currently do).</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">British Airways Is Getting Rid of Reclining Seats on Some Flights</a></p><p>I’s not just United’s 757s that are getting a squeeze. The airline is also reconfiguring its <a href="" target="_blank">business class Polaris seating on 777-200s</a> for long-haul flights to add 21 more seats. And United isn't alone — <a href="" target="_blank">British Airways</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> have also added seats to some planes, increasing rows to 10. </p><p>Airlines often increase seating as a cheap way to reduce costs. Increasing capacity is often more economical than buying a completely new aircraft to add to the fleet. Of course, it’s debatable whether or not these reduced costs are passed down to the consumer.</p><p>If you’re feeling like planes are shrinking, it’s not exactly untrue. That claustrophobic feeling you’re getting might be coming from that <a href="" target="_blank">tiny, uncomfortable seat</a> you’re in.</p>
Categories: Travel

Kate Middleton Wore Her Favorite Maternity Dress to Her First Official Appearance of 2018

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:21
<p>Sure, Meghan Markle may have <a href="" target="_blank">worn a messy bun</a> that threw people into a tizzy — and she even <a href="" target="_blank">flew economy to celebrate New Year's Eve</a> with Prince Harry — but she's not the only relatable member of the royal family.</p><p>Take, for example, the fact that <a href="" target="_blank">Kate Middleton</a> doesn’t care if she’s photographed wearing the same thing twice. She is, after all, a woman and mother before being a royal, and sometimes women just want to wear their favorite outfit over and over again.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Kate Middleton Reworked an Old Favorite Coat in the Most Stylish Way</a></p><img alt="Catherine Duchess of Cambridge in maternity dress "src=""><p>On Wednesday, Kate was spotted wearing one of her favorite maternity dresses while making her first official appearance of 2018. While visiting the <a href="">Reach Academy Feltham,</a> a west London school that works with the children's mental health charity <a href="" target="_blank">Place2Be</a>, Kate sported a <a href="" target="_blank">$75 dress by the maternity brand Seraphine</a>. (A similar style is available at <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";color=%27Blue%27" target="_blank">Nordstrom</a>.) She’s been seen publicly in the dress at least twice before when she was pregnant with <a href="" target="_blank">Princess Charlotte</a>.</p><p>For her visit to the school, Kate paired the blue and green floral midi dress with dark navy pumps (<a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">we found a similar style here</a>) and a $238 navy wool coat with gold buttons by Hobbs. (This <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">version from Guess is $180</a>.)</p><p>At the school, the children began their day by singing in front of the royal, who said she was “very impressed with the singing” and “I wish every morning could start off like that.”</p><p>There, Kate was also given a tour of the school’s nursery, where she met with parents who work on the school’s parenting support program, according to <a href="" target="_blank"><i>People</i></a>.</p><p>Beyond parents, Kate met with staff and students in the school’s secondary program, where she learned about support services offered to students, including mental health and LGBTQ groups who are there to help students with any needs.</p><p>And really, it’s no surprise Kate was there to lend her support. She is, after all, a patron of the charity and has been since 2013.</p><p>It’s unclear when Kate’s next official engagement will be, but odds are we’ll be seeing her more between now and the birth of her <a href="" target="_blank">third child in April</a>, and we can't wait to see what she wears to her brother-in-law’s <a href="" target="_blank">royal wedding in May</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Alligators Survive the Extreme Cold in the Coolest Way (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:42
<p>Sure, you may think it <a href="" target="_blank">feels cold out if you live along the East Coast</a>, but at least you can go inside, bundle up, and maybe even sit by a fire with a cup of hot cocoa. If you were an alligator living in North Carolina, the only thing you'd be able to do is stick your nose out of the ice and hope for survival.</p><p>A new and rather astonishing video shared on the Shallotte River Swamp Park’s <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a> page shows that alligators are willing to do anything necessary to survive the cold.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Plane Slams Into 11-foot Alligator While Landing in Florida</a></p><p>“They poke their noses up and are able to breathe and be perfectly fine, so they’re doing this as a mechanism so that if it freezes over, they can still breath,” park manager George Howard explained in the video.</p><p>And really, this is the only thing the gators can do to stay alive both in captivity and in the wild. As <em><a href="" target="_blank">Global News</a></em> explained, alligators cannot generate their own body heat because they are cold blooded.</p><p>However, after poking their snouts through the ice, the alligators are able to put themselves in a state known as “brumation,” which is sort of like hibernation, that lowers their metabolism and body temperature, which helps them stay alive.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">This Florida Zip Line Spans a Pit of Alligators</a></p><p>“(It’s) just an absolute amazing survival technique and these guys were built tough millions of years ago and they remain tough today,” Howard added. </p><p>And alligators, <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a> </em>explained, aren’t the only critters to behave this way. Turtles will also seek refuge from the cold by sinking to the bottom of lakes and burying in the warm mud below. </p><p>While the alligators may look adorable with their noses sticking out of the ice, it’s crucial that you steer clear of them, especially as the ice melts. Because once it does, the alligators will quickly return to an active state and will likely be looking for a tasty snack. </p>
Categories: Travel

Winter Storm Hunter Is Threatening Most of the U.S. With Blizzards and Ice. Here’s What to Know

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 06:46
<p>Just a week after <a href="" target="_blank">Winter Storm Grayson</a> pounded the East Coast with heavy snow and record chills, an even bigger storm is threatening most of the U.S. with blizzards and ice.</p><p>Winter Storm Hunter began hitting much of the U.S. Wednesday, with its first phase bringing snow, freezing rain or sleet to the Plains and the Midwest. The second phase is expected to sweep east with ice and freezing rain Thursday through Saturday night across the Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley, The Great Lakes and up into the interior Northeast. </p><p>On Thursday, the storm has brought blizzard conditions into Bismarck, the Grand Forks, and Salina, spreading snow into the Texas panhandle and into Michigan by Thursday evening. The <a href="" target="_blank">latest forecast shows</a> that the storm will continue marching into the eastern Great Lakes and into the Ohio Valley through Friday, bringing rainy conditions to New York, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Knoxville, and Burlington and snow in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Traverse City by Friday night.</p><p>As the storm continues to move into the weekend, cities including Detroit and Indianapolis can expect snowy and wet conditions arriving on Friday, and will want to keep their eyes out for possible closures according to <a href="" target="_blank">the Weather Channel’s latest forecast</a>.</p><p>Slippery roads and spotty power outages are still expected in cities that include Boston, Portland, New York, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Charleston, Cleveland, Paducah, Memphis, Louisville, and Nashville throughout Saturday.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">National Weather Service</a> has put out winter storm watches, warnings, and advisories for areas from Mississippi to the central Plains and the Rockies.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The storm will also bring snow into the Washington Cascades and northern Rockies, eastern Montana, northwest Wisconsin, and Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, causing potentially harzardous roads, bridges, and overpasses.</p><p>"At this point, it looks like just enough cold air will invade the storm to create a major problem for travel beginning from central northeastern Arkansas and western Tennessee to northern Maine and southern Quebec and northwestern New Brunswick," <em><a href="" target="_blank">AccuWeather's </a></em>Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll explained regarding the storm.</p><p>By Friday, Pennsylvania, upstate and central New York, and northern New England can expect freezing rain, with snow lingering into Saturday.</p><p>Meanwhile, heavy ice buildup and rapidly plunging temperatures – and risks of power cuts – are expected for an area stretching from Mississippi to Quebec, according to AccuWeather.</p>
Categories: Travel