Last winter, we loved Switzerland’s creative “pay what you want” hotel initiative—and for three weeks this summer, Paris is following in its neighbor’s footsteps. Now through August 10—peak high season—five Right Bank hotels in the City of Light are letting guests spend the night and then decide what they think their experience is worth.
Think you know what it takes to make airport security checkpoints less hellish? The Transportation Security Administration has put a call out for ideas on Innocentive, asking for ways to create a more efficient screening process that accommodates all levels of travelers—standard, premier, and TSA Pre✓™—employees, flight crews, and passengers in wheelchairs.
In a move that dramatically challenges the monetized world of inflight entertainment, Delta Airlines announced that all classes of passengers on domestic and regional flights longer than one and a half hours will be able to access movies, television shows, music, and video games for free.
On August 4, Finnair is upping the airline lounge ante with a new Premium Lounge at Helsinki Airport, open to Platinum and Gold Finnair Plus members and other oneworld top-tier customers. Set near Gate 36 in the non-Schengen area, the space has interiors by dSign Vertti Kivi & Co—and includes everything you’d expect from the design-forward carrier: Eero Saarinen’s renowned Tulip and Womb chairs, Marimekko tableware, and Iittala Ultima Thule glasses—originally created for the airline in 1968. Other perks: private shower suites and a Finnish sauna, complete with Finland-made toiletries that incorporate forest berries.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Hawaiian Airlines—one of T+L's World's Best Airlines for food (and the only U.S. carrier to still serve complimentary meals in coach)—is the latest to invest in a new premium economy class, launching today. Installed on all A330 aircraft, the Extra Comfort seats have five more inches of legroom for a total 36 inches of pitch (on par with most other domestic carriers, though Virgin America and JetBlue both have 38 inches). Other benefits include priority boarding; free on-demand, in-seat entertainment; and personal power outlets. On international flights, travelers will also receive a souvenir pillow and blanket and premium meals.
We first wrote about EatWith—a website that connects locals with amateur and trained cooks for private, home-cooked meals—last year, when we identified “eating with a local” as one of the most important travel trends of 2014. While the company continues to champion its original vision, last month it launched a chef series in New York, inviting guests into the homes of professionals.
Still prefer real books to e-readers—but hate having to lug them in your suitcase? Shutters on the Beach, the iconic Santa Monica hotel, is introducing a new Beach Book Bag program, allowing guests to order their beach reads before stepping foot on the plane.
Last month marked the debut voyage of Pearl Seas Cruises, a new small-ship luxury operator that’s offering itineraries through the Canadian Maritimes, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway, with Caribbean journeys starting in 2015. A sister company to American Cruise Lines, it currently has one vessel: the 335-foot-long, 210-passenger Pearl Mist, complete with six decks and a balcony on each of the 108 cabins. (There are plans to add another ship in the future.)
Big news for business travelers: For the first time since being introduced in 1997, the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)—which provides pre-clearance and expedited immigration processing at airports and seaports in every APEC country—is accepting applications for U.S. citizens.