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IcelandAir Debuts Stunning Safety Video

Icelandair has joined the pack of airlines putting time and energy into their safety videos. (Click here for our slideshow of some of the best.) Unlike the humorous approach taken by the likes of Delta and Virgin America, this almost three-minute-long video is like a love letter to Iceland as a destination, following a traveler camping out to see the Northern lights, hiking across the country’s varied terrain, and kayaking the Fjadrargljufur gorge. Safety procedures are seamlessly drawn on top of the visually beautiful shots.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Vacation Rentals Get a Boost with Launch of Villas.com and Funding for Tripping

201405-hd-villa-rentaljpgThe vacation rental industry has officially made it. Booking.com just launched Villas.com, a smart and streamlined site dedicated solely to vacation rentals, with more than 150,000 listings. Meanwhile, Tripping—the self proclaimed “world’s largest search engine for vacation homes and short-term rentals” and the brainchild of Expedia, Travelzoo, and StubHub veterans—just got a new round of funding, rumored to be between $5 and $10 million.

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Sydney Opera House is All Lit Up During Annual Festival

Every night through June 9, the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House will be awash in colorful lights and 3D projections as part of Vivid Sydney, the largest light, music, and ideas festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The spectacle was designed by the creative agency 59 Productions, known for their work on the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Destination Club Exclusive Resorts Launches Nightly Rates

exclusive_resortsjpgExclusive Resorts, a destination club with more than 300 villas around the world, just announced that it is expanding on its membership-only model with the launch of the Gateway card. The new initiative puts the company in the same category as regular villa rentals and even hotels—groundbreaking for a company that typically requires a 30-year commitment.

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World's Best Airlines for Food

airline food chefs

The winners, according to our annual reader poll.

Domestic

Virgin America 82.08
JetBlue Airways 74.18
Hawaiian Airlines 71.59

The demise of free meal service in economy class has meant the rise of better buy-on-board options. To wit: Virgin America earns raves for its on-demand dining via seatback touch screen and snacks from home-grown artisanal brands, such as San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream. JetBlue is a favorite for its Terra chips and boxed meals (try the roast beef sandwich); starting in June, Mint seat fliers can sample a small-plates menu by New York’s Saxon & Parole. Hawaiian Airlines bucked the cost-cutting trend: it’s the only U.S. airline to still serve complimentary meals on domestic flights in coach. The onboard snack bar keeps it local, selling everything from Spam musubi to macadamia nuts.

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15 New Airlines to Launch in China

201405-hd-china-airlinesjpgAccording to a report from CAPA-Centre for Aviation, 15 new airlines in China have launched or are scheduled to launch by the end of 2014—a 50% increase in the country’s passenger airlines. This sudden growth began late last year, when China began loosening restrictions on new LLCs and start-up companies. (Though according to the report, the reform initiatives “remain subject to interpretation and implementation.”)

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Steve Nash Heads to the World Cup with Bespoke Travel Company Beck & Score

steve_nashjpgThe new bespoke travel company Beck & Score—which counts NBA all-star Steve Nash as a partner—is making it possible to travel to this summer’s World Cup in class. Created with the well-heeled sports lover in mind, it offers VIP packages to Brazil that start at $8,000 per person, including tickets to games, stays at stylish properties such as Hotel Fasano, transportation, dinner reservations, and even face time with Nash and pro surfer Garrett McNamara.

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Berkshire Hathaway Launches Affordable, Fixed-Rate Travel Insurance

201405-hd-berkshire-hathaway-aircare-logojpgBerkshire Hathaway is shaking up the travel insurance industry with the launch of AirCare, which offers an inexpensive, fixed-rate plan covering delays, tarmac waits, missed connections, and lost or delayed luggage. But more than its $25 price, the latest from Warren Buffett’s corporation stands out because it streamlines the biggest insurance headache of all: filing claims.

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Cape Air Launches Direct Service from New York to the Adirondacks

201405-hd-cape-airjpgStarting June 26, Cape Cod-based airline Cape Air is launching a new seasonal route connecting Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY, to Adirondack Regional Airport in Saranac Lake, NY.

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Alaska Airlines Invests in Seattle’s New Bike Share Program

201405-hd-alaska-airlines-seattle-bike-sharejpgBiking will meet air travel this September in Seattle, when the Pronto! Emerald City Cycle Share program launches with Alaska Airlines-branded wheels. The airline contributed $2.5 million to the program; in exchange, its name will appear on the first 500 green-and-blue bikes, which will initially be available in the U District, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and Downtown. The price structure is $8 for a 24-hour membership, $16 for three days, or $85 for a year, and every station will have a kiosk to rent or buy helmets.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo courtesy of Pronto Cycle Share

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