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The "High Line Effect" in Reverse: London Announces Subterranean Park

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We recently covered New York City's news that its considering a new underground park on the Lower East Side. Today, London announced similar news:

(CNN)  |  London's abandoned rail and tube lines have been put to many novel uses down the years functioning as bomb shelters, impromptu party venues and film sets for Hollywood movies.

But a new idea to create a mushroom garden in a tunnel beneath Oxford Street is perhaps one of the more unconventional attempts to breathe new life into the UK capital's forgotten subterranean murk.

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United Airlines Ends Coach Preboarding for Children

CNN  |  As families prepare for air travel this coming Memorial Day weekend, United Airlines won't be offering early boarding to families in coach with small children.

Joining a handful of other carriers, United made the policy shift in late April with little fanfare.

Previously, families with small children flying coach were allowed on aircraft before general boarding, a convenience for moms and dads trying to herd their kids across the friendly skies.

"We figured it would be better to simplify that process and reduce the number of boarding groups," said United spokesman Charles Hobart. The airline does allow passengers with children traveling in first class or business class to board early. ...

Kate Hanni of flyersrights.org calls the move "very anti-family."

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NOAA Predicts 4-8 Atlantic Hurricanes

CNN  |  A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1, although it got off to an early start this year, with Tropical Storm Alberto moving through the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast last week.

NOAA also said it predicts a near-normal season for the Eastern Pacific, estimating a 70% chance of 12 to 18 named storms – with five to nine hurricanes, of which two to five would be major – for that area. The Eastern Pacific's season is May 15 to November 30.

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Digital Avatars to Guide Travelers at New York Airports

CNN |  First Tupac. Now this.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced this week that digital projections of "virtual customer care representatives" will appear this summer in three New York-area airports, guiding flyers to their gates and providing other logistical info.

The 2-D projections can't respond to travelers who ask them questions, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the authority. But that kind of technology may be added if the 6-month pilot project goes well, he said in a phone interview. "We’ll see if it works, you know," he said. "If people keep walkin' by it, then we wouldn’t renew (the contract for the avatars)."

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Australian Billionaire to Build Titanic Replica

CNN  |  An Australian mining magnate has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build a replica of the ill-fated Titanic, complete in every detail but equipped with modern technology to prevent a repeat of the original's fateful maiden voyage 100 years ago.

Clive Palmer, a Queensland mining billionaire with strong links to China, told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the ship.

He said construction of the luxury cruise ship would begin next year and the ship would be ready to sail in 2016.

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Medical Emergency Diverts Titanic Memorial Cruise

CNN.com  |  A medical emergency Tuesday diverted the cruise ship retracing the path of the ill-fated Titanic 100 years after its sinking.

"The ship is turning around and heading approximately 20 nautical miles east to bring it nearer to the coast and within reach of a helicopter," cruise line rep Fred Olsen said in a statement.

The crew of the MS Balmoral, which is hosting the memorial cruise, is working with the Irish coast guard to assist a passenger who became ill.

iReporter Tom Byron, who is on board the Balmoral, told CNN the ship made an hours-long "huge U-turn in the ocean" to get closer to shore for the airlift….

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Airfare Sales May Stave Off Winter Blues

CNN |  Never mind that you're probably still recovering from holiday travel and may have no interest in heading to another airport. Faced with a traditional post-holiday lull in travel, several airlines are hoping their New Year's sales will lure travelers back into the air at a discount.

"These deals have a lot to do with people not traveling after the holidays," says Anne Banas, executive editor of Smarter Travel. "They just spent a lot of money, they're tired and they're not thinking about going anywhere. So it's a very quiet time."

The best deals are on JetBlue, says Banas, noting that some of the airline's sale flights are to peak-season destinations in the Caribbean and Florida. The best fares are for midweek flights, so you'll need some flexibility.

JetBlue launched its "Holiday Recovery Sale" on Tuesday morning….

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Air Travel Tax Refund Procedure Still Fuzzy

CNN |  If you're traveling by air this month, there's a good chance the government owes you money.

Don't believe me? You can thank Congress and its inability to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. Here's how you can get your money back, though be prepared to wait a little while for things to settle.

Congress periodically has to renew the authorization of the FAA to do a variety of things, and one of those things is collecting taxes on air travel. As with everything in Washington, the left and the right all try to sneak in politically charged riders that prevent the FAA reauthorization from moving forward to fund important projects such as the NextGen air traffic control overhaul.

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Airline with Club Atmosphere to Serve Las Vegas

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CNN | Mood lighting, club music and pre-flight safety briefings from virtual celebrities: Gamblers may soon have a swanky new way to arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LV Air, a new airline that hopes to start service this fall with four daily nonstop flights between the gaming capital and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, promises to bring a bit of Sin City fun and luxury on board.

"When you enter the aircraft, it will seem as if you're entering a club. ... It'll be a very festive atmosphere," said Sean Smith, LV Air's chief marketing officer, describing dark blue and purple lighting in coach class, and club music pulsating from the speakers of the chartered Boeing 767s.

Photo Courtesy of LV Air.


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Delta: SkyMiles Are Forever

CNN |  SkyMiles no longer expire, Delta Air Lines announced Tuesday.

The frequent flier perk system, which enables users to earn free plane tickets or in-flight upgrades, is the first among major U.S. airlines to preserve points indefinitely.

Before January 1, 2011, SkyMiles became invalid if no qualifying mileage activity, such as acquiring or redeeming miles, occurred for more than 24 months.

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