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Air France and Lufthansa Pilots Strike: What You Need to Know

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Welcome to airline strike season in Europe. Air France canceled half of its flights today as pilots expressed their opposition to the airline's plan to shift focus to a lower-cost (and lower-paying) subsidiary. Thousands of travelers across Europe have been impacted—a number that will surely increase if the strikes continue through the week as planned.

And in Frankfurt, Lufthansa pilots declared an eight-hour strike set for Tuesday, which will disrupt the airline’s long-haul flights. In negotiations regarding Lufthansa’s early retirements packages, the pilots union has led strikes (at the budget subsidiary Germanwings) and walkouts since August.

Both airlines have worked proactively to minimize the strikes’ impact on travelers, rebooking with partner carriers and offering hotel-stays in the event that no alternative flight is found.

While strikes can throw a wrench in anyone’s travel plans, there are a few ways to lower your risks, as detailed by T+L’s Trip Doctor, Amy Farley. Here's what you need to know: 

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New Luxury Rail Itinerary Travels to Iran

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A new luxury train itinerary has us dreaming of the Orient Express. "Jewels of Persia," on Golden Eagle’s Danube Express, will run from Budapest to Tehran, beginning in October.

And while Orient Express trains could transport passengers from London to Baghdad in eight days, the Danube Express will take its time, covering a far shorter route in almost double the time.

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Zurich's Dolder Grand to Hold Food Festival

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Zurich’s Dolder Grand hotel is launching a new annual food festival, dubbed the Epicure.

The Dolder’s own Heiko Nieder, whose talents have earned the hotel’s restaurant two Michelin stars, will host top European chefs during four days of culinary programming, beginning September 18th.

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Q+A with Soccer Star Tim Howard About How #LoveTravels

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In June, Marriott International launched its #LoveTravels campaign, encouraging LGBT travelers to feel at ease while staying with Marriott brands during their travels. Today, the company announced that it is broadening the message to individuals of any orientation, with an expanded lineup of celebrity endorsements such as soccer star Tim Howard and fashion maven Angela Simmons.

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London's Tate Britain Offers After-Hours Tours with Robots

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Thousands of art lovers visit London’s Tate Britain every day to see treasures by notables such as William Blake, John Constable, and David Hockney. This week, they can visit the museum at night as well, thanks to the new website After Dark.

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DogVacay Updates App, Pet Owners Rejoice

DogVacay, whose app helping travelers find vetted and insured pet sitters in their neighborhoods launched last year, has released an update with some new tricks even old dogs (and their owners) will appreciate.

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Robotic Butler Now Serving Guests at Aloft Hotels

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Aloft Hotels announced its latest hire today: a robot butler named A.L.O. who is now serving guests at the brand’s Cupertino location.

The first major hotel company to introduce a robot for front-of-house service, Aloft plans on using A.L.O. to help (human) staff around the clock, fulfilling chores such as delivering guest amenities and transporting bedding, towels, and other linens between laundry- and guest-rooms. The robot uses internal navigational software to find its way around the hotel and communicates via on-screen prompts.

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Banff Joins The Mountain Collective for 2014/2015 Ski Season

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Skiing in Banff could be more affordable this year, thanks to a just-announced partnership between the famed winter mecca and the Mountain Collective, whose pass grants holders big savings in a traditionally expensive sport.

A longtime winter favorite, Banff’s mountains provide 8,000 acres of ski and snowboard terrain in a UNESCO-recognized wilderness deep in the Canadian Rockies. All three ski areas inside Banff National Park —Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Mount Norquay —are joining the Mountain Collective.

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Utah Symphony Performs Under Backdrop of National Parks

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Time to book last-minute flights to Salt Lake City: The renowned Utah Symphony is running free open-air concerts against the backdrop of five of the state's—and country's—most treasured national parks.

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Vermin Disrupting Vacations Underground, in Gardens, and Up in the Air

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Hand sanitizers are no match for the creepy crawlies that have made headlines around the world this week: In New York, a bedbug infestation forced three subway cars out of service. In Paris, rats by the Louvre have tourists screaming. And in India, officials grounded a plane in New Delhi when scores of rats made an appearance.

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