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FDA Report Reveals Airline Food Could Pose Health Threat

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USA Today
|  Many meals served to passengers on major airlines are prepared in unsanitary and unsafe conditions that could lead to illness, government documents examined by USA TODAY show.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors have cited numerous catering facilities that prepare airline food for suspected health and sanitation violations following inspections of their kitchens this year and last, according to inspection reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The inspections were at U.S. facilities of two of the world's biggest airline caterers, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, and another large caterer, Flying Food Group. The three caterers operate 91 kitchens that provide more than 100 million meals annually to U.S. and foreign airlines at U.S. airports. They provide meals for nearly all big airlines, including Delta, American, United, US Airways and Continental. (Photo credit: iStock)

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Menu Mind Games

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Ever wonder where that sudden craving for pork belly comes from while perusing the latest it restaurant’s menu?  It may have less to do with spontaneous pig lust and more to do with what—and how—you’re reading.

“Menus are essentially mini-billboards,” says Brian Buckley, a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City who teaches a class on opening restaurants.  And like all advertising, plenty of forethought goes into the concept, design, and execution.

A major tactic: menu layout.  “Restaurants use boxed items to single something out as the specialty of the house or the evening,” says Buckley.  Of course, these specials are often big-ticket items, or dishes that the house has a vested interest in selling.

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Senate Confirms John Pistole as Head of TSA

Washington (CNN) | The Senate confirmed Deputy FBI Director John Pistole as head of the Transportation Security Administration on Friday, ending a lengthy search process in which two previous nominees withdrew from consideration.

Pistole's nomination was approved by unanimous consent.

Pistole received praise for his law enforcement experience from both Democrats and Republicans during the confirmation process. His hearings were instead dominated by politically polarizing labor issues—specifically whether airport screeners should be allowed to unionize. The controversy had resulted in a GOP senator—Jim DeMint of South Carolina—placing a hold on an earlier TSA nominee.

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City Tour: Running the Streets of Paris

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As both an active runner and someone who enjoys travel, I speak from experience when I say: it can be really hard to stay true to my routine when I'm away from home. (To date, I have only successfully maintained a semi-normal running schedule once while traveling. Don't judge me.) Between late nights, full days, and the desire to take in as much as possible in a short period of time, sometimes it's just not possible. (And fine, I admit: sometime I'd just rather sleep a little later than get up for a run. There, I said it.)

That being said, I was intrigued when a colleague passed along information about a different type of tour now being offered in the great City of Light: a running tour.

That's right. A running tour. This is some serious travel time management, and I love it. (Not to mention, anyone who knows me knows that when I travel, I'm very much a "do as the locals do" type. So what better way to tour a city than as a resident jogger would?)

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Street Smart Sunglasses

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Nothing says summer like a good pair of shades. And nothing says summer in the city like these two pairs, which literally take their inspiration from the streets of New York and Los Angeles:

As part of its new Rare Prints collection, Ray-Ban just put out a colorful line of wayfarers embossed with the N.Y.C. subway map (from $140, available at sunglasshut.com).

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And from the left coast, there’s the brand new Freeway Eyewear, with five styles named and designed after  iconic L.A. highways, from Route 1 to Interstate 405 ($100 each, available at select Barneys New York stores).

Christine Ajudua is an assistant editor at Travel + Leisure.

Images courtesy of Ray-Ban and Freeway Eyewear

Vacationist: London, Amalfi Coast, and Lake Tahoe

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Do you start to panic about summer vacation days not taken when July 4 rolls around?  Join Vacationist.com, and calm those waves of anxiety by perusing our currently featured offerings:

Resort at Squaw Creek, Tahoe, California
Fly-fishing?  Skiing?  Dog-sledding?  Careening down the 120-foot waterslide? A stay at this timber lodge in the Sierra Nevadas offers as much seasonal adventure as you can handle, or as much time lounging in front of a fireplace or a expansive view of the Alpine lake as you’d like.

The Landmark, London
A stay in this aptly named grande dame in Marylebone will transport you to a romantic era of travel, where the journey ends in a hushed, cool lobby of marble columns and stately palms.  Stroll over to the High Street to find boutiques featuring next year’s designers, tony wine shops, local cheesemongers, and restaurants that have the city buzzing.

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Spirit Airlines Pulls Tacky Oil Spill Campaign

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Look who's at it again. In its latest marketing ploy to get (negative) attention, Spirit Airlines revealed—and then quickly pulled—its latest well-thought-out (that's sarcasm, folks) campaign: Check Out the Oil on Our Beaches.

Yes, really.

The ad was decked out with women in bikinis slathered in tanning oil, along with green and yellow "Best Protection" suntan lotion bottles—the B and P were slightly larger and bolder than the rest of the text...get it??

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Shame on Virgin Atlantic, Shame on Bradley International

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File this under "What the Hell Were They Thinking?" Just weeks after the new DOT airline rule went into effect limiting tarmac delays to three hours comes word that passengers on a Virgin Atlantic flight diverted to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut yesterday were held on the ground as virtual hostages in intense heat and darkness for four hours. Apparently there were insufficient immigration officers to handle the unexpected arrival. The fact that Virgin and Bradley officials could not figure out a way to treat the passengers humanely does not speak well for either of them.

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Flash Sale: Southwest Flights Starting at $39

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This year it was named the least-complained-about airline by consumers; last year the Bureau of Transportation Statistics declared it the third best airline, with an 83% on-time takeoff record. But now Southwest has something else to celebrate: its 39th anniversary! Okay, okay, so 39 is maybe, shall we say, an odd year to celebrate an anniversary, but we don't really care. Why? Because they're using this as an opportunity to offer a flash sale on flights, with rates starting as low as—you guessed it—$39!

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Pumped Up: Gasoline Prices Rise

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Philadelphia Inquirer (AP)
|  Gasoline prices rose over the weekend in the region and nationally, AAA Mid-Atlantic said Monday.

While pump prices rose an average 2 cents per gallon for the country as a whole—to $2.74 a gallon—the average in Southeastern Pennsylvania rose just a penny, to $2.76 per gallon. In South Jersey, the average rose 3 cents to $2.56, the auto club said.

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Photo credit: iStock


Harry Potter Comes to Orlando—Finally!

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CNN News |  The day Harry Potter fans have been waiting for is here. On Friday, Universal Studios is opening its "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.

The park-within-a-park, as it's being called, recreates various locations, scenes and other elements from the wildly popular book and movie series. Harry Potter has beaten out fellow  Brit celluloid character James Bond as the top-grossing film series in history.

One of the reasons Harry Potter is so successful is its legions of fans, both young and old.

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Photo credit: 2010 Universal Orlando Resort

Review: T-Mobile's Travel-centric Garminfone

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Sometimes it's really hard to believe that just a few years ago, in order to get where you had to go—especially on road trips, you needed to bring along one or more large, folding paper maps. Then there came websites like MapQuest, which alleviated people the hassle of having to actually figure out how to get from point A to point B. And now with GPS devices built into cell phones, navigating strange places is a breeze, and there's no need to bring anything you wouldn't have with you anyway.

T-Mobile recently released a new smartphone, the Garminfone (Garmin is one of the leading GPS makers in the world), which was specifically designed for travelers constantly on the go. It looks like any other touch screen smartphone (wait until you see just how smart it is), but as soon as you turn the phone on, you know it's made for travelers: there are three large icons on the homepage; one is labeled "Where To?" and the other, "View Map." (The third is for making phone calls.)

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Philly to Debut 360-Degree History in 3-D

Forget your Imax 3-D and your 3-D TV. I have seen the future, and it’s called Liberty 360. Philadelphia’s soon-to-be newest attraction, scheduled to open in July, will be a mind-blower: the first 360-degree 3-D experience ever devised. Audiences will stand on a cantilevered platform in the center of a cinematic cylinder, 50-feet in diameter and 8 feet high, and find themselves entirely surrounded by a three-dimensional movie that begins with Benjamin Franklin and a mysterious box in his workshop then takes viewers on a “journey of discovery” of America’s most beloved symbols.

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Spirit Airlines Resumes Partial Schedule

Chicago Tribune (AP) Spirit Airlines will operate about 20 flights on Thursday after its pilots made a deal to end their strike.

Flights will begin at 4 p.m. EDT, and Spirit expects to resume full service on Friday.

Spirit pilots had been negotiating for more than three years before the strike started Saturday morning. The union said first officers in particular lagged their counterparts at other low-cost airlines like JetBlue Airways Corp. and AirTran Airways.

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Vacationist: Caribbean, SoCal, and New England!

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Think it's too late to book your summer vacation? Think again. There are some amazing deals this week on vacationist. Don't miss reduced-priced stays at:

CARIBBEAN
Laluna in Morne Rouge, Grenada
Looking to make your summer getaway a summer hideaway? Run away to this tropical cove in Grenada that is all about privacy—private beach, private cottage, private plunge pools. . . the list goes on.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, California
La Jolla is peaceful, but also close enough to San Diego's beaches and SeaWorld for an entertaining vacation for the whole family.

NEW ENGLAND
The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa in Essex, Vermont
Sharpen your knife skills or backyard grilling technique at the resort's culinary academy located near the Green Mountains.

There are only four days left to take advantage of specials. Head over to vacationist.com now and book your summer getaway.

Photo credit: iStock

Editor Dispatch: Live From The Gulf Coast

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June 15, 2010: Just back from a family trip to Seaside, Florida, where I was expecting to see beaches marred by the oil spill. On the contrary, the Gulf Coast beaches that I saw (Fort Walton, Santa Rosa, Miramar), were as gorgeous as ever—fine white sand, blue-green water. Let's hope they stay that way.

Whitney Lawson is the photo editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Whitney Lawson

Wild NYC: Tree Climbing

The rules of the New York Botanical Garden are very clear: Stay on paths. Deposit trash in designated receptacles. Do not climb trees. That last one makes me smile, because just recently, if you were walking through there at the right time, you would have found me 50 feet off the ground in the branches of one of their leafiest sweetgum trees.

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Barbie Arrives at Ellis Island

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You won't find Barbie lounging around her Dream House this summer. Instead, the famous blonde will be making her debut at Ellis Island, a far cry from Malibu. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Barbie Dolls of the World collection, Barbie gathered a group of the collection's most iconic dolls, representing more than 40 nations, in a special exhibit at the former immigration station in New York Harbor, which begins June 16.

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Contest Watch: $15K Nantucket Vaca, Kenya, Los Cabos, More

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Skyrocketing temperatures might have melted some travel companies’ brains! They’re giving away a $15,000 Nantucket vacation, a six-month trip around the world; a six-month New York City hotel stay and $5,000 in cash, plus oodles more. This Contest Watch is all about thinking B-I-G.

“Flip Out on Nantucket”, Nantucket Island Resorts, Nantucket, MA
Now – September 6, 2010
Need a reason to take a Nantucket vacation? How does a $15,000 getaway sound? This summer, Nantucket visitors who make a 1-minute video montage about their trip and submit it to www.nuntucketislandresorts.com/flip-out-nantucket-submission.php or email nantucketvideos@gmail.com might just win the return-trip of a lifetime. Video submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges with the finalists put up to a public vote.  The ultimate Nantucket itinerary includes a five-night stay at any Nantucket Island Resort property (including T+L favorites The Wauwinet and the White Elephant), dinner for two at Brant Point Grill and Topper’s, two hour-long massages at both the White Elephant and the Spa by the Sea, Nantucket Harbor Cruise, and more. Flip out indeed.

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Giveaway: The Keys to NYC

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What do the Dalai Lama, A-Rod, Nelson Mandela, Placido Domingo, and countless tourists have in common? They all have keys to New York City. Well, kind of.

From now through June 27th, anyone can get a “Key to the City” in Times Square as part of Paul Ramirez Jonas’ public arts project. The free keys, handed out at a kiosk between 43rd and 44th streets, open 25 gates, doors, and cabinets throughout the five boroughs.

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Spirit Airlines Cancels Flights

USA TodaySpirit Airlines is canceling all of its flights through Tuesday, stranding thousands more passengers as a pilot's strike continues into its second day.

The discount carrier said on its website Sunday that all Spirit Airlines flights have been cancelled through June 15. Spirit pilots walked off the job Saturday amid an ongoing contract dispute with the airline that has lasted for more than three years. Spirit pilots have said their pay lags behind competitors such as AirTran Airways and JetBlue.

"None of the planes are moving and none of our pilots have crossed the picket line," Paul Hopkins, strike committee chairman of Spirit's unit of The Air Line Pilots Association, said Sunday.

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T+L Photo Contest: Enter to Win!

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Are you a serious shutterbug when you travel? Submit your best shots to T+L's Photo Contest that just kicked-off last week to win a series of monthly prizes, including a Flip Video Camera and an Amazon Kindle. Monthly winners will also have a chance at being published in Travel + Leisure magazine—and be entered to win a Grand Prize trip for two to Hawaii!

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Vacationist: Southwest and Amalfi Coast!

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There's nothing sweeter than nabbing a good travel deal—especially in summer, when getting away for a much-needed break is not optional, it's a must! And right now is a smart time to start your search. Why? Because vacationist has some terrific offerings this week!

Currently on sale:

SOUTHWEST
Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa in Lajitas, Texas — 30% off
Southwestern swagger meets the rugged life (no roughing-it necessary) where Pancho Villa once led raids along the Rio Grande.

AMALFI COAST
Furore Inn Resort in Furore, Italy — 38% off
One of the most gorgeous places on the planet. Really.

There are just six days left to take advantage of these great values, so what are you waiting for? Head to vacationist.com and book your next trip!

Photo courtesy of Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa

Treats & Tweets from the Bahamas

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If your (lack of) winter break wasn’t exactly beachy, have no fear.  A piece of the tropics may be pulling up to a New York City corner near you—and it’s free! 

This week only, the Islands of the Bahamas is steering their Treats & Tweets from the Bahamas food truck around the grid, offering traditional Bahamian Mac & Cheese and Junkanoo Chicken Drumsticks alongside virgin Bahama Mammas drinks (okay, so it’s almost like being on vacation—but hey, you have to work). 

Need help capturing this little ray of sun?  The truck’s location is viewable on Twitter (@VisitTheBahamas) or Facebook (facebook.com/bahamas).  On Friday, June 11th, truck patrons can enter to win a trip to the real McCoy, Club Peace & Plenty in the Bahamas.  (Hint: Friday the truck will be located near Bryant Park, but you didn’t hear it from us). 

Now that’s island hospitality. 

Nina Fedrizzi is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of the Islands of the Bahamas

What to Do When You Can’t Get Into Noma? (and You Won’t)

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When Noma, the shrine to New Scandinavian cuisine in Copenhagen, was named the world’s “Best Restaurant” in April—beating El Bulli of Spain—its reservations site was flooded with more than 100,000 requests. Would-be diners managed to book every slot through May, June and July. When reservations opened for August, every table was gone within an hour.

So I knew that dining at Noma on a recent trip to Copenhagen was going to be a challenge. Not just Herculean, it turns out, but Sisyphean. After an ordeal of emails, hours of dialing to a perpetually busy phone line, and a humbling encounter with a boorish maitre d’ when I decided to show up and try to get on the waiting list, I failed. But in failure found the next best thing—a gem of a restaurant called Godt, located downtown near King's Garden.

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VIDEO: Travel Has Never Been This Bad

A few weeks ago, we told you about a new book put out by the creator of the Titanic Awards, which celebrates Travel's most dubious achievements. This week comes a video. Click play for the worst baggage handlers, roughest cruise, most insane intersection, and seriously questionable tourist attraction. You may just want to stay home!

God of Death Arrives at Denver Airport

Remember that Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck ‘90s film Armageddon?  About heroic and crusty oil rig workers charged with blowing up an asteroid before it crashed to earth?  Cruelly, it was shown on a particularly turbulent flight I took across the Atlantic.  As my stomach lurched with every sudden drop in altitude and I watched actors struggle to land on a Texas-sized asteroid hurtling through space, I wondered just who had thought that film was a good fit with air travel.

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Such thoughts occurred again today as I read that the Denver Airport (DIA) has erected a 26-foot statue of Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death and the afterlife, outside the terminal.  The sculpture was erected last Wednesday to promote an exhibit on Egypt’s King Tut, Tutankhamun: The Golden King & the Great Pharaohs, which opens June 29 at the Denver Art Museum.

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D.C. Travel: Dangerously Delicious Pies

As a child, many a muggy, summer evening was spent on the porch of my upstate New York home, sharing a piece of warm cherry pie with my dad while watching bright zigzags of heat lightening flicker across the sky.

It’s no surprise, then, that on a recent trip to Washington D.C., I found myself sliding onto a barstool at Dangerously Delicious Pies D.C., the second outpost of the Baltimore-based creation by pie man/rocker Rodney Henry.

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The shop, which opened on H-Street in early April, is a worthwhile addition to a casual weekend getaway or a serious, food-focused road trip—look for the bright red rocking chair outside the unassuming DDPDC and rock n’ roll photos on the two-toned red and black walls, and two tall pie safes stand like sentries flanking the counter, inside.

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Interest Grows in Trans-Atlantic Travel to Europe

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Despite the ash cloud that closed European airports and stranded passengers in April, more Americans intend to travel to Europe this year. Yet many would-be vacationers are considering traveling by ship instead—and reliving the glory days of trans-oceanic travel.

“There’s definitely an upsurge in interest, which is terrific,” says Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Cruise Line which operates the Queen Mary 2’s six-night crossing between New York and Southampton, England. “There’s a feel-good factor about trans-Atlantic travel. It’s back on people’s radar.”

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What’s Your June Travel Horoscope?

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“What’s your sign,” may be the oldest (and cheesiest) pick-up line in the book, but according to travel website Tripbase.com, the stars can offer more than just a love match. The site, which uses artificial intelligence to match travelers with their ideal trip, is now applying its algorithms to the stars and “offering celestial guidance to travelers who know they need a vacation”—from Aquarius (go hiking and get physical this month!) to Sags (put on your party shoes and glam it up in another city!). Check out Tripbase.com/travelhoroscope for your on-the-go monthly chart.

June Tripbase Horoscopes

Gemini: Techie Geminis hate to part with their gadgets...even while on vacation. Hold off on that camping trip for another month. This June, head to a bustling metropolis where you post photos and blog about your adventure right from your mobile phone.

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