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Skype Offers Free Wi-Fi at Airports this Holiday

We admit it—we’re free Wi-Fi junkies. And there’s nothing more galling than having to pony up additional scratch for Internet access at airports and hotels—especially after paying so much just to get into those places. So we’re always happy to see announcements like the one that came to us this morning—that Skype will be offering a free hour of Wi-Fi at participating airports from December 21–27.

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Vote in the 2012 World's Best Awards Survey and Enter to Win a $10,000 Dream Trip

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Calling all globe-trotters! The 2012 World’s Best Awards Survey is live!

What tops your travel list? Click here to vote for your favorite hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines, airlines, and travel companies—and the winners will be featured in T+L’s annual World’s Best Awards issue in August 2012.

PLUS Enter the sweepstakes! All respondents will be entered for a chance to win a $10,000 dream trip to the destination of your choice. First and second prize winners will also receive once-in-a-lifetime vacations—and all bespoke trips are planned by one of T+L’s expert A-List travel agents. Two third prize winners will each receive American Express gift cards worth $1,000.

Vote now!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The 2012 World’s Best Awards Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia age 18 or older. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Sweepstakes, visit TLWorldsBest.com. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on 12/01/11 and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 03/31/12. Sponsor: American Express Publishing Corporation.

Briana Fasone is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Gift Wrapping Service for Air Travelers

virgin giftwrap air travel

You've heard the air-travel advice before: Don't wrap your holiday gifts before you leave for the airport because the TSA may very well require you to unwrap them during a security check. But there may be a way to arrive at your destination with wrapped presents anyway. This holiday season Virgin Atlantic is adding a few Christmas elves to the employee roster who will wrap presents for departing passengers on the air side of the Terminal 4 security checkpoint at New York's JFK International. The service costs $2 per package (100 percent of which goes to the Virgin Unite charity) and is available December 21-23, 2011.

Know any other airlines or airports that are offering a similar service? Tell us!

Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of VisMedia.

CBS Early Show: New Hotel Services at Airports

Who says air travel has to be a hassle? International Editor Mark Orwoll discusses the new trend of concierge-services and hotel amenities at airports.

NBC Nightly News: What the American Airlines Bankruptcy Means for You

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure's international editor, Mark Orwoll, makes an appearance to comment on American Airlines' recent news that it is filing for Chapter 11. Watch to find out what the airline's new status means for travelers.

American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy

REUTERS |  American Airlines and its parent company AMR Corp filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday to cut costs and combat soaring fuel prices and dampened travel demand.

American Airlines was once the largest U.S. carrier, but is now third behind United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It had been the only major U.S. airline to avoid a bankruptcy filing in the last decade and consequently has the industry's highest labor costs.

The airline hopes bankruptcy will cut labor costs after it failed to reach a deal with pilots and other work groups after years of fruitless negotiations. Analysts question, however, whether restructuring under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code will address operational shortcomings and bolster revenue.

The filing also leaves AMR vulnerable to unsolicited takeover bids by rival airlines in the rapidly shrinking airline industry.

"It completes the cycle," said Helane Becker, an analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co. "Every major airline in the united States has filed for Chapter 11."

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American Eagle First Airline Charged for Tarmac Delays

CNNMoneyAmerican Eagle suffered a dubious distinction Monday, becoming the first airline to get fined for excessive tarmac delays, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The government agency fined American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines' AMR Corp., (AMR, Fortune 500) a a civil penalty of $900,000 for delays that occurred earlier this year at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Airlines are penalized for tarmac delays exceeding three hours. The department said this is the first time an airline has been fined since the rules on tarmac delays were imposed in April 2010.

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How to Book Airline Award Tickets

Frequent-flier miles have gotten a bad reputation: easy to earn, hard to burn. But the truth is, finding an award seat actually got a little less difficult this year, according to a study by consulting agency IdeaWorks, which did trial runs on 24 frequent-flier programs worldwide by attempting to book award tickets on each for travel between June and October 2011. In the programs tested, availability rose to 68.6 percent, up from 66.1 in 2010. But your chances of snagging a free seat depend on which program you’re using. Low-fare airlines around the world scored best. Among the U.S. carriers, Southwest is the easiest to book on, with a 99.3 percent availability rate.

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Singapore Airlines 5-Day Sale: $888 Roundtrip to Asia

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Singapore Airlines, voted our readers’  favorite international airline in this (and most every) year’s World’s Best Awards, just announced a brief but exciting sale to inaugurate its new A380 service from New York: Fly round trip from JFK to Frankfurt for $599 or to Singapore for $888, including *all* taxes and fuel surcharges!

Tickets must be booked between now and November 7 for travel between January 16 and March 31, 2012. Fares to other destinations in Southeast Asia (including Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul) are also available for $999, again with no additional taxes or fees tacked on.

For more information or to book, please visit Singapore Airlines.

Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines


Heathrow’s Personal Transit Pods

Passport Blog - BBC Travel |  This week, Heathrow Airport introduced a new form of transport that will look familiar to fans of mid-century science fiction: emission-free, battery operated personal transit pods.

Instead of waiting for an airport shuttle, Heathrow passengers can hop in one of the pods that arrive every 34 seconds and travel along tracks between the terminals and car parks.

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