The Travel + Leisure weekly news round-up includes the latest airline to introduce new add-on fees, Google’s update on self-driving cars, a possible bikini ban in Mallorca, and some of the best places to celebrate Bike Month.
A new bill called the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 was recently introduced in the House, stirring much debate among airlines and consumer advocacy groups. Put simply, the law would allow airlines to list pretax prices rather than the total price including taxes and fees—making fares appear much lower than they really are (and completely undoing the 2012 law that forced airlines to be more upfront).
That’s a picture of my boarding pass for a recent flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York. I printed it out in the lobby of my beachfront hotel just before racing to the airport. I felt great that I was cleared for expedited screening in the TSA PreCheck lane, but not so great when the TSA agent frowned and said, “This boarding pass is no good.”
Denver-based Frontier Airlines is the latest carrier to charge extra for carry-on bags that require overhead storage—joining other add-on fees for non-alcoholic drinks ($1.99) and seat assignments (up to $8). In exchange, the airline is lowering its ticket prices by 12%.
There’s much ado about Shakespeare at Gatwick Airport, and the United Kingdom’s largest airline, easyJet, is leading the fanfare. With record-breaking “onbard” entertainment and a special edition Shakespeare aircraft, the 450thbirthday of the greatest English writer in history did not go unnoticed.
Yesterday, Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 carried an extra passenger in the plane’s wheel well. But it wasn’t until the flight landed in Maui that the 16-year-old boy was discovered relatively unharmed. Aviation experts are dumbfounded as to how he could have survived.
Airport bars are also upping the ante, with local brews and wines. Order these drinks at our new favorites.
The Drink: Stone Ruination IPA
The Bar: Stone Brewing Co., at San Diego’s T2
The Drink: A tasting flight of California Cabernets
The Bar: Crú, at Denver’s B Gates
The Drink: The Bees Knees, with Aviation American Gin (pictured)
The Bar: House Spirits Distillery, at Portland, Oregon’s Concourse D
The Drink: Paumanok Chenin Blanc from Long Island’s North Fork
The Bar: Wibar, at LaGuardia’s Terminal C
Photo courtesy of House Spirits Distillery
Thanks to the recent U.S. launch of AirHelp, Americans have an easy way of filing claims if a flight from or within the European Union is delayed, cancelled, or overbooked. (Flights from the U.S. to the EU are covered only if operated by an EU-based carrier.) Under EU regulations, compensation can be as high as $800, but according to AirHelp founders Henrik Zillmer and Nicolas Michaelsen, only 2% of eligible flyers make claims—and only .06% actually receives what’s due.
It's been a rough week for airlines on social media.
After a Dutch teenager jokingly tweeted a bomb threat to American Airlines—she has since been arrested—the air carrier is now fielding dozens of other fake bomb threats over Twitter.
Meanwhile, U.S. Airways, is in crisis mode after it accidentally included a pornographic picture in one of its tweets. Even though the airline deleted the Tweet soon after, the image had already gone viral, with thousands of responders mocking U.S. Airways.
One bright spot: Southwest Airlines had a hit with its stand-up comic flight attendant delivering one of the coolest safety briefings we've ever heard. (Watch video above.) If you're going to go viral, that's the way to do it.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Q: I’m headed to Napa for a food festival and need to keep my luggage light (so I have plenty of room for edible souvenirs!). How can I maximize my travel wardrobe? —Rebecca Wasserman, via e-mail
A: Two words: convertible clothing. These pieces work double- or even triple-duty, wherever you roam.
This two-sided silk dress (pictured) can go glam for cocktail hour (just add heels and sparkling accessories). $349, Durga-Kali.