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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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Oceania Cruises Introduces Free Wi-Fi

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Oceania Cruises is the latest luxury line to launch complimentary Internet access on its five ships—a first for the brand. It joins Regent Seven Seas, which announced that it was adding free WiFi last month. The on-board Wi-Fi system was recently upgraded across its five mid-size ships, bringing connectivity that’s twice as fast as before to public spaces, outdoor decks, plus all suites and staterooms.

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Iconic Friends Coffee Shop Pops Up in NYC


Confession: I'm a Friends addict. For nearly the entire ten years since the cult comedy took its last now, I've watched reruns every night as my bedtime ritual (true story). But I know I'm not alone. And for all of you Rachel and Ross cheerleaders, who know that the TV guide always came to "Ms. Chanandler Bong" and that there's no good answer to "How you doin'," there's big news up ahead. Next week, Warner Bros Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Eight O’Clock Coffee will be honoring the show's 20th anniversary by recreating Central Perk, with a month-long pop-up in lower Manhattan (at 199 Lafayette St.), kicking off next Wednesday. Among the fun details: a soundtrack of Phoebe's best songs, props from the original set, and guess appearances from none other than James Michael Tyler (AKA, Gunther). Naturally, coffee will be served all day long. The only thing that could be better? Making that ever-elusive Friends reunion—with more than just three members of the gang—a reality. Fingers crossed.

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

The iPhone 6 and Apple Watch: What it Means for Travel

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Today the iPhone got a long-awaited upgrade—and Apple finally unveiled its rumored plans for the Apple Watch. What’s in it for travelers? Here’s a closer look at how the world’s most popular travel accessory is changing—and the latest round of innovations by the technology giant.

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Cute Animals Help Passengers Relax on British Airways

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This month, nervous flyers and homesick cat and dog owners can tune into British Airways’ new, adorable, Paws & Relax channel.

The stream of cat and dog footage (think camera-collar documentaries and animated shorts) is perfect for entertaining young travelers, and for soothing anxious passengers during their fight.

Of course, who hasn't spent hours at their computer streaming cute cats and cuddly pups on YouTube?

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Why Don’t We Use Our Paid Vacation Days?

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Are you tired? Stressed from work? Want to take a vacation but feel like no one else can do your job or that you’ll return to an avalanche of unanswered e-mails and Excel spreadsheets? You are not alone; using paid time off is a pipe dream for many working Americans.

According to a survey conducted GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications for the U.S. Travel Association, one in four American workers are reporting that they are “very” or “extremely” stressed. But almost four out of ten American employees do not plan to use all of their paid time off (PTO) in 2014, despite having paid vacation days as part of their employment compensation.

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Land Rover Contest Goes Galactic

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Ever dreamed of going to outer space? Your chance has arrived.

Land Rover just announced its brand new premium compact SUV, the 2015 Discovery Sport. In conjunction with its luxury newcomer, the company has created a “Galactic Discovery” competition via its partnership with Richard Branson’s space-travel venture, Virgin Galactic. And it plans to take four lucky winners to the final frontier.

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Slow Motion Base Jumping Gives Birds-Eye Views

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For the adventure traveler, extreme sports such as sky-diving, zip-lining, and base jumping may be the ultimate adrenaline kick. The thrill of hurtling through the air with nothing but a parachute and a thin windsuit is a bonus to the unique, birds-eye perspective jumpers get.

Yet even in these death-defying leaps, there is a moment of Zen that may appeal to even the mellowest sightseer.

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World's Top Fall Food Festivals

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Come fall, people around the world will be celebrating the season’s bounty with food festivals. Lots of them. While New Englanders gather to taste the best artisanal ciders, coastal communities feast on fresh seafood. In California, it's time to sip wine. Whether you're craving a foodie getaway or are simply in the right place at the right time, these are five of fall’s top food festivals.

CALIFORNIA: Flavor! Napa Valley
This November, join the Culinary Institute of America and the region's top vineyards for a week of wine and food tastings. Culinary superstars Michael Chiarello, Todd English, and Andrea Robinson will be at the helm of vine-to-table signature dinners and hands-on demonstrations. Learn to make your own cheese, and to note a wine's distinct terroir while blindfolded. November 19-23. 

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