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Book Your Tickets Now for New York City Wine & Food Festival

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The feeding frenzy known as the New York City Wine & Food Festival is just days away. You name a culinary superstar, and chances are good he or she will be there: Daniel Boulud, David Chang, Alex Atala, April Bloomfield—the list goes on. (Even Whoopi Goldberg is making an appearance at a chicken-themed evening.)

While many of the big-ticket items are already sold out—including Martha Stewart’s cake-decorating class and a dinner with Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm and Will Guidara—there are still plenty of ways to get a taste of what the fifth anniversary event has to offer.

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The Future of Business Class: JetBlue’s New Mint Experience

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The airline that gained popularity with egalitarianism and blue chips just announced its first premium cabins, debuting on transcontinental flights starting on June 15. But don’t call this Business Class. In JetBlue parlance, these seats are known as Mint.
 
Travelers will be able to experience Mint on JetBlue’s new Airbus 321s flying from New York’s JFK to LAX next summer, and later, to SFO. Each aircraft features 16 lie-flat seats, including a handful of private suites that have sliding doors for total seclusion.
 
“Think about it as elegance with a small e,” JetBlue CEO David Barger said as he revealed the new cabins, along with their signature His and Hers amenity kits curated by Birchbox, seasonal tapas menu from New York City’s hip restaurant Saxon + Parole, and unpremium pricing.

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Department of Silver Linings: U.S. Passport Offices Remain Open Despite Government Shutdown

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After watching the federal government grind to an ignominious halt last night over the budget impasse, you could be forgiven for wanting to get out of town—as in, leave the country—for a while.

Fortunately, although national parks and monuments are now closed and thousands of FAA aviation safety inspectors have been furloughed (shudder), U.S. passport offices remain open and processing applications. If you’re traveling within the next two weeks and need to get a rush passport, you can still schedule an appointment at your nearest passport agency. Just call ahead to make sure that office isn’t located in a federal building. If it is, you may be out of luck.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Photo credit: Blue Jean Images / Alamy

Emirates Debuts First Transatlantic Flight

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Beginning today, Oct. 1, Emirates Airlines launches a new route: JFK-Milan. Why is this big news? Because the expanding UAE-based airline will offer the only first-class service between the two popular cities. And, it's the first flight of the airline’s that does not touch down in Dubai before flying on to other gateways.

We expect Emirates’ first transatlantic service to be a big boon for business and leisure travelers, and are already imagining the crush of Louis Vuitton suitcases during Milan and NYC’s Fashion Weeks.

Departure and arrival schedules are timed to sync with flights going to and from feeder markets, especially those on JetBlue (US) and easyJet (Europe).

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Dogfish Head Brewery Opens Delaware Hotel

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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, based in the tiny town of Milton, Delaware, is now venturing into the travel world. In late spring 2014, these brew masters plan to open Dogfish Inn in downtown Lewes, at what is currently the Vesuvio Motel. The 16-room motel, which sits halfway between Dogfish’s brewpub and distillery in Rehoboth Beach and their production brewery in Milton, will serve as a warm welcome to visiting beer-lovers. Locals are buzzed about the opening as well—with no pub or restaurant on-site, nearby venues will be providing snack-relief.

Designers from Studio Tack in Brooklyn and Lighthouse Construction in Magnolia, DE will renovate the space, which promises to bring some laid-back “Dogfish vibes” to the beach town. Sound too chill? Pedal down the Breakwater Trail to reach the brewpub for a taste of those famed IPA’s—and opt for a taxi ride on the way back.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is part of the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Committee Urges the FAA Reconsider Electronic Device Prohibitions

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An advisory committee is recommending that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) ease its restrictions on electronic devices below 10,000 feet, finding current rules pointlessly prohibitive. The council's 28 members hail from the aviation industry and within the FAA.

Flyers today must shut down their phones, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets to prevent interference with the plane's equipment during takeoffs and landings. Anyone who refuses to do so may be kicked off the plane, a la Alec Baldwin.

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The Suitest's Hotel Room Price Predictor

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Considering a visit to New York but turned off by the sky-high hotel prices? Try browsing The Suitest, a suite-focused hotel search engine whose new Price Predictor advises on the probable fluctuation of room rates in any major destination. Much like Bing’s airfare search, the tool also provides insight as to whether rates are likely to climb, decline, or sell out entirely in the next week. It’s all calculated with an algorithm that riffs off Wall Street hedge funds, which use the similar models to analyze mortgage-backed securities (topics not nearly as exciting as planning your vacation). Ignore the “Deal Grades,” or snapshots of a quote’s relative value—they seem largely arbitrary—and focus instead on our two favorite features: “fair value assessments” that compare your quote to the hotel's “usual price” and a six-month calendar showing the average rate each night in the city of your choosing.

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

Photo courtesy of TheSuitest.com

Kung Fu Coasters? Jackie Chan to Open Theme Park

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China may already have an Angry Birds amusement park, but the nation is about to seriously up its theme park street cred.

According to a recent Guardian article, action film star Jackie Chan has announced that he will open his own theme park in Beijing, to be called JC World.

No doubt, we love the idea of rides inspired by Chan’s action films—who wouldn’t want to go on a rollercoaster called Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow? How about an It’s-a-Small-World-style dark ride called The Forbidden Kingdom, followed by turkey legs and adult beverages at the Drunken Master concession area?

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Must-Reads for the Week Ending September 20, 2013

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The Telegraph's Soo Kim reports on plans to open a Jackie Chan theme park in Beijing. The best news? Admission is expected to be free. (Peter Schlesinger)

Skift takes a look at budget airline Ryanair's first foray into social media. Famously brash, the company is now tweeting with attitude. (P.S.)

I'm a sucker for commercials with nice music. This new Carnival Cruise Lines ad (the company's first TV spot since the Triumph debacle last spring) fits the bill. Showcasing Instagram photos from passengers, it is an upbeat step forward for the beleaguered cruise line. The New York Times reports. (P.S.)

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Time-Lapse Video: Raising the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship

After nearly 20 months since Costa Concordia's shipwreck off the coast of Italy, the vessel is finally upright. The above video shows the ship over the course of a 19-hour operation to pull it up from its capsized state.

Maria Pedone

 

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

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