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Proposed Airline Ticket Tax Bump Has Tempers Soaring

USA Today |  President Obama is asking passengers to pay a few dollars more in taxes for an airline ticket — which already is about 20% taxes and fees. And the travel industry is in an uproar about it.

Big airlines say people would buy fewer tickets if Congress approves the president's proposal to help cut the deficit and pay for the nation's aviation system.

Regional airlines, which carry more than half of domestic fliers each day, say it could force them to pull out of small cities.

Small-city airports worry about that.

And some travelers and consumer groups say it's just unfair to ask passengers to pay more on top of the taxes and fees that government and airports already charge.

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How to Sleep Comfortably in an Airport Terminal

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Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years:  a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.

Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers.  The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds.  Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.

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Let the Google Flights Backlash Begin

air travel google flights

No sooner did Google unveil Flights, its new airfare search tool, on Tuesday than the criticism began to fly—not least from key competitor Kayak. But let's let's let Robert Birge, Kayak's chief marketing officer, speak for himself.

"We recognize Google is a formidable competitor, but they haven't been successful in every vertical they've entered," Birge said in a statement that went on to laud Kayak's own attributes.

I got the statement in an unusual email today from the Kayak's P.R. rep, who suggested that Google Flights doesn't work for international destinations; has no regional airports; and has questionable accuracy when it comes to actual airfares. I noted some of those things myself when I spent some time on the site this morning and Tweeted about it.

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Korean Food Gets Mod Makeover in Seoul

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Leading Korea's new culinary wave is Jung Sik Dang, where chef Jung Sik Yim takes local ingredients to prepare dishes like kimchi consommé, pork jowl with yuzu, and even an amuse bouche with grasshoppers. Less experimental is Bistro Seoul, which presents Korean standards in an austere space. While Japanese and Chinese have long happily paid through their noses for expensive renditions of their cuisines, Koreans—like Thais—are just experiencing the phenomenon of taking familiar fare, gussying it up, and serving it in lovely locations. It’s not fusion, but modernization. You’re seeing this elsewhere in Asia—KL has some notable modern Malay restaurants. And while the Thais are kicking and screaming about this trend, other parts of Asia are embracing it.

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.

Photo of Jung Sik Dang courtesy of TomEats/www.tomeats.com

Travel + Leisure's Editor-in-Chief Reflects on 9/11

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As I listened yesterday to the roll call of 9/11 victims’ names, reflecting so many vastly different places of origin, so many different families and cultures, I was thinking about travel in its broadest sense. Despite 9/11, or perhaps even in some ways because of it, America’s connections to the world have broadened and deepened over the past decade. Though we are a country of immigrants, we are also a country known for turning inward, and for staying within our shores.  Despite the fear of terrorism, the ongoing economic crisis, the challenges of airport security, and the wages of wars and geopolitical strife, Americans have fanned out beyond our borders in greater numbers and with a greater spirit of exploration than ever before. 

We go farther off the beaten path, to China, India, Russia, and Brazil—economies that not entirely coincidentally are rapidly expanding—and to Africa, Bhutan, and Patagonia.  This is the best response to those that have us in their sights: an open mind, an open heart, and the thirst for new experiences of the world.


Nancy Novogrod is the editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure.

Photographed by Richard Phibbs.

Phase 1 of World's First Commercial Spaceport 90% Complete

Daily Mail | Phase one of the world's first commercial spaceport, which will be the hub for Virgin's consumer spaceflights, is now 90 per cent complete.

The 1,800-acre Spaceport America site, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the home base for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's most ambitious business venture yet.

It already boasts a runway stretching to nearly two miles long, a futuristic styled terminal hanger, and a dome-shaped Space Operations Centre.

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Smile! The TSA is Studying Your Facial Tics

terminal a at logan airport

Miffed that airport security full-body scans can feel so cold and impersonal? Don’t worry—your TSA officer may soon want to chat you up before they pat you down.

For the next 60 days or so, select TSA agents at Boston’s Logan Airport, trained to detect behavior that may indicate that a passenger is nervous about more than turbulence, are using their powers of observation to change the screening process.

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Major D.C. Monuments Close After Quake

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NBC - Washington, D.C.
|  Cracking was found in the stones at the top of the Washington Monument Tuesday evening, the National Park Service reported.

The crack was located in one of the triangular faces at the top of the monument.  It runs at an angle, and measures approximately 4 inches. (...)

Although the grounds near the Monument reopened on Tuesday, the interior is closed to visitor until further notice.  Authorities put up a fence creating a 150-foot perimeter at the Monument's base.

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Photo credit: Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation

CBS Early Show: New Federal Rules to Protect Airline Passengers

Starting this week air passengers will be well compensated for a flight delay. Want to know more? Travel + Leisure's international editor, Mark Orwoll, spells out the new airline passenger rules.

Extra! Extra! Newspaper Delivery Fading in Hotels

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Passport Blog - BBC Travel
|  The morning newspaper placed outside of your hotel room door may become an anachronism. And that may not be such a bad thing.

As travellers increasingly kick the paper aside in favour of getting a digital dose of morning news from their laptops or mobile devices, cash-strapped hotels have happily responded by cutting back or eliminating the delivery of newspapers because it helps them reduce costs — and appear more environmentally friendly. For me, the morning newspaper, along with a cup of coffee, used to be a ritual, but now I’ll check the news online and likely kick the newspaper aside (or put it in the recycle bin) on my way out the door.

Marriott hotels in the US used to provide every guest with a free morning newspaper on weekdays, whether they asked for it or not....

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