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United Says 'Drinks On Us' For Those Traveling Overseas

April 23, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

Hungry travelers, take heed. Your summer travel just got that much better if you’re heading overseas with United, as the carrier is upgrading and improving some of their in-flight food and beverage offerings.

Eating beforehand is probably still a solid recommendation for those flying in coach, but it does sound like United is making some kind of effort to provide economy passengers with a little more than the usual cabin fare. Beginning June 1 the carrier will introduce a three-course meal — or their version, at least.

Things will begin simple enough with some kind of variation of cheese and crackers. Main course options will include things like Tuscan ravioli and udon noodles with stir-fried vegetables, and all these entrées will be accompanied by salad and bread. After choking things down making a happy plate dessert will be provided, as gelato, mousse, and ice cream will all be in the rotation.

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Gadget Watch: Singing The Praises of Some Super-Slim Travel Speakers

April 22, 2015 at 2:25 PM | by | Comment (1)

Picture it: You’re lounging poolside in your tropical villa. The only thing that could make the moment more perfect is a dose of groovy electro-pop caressing your eardrums like a warm sonic breeze — but your laptop speakers won’t quite do the trick. (And while you appreciate the many “likes” of your beachside selfies, those Facebook notification pings don’t quite go with the beat.)

Potential solution: TT speakers from Nyne, designed for convenient travel. Each lightweight unit is two inches deep and weighs just two pounds. (It’ll totally fit in a tote.) The battery lasts for 10 hours of tune time when fully charged via USB, and the Bluetooth tech will connect to your playlist from up to 33 feet away. (It can also make a handy speakerphone while traveling; there’s a kickstand and built-in microphone.) The speakers even come with four universal charging plugs, so you’ll never be caught without the perfect soundtrack for banging out some sun salutations in your hotel room.

You can grab handy gizmo at the tune of $129.95 here.

[Photos: Nyne.com]

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Nominate Your Hometown as America's Best

April 22, 2015 at 1:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

We all like to brag about our hometowns, and now it's time to make our love official: Instagram official.

Outside Magazine is holding its annual Best Towns contest, selecting 60 of what they consider to be America's best outdoor towns. But as anyone who watched the NCAA tournament knows, it takes 64 to fill a bracket, and Outside is leaving it up to the public to decide which final four make the cut.

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Say Aloha To Hawaiian Airlines' Locally Inspired Amenity Kits

April 22, 2015 at 11:20 AM | by | Comments (0)

Accidentally abandon your toiletries on the nightstand while you were scrambling to pack? Worry not. Traveling to Hawaii just got even better, as Hawaiian Airlines is boosting their in-flight offerings with some snazzy new locally inspired amenity kits. The airline is partnering up with one of Hawaii’s most popular clothing designers—Manuheali‘i—to create a new pattern that reflects the scenery of the Hawaiian Islands. Think teals, light greys, and a banana leaf look.

Those heading back and forth between other states will unfortunately be out of luck. With a couple exceptions, these new amenity kits will only be available to those flying internationally with the carrier.

But it doesn't matter where you sit. Thankfully, things are rolling out to both those seated up front and those in the back. Passengers in the main cabin will receive a pillow box, eyeshades, headphones, and some earplugs—not too shabby.

Those in the business class cabin get a few more goodies, as they can expect socks, a bamboo comb, Lōli‘i skincare products, and a pen—perfect for those landing cards.

[Photo: Hawaiian Airlines via The Design Air]

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Thanks to Virgin Atlantic, We Snapped This Pic of Greenland In-Flight

April 22, 2015 at 10:15 AM | by | Comments (3)

Last week, while flying in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, we were engrossed in the insanely good documentary "Finding Vivian Maier," about a prolific photographer in Chicago in the 1950s and 60s whose work was discovered after she died — at a storage auction, no less.

Just as we were delving into the mystery of who she was, where she came from and why she took so many photographs of everyday life, these little notes appeared on the monitor:

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Godzilla Is Tokyo's Newest Tourism Ambassador and His Hotel Opens Next Week

April 22, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

What would you do if Godzilla came running at you with open jaws? Run, right? Well, apparently Tokyo’s Shinjuku district believes Godzilla to be more hospitable than horrifying. Not only has the ward just unveiled a 170 foot-tall Godzilla head, but it has "appointed" the monster as a tourism ambassador. City leaders hope visitors will run directly toward the daikaiju’s welcoming (if scaly) arms.

The 80-ton replica head appears to be biting into the 31-story Shinjuku Toho Building, which just unveiled the capital’s biggest cinema and is scheduled to cut the ribbon on the high-rise Hotel Gracery next week.

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This Airline Loves Selfie Sticks So Much They're Selling Them Onboard

April 21, 2015 at 5:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

Even though music festivals and even some airlines are moving to ban selfie sticks, British Airways is going against the stream to embrace the doohickies, even offering them for sale via their in-flight duty-free catalog.

We spotted this entry, for the “Bitmore Bluetooth Selfie Stick,” just yesterday while flying from Copenhagen to London-Heathrow, but rest assured all you longer-distance BA flyers have a chance at it as well; that same duty-free catalog shows up on flights outside Europe, too.

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Mexico Really Is Hot: Airlines Adding More Routes to Meet Increased Demand

April 21, 2015 at 3:52 PM | by | Comments (0)

Fleeing for warmer climes? Good news. Options for flying south of the border continue to expand with more flights heading to Mexico courtesy of low-cost carriers Southwest and Volaris, as well as Alaska Airlines.

Southwest will add routes from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport to Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos in October. Also starting in October, Alaska Air will begin flying nonstop from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Last but not least, Mexican carrier Volaris plans to add routes from Fort Lauderdale to Mexico City and Guadalajara in December.

Of course, various pesky government approvals must be in place before tickets are sold — but those are expected to be completed shortly.

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Why Visiting Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road is Something Every Beatles Fan Should Do

April 21, 2015 at 1:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

This week's Jaunted Field Trip will be coming from London and Liverpool. Got a question about either of these cities? Let us know and we'll answer it for you. Don't forget to check HotelChatter's latest news from London and Liverpool too.

Liverpool is known all over the world as the birthplace of The Beatles. (And #scousebrow. Look it up.) Obviously, a large portion of the city's visitors are there to see what The Beatles saw in their formative days.

And there's a lot left to see, although most of it has been prettied up, such as the Albert Docks, which houses a Beatles visitor center, and The Cavern Club, where the band played in its early years. (The Cavern Club actually had to close down in the 1980s, but it was rebuilt using a lot of the original bricks.)

Of course, Beatles-themed tours are plentiful, ranging from the Magical Mystery Tour (a two-hour sightseeing bus tour) to the The Beatles Fab Four Taxi Tour (a private taxi tour.) But only one tour can get you inside the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

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Surf Air Is Launching Four More All-You-Can-Fly Destinations in Cali

April 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM | by | Comments (0)

Grab your bronzer and your black card. A members-only flight club has added four new California destinations for its jet-setting members.

Surf Air, a Golden State-based service that bills itself as the nation’s “first all-you-can-fly private membership club,” just announced that it is adding service to Santa Rosa (starting May 22), Monterey (starting July 20), Sacramento (starting August 24) and Palm Springs (November 5). Surf Air already shuttles members between private airports in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles Metro Area, Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, to name a few. The service plans to have about 90 daily flights in action by the end of 2015, and is doubling up its fleet of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft to accommodate the growing number of members lured by its price plan: membership starts at $1,750 month for unlimited flights. (Your less well-heeled friends may be able to join you, too. For a limited time, members will soon also have the option to purchase reduced-rate round-trip flights for guests.) Guests can book one flight at a time through an easy-to-use smartphone app.

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Here's Why This Pro Hacker Was Banned By United Airlines

April 21, 2015 at 10:28 AM | by | Comments (0)

You know that famous admonition against “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”? Here’s an updated version for 2015: “Don’t shout ‘I could totally hack your onboard systems’ in an airplane!” (Modern life, amirite?)

On the other hand, maybe you’ll think that United Airlines overreacted when it stopped Chris Roberts from boarding a flight over the weekend. Roberts, a (very) prominent online security systems researcher and founder of One World Labs, a Denver-based firm that helps clients identify potential cyber threats, was supposed to board a Saturday flight to San Francisco for a security conference. According to the AP report, Roberts wasn’t originally told why he wasn’t allowed to board the plane, but will be sent an explanatory letter shortly.

But it appears, says everyone, that this was probably a response to a tweet Roberts sent last week while flying United, when he joked about hacking into the plane’s systems to deploy the oxygen masks.

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Visiting the Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb in New Mexico

Where: Mail Stop C330 [map], Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States, 87545
April 21, 2015 at 9:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

This day trip is the bomb. Literally.

The city of Los Alamos is located less than an hour from Santa Fe, but most people pay it no attention. A town of a little over 10,000, it has a large population of government workers, mostly in connection with the defense-related Los Alamos National Laboratory. The town offers very little in terms of national tourism, especially when compared with all there is to see and do in nearby in-state destinations like Santa Fe and Taos.

But history buffs might remember Los Alamos in a different light, one that could entice them to pencil in a day trip when they find themselves in Santa Fe. The aforementioned Los Alamos National Laboratory was the site for the development of the world’s first atomic bomb, better known as the “Manhattan Project.” Today, the history of the Manhattan Project is preserved at the Bradbury Science Museum.

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