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Just when you thought ever-bankrupt Italian airline Alitalia was a last-choice option for crossing the Atlantic, they go and do something cool like debut a renovated lounge with all new bells and whistles.
The "Dolce Vita" lounge, located within Terminal 1 at Rome's Fiumicino Airport welcomes those flying Alitalia in Magnifica class, Business, Ottima or Comfort, plus those holding elite SkyTeam status. Alitalia has a total of 15 lounges, but this is the largest and thus, the flagship. Believe it or not, it only took them two months to complete the renovation, to reopen in early March.
So, let's get down to the good stuff! The Dolce Vita lounge now boasts a bunch of "Made in Italy" features, like furniture from B&B Italia, coffee by Illy, catering by Eataly, a wall mosaic by Bisazza, and Prandina lighting. "The Pilot Bar" serves up the aforementioned Illy and Eataly yummies, and the areas for work and relaxation will delight those with eyes for design. Still, we can't help but be most psyched for a massive new toy installed in the lounge: a Boeing 737 flight simulator!
The precious, precious overhead binhow we love it and how we hate the rush to occupy it.
As airlines add or even raise checked luggage fees, those bins above our heads are getting stuffed to their limits with carry-on wheeled luggage, coats, laptop bags, duty-free purchases and whatever else you don't want taking away from your under-seat legroom.
When it comes to international travel the most stressful part—at least to us—is trying to locate a stupid pen to fill out the arrival paperwork. Usually a fellow passenger or flight attendant has pity on us and loans us a Bic; however, the need for pen and paper might soon be a thing of the past.
Uncle Sam—through the United State Border Control—is rolling out some new technology in hopes of speeding up the border control process. Kiosks will soon be available to welcome passengers to—and back to—the United States, as paper forms are filed away forever. The first airports testing out the new procedures will be Vancouver International Airport and Chicago-O’Hare, so things won’t change overnight.
On Monday morning, the Atlantic City Alliance hosted a press conference announcing a brand new sculpture garden that will be going up in the Marina District. Located two and a half miles north of the main boardwalk (as in, the Boardwalk), the mile-long walkway has in fact existed for over a decade. The trouble is, no one really used it.
Launching this summer, AC Waterfront Sculpture Park plans to install 40 pieces of outdoor art along the walkway. 25 of those are scheduled to go up this summer, in early July, offering local and regional artists the chance to have their work seen by tens of thousands of tourists.
Though it can't really compete with the Boardwalk with a capital 'B,' the Marina District walkway is notable for two reasons: it winds along the bay, offering incredible waterfront views (see above), with plenty of greenery and public benches. And it connects three of the major casino hotels, Golden Nugget, Harrah's and Borgata. So even if you're not a fan of outdoor public art (shame on you), then you still have several practical reasons to be strolling down the new art walk this summer.
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Universal Orlando / Orlando Travel / Universal Studios / Harry Potter / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Travel News / → All Tags
If you're a Harry Potter fan even in the slightest, you might want to sit down for this news.
Not only has Universal Studios Orlando today revealed the first image of planned additions to come at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, but they've announced that the new zone will be connected to the original Wizarding World by a recreation of the Hogwarts Express train.
Here's the full details:
Travel Tech / Google Glass / Google / Airports / Travel News / → All Tags
Sergey Brin wearing the glasses
Google Glass Google Glass Google Glass. It's everywhere and yet it's nowhere. The wearable computing glasses are only beginning a trial on actual consumers, and already businesses are eager to ban them.
The NY Times is all over the controversy this week, explaining that the "glasseslike device allows Internet access, as well as the shooting of photos and video, raising concerns about privacy and distraction." Beating them to the punch is Saturday Night Live, whose hilarious anti-Glass sketch with Fred Armisen sums up the public sentiment.
So, where won't you be able to wear Google Glass? Our sister site VegasChatter reported in mid-April that Las Vegas strip clubs are banning them, and casinos are considering a ban. In addition, SFist relays that a Seattle dive bar has banned them, and groups are rising up with petitions against the gadget.
On Sunday night's Amazing Race season finale hockey-playing brothers Bates and Anthony Battaglia won the $1 million prize, which begs the questionhow do we apply to be contestants on The Amazing Race 23?
According to the show's official website, they are currently casting for a race that travels sometime between October and December 2013, and will likely air in February 2014.
You kids might not remember this, but a few years ago Congress wanted to tax foreign tourists in order to increase foreign tourism. The deeply moronic public theory was to take money from tourists, then use that money to promote tourism, then wait around for all the tourists to start flooding in. In actuality it was a way to drive travelers to Las Vegas restaurants and hotels and away from other parts of the country, all done at the expense of tourists who just wanted to come to the United States. Congress ended up passing that legislation and the President ended up signing it, by the way.
Fast forward to the 2014 budget submitted by President Obama to Congress. It looks to make air travel better by taxing air travel more. The giggle-worthy logic begins with the idea that getting through an airport takes a really long time right now because there aren't enough workers and infrastructure, and that's depressing travel. But if you tax travelers, the reasoning goes, you'll be able to put that money into airports. Airports will become better, more people will want to use them, and magic happens.
Celeb Travel / Seoul Travel / South Korea Travel / Psy / Travel Industry / Travel Advertising / Asiana Airlines / Travel News / Music Travel / Gangnam Style / → All Tags
CNN reported earlier this week that Psy has been named South Korea's new tourism ambassador. To which we immediately thought: ummm...he wasn't that already? Who were they using for tourism advertising instead? Because apparently it wasn't the really popular guy whose music videos have been viewed by billions of people in the recent past. And while we're not experts at this sort of thing, it seems to us like maybe they should have been using the really popular guy whose music videos have been viewed by millions of people in the recent past.
It turns out there's an answer to that question. Since October 2012 the tourism ambassador of South Korea has been Kenny G. No punchline. We're just going to let that hang there with no comment. The face of South Korean tourism for the last 6 months? Kenny G.
Travel Booking Sites / Travel Websites / RouteHappy / Travel News / Travel Tech / Airplanes / Travel Hacks / → All Tags
"I'm thinking of flying First Class for my big vacation trip!" - Friend
"Not on [redacted airline] you shouldn't! It just won't be the First Class experience you're imagining. Try [different airline] instead; at least it's lie-flat seats." - Us
"Ooh, okay. What else would I get?" - Friend
Cue a two-hour phone conversation that only ended in exasperation on both ends, after googling and browsing airline websites 'til we were blue in the thumbs. If only Routehappy.com had existed last week.
Routehappy actually went live last Friday, which may have been too late for our first timer friend in First Class, but it's right on time for a traveling public increasingly paying attention to the availability of perks on planes. At its heart, Routehappy is a flight search and booking website built and powered by self-proclaimed #avgeeks. At its full potential, it's an educational tool to make you the most informed traveler on the entire
Congress's emergency fix to sequestrationthe one we told you about earlier this week, where they let the FAA off the hookis having an interesting effect on travel journalism. Specifically, it's causing journalists to write about travel. Even more specifically, it's causing journalists to write about travel politics. We already have a very firm opinion on what happens when Congress starts to tinker inside the travel industry. But it's always nice to have details.
For instance, a Bloomberg politics blogger was very much not happy about Congress's fix ("erupted in fury," "appalling," "even more self-serving than you probably imagined," etc). So like any good politics blogger, he decided to question the motives of the politicians who voted for it. It turns out that U.S. Senators and Representatives fly a lot, and so there.
The post is a little bit paint-by-numbersCongress gets perks, those perks cost money, be outraged!but it's fine as far as it goes. There's a genre, the blogger met genre expectations, whatever.
Travel News / Passports / Barbie / Toy Travel / Mexico Travel / → All Tags
She's been a veterinarian, an Olympic gymnast, a marine biologist, an 80s rock star, a mermaid and the president (many times over). She's Barbie, and her range is even unencumbered by nationality. The newest Barbies are additions to the classic "Dolls of the World" collection, and one in particular is causing quite the uproar.
A "Mexico Barbie," complete with a traditional Mexican dress and a pet chihuahua, has a passport has an accessory. Yikes.