TSA Found Record-Breaking Number of Guns at Checkpoints in 2017

TSA Found Record-Breaking Number of Guns at Checkpoints in 2017

http://ift.tt/2DYBX1i

danjo paluska  / Flickr

The security checkpoint at Denver International Airport. The TSA found more guns than ever before in 2017. danjo paluska / Flickr

Skift Take: More flyers are heading to the airport with their guns in tow across the U.S., and 84 percent of those found by the TSA last year were loaded. This doesn’t bode well for airport security in 2018.

— Andrew Sheivachman

Read the Complete Story On Skift

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 3, 2018 at 02:19PM

Westjet Wants to Take New Low-Cost Carrier Swoop Into U.S. and Mexico

Westjet Wants to Take New Low-Cost Carrier Swoop Into U.S. and Mexico

http://ift.tt/2nEmaK8

WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s new ultra-low-cost carrier plans to expand to southern locations in the U.S. and Mexico in the second half after it launches with Canada service in June.

WestJet is counting on its Swoop brand to fend off a new breed of bargain carriers such as Flair Airlines while the fledgling carrier attempts to take market share from leisure operators Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines.

“In June, when we have all of the regulatory approvals, we will announce southern flying into the U.S. and Mexico, potentially the Caribbean as well,” Bob Cummings, WestJet’s executive vice president of strategy, said in an interview. “We will aggressively go after the cross-border opportunity, which is quite significant.”

Swoop on Thursday said it would begin service on June 20 from Hamilton, Ontario, to Abbotsford, British Columbia, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. By the end of July, it will add Edmonton, Alberta, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, to its network. One-way fares initially will range from C$39 to C$99 ($32 to $81), including fees and taxes.

Gregg Saretsky, the chief executive officer of Calgary-based WestJet, has said he expects Swoop to be profitable from the start.

The unit’s first southbound flights likely will depart from Ontario and British Columbia, Cummings said, where the company sees a market of about 15 million people for ultra-low-cost travel. He said flights to Mexico and the U.S. may begin before November, though he declined to elaborate.

“Part of the strategy of Swoop is for it to be complementary to WestJet,” Cummings said. “It made sense for us to start our network as largely Hamilton-based, with some Abbotsford. Over time, we will evolve and deploy into other markets.” The operation mostly will focus on secondary airports, such as Hamilton, which is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Toronto.

Swoop plans to fly a fleet of 10 Boeing Co. 737-800 jets outfitted with 189 seats by September 2019.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Frederic Tomesco from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 3, 2018 at 02:19PM

Anbang and HNA Could Become Sellers of Hotel Assets

Anbang and HNA Could Become Sellers of Hotel Assets

http://ift.tt/2DZG1OW

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

The Hilton hotel in Albany, New York. HNA owns a 25 percent stake in Hilton Worldwide. Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Skift Take: Over the last couple of years HNA, Anbang and others have amassed overseas assets worth billions of dollars. But with the Chinese government now restricting capital outflow it looks like these buyers will now become sellers.

— Patrick Whyte

Read the Complete Story On Skift

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 3, 2018 at 02:19PM

Joymode Raises $14 Million for Gear Rental: Travel Startup Funding This Week

Joymode Raises $14 Million for Gear Rental: Travel Startup Funding This Week

http://ift.tt/2nDkNuW

Joymode

There are subscription services for razor blades, foreign foods, world music, and so much more. Joyride focuses on the equipment you need to have fun, like camping in style. Joymode

Skift Take: Investors are finally backing companies that are tackling relatively remote corners of the travel market, such as Joymode’s rentals of gear for camping, beach holidays, and road trips, and Busbud’s sales of intercity bus tickets.

— Sean O’Neill

Read the Complete Story On Skift

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 3, 2018 at 02:19PM

Breaking Away From the Boutique Hotel Hype Formula

Breaking Away From the Boutique Hotel Hype Formula

http://ift.tt/2nEm6Ko

Skift Take: To avoid the sugar high and then the inevitable crash when launching a new property, brands need to adopt a mindset of reciprocity and be a participant, and not a drain on the artistic ecosystem of a city.

— Colin Nagy

Read the Complete Story On Skift

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 3, 2018 at 02:19PM

Brexit Could Potentially Benefit UK Tourism but the Chances Are Slim

Brexit Could Potentially Benefit UK Tourism but the Chances Are Slim

http://ift.tt/2DYBP1O

Bloomberg

The Houses of Parliament in London, UK. There are a range of scenarios under which Brexit could actually benefit UK tourism. Bloomberg

Skift Take: If the UK’s economy tanks and people can’t get into the country smoothly, then regardless what tinkering the government or the industry does, tourism is likely to suffer.

— Patrick Whyte

Read the Complete Story On Skift

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 3, 2018 at 02:19PM

A Tiny Coral Paradise in the Great Barrier Reef Reckons with Climate Change

A Tiny Coral Paradise in the Great Barrier Reef Reckons with Climate Change

http://ift.tt/2nzENQh

On a recent trip to Heron Island, a speck of sand and foliage on the
southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, I found myself on a
walking tour of the local birdlife. My group’s guide was young,
determinedly friendly, and seemed to feel not a little trapped. She
looked as though she might, at any moment, reconsider everything and run
as far as she could—which is to say, not very far: Heron is just half a
mile long. We began with the egrets, which inspired the island’s not
altogether accurate name, and which are born either black or white; our
guide pointed out monochrome pairs roosting together in the trees. Then
it was on to the buff-banded rails, which reminded me of thin, shifty,
omnivorous quails. Beneath a Pisonia tree, also known as a grand
devil’s-claws, we encountered a rowdy group of white-capped noddies.
(The caps, our guide told us cheerfully, were to stop the birds’ brains
from overheating in the sun.) Noddies, which feed on fish and make their
nests by glueing together fallen Pisonia leaves, lead perilous lives.
The trees’ seeds are sticky, often adhering to the birds’
charcoal-feathered bodies. Sometimes, a noddie will get covered in so
many seeds that it can no longer fly, and so it falls to the ground and
starves to death, its carcass fertilizing the nutrient-poor sand in
which the Pisonia grows. “The noddies have a really special relationship with the devil’s-claws,” our guide said.

Heron Island is also home to the Barrier Reef’s oldest research station,
where Sophie Dove, a biology professor at the University of Queensland,
has lately been studying the effects of climate change on corals. Though
she was off on the mainland when I visited, we caught up a few days
later. The problem, Dove explained, is twofold. As humanity pumps carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere, the planet’s over-all temperature rises; at
the same time, some of the CO2 from the air is absorbed by the oceans,
acidifying the water. For corals, particularly those that live in the
shallows, the resulting environmental changes can be catastrophic. Many
species around Heron rely for their survival on a group of tiny
photosynthesizing organisms called zooxanthellae, which, in exchange for
a safe home in the corals’ body tissues, furnish their hosts with food
and oxygen and give them their vibrant colors. When the water gets too
acidic, the corals’ rock-like skeletons break down. When it gets too
warm, the zooxanthellae go into overdrive, producing dangerous amounts
of oxygen. To protect themselves, the corals will expel the organisms,
turning bone-white in the process—a phenomenon known as bleaching. Two
springs ago, the Great Barrier Reef experienced its worst bleaching event in history. Another one followed in 2017, though Heron Island was spared the worst
of it by an unseasonable influx of cold weather.

For the past several decades, marine biologists have devoted themselves
to investigating how and why bleaching occurs, from the cellular level
on up to the global level. Dove is interested in the area in between. Her lab setup consists of twelve tanks, each containing a miniature reef: one or two sea cucumbers, a few small fish, and the same seven species of coral. Dove refers to the tanks as mesocosms (“medium worlds”). Over the past eight years, by varying the temperature and carbon-dioxide levels of the water, she has been able to simulate how these mini-reefs respond to five climate-change scenarios. The first mimics the cooler, less acid ocean environment before the Industrial Revolution. The second reproduces the
ocean of today, based on readings from buoys in the Coral Sea. The third conjures a world where we reduce emissions somewhat; Dove refers to this as the
“pulling our belts in” model. The fourth mesocosm, which she calls “really pulling our belts in,” envisions what the future might look like if the signatories to the 2015 Paris climate agreement honor their pledges. The fifth, “business as usual,” imagines what will happen by the end of the century if humans continue to burn fossil fuels at their current rate.

So far, Dove has found, the pre-industrial and present-day mini-reefs
appear healthy. Left to their own devices, she said, they are
“chock-a-block” with coral. Dove still needs to crunch the numbers on the Paris tanks, but she hasn’t noticed a visual difference between this scenario and the present day. In the other two mesocosms, though, her results have been “really worrying.” The corals in those tanks thrive
during the day, but, at night, when the zooxanthellae are no longer
photosynthesizing (and thus no longer converting carbon dioxide to
oxygen), the water acidity climbs and the corals begin to dissolve. In
the pulling-in-our-belts tanks, there had been a little more growth than
dissolution; in the business-as-usual tanks, there had been no growth at
all. This is bad news not only for corals but for all the other
species, on land and at sea, that depend on them.

It didn’t take much time on the reef for me to grasp the abundance of
what the corals had built. Snorkeling in the pale-green waters of Shark
Bay, on Heron’s eastern side, I saw whitetip sharks and blacktip sharks;
giant shovel-nosed rays and their pale young; and person-size pink
whiptail rays, which shimmied away suddenly from the seafloor, sand
falling from their backs. A pair of turtles attempted mating, the
knocking of their shells audible under the water. On the other side of
the island, in what a Kiwi dive instructor had described as the
“Powerade blue” of the harbor, I explored the rusted hull of a sunken
ship. Schools of bright fish hugged the wreck’s sides; a turtle had
wedged itself into a corner so that it could sleep without drifting
away. Later, when the tide had gone out, I went for a reef walk,
stepping carefully between semi-submerged coral colonies. A small
epaulette shark, gold with brown spots, swam between my legs, on the
hunt for fish that had been trapped in rock pools. I exchanged glances
with an eel as a group of Australian children passed by. “Without the
reefs we wouldn’t even have sand,” one said. “Without reefs we wouldn’t
have anything!” another said.

I had travelled to Heron Island on the advice of Charlie Veron, an
Australian reef expert who has named a fifth of the world’s coral
species. Like Dove, Veron believes that the only way to save the Great
Barrier Reef is to put a stop to the burning of fossil fuels; unlike
Dove, he seems to hold little hope that this will happen. When we first
spoke, he mentioned a proposal by the Indian resources giant Adani to
build a new coal mine about four hundred miles northwest of Heron, in
the state of Queensland. If approved, it would be the largest such
project in Australia, a country that already has the highest per-capita
carbon emissions in the world.

“I’ve been despondent for a very long time,” Veron said. A decade ago,
ahead of the U.N. climate-change conference in Copenhagen, he was called
upon to address the Royal Society’s Coral Reef Crisis Working Group, in
London. The last photograph he took before he boarded his flight to the
U.K., he told me, was of an eel on Lizard Island, in the northern Great
Barrier Reef—an area that, in 2016, suffered what one of Dove’s
university colleagues characterized as a “complete ecosystem collapse.”
“You can’t talk underwater, but I said, ‘O.K., fella, I’m going to help
look after you and your family,’ ” Veron recalled. “I failed him. Yep. Or
her. I failed their family.” He appeared to have tears in his eyes, and
then I definitely did. A healthy reef bustles with the color and the
activity and, especially, the noise of thousands of species “talking to
each other all the time,” Veron said. When that goes away, the effect is
profound. “There’s nothing deader than a dead coral reef,” he said. “It
really is like a graveyard.”

One of the difficult things about climate change is that we struggle to
imagine it. A living edifice such as the Great Barrier Reef can, to the
human mind, seem too permanent, too complicated to fail. But here, on
Heron Island, the world was just small enough—a mesocosm—for its
precariousness to feel real. Remove one link from the breathing
chain––the noddies from the trees, the zooxanthellae from the
corals––and the others would be lost quickly, easily. Veron had said
that a reef represents “the greatest concentration of life on this
planet.” Now I could imagine its opposite. If Heron’s corals died, the
fish would starve, leave, or be eaten. The noddies would follow, and
after a while the trees that feed on them might die, too. The island
would be abandoned, sandy and silent, until it slipped beneath the
waves.

Travel

via Everything http://ift.tt/2i2hEWb

February 3, 2018 at 02:18PM

10 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Zürich

10 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Zürich

http://ift.tt/2EbwhAh

What can you say about Zürich that hasn’t been said already? Okay, let’s face it: The canons of travel literature are a little thin when it comes to Switzerland’s biggest city (banking and the Reformation may be cool, but they aren’t exactly page turners). Still, that doesn’t mean Zürich doesn’t have a lot going for it. There are great gourmet spots like Kronenhalle (best Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, or sliced veal in gravy, in town) and the world’s first vegetarian restaurant, Hiltl (opened in 1898). It’s also famously LGBT-friendly. The city lays on the Swiss charm with gentle urban river views, iconic churches and historic neighborhoods that you needn’t be a hedge fund manager to enjoy.

1. Fraumünster Church

The slender steeple of this historic Zürich church makes it among the city’s most iconic. It traces its roots to 853 and King Louis the German, and gained cachet in medieval times for its abbey which was the abode of many prominent female aristocrats of the time. A landmark of Altstadt, or Old Town, it’s perhaps most famous today for its contemporary stained glass windows: in the northern transept there’s a tall window designed by Giacometti in 1940, while the southern transept contains five windows by Marc Chagall, installed in 1970.

2. Münsterhof Square

Located in the Lindenhof district of Altstadt, Münsterhof is the largest town square in the medieval core of Zürich, close to the Münsterbrücke bridge that crosses the Limmat river. It’s the site of a former pig market and is best known for its collection of medieval guild houses, including the Zunfthaus zur Meisen, home of the Swiss National Museum’s fine porcelains, and  Zunft zum Kämbel (the old wine merchants’ guild). Design-wise, about the only modern thing you’ll find here is the fountain in the middle.

A post shared by Eduard (@eduzuri) on

3. Augustinergasse

Zürich is not a city closely associated with urban charm, but wander around the historic core for a while and you may change your mind. Winding Augustinergasse, which takes its name from a former abbey, is probably the most Instagram-ready lane in the central pedestrian-only zone. The buildings you see are most remarkable for their painted wooden façades, dating mainly from the 16th century when workshop owners tried to outdo each other for the most impressive building decorations.

A post shared by Zürich (@zhwelt) on

 4. St. Peter’s Church (St. Peterskirche)

In case you forgot, the Swiss are big on keeping time and St. Peter’s Church boasts the largest clock face in Europe. The diameter of each of the church’s four clocks measures 28.3ft — by contrast, the diameter of Big Ben’s is 23ft. There was an earlier Romanesque church on the site around 1000 AD, but even beforehand this spot next to Lindenhof hill was sacred: an ancient Roman temple to Jupiter was here. As for the clocks, of course they’re a lot more recent, and yes you can set your watch by them.

A post shared by Zürich (@zhwelt) on

5. National Museum Zürich (Schweizerisches Landesmuseum)

Situated next to the bustling Hauptbahnhof (Zürich’s central train station), the Swiss National Museum is also called the National Museum Zürich and is a sight to make time for — for aesthetic reasons both inside and out. The historicist style of the main museum compound is an 1898 design by Gustav Gull and includes a mix of turrets and towers that recall fairytale-friendly French chateaux. A visit to the exhibits will get you up to speed on the sweep of Swiss history from ancient times through today. The museum’s location by the riverside Park Platzspitz makes it a point of departure for the Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft ferry boats that ply Zürich’s River Limmat.

A post shared by Zürich (@zhwelt) on

6. View from Grossmünster Church

Grossmünster may not be the most beautiful of Zürich’s churches — composer Richard Wagner said it looked liked two pepper shakers — but it’s an historical heavyweight: How many churches can claim to have been commissioned by Charlemagne? This Romanesque edifice was completed around 1220, but the towers came later and were subsequently given a Gothic makeover in the late 18th century. The thing to do here is climb the 187 steps of the south tower, or Karlsturm, for the Instagrammable views of the old town and Lake Zürich.

A post shared by Zürich Tourism (@visitzurich) on

7. Freitag Tower

Shopping online can be convenient, but it’s nowhere near as Instagrammable as perusing the wares housed in the lower levels of an 85-foot-high tower made of 17 disused freight containers. Such is the composition of the inimitable Freitag Tower, at the Swiss brand’s flagship store which rises above the hipster zone of Zürich-West and stocks upwards of 1,600 variations (in styles and sizes) of the famous recycled “freewaybags.” They’re upcycled from the likes of bicycle inner tubes, truck tarpaulins,  seatbelts and even airbags. Do your shopping on the first four stories, then catch the view of the former industrial zone from the roof.

A post shared by jennifer (@jenniferrabenitas) on

8. Zürich Hauptbahnhof

Zürich is the largest railway hub in Switzerland, and it has a train station to fit the bill. And for a station that serves nearly 3,000 trains per day, the Zürich Hauptbahnhof (or Zürich HB) is remarkably clean. The fanciful 1871 entrance as seen from the Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich’s main shopping street, is quite a contrast to the thoroughly modernized interior and underground shopping mall. The station is situated at the northern end of Altstadt and — in case you’re considering a brief city tour during a layover — is only six miles and about a 15-minute ride from Zürich Airport by train.

A post shared by I Like Zurich (@zurich.like) on

9. Thermalbad & Spa Zürich

With so much emphasis on Swiss banking and chocolate, it’s easy to forget that Switzerland is home to a plethora of natural mineral springs and spas, where you can get a taste of the country’s spa heritage in the heart of Zürich. The mineral-rich thermal waters of Thermalbad & Spa Zürich bubble up from the city’s Aqui spring and you can luxuriate in them amidst the century-old stone vaults of what used to be a brewery. But perhaps the best part of this “bathing sanctuary” is the Instagram-ready rooftop, where you can hydrate and bliss out with the entire cityscape before you.

A post shared by Sandy Claus (@sandyclaus7) on

10. Zürich Airport Observation Decks

Compact, city center close, almost astonishingly clean and home to many great shops and restaurants, Zürich Airport is hard not to love. But for planespotters, it gets even better thanks to its duo of observation decks. At Deck B, for which there is a small admission charge, you can pinpoint not only planes from the observation walkway but pilots in the cockpit as well. For the best views of longer haul birds such as the A380, hop on the free shuttle bus (during summer only) from Deck B over to the outdoor passenger Deck E  (pictured below).

Featured of River Limmat, Fraumuenster Church and St. Peter Church in Zurich by Westend61/Getty Images

Travel

via The Points Guy http://ift.tt/26yIAN2

February 3, 2018 at 02:17PM

How I Never Spend More Than 2 Cents For United Miles

How I Never Spend More Than 2 Cents For United Miles

http://ift.tt/2GFvlT7

Like most other airlines, United occasionally sells miles at a significant discount — in November they were available for 1.88 cents apiece, for example — but there are times when you need to top up your account for a redemption outside of one of those limited sale periods. Is it possible to avoid paying the usual rate of 3.76 cents per mile when a sale isn’t available? It is indeed.

All you need to do is to open one of your existing reservations on United.com and click the option to “Get Extra Miles.” You’ll be presented with two different options — typically paid itineraries that span longer distances offer larger packages — but my revenue tickets always seem to offer miles at a fixed rate of 2 cents apiece, including taxes.

For example, here’s what I see when I pull up my reservation for a round-trip from Newark (EWR) to Taipei (TPE):

Shorter itineraries, such as this one-way to Europe, generate significantly smaller packages — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Award tickets seem to throw off the regular 2-cent rate — this family award trip to Europe only returns small packages, priced at 2.5 cents per mile.

Fortunately, these transactions appear to be processed by United, rather than Points.com, so you should be eligible for credit card bonuses for purchases that code as travel. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, you should earn 3x points on your purchase — though your mileage may vary. Note that these miles don’t count toward status, though you do have the option to add something called “Premier Accelerator” and have have them count as PQMs, at an absurd rate of 13 cents apiece (on top of the 2-cent Award Accelerator rate).

Even though 2 cents per point is a decent rate for redeemable United miles, it’s still far above our valuation of 1.4 cents apiece, so I wouldn’t buy miles speculatively — especially since this discounted purchase option appears to always be available. If you’re just shy of a redemption, however, or if you plan to redeem for a high-value award — say, Lufthansa first class from the US to Asia — it could certainly make sense to go this route.

Travel

via The Points Guy http://ift.tt/26yIAN2

February 3, 2018 at 01:00PM

February 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

February 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

http://ift.tt/2s7JCF6

February 2018 Wallpaper

This month’s image was taken in Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Most Desktops (will adjust for size) | iPad | iPhone 6/7/8 | iPhone 6/7/8 Plus | iPhone X
2560×1600 (MacBook Retina 13″) | 2880×1800 (MacBook Retina 15″) | 5k iMac / High Res

Travel

via Everything Everywhere Travel Blog http://ift.tt/2vSIIcy

February 3, 2018 at 12:40PM