Times Square, New York City (Photo: iloveny.com)

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Yotel announced it will open its first location in the U.S. this June with a 667-room structure in New York City's Times Square. Currently, the brand has locations at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

So, why is this interesting? Let's count the ways. First, Yotel is an almost fully automated hotel. Guests check in via self-service kiosks, though there is staff on hand to assist. Then there's something called Yobot, which is an automated luggage storage system operated by a robot (well, a Yobot).

Rooms are generally small, which is not at all unique for New York, but they're laid out with a bit more concern for human comfort than your average Big Apple broom-closet hotel room....read more»

TripAdvisor Logo. (PRNewsFoto/TripAdvisor)

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Smarter Travel sister site TripAdvisor is out with its latest Travelers' Choice awards, this time acknowledging the world's best beaches. As with TripAdvisor's other Travelers' Choice categories, the winners are chosen based on reviews and input from TripAdvisor users.

So, without further ado, here are the highlights:...read more»

Airport - Departure screen full of canceled flights (Photo: iStockPhoto/Simon Smith)

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Despite a seemingly endless series of major winter storms, the Department of Transportation (DOT) says there were no three-hour tarmac delays in February.

There have been only 16 since May, when the DOT implemented rules penalizing airlines for tarmac delays three hours or longer, compared to 664 during the same period a year earlier....read more»

American Airlines aircraft tail (Photo: American Airlines)

The standoff is over. Today, American and Expedia announced a distribution agreement that will once again allow American fares to appear in Expedia flight search results. The move takes place immediately....read more»

Credit Card: Man Holding a Range of Cards (Photo: iStockphoto/Andresr)

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The fare yo-yo continues, as American, Continental, Delta, and United initiate an industry-wide fare increase of $10 on round-trip flights. According to the Associated Press, if this price increase sticks, it will be the seventh this year. Ouch.

The truth of the matter is that, even if this particular fare increase doesn't stick, fares are still going to be rising as we head into summer. Motivated by increased fuel costs and the irresistible allure of a busy summer travel season, airlines are unlikely to give up until passengers are paying more....read more»

(Photo: Southwest)

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Last week we asked if Southwest, once master of airline customer service, was finally losing its luster. Today many others are asking if the airline is even safe to fly.

Southwest canceled hundreds of flights this weekend after a hole appeared in one of its aircraft on Friday. The carrier elected to inspect all of its aircraft following the incident, which is not the first of its kind at Southwest.

In a release, the airline said, "Southwest Airlines Flight 812, the scheduled 3:25 pm departure from Phoenix to Sacramento, diverted to Yuma, Ariz due to loss of pressurization in the cabin. Upon safely landing in Yuma, the flight crew discovered a hole in the top of the aircraft." At least one passenger and flight attendant were treated for minor injuries, but no hospitalization was needed in either case. On Saturday, the airline canceled 300 flights in order to affect the subset of planes singled out for inspection. The incident involved a Boeing 737-300, and it's not clear if the problem is limited to Southwest 737-300s, or if similar aircraft operated by other airlines may have the same issue....read more»

Airplane landing at sunset (Photo: iStockphoto/Stephen Strathdee)

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Airlines can sell tickets no more than 330 days in advance. Most legacy lines do, in fact, sell tickets this far out, meaning customers can currently book through the holiday season and into 2012.

Low-cost carriers, however, tend to offer shorter booking windows, usually between six and eight months in advance. Southwest made news last year when it opened a 270-day booking window, by far its longest to date....read more»

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