Delta aircraft tail (Photo: Delta)

You shouldn't worry about future travel arrangements through Cincinnati on Delta, says the airline. It's shutting down regional subsidiary Comair after September 29 but says that the move will "not result in any significant changes to Delta's network, which has enough flexibility to accommodate these changes … There will be no disruption to customers and no significant adjustments to Delta's flight schedule or locations served."...read more»

Photo: Megabus

Riding the bus is no longer the last travel resort for students and budget travelers. Several big bus operators are competing for a share of the mainstream travel market with improved buses and faster schedules.

The bus "renaissance" in the United States was kicked off in 2006 by Megabus, a unit of Coach USA and a subsidiary of the Stagecoach Group, a big British rail-and-bus operator. It follows principles evolved in the United Kingdom since 1980:

  • Buses are modern (many are double-deckers) with onboard restrooms, Wi-Fi, and power outlets.
  • Typical route patterns radiate from a major city to cities within a radius of approximately 400 miles or less. Longer routes generally operate at least twice daily (one daytime, one overnight) with higher frequencies on busy routes.
  • Stops are limited; trips typically stop at no more than three intermediate cities between terminals.
  • Schedules are fast: Megabus competes head-to-head with Amtrak on many of its routes, and it usually either meets or beats the rail schedule.
  • Fares are capacity controlled, generally starting out with at least one seat for $1, with the price for the remaining seats increasing as more and more seats are sold....read more»
Kyrgyzstan: Ice-Capped Mountains, Green Lake (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Lydia Berg spends a lot of her time exploring new places and sharing her discoveries on the New York Big Apple Travel blog.

Tired of the same old vacation spots? Get out of your comfort zone with a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is a country stuck in the corner created by the western border of China and the southern border of Kazakhstan and comprised mostly of an enormous mountain range. Read on for more details on how to visit!

Arrival in Bishkek

For all intents and purposes, Bishkek is the only actual city in Kyrgyzstan. Flying into it, you can tell that it's a former Soviet territory. You do not need to apply for a visa before traveling, however you do have to get one upon arrival. Something to note is that English isn't very useful there. The national language is Kyrgyz, but lingua-franca is Russian, and a lot of business is also conducted in German, which was popularized by German refugees from the two world wars. While quite a few people can communicate a little bit in English, it's not a go-to international language the way that it is in Europe. A large part of the population is still nomadic or dispersed into rural areas....read more»

Travel brochures (Photo: IndexOpen)

If it's a good deal (or a notably bad one) from an airline, hotel, or car-rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly....read more»

Book: Bible (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

This week: A hotel ditched the Bible for a dirty book, a boy got a free flight to Rome, and some American airports will be hot zones in a virus outbreak. Must be time for the Weekly Weird!

If you're looking for a bit of wholesome bedtime reading, you'll be shocked when you reach in the nightstands at the Damson Dene hotel. This British hotel has replaced the Bible with the popular Fifty Shades of Grey novel, according to the Westmoreland Gazette. The Bible, however, will still be available on request from the reception desk. (For the record, yes, Fifty Shades did make our Summer Beach Reads list.)

An 11-year old boy got a free ride on a Jet2.com flight this week. The BBC reports that the child went through security screening, but did not have a ticket. He managed to sneak on board a flight from Manchester Airport to Rome, and was only discovered after the flight had taken off. Sadly for the boy, he was sent directly home and didn't get to enjoy Rome!...read more»

Hands Filled With Coins (Photo: iStockphoto/gwmullis)

How much are your frequent flyer miles worth? It depends, mostly, on the price of a comparable paid ticket. And the average paid ticket cost $373....read more»

Artist's rendering of Spirit airplane (Credit: Spirit Airlines)

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against an airline suit challenging recent Department of Transportation (DOT) rules requiring all-up airfare displays that include both fees and taxes.



Southwest and Spirit specifically challenged the part of the rule that requires airlines to include taxes in the featured fares, but the court ruled against them. The other main points of the rule: When you buy a ticket more than a week before departure, you can cancel it within 24 hours without penalty, and once you've bought a ticket, an airline can't increase either the fare or any applicable baggage fees you've paid. Those also remain in effect. Unless the airlines decide to press further appeals, this is now the law—and one that helps protect you against deception and abuses....read more»

<strong>Money</strong>

Imagine you innocently go to reach for the <em>Sky Mall Magazine</em>, but instead are rewarded with a wad of cash or a $500 check, as one reader discovered. Finding money can be about as exciting as hitting the jackpot in Vegas, especially when it's in an unexpected place like an airplane, and many of our readers are big winners. Not to mention, you can now afford to buy something from the in-flight magazine, like that <a href="http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=102517807" target="_blank">Big Foot Garden Yeti Sculpture</a> you've been eyeing.

<strong>What about you?</strong>

What other weird, gross, or just plain crazy items have you found in a seatback pocket while flying? Leave a comment below, or to submit your photos, <a href="mailto:kate.hamman@smartertravelmedia.com?subject=Photo submission for SmarterTravel">send us an email</a> with no more than three images attached. 
<h2>All photos must be:</h2>

<ul><li>In .gif or .jpg format</li>
<li> No larger than 2MB</li>
<li> Family friendly</li>
<li> Original, non-copyrighted images</li>
<li> Virus-free</li></ul>

See our <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/us/terms.html">Terms and Conditions</a> for complete details on our submission criteria.

Ancillary airline fees amount to really big bucks. That's the gist of a new report from Ideaworks, whose findings shouldn't come as a big surprise to anybody. The data, compiled by Ideaworks and sponsored by Amadeus, shows that 50 large airlines collected $22.6 billion in ancillary revenues during their most recent 12-month financial reporting periods.

But contrary to some current headlines, "ancillary revenue" doesn't mean just those annoying fees; airlines get a lot of revenue from other not-so-obvious sources....read more»

Man: Clenched Fists at Laptop (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

You'd think that American—mired in bankruptcy and fending off an unwanted acquisition push by US Airways—would be doing everything in its power to retain the loyalty and goodwill of its customers. After all, the airline's exit from Chapter 11 and its future independence both depend on its financial well being. Which in turn depends largely on its ticket revenues. Which depend on travelers' willingness to book American. Which depends on loyalty and goodwill.

A newly announced policy change would suggest that such common sense business logic is beyond the ken of American's brain trust. Yes, that would be the same brain trust that managed the company into bankruptcy....read more»

Sports: Olympic Athletes (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphotos)

Shin kicking, gravy wrestling, stinging nettle eating, and more. We're not making these up!...read more»

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