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Photo: Emirates

Members of the American Express Membership Rewards program have a new option for redeeming their Rewards points: Transfer them 1:1 for miles in the Emirates Skywards program.

Points transfers must be made in increments of 1,000, and transfers are non-reversible.

Other airline transfer partners include Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles, British Airways, Delta, El Al, KLM/Air France, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore, Virgin America, and Virgin Atlantic....read more»

(Photo: Thinkstock/Fuse)

You may never have to hear "Please power down your electronic devices for takeoff" again. Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it is safe and acceptable for passengers to use portable electronic devices during all phases of a flight.

Transportation Administrator Michael Huerta held a press conference this morning, during which he said that passengers will soon be permitted to use smartphones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers throughout the duration of a flight. The changes affect all U.S. carriers, whether they're operating internationally or domestically....read more»

"I'm a traveler, not a tourist." This is one of those annoyingly pretentious phrases that I hear now and again from fellow passport-owning, suitcase-lugging people. That distinction might make some of us feel relevant and hip, but it's nonsense. We're all tourists.

If you travel far enough, you inevitably find yourself in a place where you look and act differently, where your clothes are not like the clothes of the locals, where you can't pronounce certain words properly. And that's OK. It's OK to look at a map in public. It's OK to visit an overseas Chipotle if you are desperate for a burrito in a sea of pickled herring. So-called immersive travel, while an admirable endeavor in theory, is somewhat of a delusion because as much as you try to blend with a local culture, you'll nonetheless retain the easily-identifiable characteristics of a person who's not from here. You'll never fully experience a destination from the perspective of a local, and you'll never truly fit in—not even with the help of a slyly obscured Rick Steeve's phrasebook and some European-looking shoes....read more»

Photo: iStockphoto

The oneworld global airline alliance has a new member: Doha-based Qatar Airways.

Other oneworld members include airberlin, American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, and S7 Airlines....read more»

Man clinging to airplane seat (Photo: Index Open)

It's the seat, stupid.

That's a travel truism for the great majority of flyers traveling in coach.

And it goes hand in hand with another truth of coach travel: It's never been more uncomfortable than it is today.

In the decades since the 17-inch width was adopted as the de facto industry standard for coach seats, the average adult's height, weight, and girth have all increased. And the airlines' average load factors have increased as well, from flying 60 percent full in the 1980s to today, when planes are routinely 80 percent full, or more....read more»

(Photo: Plane Passengers via Shutterstock)

Turns out just one tiny inch can make the difference between spending a long flight in comfortable slumber or awake and in agony. A new study from The London Sleep Centre finds that people who slept in airplane seats that were 18-inches wide had a 53 percent improvement in passenger sleep quality compared to those who slept in 17-inch seats (which is the standard coach class allowance for most airlines.)...read more»

Small Prop Plane Spinning in Cloud of Smoke (Photo: Shutterstock)

An early morning plane crash went unnoticed at Nashville International Airport for hours, reports CNN. The small plane, a single-engine Cessna apparently crashed and burst into flames sometime after 3am Tuesday, but no one raised any alarms until well after sunrise....read more»

Glo to Sleep Mask (Photo: Sound Oasis)

What Is it: Sound Oasis' Glo to Sleep Mask, an eye mask designed to help you fall asleep faster, using dimming blue lights. We tested both the basic GTS-1000 mask, which does not use batteries (the blue lights are activated by holding the mask near a light for about 30 seconds), and the deluxe version, which has a battery pack and precise, customizable brightness and dimming control.

Both masks have blue lights on the inside that you are supposed to focus on, which help you relax and fall asleep.

Price and Where to Buy: $22.78 for the basic mask on Amazon or $29.99 on Sound Oasis' website. The deluxe version is $39.95 on Amazon and $39.99 on Sound Oasis.com....read more»

Globe Passport Plane Ticket (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.

Southwest: Record Profits and Low Prices?

Can Southwest continue raising fares and maintain its corporate identity as a friendly, low-priced carrier?...read more»

Hand Signing Contract (Photo: Thinkstock/Brand X Pictures)

When you start to look at the subject of travel insurance, you find a bimodal distribution among both consumers and travel mavens: Some say it's a scam; others say it's indispensible, at least for some trips. Count me in the second group. My overall take for decades has been that trip-cancellation insurance is a valuable protection any time you face lots of cancellation penalties and that travel medical insurance is a good idea for many travelers. ...read more»

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