Enter the Twinings Tea "Cruise" sweepstakes by September 15, 2015, for a chance to win the grand prize: a four-night cruise to the Bahamas for four persons aboard the Disney Dream ship, departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, including air, ground transfers, most onboard meals, pre-paid gratuities, and a $200 onboard credit. Twelve runner-up winners will each receive a year's supply of Twinings tea.
To enter, provide the requested contact information (name, email, etc.) on the sweepstakes landing page and press "Submit." Done! Time required to participate: less than 30 seconds.
The Fine Print
- Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia, who are at least 18 years old at the time of entry.
- Limit: one entry per person.
- Approximate Retail Value ("ARV") of the grand prize: $7,795.
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When coach-class airline service kept getting worse and business-class kept getting more opulent—not to mention expensive—a new in-between class became almost inevitable. That's premium economy, and it comes in two basic flavors: real and semi.
Real premium economy provides a distinct, separate cabin, with seats that provide six or more inches of extra front-to-rear space and two or more inches of width than most economy cabins. Premium economy typically adds some combination of upgraded cabin service and inflight entertainment, WiFi, priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, and power ports. Some also include dedicated airport check-in lanes.
Real premium economy is available mostly in twin-aisle jumbo jets: 767s, A330/340s, A380s, 747s, 767s, 777s, and 787s. On some airlines, the premium economy product varies from plane to plane, with newer planes generally providing a superior product. These variations will ultimately disappear as airlines add new planes and reconfigure old ones, but that process will take several years. Many big European, Asian, and Pacific airlines offer real premium economy, but the only North American airline with real premium economy is Air Canada. ... read more»
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.
What's next in the airlines' relentless search for yet more sources of fee revenue? FlightView's just-released survey of more than 2,300 travelers may provide some clues.
Could it be that uncomfortable seats are a clever marketing strategy to encourage upgrades and boost profits? Hmmmm...
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Betting that the future lies in mobile booking, the travel industry is investing untold millions in developing and refining mobile apps. So far, the results are decidedly mixed, with some apps overdelivering on the promise of usability and elegance, while others fall short.
So, which are the stars, and which are the also-rans?
Applause Analytics rated the apps available from the 40 most popular travel brands on the basis of almost 400,000 user reviews. The best apps, beginning with the highest rated, are:
- Alaska Airlines
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I use Amazon a lot. I end up there a few times a week in search of reviews, price comparisons, or products. But its de facto role as my one-stop shop for product information hasn't been quite as seamless since I discovered something a few months ago while researching a story.
It started with an obsession with extremely lightweight luggage. I was researching carry-on bags for the story that would eventually become Really (Truly) Light: Carry-Ons Under 5 Pounds. To lay the foundation, I bounced around the Internet, checking luggage companies' websites, third-party luggage sellers, and, of course, Amazon.
But something kept coming up. Since the whole story hinged on the weight of the bags, I wanted to make sure I was accurate down to the ounce. And as I compared weight listings across sites, I began to notice that Amazon sometimes had it wrong. Not all the time, but enough that I began to wonder what was going on. ... read more»
Whether you avoid gluten, abide by vegan guidelines—you name it—these are the seven best cities in the world to visit! ... read more»
Does it sometimes seem like the airlines not only make travel an unpleasant experience but that they positively revel in travelers' pain? Turns out you were right.
Speaking on behalf of all airlines, Jeff Smisek, United's CEO, admitted the ugly truth in announcing that his airline will be installing new seats designed to make flying even more uncomfortable. "Over the next four to six months, across our entire fleet, we'll be rolling out seats with an irritating array of lumps and ridges to painfully jab our customers in the back, and we couldn't be more delighted about it."
Lest there be any doubt as to Smisek's sadistic impulses, he adds the following:
Let me make clear that these seats will be incredibly uncomfortable, and there is nothing more gratifying than making the experience of simply sitting during one's flight an excruciating ordeal.
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Summer means vacation time for many travelers, which means jackpot time for the travel industry; prices on everything from airfare to hotel stays soar. And once you reach your destination, it may not be the picture-perfect setting you imagined: Paris is a massive throng of tourists, for example, while the sweltering temperatures in New York don't seem to have any slowing effect on the stream of visitors pouring into the city. Fortunately, though, there are a few places where summer is actually low season; if you can handle the accompanying heat and humidity this often entails, the tradeoff for cooler prices is usually worth it. ... read more»
After spending the springs and summers of the last several decades in Europe, it seems to me that, more and more, the culture is celebrated outdoors. Cities and towns everywhere are competing to attract tourists; there is more than enough music, drink, theater, and fun to keep these concerts and festivals going and growing. Make a point in your travels to enjoy the scene outdoors—by day and by night. Here are a few random examples of how to put this cultural sparkle into your next trip.
I don't build my travel itineraries around festivals, but I'm constantly happening upon fun events. When I check into a hotel, I always ask, "What's happening tonight?" This spring I was in Florence the night before May Day during a huge blowout called "Notte Bianca" (White Night). All the museums had free admission and were open late, restaurants were hopping, music and dancing filled the streets, and everyone was outside. Over the years I've learned that when you hit an unexpected festival, rather than stay in your hotel room and complain about the noise, the best response is to get out in the streets and make them even noisier.
It's easy to join in the hubbub in Barcelona, where neighborhood festivals jam the calendar. People congregate on the central "Times Square" of the city, Plaça de Catalunya, to watch soccer matches on the big screen, to demonstrate, to celebrate, and to enjoy outdoor concerts and festivals. When you visit, make it a point to watch or participate in the patriotic sardana dance, held in front of the cathedral on Sundays at noon (except in August). Gathering in circles and holding hands, dancers raise their arms—slow-motion, "Zorba the Greek"-style—as they hop and sway gracefully to the music. The band consists of a long flute, tenor and soprano oboes, strange-looking brass instruments, and a tiny bongo-like drum called a tambori. For some, the sardana is a highly symbolic, politically charged action representing Catalan unity—but for most it's just a fun chance to kick up their heels.... read more»
Working on my TV shows and guidebooks in Europe, I try to get the straight story on history, but it can be tricky. I keep remembering Napoleon's quote: "What is history but a myth agreed upon?" The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo prompted me to ponder the opportunities Paris offers to anyone who'd like to brush up on their Napoleonic facts.
Napoleon's life is as fascinating as his place in history. Just a humble kid from Corsica, he went to military school in Paris. He rose quickly through the ranks during the tumultuous years of the French Revolution. By 1799 he was the ruler of France. After that, within five years, France had conquered most of Europe, and Napoleon declared himself emperor of it all.
As the head of France's grand million-man army, he blitzed Europe. His personal charisma on the battlefield was said to be worth 10,000 additional men. But it all came to an end on farmland 15 miles south of Brussels. Two centuries later, the Belgians spiffed up the Waterloo battlefield for the bicentennial, but to get a better feel for Napoleon, head to Paris.
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