Passenger Waiting to Check In (Photo: iStockphoto/Naphtalina)

For travelers spending the big bucks to fly in business or first class, these are happy days.

Bigger seats. Three-star meals. Chauffeur-driven Porsche rides.

For the other 99 percent—those relegated to the coach cabin—not so much.

If anything, the overall trend for coach passengers is a negative one. In particular, in their zeal to maximize revenues, the airlines have packed coach seats ever more densely. Over the past two decades, average coach legroom has decreased by around 10 percent. That, combined with load factors that routinely exceed 80 percent, has made for a coach-class experience that can border on the unbearable. ... read more»

Man clinging to airplane seat (Photo: Index Open)

In case you didn't know (and I didn't), Stavanger is a town in southwest Norway, known locally as the Oil Capital because of its close proximity to that country's booming offshore oil industry.

On August 20, SAS will launch flights between Stavanger and another oil-industry hub, Houston, Texas. ... read more»

Bags lined up for departure (Photo: iStockphoto/Vera Bogaerts)

Strictly enforced carry-on restrictions remain a divisive issue. Which side are you on? ... read more»

British Airways aircraft front view (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

British Airways launched a new addition to its inflight entertainment line-up: an HBO channel, available to passengers on long-haul flights "from the moment they board, to the minute they land."

So, in addition to current movies and other content, British Airways flyers can now binge on episodes of such HBO fare as "Game of Thrones," "Boardwalk Empire," "True Blood," "Girls," "True Detective," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." ... read more»

Tabacon, Costa Rica (Photo: Tabacon)

The lush jungles, wild beaches, and thrilling volcanoes of Costa Rica are a large part of what draws visitors to this eco-paradise. While protecting these landscapes is of prime importance, most travelers who visit Costa Rica are looking for comfortable hotels or resorts, whether to hole up for romantic honeymoons or simply to relax after exhausting days of adventure.

How does Costa Rica balance this need for luxurious, full-service resorts without totally isolating guests from the nature that drew them to Costa Rica in the first place? Here are five hotels throughout the country that have managed to marry eco-consciousness with comfort, maintaining five-star service without becoming sterile mega-resorts.

... read more»
Uber Driver and Passenger (Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images)

You need a ride. Some random individual has a car and some free time. The solution: Ridesharing apps like Uber, which let you link up and grab a lift.

Ridesharing is a peer-to-peer movement that is disrupting the transportation space. And Uber is its king. An app that matches drivers with riders and uses a seamless, tip-free, and cash-free payment system, Uber is available in 35 countries and growing. Using the Uber app and a credit card, you can e-hail a car, see an estimated wait time displayed on your phone, and get to your destination quickly. No need to stand on the street waiving your arm in desperation or search the city for an ATM.

Alas, it's not exactly so simple. There a few things you should know before you take an Uber ride. 

You Have Options

Although Uber is by and large the biggest provider in the rideshare space, there are other options, depending on where you're riding. Lyft, a company that is reportedly growing faster than Uber, uses furry pink moustaches to mark its vehicles, relies on Facebook verification for both passengers and drivers, and encourages fistbumping between users. SideCar matches private drivers with people in need of rides, and features a 10-point safety verification system that includes background checks and rating systems. Both SideCar and Lyft rely primarily on private vehicle owners—mostly people who want to earn some extra money in their spare time. ... read more»

The Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court today ruled on Northwest, Inc. v. Ginsberg, No. 12-462, denying a frequent flyer's right to sue Delta for unfairly expelling him from the loyalty program of Northwest Airlines, which later merged with Delta.

The suit was brought by Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg, who qualified for top-tier elite status in Northwest's WorldPerks program in 2005. But in 2008, Northwest cancelled his WorldPerks membership and withdrew the miles in his account. As justification for the action, Northwest claimed that Ginsberg had abused the airline's compensation system, logging 24 complaints regarding late baggage arrivals and the like in just eight months. ... read more»

Italy: Venice, Canal and Gondola (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

If you're headed for Europe this summer, CheapAir.com says, "Buy as soon as you can." That's based on actual ticket prices in CheapAir's database for this year and last, and it contradicts some earlier findings about buying long-haul international trips around three months in advance. Although CheapAir's posted report doesn't say so, would-be visitors to Europe may well face sticker shock at the peak-season prices. ... read more»

Photo: PhotoDisc

Let's say you arrive at a hotel, late at night after an exhausting flight, only to be told that your supposedly "confirmed" reservation has disappeared. The hotel has already rented out "your" room to someone else and has no more vacancies. Obviously, the night reception-desk agent can't quickly build you a new room, so what can he or she do? If you're lucky, the agent will arrange to "walk" you: Find a room in a nearby hotel that is at least as good, pay for your first night there, and pay for your taxi fare to get there (if it's not right around the corner or across the street). It's happened to me more than once, and I suspect also to most other frequent travelers. Overbooking isn't the only reason hotels may not be able to honor a reservation: Earlier guests may stay longer than planned, and some local regulations may actually prevent hotels from evicting them. ... read more»

Glasgow, Scotland (Photo: Rick Steves)

Lately, I've really been enjoying what I consider to be the "second cities" of Europe, such as Naples in Italy, Marseille in France, and Hamburg in Germany. These places often have a rough, Industrial Age heritage and a rust-belt vibe that keeps them honest, unvarnished, and nonconformist. Even though Glasgow is Scotland's largest and most populated city, I consider it to be that country's second city behind Edinburgh, which wins first place for its capital status and tourism appeal. ... read more»

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