Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remains the world's busiest airport based on passenger traffic in 2017.

According to preliminary data released by Airports Council International (ACI) Monday, nearly 104 million passengers passed through the bustling airport last year.

Surprisingly, Atlanta, which is within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the U.S.population and a major port of entry for international travelers, held down the top spot despite seeing a 0.26 percent decrease in passenger traffic.

Trailing Atlanta are Beijing Capital International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. Delhi, India's Indira Gandhi International Airport was the biggest mover last year, rising six spots from 22nd to 16th.


​Passenger traffic at the world's 20 busiest airports grew by 5.2 percent in 2017. The nearly 1.5 billion travelers who passed through those airports alone represent 17 percent of global passenger traffic.


Overall, things are looking up for air travel. ACI reported worldwide passengers increased 6.6 percent in 2017 while international passengers rose 8.4 percent. Total cargo increased 7.9 percent year-over-year, total international freight increased 9.9 percent and total aircraft movements rose 2.4 percent.


​"The surge in cargo volumes and passenger numbers across many of the world’s airports is a testament to heightened business and consumer confidence, at least in the short term," said ACI World's Director General, Angela Gittens in a statement. "The world’s airports continue to be a vital link in the economic multiplier effect that aviation provides and the role it plays as an enabler for global commerce is growing."


​"Connecting people, business and places still remain paramount to the aviation sector despite the recent threats of a step backward in market liberalization in some major economies."

Monday's reveal comes just one month after ACI unveiled the winners of its annual Airport Service Quality Awards.

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The World’s First Luxury Space Hotel Is Now Taking Reservations

This Is the First Thing You Should Do If Your Flight Is Canceled or Diverted

This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.

Sitting all day is terrible for you. So terrible, studies have found, that regular exercise isn't enough to counteract the many harms of sedentary routine.

So what's someone with an office job to do?

A new study suggests a standing desk could help. Being on your feet all day at work, the researchers found, would burn more calories than sitting.

But if you're looking to lose weight and improve your overall health, a standing desk may not be the answer. Instead, regularly moving around — at least a couple of minutes every hour — is the better option. Only this practice, as opposed to simply standing all day, has been linked with a lower risk of premature death and a significant calorie burn. Walking around is best, but simply getting up to stretch every so often is helpful, too.


Standing all day burns fewer calories than half a slice of bread

Several studies show what many of us may have already assumed: We burn far fewer calories standing than we do walking.

The latest paper, a review of nearly 50 studies on standing desks, was published this week in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Standing for roughly six hours a day instead of sitting, the researchers found, resulted in burning about 54 extra calories — roughly the equivalent of half a piece of bread.

"When you put all the available scientific evidence together, standing accounts for more calories burned than sitting," Farzane Saeidifard, the lead author on the paper and a cardiology fellow at the Mayo Clinic, said in a press release.


​Saeidifard's paper isn't the first to calculate the total caloric burn of a day of standing. A 2016 study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh came to the same conclusion, even down to the number of calories burned each hour. Compared with sitting, standing burned roughly nine additional calories an hour, the researchers concluded, or 54 extra calories in a six-hour work day.

The new paper reinforces this finding: overall, standing desks' benefits are minimal, but they can add up over time. The calories in half a piece of toast doesn't sound like a lot, but if you use a standing desk all the time — and don't change your diet — you could end up losing 5 1/2 pounds over the course of a year.


Regular movement is the best weapon against the harms of sitting

If you're looking to make a healthy change to your daily sedentary regimen, there are a handful of studies that suggest that moving around regularly is your best bet.

Walking is ideal, but simply getting up and stretching every hour is helpful as well.

To come to this conclusion, researchers in Utah and Colorado looked at more than 3,600 adults to get a better sense of how movement affected people's risk of dying prematurely. The participants agreed to wear movement trackers all day for at least four days. Three years later, the researchers checked records to see how many of the participants had died.


The results were published in 2015 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Compared with the people who sat all day, those who moved around for two minutes — just two! — every hour had a roughly 33% lower risk of dying prematurely than the people who stayed seated the whole time.

Standing all day was not linked with these benefits.


Still, the study was observational, which means that while moving around is strongly linked with a reduced risk of dying, it can't be said for sure that movement caused that reduction.

The 2016 study mentioned earlier, in which researchers calculated the number of extra calories burned standing versus sitting, found that walking burned far more calories than either sitting or standing. Participants in that study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, burned three times as many calories walking as standing, even when they ambled around at a leisurely pace.


The overall takeaway here is that it's a good idea to move around more and break up periods of sitting with something — anything — else.

That advice is echoed by a consensus statement published in 2015 by a group of physicians and sports medicine specialists in the British Journal of Sports Medicine: Spend a total of two hours out of your seat each day, they said, and move around as much as you can.

It may be something you’ve considered while standing in the security line but never (until now) had the data to confirm: airports are busier than ever.

Across the globe, airports had 6.6 percent more passengers last year than in the previous year.

According to data released Monday by the Airports Council International (ACI), passenger traffic at the world’s 20 busiest airports grew 5.2 percent last year. Almost 1.5 billion passengers passed through the doors of these 20 airports, representing 17 percent of global passenger traffic.


​Once again, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport is the busiest in the world, having welcomed almost 104 million passengers last year. However the airport may not retain its top spot for long. Hartsfield-Jackson was the only airport in the top 20 to report a decrease in passengers from the previous year.


​The runner up was Beijing Capital International Airport, with 96 million passengers, followed by Dubai International, with 88 million.

Passenger growth at Asian airports was strong in 2017 — half of the 20 busiest airports were located in Asia and four were in China alone. Earlier this year, Routesonline predicted that China had 11 of the world’s 20 fastest growing airports.

Confirming other travel trends, travelers are increasingly likely to pick international destinations. ACI estimated that the number of international passengers increased 8.4 percent last year.

Of the top 20 busiest airports, five were located in the United States: Los Angeles, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver International all made the list.

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This New App Will Help You Identify the Plants and Animals You See in Nature

This Company Wants to Send You and a Friend on an Epic Road Trip Through the U.S. or Europe

Americans Will Not Need Visas to Travel to Europe, EU Decides

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This Airline Is About to Shrink the Size of Carry-on Bags Allowed on Board

The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health If You Have a Desk Job

5 of the 20 Busiest Airports in the World Are in the U.S.

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NCL Offers Full Refund to Disgruntled Sun Passengers

Global Air Traffic Rebounds in February

Another Pilot Suspended For Allegedly Being Drunk Before Flight

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Globally, air travel demand rose 7.6 percent year over year in February, according to the International Air Transport Association, a jump from January's 4.6 percent year-over-year growth. Load factor rose 0.9 percentage points to 80.4 percent, a record for the month of February. Capacity increased 6.3 percent. "As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February, after the temporary slowdown in January," said IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.


"This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence. However, increases in fuel prices—and labor costs in some countries—likely will temper the amount of traffic stimulation from lower airfares this year." 


International Travel

International air travel demand rose 7.2 percent year over year. Capacity climbed 5.9 percent, and load factor rose 1 percentage point to 79.3 percent. All regions experienced higher year-over-year growth. A weak dollar boosted North America demand, offsetting some of the negative impacts of declining traffic to the U.S.

Domestic Travel

Domestic demand rose 8.2 percent year over year in February, up from 4.9 percent growth in January. Capacity increased 7 percent, and load factor fell 0.2 percentage points to 79.8 percent.

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Disneyland’s latest Dole Whip donut concoction isn’t just pineapple-flavored, it’s a true Dole Whip doppelganger. This sweet new take on one of Disney parks’ most popular snacks matches the sweet-and-creamy combination of the historic frozen treat, without the worry of it melting before you finish.

Served at Disneyland’s donut cart, which is located to the left of Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Dole Whip donut comes topped with pineapple icing and piled high with fluffy meringue; inside it’s packed with fruity filling and bits of pineapple, bringing to mind the flavors of the famed Disney treat in a brand new form.


​Disney Food Blog broke the news of the latest in-demand Disney snack, which began to spread across Instagram late last week. According to the preeminent theme park food website, the selection often rotates, so hungry sweet tooths should get there early and check back often. A limited number of donuts are made each day, according to a spokesperson, and we they're sold out, they're sold out.

Disneyland’s pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve is massively popular with park guests, often causing a line of hungry hopefuls to wrap around Adventureland’s Tiki Juice Bar at all hours of the day. Early birds can now fulfill that same craving with a fruity start to their ride-filled day, but thanks to a recent development, a hankering for the sweet swirl will be easier to obtain.

With Disneyland’s new mobile ordering, guests will soon be allowed to order the parks’ most popular foods — likely including Dole Whip — directly from their phones.

Everything You Need to Know About Delta Air Lines Baggage Fees

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Norwegian Cruise Line will refund 100 percent of the cruise fare to passengers on the Norwegian Sun Panama Canal voyage that departed Miami March 16. It’s an increase in their original offer of 25 percent. And, it’s a sign that cruise lines do listen to passengers with valid complaints.

As TravelPulse reported Wednesday, Norwegian Cruise Line has been dealing with some unhappy Norwegian Sun passengers. Ongoing construction during the cruise left many complaining about disruption, noise and environmental pollution issues.


​The line responded with an offer of a 25 percent refund of the cruise fare. But, that wasn’t enough to satisfy the passengers, who had formed a Facebook group to voice their concerns.

Yesterday, the line gave this statement to TravelPulse:


​“At Norwegian Cruise Line, the travel experience, safety and satisfaction of our guests is of the utmost importance to us. Recently Norwegian Sun underwent enhancements as part of our continuous efforts to ensure that every ship across the fleet delivers a consistently high-quality passenger experience.


​While we do our utmost to minimize any impact to our guests when these enhancements are being implemented, we do recognize that during a recent sailing, we did not meet the expectations of our guests, nor our own standards, for which we truly apologize.

Norwegian Cruise Line is inviting the guests on the March 16th Norwegian Sun voyage to cruise again and fully experience all that Norwegian has to offer with a 100% future cruise credit of their fare paid, which can be applied towards another cruise of their choice from now through March 31, 2023. We realize that this gesture cannot replace their recent experience but do hope to have the opportunity to welcome them on board again soon.”

...even if the cause is bad weather.


​As the snow falls and the temperatures drop down the entire East Coast, thousands of people have found themselves stranded by their airlines. Some of those people are trapped in airports around the country, while others have found themselves diverted to out of the way airports miles from their intended destinations.


​It’s a frustrating process to say the least, but what should you really do if you find out your flight was canceled or you’re diverted to some obscure spot?

The first, and perhaps most important thing to do is be prepared even before you step foot on the airplane. This means making sure you leave enough time in your travel itinerary if you need to reach a connecting flight or be at your destination for an important event.


​Next, it’s crucial for you to understand your rights as a passenger. And this, TripSavvy pointed out, comes down to understanding your “contract of carriage.” This refers to what each carrier will or will not do if your flight is canceled, delayed, or diverted, as each and every carrier says something different.


​As an example, American Airlines states in its contract that “When your flight is canceled or a delay will cause you to miss your connection, we will rebook you on our next flight with available seats. If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control or you were diverted to another city, and we don’t board to your final destination before 11:59 p.m. local time, we'll arrange an overnight stay at your connecting airport, if available.” The contract adds, “In extreme circumstances, a flight may cancel while on the ground in the city it was diverted to. If this happens we will rebook you on our next flight with available seats, on another airline or some other alternative means of transportation. If we are unable to rebook you, we’ll arrange an overnight stay, if available.”

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A suspicious bag found on the baggage carousel shut down Brisbane International Airport in Australia on Wednesday. The black duffle bag had the words “Bomb to Brisbane” written on it, Yahoo 7 News reported.

“The Australian Federal Police responded to reports of a suspicious item of baggage at Brisbane International Airport this morning,” a police spokesperson told Yahoo 7 News. “An area near a baggage carousel was cordoned off and the item was examined in accordance with routine protocols, and was not deemed to be suspicious.”


​The bag, instead of being a nefarious threat, was actually a passenger’s simple (and careless) attempt at making sure their bag got to the right place.


​The passenger traveling from Mumbai, India, which was also written on the bag’s note, wrote “Bomb” to indicate Bombay. Mumbai’s former name was Bombay and the city’s airport is still coded as “BOM.” So, the note saying “Bomb to Brisbane,” was actually just to indicate the bag was to go from Mumbai to Australia.

It’s unclear how the bag got all the way to Australia with the note attached to it without tipping off any other security measures. “How it made it all the way is beyond me, you’ve got to be pretty thick to do that,” the owner of the bag told Yahoo 7 News.”

Even though this bag ended up being an innocuous mistake, airport security must take any suspicious bag or possible threat with utmost sincerity. Even making jokes about bomb threats can be punishable by law.

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Next time you’re on vacation, it’s important you try to remember not to overdo it on the libations. Especially if you’re trekking through the Italian Alps.

An Estonian tourist, known only as Pavel, according to Italian news source La Stampa, apparently got a little too drunk while vacationing at Cervinia, a resort in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta. Pavel reportedly thought he was headed back to his hotel, but he ended up climbing the side of a mountain instead.


​Assuming he was on the road to the hotel, Pavel took a snow-covered street that led him to a ski run. Between 2 and 3 a.m., La Stampa reported, he managed to trudge his way up the mountainside until he found a local bar called Igloo, located about 1,491 miles above sea level. 


The man broke into the bar and took shelter there, La Stampa reported. A search party had been sent out to find the missing tourist before he was discovered by the bar staff, sleeping on one of the bar’s benches the next morning.

Pavel has not commented on the incident, but he was very lucky to have found shelter. Next time he should really travel with a buddy — and perhaps take it easy après ski. 

Dr. Osvaldo A. Perez, at your service!

The World's Busiest Airports Continue to Grow

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Could Soon Make a Visit to the United States

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 Two travel companies are teaming up to find two lucky winners who will spend the summer taking an all expenses paid, adventure-packed road trip through either the U.S. or Europe with a friend. 

Student travel company STA Travel and travel insurance provider World Nomads are in search of two travelers who will embark on a month-long road trip, choosing to either hit popular cities in the U.S. or historic cities in Europe along their journey.

The companies will provide each winner and their companion with flights, travel insurance, van rentals, and up to $2,500 in travel gear.

The winners, who will each choose which continent to explore, will also get another $6,000 in spending money and up to $2,000 in tickets for music and cultural festivals that range from Spain's La Tomatina festival, the world's largest food fight, to popular music festivals like Belgium's Tomorrowland.


​How each pair spends the month will be up to them: The winners will work with the World Nomads team to create a custom itinerary of where and what they want to see during their trip.

They'll also be able to use Roadtrippers, which taps into a GPS to find eclectic detours — from famed eateries and roadside attractions to natural swimming pools — to get some inspiration. 

If you're interested in applying, you'll need to tell the company why you'd be the ideal candidate for the role by April 10, 2018. You'll also need to be at least 18 years of age. You don't need to be a student to apply. 

It's never a good idea to drink before you fly. Especially if you're the pilot.

According to Sky News, the 49-year-old pilot boarded a British Airways flight from Gatwick Airport in England to Mauritius when crew members reportedly smelled alcohol on his breath.

The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, but Sussex Police delayed the plane at the gate and boarded the flight to remove the pilot. Authorities arrested the pilot on “suspicion of performing an aviation function while his alcohol level was over the prescribed limit.”


The pilot was released early Friday morning as police continue their investigation. As a result of the incident, the flight's departure time was delayed by more than two hours.

Officials from British Airways said in a statement they are taking the incident very seriously and will be helping the police in any way they can throughout the investigation.


​“We are sorry for the delay to our customers,” a British Airways spokesperson told Sky News. “The aircraft remained at the gate until an alternative third pilot joined the crew. The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority.”

In December, a pilot was arrested in Canada for allegedly being drunk after he was found passed out in the cockpit of a Sunwing Airlines plane.

Global Air Traffic Growth Slowed Year over Year in January Owing to One-Time Factors

A hotel with an out-of-this-world view is now taking reservations — but it'll cost you.

Would-be space tourists have been waiting for years for the chance to finally take their dream vacation of orbiting around our little, blue planet. Now, that dream is close to becoming a reality. Thursday, during the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California, Orion Span introduced its space hotel, Aurora Station, and announced that it is officially open for reservations.

While it sounds spectacular-bordering-on-insane, Orion Span isn't the only company working on a space hotel. Just earlier this year, Bigelow Space Operations (of billionaire Robert Bigelow) announced plans for an inflatable space hotel to launch by 2021.

Orion Span's proposed modular space station can host six people at a time, including two crew members. While in the station, guests can enjoy the astronaut experience during a 12-day journey, soaring 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit. Guests will experience zero gravity, see Earth’s northern and southern aurora, and take part in research experiments like growing food in orbit.


​The hotel orbits Earth every 90 minutes, giving guests a view of 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours.


​Of course, a reservation for such a once-in-a-lifetime experience isn’t going to be cheap. Reservations on Aurora start at $9.5 million per person, and the company is accepting refundable deposits of $80,000 to get on the reservation waitlist.


​Once the station is closer to opening, the company will be contacting guests on the waitlist to discuss potential dates. The station is planned to launch in late 2021 and host its first guests in 2022.


​Frank Bunger, chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span, said that the price point is lower than most other people have paid to go to space. “We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space,” he said in a statement, “bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience.”


The company has apparently streamlined the process of preparing guests for space travel from a customary year-long regimen to just three months with the Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC). The first phase of the certification program is done online and the second is completed in-person at a training facility in Houston, Texas. The final certification is completed during a traveler’s stay on Aurora Station.


​Beyond being a hotel, the station will also be a site for research and future planning. “We will offer full charters to space agencies who are looking to achieve human spaceflight in orbit for a fraction of the cost – and only pay for what they use. We will support zero gravity research, as well as in space manufacturing,” said Bunger. “We will later sell dedicated modules as the world’s first condominiums in space. Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo. This is an exciting frontier and Orion Span is proud to pave the way.”

If $9.5 million is out of your price range, the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore has a slightly more affordable option: a space-themed suite starting at $488 a night. And if you really must go to a galaxy far, far away, there's always the upcoming Star Wars Hotel, opening at Disney World in 2019.

Purchasing flights can be stressful. Unless you’re confident you’ve found an unbeatable fare deal (or you’re traveling on a corporate card at your employer’s expense), making the decision to click “buy” can be one wrought with doubt and insecurity.

Unless, of course, you knew you could cancel your tickets for free.


​Too many travelers may not realize that almost all flights are protected by strict cancellation policies, one of which was put in place by the Department of Transportation.

“The [DOT] requires U.S. and foreign airlines offering flights to or from the United States to allow reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or canceled without penalty, for at least 24 hours after the reservation is made,” a DOT spokesperson told U.S. Travel Magazine.


​While this policy is restricted to bookings made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure, this catchall policy covers a majority of Americans’ travel plans.

It’s also important to note your specific carrier’s rules before authorizing payment, however. In certain markets, American Airlines offers travelers the option to hold a fare — and that’s the option you have to select if you think you might want to cancel your booking. If you select purchase, and not hold, you will not have a 24-hour cancellation policy in the event of last-minute buyer’s remorse.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t even married yet, but that isn’t stopping Kensington Palace from planning out their every move post-wedding.

Kensington Palace announced on Thursday that Prince Harry would become the patron of “Walk Of America,” the latest expedition from the armed forces charity Support The Walk. As part of his duties, Harry will launch the expedition at an event in London on Wednesday, April 11.


​The palace further explained that this summer a team of six veterans from the United States and the U.K. will walk 1,000 miles from the West to the East Coast of the U.S. in 14 weeks. During that time, the expedition will also raise vital funds for veterans both sides of the Atlantic.


​According to Vanity Fair, the walk will start in Meghan’s hometown of Los Angeles. And though the palace didn’t announce if Harry or Meghan will be on hand, sources did confirm to Vanity Fair that the couple and their staff are already hard at work planning their first overseas trip, which may include a stop in to check on the walking troops.


​But first, sources said, the newlyweds will pay a visit to Canada after saying their vows, just as William and Kate did following their 2011 wedding. And, at the time William and Kate also tacked on a quick trip to California, meaning it’s very likely Harry and Meghan will do the same.

“Canada is on the cards. There’s a lot of talk at a high-up level and among the powers that be that it will be the first country the couple visit,” a source told Vanity Fair. Another added that Meghan is keen to “take Harry home once they are married on a formal tour. It’s her home and she would love to go there with Harry after the wedding.”


In a few months, Alaska Airlines passengers may have to downsize. The airline is decreasing the maximum dimensions allowed for carry-on baggage.

Beginning June 4, passengers’ carry-on items must measure 22 x 14 x 9 inches (including wheels and handles). The change is a significant decrease from current measurements of 24 x 17 x 10 inches.

Alaska explained that its current size allotment is “larger than most other international and domestic airlines allow” and that the change was made to “make sure that your carry-on bag will be accepted aboard all the flights within your itinerary.”


​The airline’s reasoning is logical. Over the past few years, several other airlines have shrunk the maximum size of carry-ons allowed in the overhead compartment. In 2015, the International Air Transport Association issued guidelines that set the ideal carry-on size at 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches. Most major U.S. airlines followed these guidelines. Onboard American, Delta, JetBlue, and United, the maximum size for a carry-on is now 22 x 14 x 9 inches.


​Southwest is the only airline that allows its passengers a slightly larger carry-on: 24 x 16 x 10 inches.

In its explainer, Alaska also notes that stricter carry-on dimensions will allow more passengers to store their luggage in the overhead compartments (as opposed to a gate-side check). Overhead space is an industry-wide concern.

The other method for dealing with limited overhead compartment space — implemented by American and United — is basic economy, which charges passengers for use of the overhead compartment.

Drunk Tourist Accidentally Climbs Mountain Instead of Going Back to Hotel

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Here's what you can gift the happy couple.


​Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may already have everything, but they still have one request for their royal wedding.

OK, so they aren’t asking for the typical wedding registry items like a blender, some cutlery, or even a stand mixer. Instead, they are asking people the world over to forgo sending them any physical items and to give to charity instead.

“Prince Harry & Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill they have received since their engagement, & have asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion of their wedding considers giving to charity, instead of sending a gift,” a tweet from Kensington Palace read.


​It added that the couple has personally chosen seven different charities for people to give to in their honor. The charities represent “a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women's empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV, and the Armed Forces,” according to Kensington Palace.

Don't Forget About the 24-Hour Rule That Lets You Cancel a Flight for Free

The visa waiver issue has been resolved, but the European Commission still expects the U.S. to reciprocate.


​The European Commission has decided not to reinstate visa requirements for Americans traveling to Europe, NPR reported.

The issue was first raised last month after the European Parliament voted to end the visa waiver program with the U.S., citing America’s lack of reciprocity, and urged the European Commission to begin requiring Americans to pay for visas when visiting Europe. Currently, citizens of E.U. member states Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania must obtain visas to travel to the United States.

Since 1986, visitors from other European states have been able travel to the U.S. without a visa for short stays of less than 90 days, but must be approved by the U.S.’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization, a database run by the Department of Homeland Security that determines entry eligibility.


​After the vote, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the E.U.’s commissioner for migration, home affairs, and citizenship, tweeted: “EU will always choose engagement, commitment and patient diplomacy over unilateral retaliation #visareciprocity.”


​The European Commission said in a statement, “the temporary suspension of visa waivers for nationals of Canada and the United States would be counterproductive at this moment and would not serve the objective of achieving visa-free travel for all EU citizens.” Canada has agreed to full visa reciprocity by Dec. 1, 2017.

Reinstating visa requirements for Americans traveling to Europe would have been a costly gamble, as the European Union grapples with the impending Brexit, a weakening Euro, and increased terrorist attacks that have caused many Americans to re-think travel plans. Research recently conducted by American Express Global Business Travel found that 54 percent of travelers are concerned with international travel, and 56 percent cite personal safety as their main concern.


​The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert this week for all of Europe, citing potential risk of terrorist attacks. The warning is set to expire on September 1, 2017.

Last month, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Director John Kelly said that the U.S. needs to reexamine the visa waiver agreement, citing potential terrorist risks.

In a statement, the European Commission said, “During the last months, contacts with U.S. interlocutors at the political and technical level were intensified, leading to the launch of a result-oriented process to bring the five E.U. member states into the visa waiver program.”

U.S. officials have said that they will consider changing the policy for the five European nations once they meet certain requirements. The issue is on the agenda for the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting scheduled for June 15 and 16 in Valletta, Malta.

Disneyland Now Has Dole Whip Donuts and We Know What We Want for Breakfast

Globally, air travel demand rose 4.6 percent year over year in January, the slowest monthly year-over-year increase in nearly four years, according to the International Air Transport Association. IATA attributed the slow growth to temporary factors like an unfavorable comparison with early 2017's strong demand and the later timing of the Lunar New Year in 2018. IATA attributed two-fifths of the slowdown to the Lunar New Year shift.

Global capacity rose 5.3 percent year-over-year in January, and global load factor fell a percentage point to 79.6 percent.


International Travel

Globally, international air travel demand grew 4.4 percent year over year in January—slower than January 2017's 7.9 percent year-over-year demand growth—while capacity rose 5.3 percent and load factor dipped half a percentage point to 79.6 percent. Latin America and Europe demand grew the fastest. Healthy economic growth boosted North America demand while declining traffic into the U.S. brought it back down.

Year-over-year growth in Asia/Pacific hit a 46-month low, and a decrease in traffic between North America and the Middle East continues to hit Middle East demand.

Domestic Travel

Globally, domestic demand climbed 5.1 percent year over year in January, down from 7 percent in December. IATA attributed the slower growth entirely to the later Lunar New Year. Domestic capacity increased 5.3 percent and load factor slid 0.2 percentage points to 79.8.

"Despite the slower start, economic momentum is supporting rising passenger demand in 2018," said IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. "That said, concerns over a possible trade war involving the U.S. could have a serious dampening effect on global market confidence, spilling over into demand for air travel."

Passenger Writes ‘Bomb’ on Bag, Prompting False Alarm at Airport

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As a major legacy carrier, with destinations literally all over the planet, Delta Air Lines keeps things pretty straightforward. On all flights, passengers are entitled to one free carry-on and a personal item (such as a briefcase, purse, or diaper bag). There’s no specific weight limit for carry-ons and personal items — which is definitely good news — though you’ll need to make sure your carry-on fits within the airline’s size limit.

But to avoid the airline’s last-minute checked bag fees and hefty overweight penalties, travelers need to be prepared. Here’s how to avoid the crunch on your next Delta flight.


​Baggage Fees for Domestic Flights

If you’re traveling domestically (specifically, anywhere within the 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Delta charges $25 for the first checked bag, and $35 for the second, with a per-bag weight limit of 50 pounds.


​International Flights

That’s a different story when you’re taking longer international routes, though. For passengers flying from the United States or Canada to anywhere in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, or Southeast Asia, Delta generally provides a complimentary first (and in some cases, second) checked bag.

Say you’re jetting from New York City to Tokyo, for example. Those first two checked bags are free of charge. Of course, these rules vary slightly from route to route, so it’s always best to check the airline’s full list of checked bag allowances.

It’s also worth noting these fees apply only to Basic Economy, Main Cabin, and Delta Comfort+ customers. If you’re traveling First Class, Delta Premium Select, or Delta One, you automatically get two free checked bags (and they’ll even bump up the weight limit from 50 pounds to 70 pounds).


​Skymiles Medallion members, too, are always eligible for exemptions.

Excess Baggage and Overweight Fees

While Delta’s free international checked bags and domestic baggage fees are quite reasonable, things start to go south the minute you add additional luggage. A third checked bag is considered “excess baggage,” and will incur a fee of $150.

Slightly overweight checked bags (51 to 70 pounds) will cost you an extra $100, while really heavy loads (71 to 100 pounds) will do serious damage, at $200 each.

Delta also has a nasty habit of charging separate fees for each offense. So, if you need to haul a third bag (strike one) that happens to be overweight (strike two) and it’s oversize (strike three),  that combined fee could cost you up to $450.

The good news? Delta is committed to keeping track of all of those checked bags. Last year, the carrier implemented RFID-embedded paper bag tags, letting travelers track their bags on the free Delta app.

Learn the difference between a poppy and a windflower. 


​New app Seek is giving curious outdoorsy types an easy way to identify the plants and animals they encounter, whether they're in the park, on a hike, or in their own neighborhood.

All users have to do is upload a photo of an insect, bird, plant, reptile, amphibian, or mammal to the app, and Seek will use image recognition to try to match it to one of 30,000 species in its database. If there’s a match, Seek will add the photo to your collection. As your collection grows, you will earn badges and work your way up from beginner “Tadpole” to expert “Explorer.”


​iNaturalist, a website where nature lovers can share and discuss their ecological findings with each other, created the image recognition app as part of an initiative to get amateur naturalists involved in “citizen science projects,” according to My Modern Met. To that end, if Seek matches your photo with a particular species, you can learn more about the wildlife through a Wikipedia-provided summary.


​Seek will also tell you which species you are most likely to see in your area, based on wildlife observations recorded and uploaded to iNaturalist. You will be given maps and charts to help you track down nearby flora and fauna — but if you prefer to explore on your own, Seek is happy to tell you about any random plant or insect that catches your eye.

iNaturalist encourages all users to take photos of everything they see – even if it’s not on the list – to develop the AI's ability to recognize wildlife. As co-founder Scott Loarie told My Modern Met, “The only way we can improve our modeling of species is to get more data, and to do that we need more people outside taking pictures.”

Seek is currently available on the App Store and is in beta testing for Android.