Ever Noticed Those Little Triangles Above Airplane Windows? Here's What They're For

How to beat the post-vacation blues

New opening: A rat cafe where you pay to eat with rodents – No joke!

What Would Happen If You Tried to Open the Emergency Exit Door on a Plane

This story originally appeared on People.com.

While visiting Paris for Bastille Day, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dined with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macronin one of the most high-end venues the city has to offer — Le Jules Verne.

The Michelin-starred restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower is known offering two prix-fixe tasting menus — five courses for $216 a person and six courses for $262 a person — and treated the foursome to a special six-course meal, according to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.


While President Trump’s palate has been questioned in the past — he was once seen eating a bucket of KFC aboard his private jet and has a known affinity for well-done steak with ketchup — as POTUS, duty calls, and the finest in French cuisine follows.

The restaurant prepared special menus for their guests, which featured the Eiffel Tower on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other, while the table was adorned with a stunning floral arrangement that ran across the length of it.


​The night’s meal, which was prepared by legendary chef Alain Ducasse (seen in the photo below), featured a selection of pate; tomato, eggplant, and zucchini; Dover sole, spinach and Hollandaise; filet of beef, brioche with foie, souffle potato with truffle sauce; warm strawberry with yogurt sorbet; and hot chocolate souffle with chocolate ice cream.





UK Sees Record Visitation from US and China

Dean had some context clues that staff was privy to the joke the moment he saw the can in Perth: “But when it did it was sent out well in front of all the other luggage, so the baggage handlers obviously appreciated it.”

The Daily Mail spoke with FlightMood’s Peter Ellis who states this isn’t the first for this particular lager: “Export being checked in as baggage is not an uncommon site so I wasn't even surprised. I've seen Export being flown as far as Greece—now that's dedication!”
​​

Emirates sends ‘WTF’ email to passenger asking compensation​​

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United Allegedly Destroys $40K Custom Wheelchair

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​No, this is not a comedy sketch, Emirates customer services really did send a message to Claire Finch with the subject line “WTF”….

Ms Finch, who lives in Congleton, Cheshire, had successfully sought €600 in compensation after her Manchester-Dubai flight was delayed, but was surprised to receive a second email with the offensive subject line.

The email continued: “… is she on about?!? If you’ve put it in the letter, what the fuk [sic] does she need to do!!!” Ooops!

It wasn’t long before a third email arrived saying the sender “would like to recall the message, ‘WTF…'”.

Ms Finch complained to Emirates who failed to respond. So she contacted the Independent after 4 weeks who intervened and finally the apology arrived from an Emirates executive:

Naturally, I was most concerned to discover that you had inadvertently been copied on an inappropriate internal communication, which was unrelated to yourself or any other passenger.

Please be assured that we do not condone such actions and this is not indicative of our high standards and the image which Emirates wishes to portray. I can confirm that this matter has already been dealt with internally with the employee concerned.


You have to laugh, don't you?

You're Darn Right This Man Checked a Beer onto His Flight

It seems that the more time you spend in airplanes, the more mysteries they reveal. We've already unraveled such curiosities as those odd dinging sounds you hear while flying, as well as the secret button that makes your seat appear bigger. And now, thanks to the aviation geeks on Quora, we here with a new revelation.

Perhaps only the most astute of airline passengers will ever notice this, but there are small triangles, each looking like an arrow pointing upward, on the walls of plane cabins. Naturally, a Quora user noticed this and sought the expertise of their fellow users to figure out what they mean.

Some discussion ensued, with one user claiming it indicates the best position "from which you can get the best visual check for ice or other problems."

A more accurate explanation, however, is that one arrow indicates the aircraft wing's "leading edge," while another, a few rows behind, indicates the wing's "trailing edge."

What good is this? Well, if there is a problem with the plane's slats or flaps, the triangles guide the pilot to the best vantage point from which to view and assess the problem.


​The ever-helpful Captain Joe has offered additional explanation on YouTube, saying that the triangles can also guide attendants to where passengers should sit on a nearly empty flight. "Because," he says, "the center of gravity on most planes is on top of the wings. Letting the passengers sit over the wings would cause a better balance of the plane and reduce fuel consumption."

Perhaps the most entertaining part of this revelation, however, is the name sometimes given to the seats below the triangles. According to a Quora user, and backed up by an Airline Ticket Centre blogpost from a few years ago, such a seat is named "William Shatner's seat," in honor of a particularly memorable episode of the Twilight Zone in which he saw a creepy figure on the wing out of the his airplane's window.


Yikes. We'd rather have this William Shatner travel experience, thanks.​​

Dr. Osvaldo A. Perez, at your service!

How to Actually Get Restful Sleep on a Plane

ustravelonline.net

Tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the U.K. economy according to VisitBritain. It creates jobs and boosts the economic growth across nations and regions.

Therefore, news of record-setting visitation numbers during the first quarter of this year is undoubtedly welcome. 

Figures show that inbound visits were up 10 percent in January, February and March while spending rose 16 percent. There was a record number of visitors from China as well, rising 27 percent from the previous year. Chinese spending was also up 27 percent.


​U.S. visitors and spending respectively rose 16 percent and 29 percent more than in previous years. Visitation from France and Australia were also up over 2016—9 and 10 percent, respectively.

The numbers are encouraging and it’s a trend that VisitBritain would like to see continue.


“With forward bookings for international arrivals tracking ahead for the coming months, we are anticipating a strong summer holiday season as we promote the message of value and welcome globally, showing people why they should book a holiday to Britain right now,” said VisitBritain director Patricia Yates.

ForwardKeys’ data shows that this trend is likely to continue. 

Bookings from China to the U.K. are tracking 35 percent ahead of last year for July to September and 21 percent ahead from the U.S. to the U.K. Factors that are likely drawing visitors from both countries include an increased desire for experiential travel as well as a favorable exchange rate.


More and more Chinese tourists are looking to experience new cultures and attractions rather than simply shopping. According to a new report from Oliver Wyman, shopping has lost its lusterwith Chinese travelers dropping from the second-biggest motivation for travel to third.

Spending is shifting from product purchasing to fine dining, cultural journeys and adventure sports, says the study.

"Businesses globally have to adjust their strategy to think about how to capture the new Chinese tourist dollar," said Hunter Williams, Oliver Wyman's Shanghai-based partner. Told Warc.com. “It's less about the outlet mall now and more about the national park."

U.S. travelers, driven by a favorable exchange rate, have been heading to the U.K. in increasing numbers for a while now. VisitBritain reported some of the highest numbers of U.S. travelers headed to the country during 2016.

“These strong numbers show how much Americans enjoy exploring the culture, heritage, cities and countryside of Britain,” VisitBritain interim executive vice president Paul Gauger said in a statement earlier this year. 

“And with the current exchange rate, Americans see value for money. It’s a great time to visit the UK, and enjoy the benefits of how much further your dollar can take you."

READ MORE: Actually, Europe's Best Beach is in Wales

A number of new campaigns from VisitBritain are designed to pique the interest of U.S. travelers thinking about visiting the U.K. 

The “British Famous” campaign is running throughout 2017 in partnership with British Airways and American Airlines. It inspires visitors with a series of videos from comedian Diane Morgan as she tries to “make it in America.” 

In addition, the “Love is Great” campaign celebrates equality and diversity while marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales. 

It’s also the 20th anniversary of the first installation of the Harry Potter novels.
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​Last week, a flight attendant smashed a wine bottle over the head of an unruly passenger who attempted to open the emergency exit door while the plane was still in flight. Then just a few days later, a passenger on an AirAsia flight tried to pry open the emergency exit shortly before landing in India.

There are no shortage of incidents involving a rowdy passenger who tries to burst open the emergency exits — and no shortage of cabin crew who have their own stories about trying to subdue passengers.

But what would happen if a passenger made it to the emergency door before a flight attendant ever noticed? Would the door burst open, suck up all passengers in the immediate vicinity, freeze up the cabin and cause the plane to explode?


Well yes, but most definitely no.

“It’s physically impossible,” Jason Rabinowitz, aviation blogger, told Travel + Leisure. “When at cruising altitude, the pressure difference between the outside of the plane and the inside of the plane, which is pressurized, creates a situation where the door cannot open.”

At cruising altitude, there are about eight pounds of pressure pushing against every square inch of the plane’s interior — even two pounds per square inch is more than any human being push. In order to open the door while flying, someone would need (at least) a hydraulic jack. (The reason skydivers can jump from open doors is because those planes are depressurized.)

But, just for curiosity’s sake, let’s say that someone is able to get a hydraulic jack through airport security, onto the plane and then have enough uninterrupted time to jack away the emergency exit door.

An open door would create a catastrophic “explosive decompression,” Rabinowitz said. Explosive decompression, while rare, has occurred. One such instance happened in 1988 when a section of the airplane’s roof burst open. A flight attendant was sucked up through the hole in the plane, but the pilot managed to land within 13 minutes, avoiding additional fatalities.


​But, once again, it is impossible to open an airplane door while the cabin is pressurized.

If a pilot knows there is an emergency situation, they may start to descend altitude and depressurize the cabin so cabin crew can open the exit door as soon as possible.

However the physical impossibility of opening a plane door while at cruising altitude doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for trying.

Even in just messing with the door, it’s possible to break off the handle or set off some other safety alert in the flight deck. In extreme circumstances, this could cause a rapid decompression in the plane, which would result in “a hissing sound coming from the door and cold air coming in,” Rabinowitz said. Oxygen masks would drop from the ceiling.

And attempting to open the emergency door on a flight in the United States is not only considered tampering with the plane, it’s disobeying the flight crew — which is punishable by steep fines or even prison.
​​

When 24-year old, France-native Valentin Duthion planned his 27-day getaway to the United States, it took months of planning.

Not only was Duthion planning to travel with eight of his friends but he is also confined to a custom, $40,000 wheelchair due to spinal muscular atrophy.

Despite the logistics in organizing a month-long trip with a 250-kilogram wheelchair, including finding accessible lodging and planning ways to get around in major metropolitan areas, the friends were undaunted.

They even set up the Dream Trotter Facebook page and a blog to chronicle their adventures.

“Despite [the] logistics we are determined to realize this experience together,” said a post on the Facebook page.

The group said they also set up the site to serve as inspiration for other disabled travelers, because, as the friends learned, even finding information on how to go about such a trip posed a challenge.

“We have come to the conclusion: no travel guide offers tips and information on accessibility.”

Finally, after months of planning, the friends had their itineraries planned, their hotels booked, and they boarded their flight bound for Newark, New Jersey. As is normal procedure, the friends left the custom, $40,000 wheelchair at the airplane door before boarding the aircraft.

Upon arriving in Newark, however, a nasty surprise awaited them. The wheelchair had been completely destroyed by United Airlines.

This wasn’t a case of simple damage either. Instead, one wheel had been completely destroyed while another was tilted off its axis. The steering handle had been mangled and the user interface box had been completely removed from the chair.

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A new online grocery store is selling food and other supplies all for the price of $3.

The store, called Brandless, launched on Tuesday with generic kitchen items, such as peanut butter, coffee, tea, cookies and other snacks. Brandless also sells cleaning supplies, beauty products and even dishes.


Everything costs $3, largely because the company took away what it calls the “brand tax,” or, the hidden costs of packaging and distributing traditional goods.


“Brandless is about more than any individual product we sell,” store co-founder Tina Sharkey wrote in a Medium post. “It is about the true democratization of goodness.”

Sharkey’s goal is to give everything “better stuff at affordable prices,” she wrote.

The food sold at Brandless is GMO free, and more than half of it is organic, according to the company. Household cleaning products and beauty supplies ban toxic ingredients. The generic products also come with simple and distinctive packaging.

The startup raised $50 million before it launched, TechCrunch reports.

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Ellis doesn’t specify, but I am willing to wager this is the first time a singlecan of Export was sent as checked luggage.

The other times just had to be six packs or larger. If not, we simply have to get to the bottom of this awesome trend.

From the small to the enormous, airport staff have seen just about everything.

We recently explained that Boston TSA found a 20-pound lobster in its checked luggage, a delicacy that was being shipped to a local buyer for what we have to presume was one heck of a meal.

Then there are those of you who don’t bother to check your curios, such as the individual who tried to travel with meth in their underwear.

As for our buddy Dean here, he may be onto something, because I always thought I was an egregious over packer.

I’ve also never had the pleasure of tasting Emu Export. After hearing this awesome story I simply must get my hands on a frosty can once in my life.

A pop-up cafe in San Francisco is offering you the unusual experience of dining in their rat-infested eatery.

What’s more, you will have to fork out a staggering $49 (£38) for the privilege of sipping a cup of coffee and tucking into a piece of cake while rodents watch on or scurry by. On the bright side, it’s an all-you-can-drink coffee buffet.

Are you freaked out?

Don’t worry, this is bit of a publicity stunt by the The San Francisco Dungeon, a tourist attraction where actors reenact bits of the region’s history.

The cafe will open on two dates only: July 1st and July 8th 2017.

The rats are domestic pets provided by Rattie Ratz, a Bay Area rat rescue group. And when you are done eating you get to spend 15 minutes getting to know the “ambassador rat”. If you happen to fall in love with the rats, you can adopt one.

They say rats are clean, intelligent and trainable.

Rat-uccino anyone?

Duthion’s sister Lucie tweeted a picture of the damage, accompanied by French text that roughly translates to “This is how United Airlines treats people with disabilities. Armchair destroyed (37,000 €), trip to the USA wasted. Shameful.”

According to the French publication, Le Progress, after the friends discovered the damage, the airline summoned a mechanic, who apparently agreed that nothing could be done to salvage the chair.

The airline subsequently offered the use of an alternative chair, one that was not at all suited to Duthion’s condition. What’s more, United reportedly told the group they had to use the alternate wheelchair or else sign a waiver declaring that they had refused the airline’s “help.”

Not at all shockingly, the chair proved to be incapable of keeping up with the group’s carefully planned itinerary through New York. At one point the battery broke down completely and the group was forced to push the 200-kg non-working but motorized chair for miles throughout the city.

Despite the added obstacle presented by United Airlines, the group is determined to continue on their vacation as planned. They recently posted a video of their experiences in New York City on the Fourth of July, including clips of managing the unwieldy temporary wheelchair.


​Despite the airline’s failure, their mission remains unchanged.

“Our project aims to disseminate a dynamic and positive image of disability and to show that travel is accessible to all!”





Here's What President Trump and Emmanuel Macron Ate at the Restaurant Inside the Eiffel Tower

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A recent report suggests Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado proposal earlier this year to ban Airbnb-style rentals in a majority of the city may have been influenced by hotel industry lobbyists.


According to the Miami News Times, Regalado originally proposed a new law in February that would ban Airbnb and companies of the same ilk in order to protect residents from dealing with properties in the area becoming de facto hotels.

In a series of emails obtained by the Miami News Times, Regalado reportedly received messages from a lobbyist with the Jorge Luis Lopez government-affairs firm, including one with a copy of an ordinance Fort Lauderdale passed in August 2015. The proposal Regalado submitted earlier this year was simply a copied-and-pasted version of the one he received from the lobbyist.

The matter was taken to court in April, when Circuit Court Judge Beatrice Butchko questioned whether Regalado’s decision to ban Airbnb-style rentals was influenced by his interaction with hotel industry lobbyists.

When asked about the situation by the New Times, Regalado said he had met with both hotel industry leaders and Airbnb officials once, but ultimately went against the short-term rental company because it would better serve the residents of Miami.

The fight in Miami is just one of many raging between the hotel industry and Airbnb-style rental companies. Hotel giants believe the rise of short-term rentals has forced them to slash prices and lay off employees, but Airbnb says those claims are just the hotel industry’s way of eliminating competition.

The concerns about Airbnb taking over the hotel industry have been well publicized, but a recent report indicates that’s not the case. According to SeekingAlpha.com, hotel REITs have outperformed the REIT index by 20 percent, and Google Trends data indicates Airbnb growth is already decelerating.
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Getting good sleep on a plane can be difficult — but not impossible.


​Perhaps no traveler’s quest is as quixotic as the one for a full night's sleep in economy on a long-haul flight.

There are countless products geared towards helping people sleep while they’re basically upright — but between other passengers, turbulence and uncomfortable seating, it can like there’s no way to fall into deep, restorative sleep in transit.

Good sleep on a plane may be elusive, but it’s not impossible. With a bit of preparation, travelers can bring the comfort of their beds with them on the road. Here are our tips for helping travelers get restful sleep on long-haul, international flights.


​Pick the right seat.

Not every seat presents an equal opportunity for sleeping. The best option for most normal sleepers tends to be the window seats. Not only will this eliminate any interruptions from other passengers, the walls of the plane are also great to lean against, providing neck stabilization.


People who are restless sleepers (or those who often make trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night) should consider getting an aisle seat for easy access in and out.

Light sleepers should avoid booking seats in the front of economy class. Airlines tend to book families (especially those with infants) around this part of the plane, so it’s not unlikely that you’ll be woken up by a child making lots of noise.

And seats near the exit rows tend to be colder as air can leak in. While some travelers may prefer to sleep in a cold environment, getting stuck in one of these seats without a blanket can make for a fitful few hours.


Pack a sleeping kit.

Having familiar smells and feels around may help travelers fall asleep and stay asleep more quickly.

Whether travelers pack a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or just some earbuds, one sleep specialist said that once it’s time to sleep, it’s time to unplug. “I don’t like my patients listening to music all night long,” Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, told Travel + Leisure. “The change in noise levels can interrupt sleep.”

A 90-minute playlist of white noise, or even just earplugs, should provide enough noise cancelation to help travelers stay asleep through their flights.

Oexman said that he travels with a small vial of a signature sleep scent. When at home he’ll only use this scent in his bedroom. While on the plane, he’ll put a few drops of this scent on his travel pillow. The familiar scent lets the body know that it’s time to wind down for sleep. A familiar blanket brought from home may also provide the body with sensory, comforting cues.

Oexman also recommends always packing an eye mask in case, for any reason, lights turn on in the middle of a flight.

Don’t knock yourself out.

While alcohol may help travelers fall asleep faster, it often limits the quality of sleep later in the night. Alcohol can mess with the brain’s functions and block REM sleep, meaning that the sleep alcohol-fueled passengers do get is not restorative. And those who have been through it can attest that there is absolutely nothing worse than waking up with a hangover on a plane.


​As for taking sleeping pills on a plane, Oexman does not advise it. With pills like Ambien, people may find themselves sleepwalking or acting erratically with no knowledge.

However, melatonin pills — especially for travelers crossing multiple time zones — could be a helpful aid. “One milligram is all you need,” Oexman told T+L. “Take it about 30 minutes to one hour before you want to fall asleep on the plane.” But there's more to it.

“When you land, stay awake all day. Do not take a nap,” he said. “And then take melatonin again before bed.” Oexman recommends continuing with melatonin for two to three days after landing to adjust to the local time zone.



Hotels Versus Airbnb Rages in Miami and Beyond

You’ve just taken the trip of a lifetime to a far-off destination. You'd been dreaming about this trip for what feels like forever, and saved your pennies to afford it.

You sipped your cocktails by the beach, hiked up that mountain you’d been training for, saw that mysterious wild animal you’d only read about in books. The trip was great — but now you’re back in reality, sitting at your desk, staring at your new computer screensaver of your favorite photo from your favorite trip.

Post-vacation happiness fade out may sound like a funny term, but it’s actually a scientifically proven phenomenon.

According to a 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people, the New York Times explained, upon returning home.


And the act of returning to work can seriously kill your post-vacation bliss.


“People start working again,” Jeroen Nawijn, tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, told the Times. “They have to catch up. Usually there is a big pile of work for them when they get back from the holiday.”


But the post-vacation happiness fade doesn’t need to happen to you. Here are five tips to help you boost your vibe after the vacation of a lifetime.

Plan your return before you even leave.

We know, thinking about a vacation ending before it even begins sounds like a nightmare, but trust us, being prepared is the best defense.

Clean your home, do your laundry, make your bed and create a post-vacation to-do list before heading to the airport to ensure a smooth transition upon arrival back. That way you’ll have no nagging tasks waiting for you when you walk in the door.


Recreate your favorite meal from the trip.

As HuffPost reported, food and memory are incredibly closely connected. By recreating your favorite meal from your vacation you can not only jog your pleasant memories, but also share them with friends and family over the dinner table. On your travels simply pick up a local cookbook or two to have dishes to make forever.

Use the vacation as your meditation “happy place.”

Psychology Today suggests thinking back on your happiest vacation memory to help relieve any stress from your day. As the publication explained, several studies in neuroscience have shown that “merely by mentally picturing yourself where you felt good yields a salubrious effect.”


​During your regular yoga or meditation practice close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and think about a time or place you were happiest. The endorphins alone will make you feel like you’re right back in that magical time.

Eat healthy and stay away from alcohol upon returning.

We know, returning from vacation is a buzzkill on its own, but eating healthy and abstaining from alcohol may be the best thing you can do to beat the post-vacation mood dip.

“Alcohol may make you fall asleep quickly, but you don't get into the deeper stages, so you end up sleep deprived,” Michael Breus, PhD, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, told WebMD. “I'm not against drinking, but you have to realize the effect. If you watch the amount of alcohol and food you consume, and get to bed at a reasonable hour, and get some exercise, which will help you sleep, you might be able to get rid of your sleep debt.”


No sleep, feeling rundown after heavy meals and a serious hangover is just a recipe for post-vacation disaster so avoid it with a few healthy choices for a couple of days.

Start planning your next vacation.

Sure, take some time to revel in your recent travels then move on and start thinking about your next adventure. As the study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life also showed, the very act of planning a vacation is what makes us the happiest.


​​And while it may not always be possible to go on a global adventure you can always plan a stellar stay-cation right in your own home. Check out our guide to having the ultimate staycation here to keep you relaxed in between your larger vacation expeditions here.

Everything at This New Online Grocery Store Costs $3

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You really only need one thing when you travel: beer.

Forget the luggage, smartphone or your favorite book. One Australian man has the right idea because he chose to check a single item on a recent flight, a lonely beer.

The Daily Mail (h/t News.com.au) reports the traveler decided to have a bit of fun and see if his Emu Export can of beer would make it on his Qantas flight from Melbourne to Perth unscathed.


Spoiler alert: It did.

The man referred to as Dean by News.com.au went through the procedure as you would with any luggage and checked his beer. On the other side of this journey, it popped up and out of baggage claim, riding the conveyor like a champion lager should.

Our new hero tells the Daily Mail this was all for the giggles: “My mate works at the airport and we hatched the plan as a laugh. I half didn't expect it to come out the other end