Here are some interesting snippets of travel news I've recently come across on the web...


Given that 66% of Americans are overweight...USATODAY.com writes, "Airbus pitches wide seats as U.S. fliers get bigger"  Airbus is pitching several U.S. airlines on the idea of an A320 jet with aisle seats that are three inches wider than the plane's other seats.  Bloomberg news explains: "Adding two inches to one-third of the seats in an A320 would hand U.S. airlines a marketing tool that they could target at the obese population, which has swelled to more than one-third of U.S. adults"

Read the full article here.


Size does matter at the world's biggest penis museum:  The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik houses the world's largest collection of penises and penile parts.  The museum acquired its first human penis in July 2011.

Here is an article from UK's Telegraph from 2008; a recent USAToday article is here and you can watch this Youtube video about the museum.


Cartoonlike buzzards wielding a knife and fork, anvils and oversized mallets might seem like an odd way to welcome tourists, but Porter Sculpture Park is no typical roadside attraction.

The vultures representing reincarnated politicians are just a few of the more than 40 quirky creations originating in the mind of Wayne Porter, who uses his blacksmith know-how and appreciation of history to turn twisted concepts into metallic works of art. The park's signature piece is a 60-foot-tall Egyptian-style bull's head that stares down Interstate 90 motorists as they head out to South Dakota's Black Hills. Porter spent three years creating the 25-ton monstrosity out of railroad tie plates, dubbing it the "World's Largest Bull's Head" on a nearby billboard.

Read the full article here.


From Yahoo.com: Given the size of the place, the name "Bangor International Airport" might seem a little grandiose.  But the airport actually gets an outsize share of international visitors.  Of course, many of them are accidental tourists who would rather not be here at all.  Because the airport is on the far northeastern edge of the U.S., incoming trans-Atlantic flights confronted with terrorist threats or unruly passengers are often diverted to Bangor, population 33,000.  

It's the last major U.S. airport for jets headed east across the Atlantic and the first for incoming flights, and though it has only a single runway, it is more than 11,000 feet long, long enough for the space shuttle.

The diverted flights represent a tiny part of activity at the Bangor International Airport, which is home to a Maine Air National Guard wing and serves as a busy refuelling hub for military aircraft carrying personnel and cargo to and from Europe and the Middle East.

Since 2004, the airport has handled 21 cases in which aircraft had to land for security reasons, compared with 388 for fuel, 139 for bad weather, 50 for medical emergencies and 49 for maintenance problems, Caruso said.

You can read the entire article here. 

Now for some serious interesting news:


Great news!  Southwest Airlines' recent acquisition of AirTran means travelers have options for international travel by booking via http://www.airtran.com/.

From Mexico to the Caribbean, AirTran has nonstop service to a variety of exotic international destinations like Aruba, The Bahamas, Bermuda, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Fly nonstop on AirTran between the following cities:
Domestic U.S. Cities International Destinations
Atlanta Aruba, Cancun, Nassau, Montego Bay, Punta Cana, San Juan
Austin Cancun3
Baltimore/Washington, D.C. (BWI) Aruba, Bermuda, Cancun, Nassau, Montego Bay, San Juan
Chicago Midway (MDW)5 Cancun*
Ft. Lauderdale San Juan1
Denver Cancun
Milwaukee Cancun
Orange County4 Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico City
Orlando Aruba, Montego Bay, San Juan
San Antonio2 Cancun, Mexico City
Tampa Bay San Juan

International flights are operated by AirTran and are not available for purchase from Southwest Airlines. Checked bags will not be transferred between any Southwest Airlines flight and AirTran flight.

*Subject to foreign Government approval

1Ft. Lauderdale – San Juan service will start on 05/24/2012.
2San Antonio – Cancun & Mexico City will start on 05/24/2012.
3Austin – Cancun service will start on 05/25/2012.
4Orange County – Cabo San Lucas & Mexico City will start on 06/03/2012.
5Chicago Midway-Cancun service will start on 06/03/2012.


A new survey from flight comparison site Skyscanner has revealed that 86% of people do not want mobile phone use to be permitted on planes, as it’s "annoying to have to listen to other people’s conversations".

From travelindustrywire.com:
The overwhelming result comes just after Virgin Atlantic announced it would be the first British airline to allow mobile phone calls during flights, on its London to New York route. The calls will cost £1 a minute and sending a text will be 20 pence, significantly more than when on Terra firma, meaning that business users are likely to be the primary market for the new facility, at least to begin with.  Even though many people welcome improvements in general Internet connectivity allowing them to jump online in more and more places around the world, there appears to be a markedly different attitude when it comes to mobile phone conversations in confined spaces.  If mobile use was available onboard, 48% said they would send texts, 35% said they would surf the web, 10% would send email, whilst only 6% would actually make and take calls.  Furthermore only 1% of those polled said they would pay more to fly with an airline that offered mobile calls.

Speaking of cell phones...


However, for those of you who can't live without your smart phone, this article lists out the 11 top travel apps.

Stranded at the airport?  Download the HotelTonight app to book a room only for that night; the TripIt app allows you to consolidate all your electronic travel confirmations into one place; Yelp is a Yellow Pages directory for your phone; want to know the latest currency conversion rates?  Download the XE Currency app; the Tripadvisor app needs no explanation (NOTE: Tripadvisor is the first place I go for hotel reviews.)  To see the other recommended apps read the article here.


Introducing Italy's newest high speed train service: Italo.  (NOTE: I'll be checking this out for next year's Italy trip!)
It currently operates two daily round trips over Italy's high-speed core Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples train line.  You can read the www.chicagotribune.com/travel article here.


75 years ago today the Golden Gate Bridge opened.  Since it opened in 1937, more than 2 billion vehicles have crossed the 1.7-mile-long bridge named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance of water to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. 

This CBS Sunday Morning episode shows some original footage of bridge workers hundreds of feet in the air; back then they didn't wear any safety harnesses.  The chief engineer designed the use of movable safety netting beneath the construction site which saved the lives of many otherwise unprotected steelworkers.  Of eleven men killed from falls during construction, ten were killed (when the bridge was near completion) when the net failed under the stress of a scaffold that had fallen.  However 19 men were saved by the net; they created a group called Half Way to Hell Group.

ODD BUT TRUE NOTE: www.sftravel.com notes that visitors should:

Look out for the suicide phones. At either end of the Golden Gate Bridge you will see emergency phones with signage letting people know that they have options other than to end their lives.  Although this is a bit morbid, it is an important part of the history of the Golden Gate Bridge because each year there are people who commit suicide by jumping off of the bridge. There is even a documentary, called The Bridge, about this issue. It’s a highly controversial topic because some people in the city want to erect nets to prevent this from happening and others don’t want the bridge to have these nets.

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