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Most known for Hollywood celebrity sightings, California is also home to some of the most famous beaches and coastlines of the world. This is perfectly complemented by the seamless weather and temperature that lures in new residents and tourists every year. So if you are looking forward to enjoying the summer heat, regardless of the More »

Going to Orlando and its Parks

It’s time to make a journey and the destination this time is called Orlando, a space full of fun that attracts millions of people during the whole year due to it’s famous parks, places like Disney World, Universal Studio or the Cabo Discovery will keep you busy all day long. Start by looking for a More »

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Helsinki, recently awarded as ‘City of Design’ by UNESCO, is the capital of Finland. Unlike the Nordic winter, the temperature of this city is quite livable, and life continues throughout the year. It has four seasons, and the temperatures vary from 32 degrees in the summer and about -20 degrees in the winter. With the More »

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Snake on a plane! Flight crew finds reptile under seats

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Though it became a well-known pop culture joke after Samuel L. Jackson’s 2006 fictional movie, snakes can sometimes be found on a plane.

That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday when a cabin crew was checking an airplane that landed in Glasgow, Scotland, according to The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The flight had come in from Cancun, Mexico when staff found a 18-inch long, juvenile snake under a row of seats in the passenger cabin, the newspaper reported.

A Scottish animal welfare charity was called in to recover the snake, The Scotsman reported. 

An inspector with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Billy Linton, said Glasgow Airport staff “remained remarkably clam” after finding the snake, the BBC reported.

The snake, which has been named “Furtivo” (meaning “sneak” in Spanish), is believed to be a Middle American smooth-scaled racer, according to the BBC.

“Racers aren’t venomous but, like all snakes, they can bite and Furtivo is very feisty,” said Linton, according to the BBC.

The airline at the center of this incident was not named.

Back in April, a pilot in Australia made an emergency landing after a snake crawled down his leg.

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Ex-‘Dallas’ actor arrested with handgun at LAX

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Jack Scalia.

Jack Scalia encountered some turbulence before he even had a chance to hop on a plane. The actor, who starred in the original “Dallas” TV series, was arrested at LAX Thursday for carrying a concealed handgun, E! News has confirmed. 

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According to airport authorities, Scalia was stopped at a screening station at around 1 p.m. after airport security discovered that the 61-year-old had a handgun in his carry-on. The weapon was reportedly unloaded. 

The actor was charged with possession of a concealed handgun and transported to the airport’s police station, where he was booked.

Check out other stars’ police run-ins in our Mug-Shot Mania gallery

After his stint on “Dallas,” which lasted from 1987 to 1991, Scalia appeared on several TV shows, including “General Hospital,” as well as a slew of direct-to-video movies. 

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Connecticut tourism gets boost from filmmaker Ken Burns

5 hrs.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s tourism industry is getting a boost from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

Burns announced Wednesday that he has partnered with a luxury tour group, Tauck Tours of Norwalk, on a redesigned eight-day tour of New England’s “hidden gems,” which will include a two-day stop in Hartford. The company said it added the Hartford stop at Burns’ urging.

Best known for his award-winning documentaries on the Civil War and baseball, Burns and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the announcement at the Mark Twain House, which will be highlighted on the tour along with the home of 19th century abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

“The tourism industry employs about 110,000 people, generates more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue and brings more than $11 billion in spending to our state,” Malloy said in a statement. “While our ‘Still Revolutionary’ marketing campaign is already paying dividends, the addition of this overnight stop in Hartford demonstrates that there is still much untapped potential for tourism in the coming years.”

The bus tour will run from June through the fall foliage season, and also include stops at Lexington, Concord, and Fenway Park in Massachusetts, a Shaker community in New Hampshire, the Green and White mountains, and at Burns’ studio in Walpole, N.H.

“My mission in making films has always been to explore who we are as Americans,” he said. “Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe had a similar goal, at a time when the experience and definition of ‘being an American’ was entirely dictated by the color of one’s skin. These two remarkable individuals asked difficult questions of their country, and we became a better place for it.” 

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Southwest Airlines shuts down automatic check-in site

2 hrs.

Courtesy Nikil Viswanathan

“This is a much better experience than trying to wake up in the middle of the night or the early morning, remembering to check in,” Nikil Viswanathan said of his automatic check-in site.

To be among the first passengers to board a plane is often so crucial to keeping your sanity while flying that many travelers are willing to pay for it.

But what if you could have an edge over other fliers for free?

A recent Stanford University computer science graduate who came up with a way to boost passengers’ odds of boarding early on Southwest Airlines flights found lots of takers, but also drew scrutiny from the airline, which ordered him to shut down the project.

“It was funny because I actually didn’t think that anyone wanted to use this at all. I literally thought that it was something no one cared about,” Nikil Viswanathan told NBC News.

He was wrong. Thousands of travelers were captured by Viswanathan’s simple idea: to automatically check in for a Southwest flight the second you are able to, thereby improving your chances in the carrier’s first-come, first-serve competition for boarding times.

Viswanathan, who lives in Palo Alto, Calif., began the project while visiting his sister on the East Coast earlier this year. He kept forgetting to check in for his flights, so Viswanathan, 25, decided to create a tool that would automatically do it for him on Southwest – the airline he flies most. It took him less than an hour to write the code, which he incorporated on his website, Checkintomyflight.com.

Here’s how it worked:

Southwest passengers don’t receive assigned seats, but they board in groups that are labeled either A, B or C, with the A group boarding first and getting the pick of overhead bin space and the best seats.

Passengers who buy Business Select fares are guaranteed an A boarding pass, while Southwest’s frequent fliers and travelers willing to pay a $10 fee for “EarlyBird Check-In” are checked in before everyone else, boosting their chances of getting into the A group. The rest dukes it out starting at 24 hours before departure.

Passengers who used Viswanathan’s website would be checked in the moment the process opened, virtually guaranteeing a spot in the A boarding group. There was no charge for the service.

Viswanathan unveiled the website on his Facebook page on October 2. It was featured on Hacker News three days later, and then picked up by two travel blogs. More than 10,000 people have visited Checkintomyflight.com since and about 1,500 flights have been entered into the site.

“People were getting really, really good boarding passes,” Viswanathan said. “This is a much better experience than trying to wake up in the middle of the night or the early morning, remembering to check in.”

But Viswanathan also soon heard from Southwest, which sent him a cease and desist letter last week. Programs like his violate the company’s terms and conditions of use, he found out.

“Southwest places a very high value on customer service and our personal relationship with customers,” said spokeswoman Katie McDonald in a statement to NBC News. “By intruding on that relationship and removing a touch point with the customer, check-in sites take away the ability for Southwest to provide its services in accordance with its policies and legendary personal touch.”

Viswanathan said he suspects Southwest is most upset that passengers who used his website didn’t see the ads on the airline’s check-in page.

He shut down Checkintomyflight.com on Wednesday, even though travelers have put in flights all the way until May of 2013. He’s hoping Southwest will allow him to honor those requests.

The project has even garnered Viswanathan a job offer from Expedia. He has declined, preferring to work on his “own stuff,” he said.

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Decompress in the world’s best airport spas

1 hr.

Courtesy OM Spas

High flyer Karen Zuckerman, president of Maryland-based marketing and advertising agency HZDG, has a secret weapon for avoiding the air terminal blues: treating herself to a facial or massage while waiting to board her plane. No, Zuckerman doesn’t travel with a beauty entourage. Rather, she’s just one of many travelers taking advantage of the proliferation of airport spas around the world.

A spa aficionado in her leisure time, Zuckerman often visits high-end beauty temples like the Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and Canyon Ranch. While none of these luxurious spas have opened airport outposts (yet), plenty of other brands are helping make flying a whole lot more Zen these days.

“An airport spa gives me the ability to multitask and do a little something for myself,” explains Zuckerman, who travels about 30 times per year for work within the U.S. and Europe. Depending on what’s available, she’ll book a facial, massage or quick mani-pedi at whatever terminal she finds herself in. “When I’m really stressed and can sneak in a 20-minute neck or back massage, that’s a huge bonus,” she says.

Sunny Kortz of OraOxygen—whose spas in the Calgary International and Detroit airports attract travelers, airport employees and the odd civilian (the Calgary branch is located pre-security)—reports that many clients come for combined oxygen/massage treatments. “The oxygen refreshes your body and mind after a long plane trip,” she says. “When used together with a massage treatment, people can go energized to that business meeting or trip with the kids.”

Jill Bryan, regional manager for the Absolute Spa at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, constantly receives glowing feedback from guests (many of whom are pilots and flight attendants) who indulge in a spa session between flights. “Aside from reading a book or playing on your smartphone, there’s not a whole lot to do in the airport,” she says. “We find a lot of guests that didn’t have time to get their last-minute pre-holiday treatments done are extra appreciative.”

The spa offers a range of treatments pitched at frequent flyers, including a color gel no-chip manicure that lasts up to three weeks, and a spray-tan application that’s hugely popular with vacationers heading to tropical destinations.

Whether you’re stuck in transit, quailing at the prospect of boarding a long-haul flight or just whiling away the hours between check-in and takeoff, there are now countless ways to relieve the tension, stress and ennui of traveling before you’ve even taken off. Check out our list of terminally fabulous airport spas, from Calgary to Dubai, and prepare to give travel-induced stress a send-off.

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