Archive for February, 2011

Snow Babies

We know, you don’t want to hear about any more snow, after weeks of paralyzing wintry weather throughout the U.S.  What about baby animals in the snow?  Check out Snow Babies and see if you can handle the cuteness.

We couldn’t get enough of Zoo Babies and Aqua Babies, and now we have baby seals, monkeys, and polar bears playing in the snow. What could be more heart warming on a cold day?

Sure, there’s nothing more cuddly than a baby panda, but if you’d rather snuggle up with your Valentine instead plan a romantic getaway with our Top Romantic Hotels.

And if you still want to play in the snow, why not plan a ski trip or a winter getaway before the season ends?

Richard Branson with Virgin Atlantic Attendants

Like the rest of us, our hosts were getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit this week. Of course if your love life is dead, you’d probably prefer to celebrate with the Ghost Adventures guys and their Ghostly Lovers special. And if all else fails, you can fawn over these adorable snow babies.

Here’s the news you might have missed:

Which airline has hottest flight attendants? According to a survey of 1,000 people, 53% picked Virgin Atlantic. [Huffington Post]

Bomb threat suspect: ‘I did it for love!’ The 300 people who were evacuated from the plane moments before takeoff weren’t amused. [MSNBC]

Not knowing wife’s name gets man in serious trouble: But it may also be to blame for getting her stuck in China. [Gadling]

Baggage handler got trapped: Narrowly missed becoming passenger in the plane’s cargo hold. [CNN]

You can still smoke on planes? Electronic cigarettes, that is. And not for much longer if the US Department of Transportation gets its way. [Huffington Post]

Julia Mancuso

Our super ski-travel blogger, Julia Mancuso, has had some early success at the FIS world ski championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. On the first day of competition Tuesday, Julia finished second in the super-G, a speed event that includes tighter turns than a downhill race.

We prefer to think that Julia’s association with TravelChannel.com, which began in December, has brought her good luck. But she won three previous world championship medals before she started blogging for us. Julia also has won three Olympic medals, including gold in the giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics and two silvers at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Julia is planning to compete in three of the four remaining events at worlds–the downhill, the super combined and the giant slalom. The championships end February 20.

You can read Julia’s blog on TravelChannel.com and get updates about her performances at worlds from her website.

JFK Airport

Things may be changing at New York’s JFK airport soon. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are looking for developers to build a boutique hotel. The proposed150-room hotel would be built between the old TWA terminal and the new JetBlue building, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The now-vacant TWA terminal was designed by Eero Saarinen, who also designed the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The plan is to use the Saarinen-designed space as the hotel’s lobby and entrance, which would also be home to restaurants and shops.

Construction for the new hotel could wrap up 2 years after a developer is signed, but there is an obstacle. The TWA terminal is a New York City landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Robert Cook

Bob Cook’s streak of attending every Super Bowl game ended Sunday after he fell ill last Thursday and ended up in the hospital, where he remains in serious condition.

But the streak for his family remains in force, thanks to some creative crisis travel management by his wife, Sarah, and daughter Kylie.

Cook had received a lot of press in the weeks before Super Bowl XVL as one of 4 men who had attended every Super Bowl game. We posted a story about it last week. The others, Don Crisman, Tom Henschel and Larry Jacobson, made it to Dallas on Sunday to watch the Packers beat the Steelers and extend their Super Bowl streak to 45. READ MORE

Super Bowl weather

Football fans whose flights had been canceled scrambled Saturday to get to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV, while those already in town were dealing with frigid temperatures and over 5 inches of snow — twice Dallas’ annual average.

A fresh blast of snow and ice canceled hundreds of flights Friday, snarled highways and caused dangerous sheets of ice to cascade from the domed roof of Cowboys Stadium. The falling ice injured 6 workers hired by the NFL to prepare the stadium, though none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

The problems in the Dallas-Forth Worth area capped off one of the worst weeks of winter weather in US history. To see how this week’s storm compared to some of the nastiest ever recorded, check out our Worst US Blizzards photo slideshow. And if you’d like to reminisce about a time when NFL championships were actually played outside in the “frozen tundra,” don’t miss our Life of Lombardi feature.

Royal Caribbean's largest gay and lesbian cruise

On Sunday, February 6, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas will host the largest gay and lesbian cruise ever. Atlantis Events, Inc. specializes in all-gay and lesbian cruises. Already, 5,400 people have signed up for the 7-night Western Caribbean cruise that will leave from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. In 2012, the cruise will set sail on January 29. Royal Caribbean will start the sale of that cruise on February 23, 2011.

For more information and to read full story, go to Atlantisevents.com.

M/V Polar Star hits uncharted rock

On Monday, January 31, 2011, the adventure cruise line M/V Polar Star struck an uncharted rock while anchoring near Detaille Island off of Antarctica. Passengers aboard the Polar Star got a small taste of what it must have felt like aboard the Titanic when it hit an iceberg on April 15, 1912.

Eighty passengers, including 32 Americans, were traveling from Ushuaia, Argentina, to the Drake Passage (between Ushuaia and Antarctica), then back to Ushuaia. No injuries were reported. The ship suffered minor damage and within hours was able to travel at a safe cruising speed, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. Although the damage on the M/V Polar Star was minor, the Drake Passage is known for rough seas, so on Wednesday, February 2, the Polar Star captain and other officials made the decision to evacuate the ship.

The M/V Polar Star will head back to Ushuaia for minor repairs.

New Body Scanner
You had to be buried under a rock -– or perhaps a pile of snow from the monster Midwest blizzard — if you didn’t hear about the unprecedented political unrest in Egypt. The silver lining? Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, which apparently means spring is on the way. Let’s sure hope so. Until then, these festive Chinese New Year celebrations will have to lift our spirits.

With such a busy week, it’s easy to miss a few important links:

A less-naked body scanner? TSA is testing a new system in 3 airports that ditches the x-ray style for a more modest scan that looks like a chalk outline of a body at a crime scene. [Travel Channel]
Read the story

Mice trained for airport security: Israeli scientists claim they’re more accurate than using dogs and x-ray machines. [The Telegraph]
Read the story

A divorce has to be easier: An Immigration agent put his wife on the do-not-fly list so she can’t return home. [Daily Mail]
Read the story

READ MORE

Airport Security New Body Scan

Worried about showing your skivvies and move to the TSA at the airport? Well, you’re in luck if you happen to be flying the friendly skies this month from Las Vegas, Atlanta or DC’s National Airport. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing new software at these airports to increase your privacy when passing through the dreaded Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines. Instead of showing a detailed image of each passenger, the new AIT software shows only a generic outline of a person with any potential threats flagged on the picture. This generic outline is the same for every traveler, and if you’re deemed clear by the auto-detection security software, the monitor simply shows an “OK.” It seems like a win-win situation—the same high level of security without publicizing your private parts!

Get the news directly from the TSA, and check out our tips for preventing an airport pat-down, unless, of course, you’re kind of into it.

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