Archive for May, 2011

Iceland Volcano Disrupts Air Travel...Again
Photo: Reuters

Update: European air traffic controllers said airspace will return to normal on Thursday, after the Grimsvotn volcano eruption in Iceland last weekend. More than a 1,000 flights were canceled due to the plume of ash and soot.

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Iceland’s main airport remains closed and roads covered in gray soot, after the Grimsvotn volcano erupted on Sunday, May 22, 2011.  It was the volcano’s largest eruption in 100 years. The volcano has already forced the Keflavik airport to close and forced the cancellation of 40 international flights.

More airport closures and flight cancellations are possible as the plums of ash continue to move toward the UK. Officials at the National Air Traffic Service Ltd. say air services from 12 Scottish airports, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen may be interrupted.  U.S. President Barak Obama had to curtail his trip to Ireland due to the moving ash cloud.

Scientists don’t believe this volcano’s ash will wreak more havoc on Europe’s airports than last year’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption — that incident stranded 10 million people and was several billions of dollars in losses.

Not all volcanoes are travel obstacles. In fact some travelers flock to them. Find out how you can explore Hawaiian volcanoes. Check out our hot lava flow slideshow.

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A tornado with winds whipping at 190-198 mph touched down in Joplin, MO, on Sunday, killing 117 people. Thunderstorms and rainy weather today continued to keep residents on edge.

Rescue crews have pulled 7 people from the rumble, but the search continues to find more survivors in piles of splintered houses and crushed cars.

According to NBC News, this was the single deadliest tornado since 1947. With a base of 3/4 mile across, the tornado destroyed everything in its path, creating a debris cloud of almost 18,000 feet in the air.

Take a look at this horrifying video from izelsg, a YouTube user, who experienced the severe weather first-hand. It was a very unsettling video to watch and or listen to as people in the store took cover in a walk-in storage fridge. Thankfully, everyone was OK.

Check out our travel safety tips for how you can stay safe when a twister strikes, and we recommend a few travel apps to help guide you when making your travel plans. It’s information every traveler can use.

Sightseeing Los Angeles at Graumans Chinese Theater
Photo: Getty Images

There are dozens of travel apps and gear that help you track your travels when you’re exploring a new city, but what about an app that guides you while you’re on a double-decker bus in selected cities, including LA?  The City Sightseeing app is the world’s leading open top bus tour operator.

With this exclusive app, you can search for a tour and book it! The sightseeing app also allows users to download guides, find “Hop On” and “Hop Off” locations on maps, discover Points of Interest and it provides links to the services provided by the tour company.

The app also has a postcard function, which allows you to send an ePostcard to your friends. You can also your own card with those of other city visitors on the city Sightseeing Community website.

Take a look at our Travel Apps of the Week feature for more fun apps to help you travel with ease.

Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz at premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Photo: Getty Images

Actors Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz are on a whirlwind tour to promote their new movie “Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides,” the fourth installment in Disney’s popular franchise.

In anticipation for the new movie, Disney theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando have already modified the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction to incorporate elements from the new film, including an image of the infamous Blackbeard (actor Ian McShane) in the grotto scene.

Another option, if you’re not into amusement parks, is to take a trip to the Tropics to explore the history of the real pirates of the Caribbean. Almost every Caribbean island has some pirate history, including the Bahamas, Aruba, Trinidad and Jamaica. Follow the steps of Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackham and John Boysie Singh aka “The Rajah.”

Check out The Real Pirates of the Caribbean slideshow to find out where you can sail the seas to uncover the history of a few infamous pirates.

A disturbing photo was posted on Twitter of a baby getting a pat-down from a security officer at Kansas City International Airport. It’s the latest in a growing number of publicized incidents involving airport security agents who have screened children under 12.

In the most recent incident, the baby stroller set off a security alarm, which requires that Transportation Security agents pat-down all family members. According to a TSA statement, their security officers “followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family, who were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time.”

The Twitter pic, showing the baby pat-down, was taken by Kansas City pastor Jacob Jester, who said it was an “extreme measure.” In an MSNBC.com article, the pastor said, “I wasn’t trying to embarrass the TSA, but believe there has to be a line drawn. I do not believe that an 8-month-old constitutes a security threat.”

This recent baby pat-down comes on the heels of highly publicized complaints about airport security screenings, including a 8-year-old boy who received a pat-down at the Portland International Airport, and parents who were upset after their 6-year-old daughter was frisked in New Orleans.

Virgin Galactic at Spaceport America
Photo: Getty Images

Spaceport America will open its doors to the public starting this Friday, May 13. In case you didn’t know, the taxpayer-funded facility spaceport will be the hub for Virgin Galactic to take tourists on short trips into space.  Other commercial spaceflights are also planned.

The 3-hour tours, conducted by Follow The Sun Inc., will give visitors an up-close look at the spaceflight facilities before the space travel kicks into high gear and the spaceport become fully operational later this year.

Tours are scheduled each weekend and will cost adults $59 and $29 for children under 12.

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