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After 68 years, locals in Hiroshima, Japan, lit lanterns to remember the lives lost during the 1945 bombing of the city. Aside from this reflective, solemn event, this week had its share of fun events, including the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in England, the Medellin Flower Festival in Colombia, and the Stiletto Run in Spain. Take a look at the other events and destinations that we highlighted in this week in photos.

Check out more travel buzz on our radar this week:

US Evacuation and Travel Alerts: The Chicago Tribune reported that the US has ordered the evacuation of non-essential staff from its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, warning US citizens not to travel to the country. Last Friday, the US issued a worldwide travel alert for US citizens traveling abroad due to an unspecified al Qaeda threat. Nearly 20 embassies in North Africa and the Middle East have closed until Aug. 31.

JetBlue Reveals New First Class Seats: Known for shuttling vacationers from Northeast cities to the warmth of Florida and the Caribbean, JetBlue will take strides to attract business travelers. Sources at Jaunted report that starting next year, the airline will offer 16 lie-flat seats on flights between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the first time the carrier will have a second class of service.

Running of the Bulls in the US: Yep, you read that right. Promoters Brad Scudder and Rob Dickens have arranged bull runs in 10 cities around the US for people who can’t afford to take the trip to Pamplona, Spain. Already 20,000 Americans have put down $35 for an adrenaline rush that comes with running in front of a group of angry bulls that can reach speeds of 35 mph. According to Yahoo Travel, the first US bull run is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 24 at a drag-racing strip south of Richmond, VA.

“Love Boat” Sails to Final Destination: Turkey will be the new home to the iconic MS Pacific also known as “The Love Boat.” According to Gadling, the 42-year-old ship was purchased for 2.5 million euro by a Turkish ship recycling company, where it will be stripped for metal and parts.

Breaking Bad Fuels Albuquerque Tourism Boom: Even after the popular TV show has ended, fans may still be able to pick up bags of “Breaking Bad Candy” — blue-tinged crystals made of rock candy — at the Candy Lady shop in Albuquerque, NM. Not only has the show helped to create new revenue streams for local businesses, but according to Skift, the long-term tourism growth will be dependent on the city’s support in attracting future film projects.


Photography by Getty Images

Before you book your next flight, here’s a word of warning: You may not want to fly on Spirit Airlines. The carrier received the lowest overall scores of any company that Consumer Reports has ever rated.

Today, Consumer Reports released its results from a readers’ survey that ranks the best and worst airlines.

So why didn’t Spirit Airlines make the cut? Industry analysts say that although the no-frills airline charges less than other carriers, customers still take a hit in their pockets by paying other additional fees, including $10 to $19 to book a flight, $3 for a soda or M&Ms, and $35 to $100 per carry-on bag. Readers also claimed that the airline has some of the “tightest” seating space in the industry.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Virgin America topped the list for the first time, receiving some of the highest customer satisfaction scores that any airline has received in years.  According to the survey, flyers said they like the comfy, leather seat cushions in the airline’s economy class. Readers also gave the airline’s in-flight entertainment high marks.

Other carriers that fared well included Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines for check-in and cabin staff. American, United and US Airways received the lowest ratings possible for cabin cleanliness, seating comfort and onboard entertainment.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed more than 16,000 readers — who flew a combined 31,732 domestic flights — in February. Readers were asked to rate their satisfaction with the airlines’ check-in ease, cabin-crew service, cabin cleanliness, seating comfort, baggage handling and in-flight entertainment.

Here’s a quick look at the airlines and their overall score, based on a 0 to 100 scale:

1.   Virgin America, 89
2.   Southwest Airlines, 85
3.   JetBlue Airways, 85
4.   Hawaiian Airlines, 82
5.   Alaska Airlines, 81
6.   Frontier Airlines, 78
7.   Delta Air Lines, 71
8.   US Airways, 66
9.   American Airlines, 66
10. United Airlines, 63
11. Spirit Airlines, 50

Snowstorm Cripples the Midwest

A major storm of ice, snow and freezing rain has forced airlines to cancel more than 4,500 flights. The 2,100-mile stretch of wintery weather – from Texas to Maine – has halted airport traffic and closed airports, including Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport.

Airports in Newark, NJ, and Chicago are the hardest hit with more than 600 flight cancellations each, according to Flightware.com. Chicago is expected to get 2 feet of snow, breaking its snowfall record set in 1967. The Windy City is a hub for several major airlines, including United and American.

Windy weather with zero visibility had sparked Delta Airlines to cancel 625 flights today. JetBlue is canceling flights in and out of New York’s JFK airport for the rest of today with some flights expected to resume Wednesday afternoon. The airline plans to shut down its flights servicing Boston starting tonight. Officials at JetBlue say service may not may not be up and running until Thursday morning.

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