In brief: Hotels offer digital detox packages
Hotels offering digital detox, haboob grounds planes in Phoenix, trusted travellers getting a break, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Dust storm temporarily grounds flights
This time it wasn't a volcano, but a "haboob" that kept flights from taking off. The massive dust storm — which gets its name from the Arabic word for wind — swept through Arizona Tuesday, temporarily grounding flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Winds that reached up to 69 mph propelled the storm, according to CNN, which has video. The Washington Post has spectacular photos.
EU and US take carbon emissions battle to court
The US and EU began their battle over EU's carbon cap-and-trade program, which requires all carriers flying in and out of Europe to reduce carbon emissions by 3%. US airlines argue the program — which would also require American carriers to pay for carbon emissions while flying over the Atlantic — violates international law, but the EU won't back down. For now, the decision remains with the EU's top court.
Meanwhile, Dutch carrier KLM has already taken significant steps toward progress by piloting the first commercial biokerosene-powered flight last week. There are 200 more Amsterdam-to-Paris flights set to take off this September using the recycled materials collected from hotels, restaurants and factories.
Travellers leaving smart phones at home
While some hotels and resorts are offering everything from spa treatments to guided hikes to lure guests, others have started a new trend to attract holidaymakers: "digital detox". Guests at the Renaissance Pittsburgh, Hotel Monaco Chicago, and various other hotels around the United States are offering packages that encourage travellers to unplug during their vacations, the Wall Street Journal reports. Most of these packages mean a weekend (or more) with no television, internet or cell phones. Some packages even offer significant discounts to those willing to leave their smart phones at home or check them at reception.
TSA to launch trusted traveller program
American air passengers frustrated with the long lines and heightened screening process may soon be getting a small victory. The Transportation Security Administration has announced it will work with airlines to find travellers willing to share personal information in order to begin the testing phase of a trusted traveller program at several airports this fall. While the trusted travellers wouldn't simply pass through security unchecked, they would be able to forgo irksome obligations like removing laptops from luggage and taking off their shoes.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter and publish a standout travel tweet
"Because I'm staying in Llivia tonight, I crossed the French/Spanish border 12x today"