In brief: North Korea enters the cruise industry
Passengers cruise to North Korea, tourists watch window cleaning in York, you can pay for pre-flight first-class service, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
North Korea enters the cruise industry
Tuesday, 130 lucky passengers became the first to board a cruise ship to North Korea. The ship set sail from Rajin, near the China-Russia border, and headed toward Mount Kumgang, the Guardian reports. The 18-hour test sail will be followed by a cruise for businessmen next month. The picturesque Mount Kumgang was formerly a tourist destination for South Koreans, but after a soldier for the communist state shot a tourist from its capitalist neighbour three years ago, South Korea stopped running tours there, essentially killing the tourism industry and creating a modern-day ghost town, Reuters reports. With the issue still unresolved, the North expelled the South's remaining workers and said it will start selling the $450 million worth of South Korean assets left in town. In an effort to revive tourism to the area, North Korea is allowing travellers from any country to visit its shores visa-free if they arrange the trip through designated tour companies.
Tourists pay for unusual experience at York Minster
Window cleaning is not typically considered a particularly glamorous job, but in York, England, tourists are paying £5 an hour to watch glaziers do exactly that. Of course, those windows belong to York Minster cathedral, and happen to be the largest collection of medieval stained-glass windows in the world. The cathedral, built from 1220 to 1472, is undergoing a £19-million project to restore thousands of window pains. The project, which began in 2007, will take between 12 and 15 years to finish, the Toronto Star reports.
Airline employee caught stealing
An employee of American Eagle -- a local affiliate of American Airlines -- was charged for theft after allegedly stealing about $230 worth of women's jewellery and sunglasses at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport, the Associated Press reports. Thefts have been a problem at airports recently. In a mysterious case in July, radio personality Laura Ingraham claims to have had $11,000 worth of jewellery stolen from her bag at the Newark airport. Since 2001, 500 TSA employees have been fired for theft, including one agent caught shoving an iPad down pants in July.
"When it was time to board, she walked us to our gate and up to the plane with the first-class and other elite passengers. It was then that our taste of the good life ended and we took our seats — in coach."
-Michelle Higgins. The New York Times reporter discussed her experience paying for pre-flight first-class service as a coach passenger. Many airlines now offer the option for regular passengers to pay for perks like bypassing security lines, admission to lounges and priority boarding.