US travellers flying domestically this week may qualify for taxes they paid on their tickets, the world's "best" restaurant is closing this week, Japan's Sendai Airport reopens to travellers, Chilean tourism remains under a dark cloud, and more. Here is what travellers are buzzing about:
fliers are entitled to a refund from the IRS
A partisan impasse in US politics means that the Federal Aviation Administration
may not be collecting federal taxes on plane tickets for the near future. If
you purchased a domestic ticket before 23 July, and are flying during a period
when federal aviation taxes have lapsed, you may be entitled to a refund from
the IRS. In an official statement, the IRS tells travellers to hold off
applying for refunds until it has more understanding of what the rules for
processing will be. JetBlue
will provide refunds out of its own pocket for customers, but Virgin
America refuses to
offer refunds until it hears from the IRS, a position taken by other major
airlines as well. The taxes work out to more
than 8% of the average domestic ticket price, reports the Wall Street
In a milestone, Japan's Sendai Airport reopens for business
Sendai Airport, whose devastation four months ago by a tsunami was captured
by this video, reopened
for commercial air service yesterday, reports the Daily Yomiuri. Flights by
airlines such as Continental, which will be passing through to
destinations such as Guam, will help the local economy recover. But the
airport's re-opening will also give a boost to volunteer
vacations for disaster relief, where you spend a few days helping with
local recovery efforts in return for free lodging and food. A list of
volunteer trips is provided by the Japan Civil Network for Disaster Relief
in East Japan, a coalition of non-profit organisations.
El Bulli's last supper
Said to be the world's greatest restaurant by annual surveys of about 800 critics,
chefs and restaurant owners, El
Bulli is closing. Located near Barcelona, the Michelin
three-star restaurant was famous for its nearly scientific approach to
innovation, reports the Times of London. Think you are familiar with many of
the dishes served since 1985? Try Slate's El Bulli Menu Quiz. Replacing El
Bulli in status is Noma
in Copenhagen, reports Der Spiegel.
shooting at airport in New Orleans
Yesterday, a United Airlines employee was shot
by a passenger checking a hunting rifle for a flight at Louis
Armstrong International Airport in Kenner, New Orleans, reports the
Times-Picayune. For the record, guns are allowed in checked baggage in the US
as long as they are unloaded and stored in a locked container. Fortunately, in
this case, the bullet was removed from the victim's body and the man's injury
was not considered life threatening.
Travel video going viral
Designer Michael Kreil has posted a video that uses voluntarily donated cell
phone location data to visualise
people's travels on a map, reports Protein.
The clusters on the map glow like fireflies. It’s worth a quick look.
Chilean tourism still under a dark
The six-week long eruption
of the Cordon Caulle volcano continues to rain dust down on many
parts of Chile, hurting tourism during the peak winter season, reports Yahoo.
Scientists aren't sure when the eruption will stop, though they note it has
been lessening over time. Other Latin American countries, such as Argentina and
Brazil, have been benefiting from visits by travellers who would otherwise have
Atlanta picked as world's most efficient
Atlanta Hartsfield has been named the most efficient in an annual report from
the Air Transport Research
Society. The report factored in delays and cost relative to size. The
news that may come as a surprise to travellers who have had bad anecdotal
experiences of passing through the airport, which claims to be the world's
busiest by passenger volume.
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"Aloha shirts to the rescue? As much of U.S. swelters,
Hawaii's 'wearable postcards' turn 75 http://usat.ly/oab01G"
-- @laurably a.k.a.,
Laura Bly, a travel writer at USA Today.
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