Every Friday, we help you navigate the week’s most important and interesting travel news stories.

Breaking travel news for travellers

American Airlines is repairing more 757s. Earlier this week rows of seats in three passenger planes came loose during flight. After initial repairs two days ago, more planes were grounded last night. [ABC News]

Amazing things that should happen more often

Voters who are disappointed by the US presidential election results a month from now could have a chance to leave the country for free. JetBlue Airways is inviting travellers to name their preferred candidate on its Election Protection website. All voters whose candidate loses on the big day will be entered into a contest for the chance to win one of 1,006 round-trip flights overseas. [JetBlue]

Ready for takeoff
All set to go, but too soon to tell what’s ahead

The Japanese firm Hitachi has unveiled the world's first explosive-detecting departure gate. It works by blowing a puff of air on each passenger's hand as they swipe their ticket. The air is then sucked back inside the machine along with any small particles from the person's hand. [Gadling]

Five hotels in Australia have launched an electric car-hire network. The Holiday Inns and Crowne Plazas in New South Wales have outfitted their parking lots with charging stations, along with 20 of the next-generation vehicles. The hotels, part of the IHG chain, are part of the Australian Government’s Smart Grid, Smart City trial on new energy supply technologies. [Better Place]

In-flight entertainment        
Photos and videos that went viral on the Web this week

A video of Paris’ prettiest scenes was posted on video-sharing site Vimeo this week, quickly garnering 13,000 plays. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and other landmarks were shot using 3,500 photos combined into a compelling, two-minute time-lapse movie. [Vimeo] 

Hold on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride

Hotel doors may be more vulnerable to unlocking by intruders than previously thought. A hacker says he easily broke into the electronic locks installed on four million hotel doors, using a contraption hidden inside a magic marker. He has posted  a video explaining how he did it, of course. [SpiderLabs]

Talking and texting via mobile phone is common on aeroplanes flying over Europe, Asia and the Middle East, where technological and regulatory hurdles have been overcome. On Emirates Airlines alone, passengers have made 650,000 in-flight phone conversations since 2008. Yet the US skies remain phone free, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. The major US carriers say they have no interest in paying the installation costs for the technologies, and the Federal Aviation Administration says it’s keeping its ban on cell phone usage in place. [LA Times]

It’s a no-go

Eating a gelato on the Spanish Steps may seem like a taste of la dolce vita when visiting Rome, but it could land travellers with a 500 euro fine. A new law makes it illegal to “stop to eat or drink in zones which have a particular historic or architectural value.” Local activists next want to target pub crawls, which they consider obnoxious. [Telegraph]

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