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

Amazing things that should happen more often

On Monday, Qatar Airways revealed its plan to join the Oneworld global airline alliance by 2014. This marketing arrangement enables members to earn miles on partner airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. Expect Etihad or Emirates, major competitors of Qatar, to respond by joining one of the other two major alliances, Star or SkyTeam. [Wall Street Journal]

South Korea is riding the wave of hit Korean pop song Gangnam Style’s massive worldwide success, with officials leveraging Gangnam Style’s popularity as a tool for the country’s international branding. [Washington Post]

Another tourism branding success story out this week? The ad campaign related to Prince Harry’s infamous romp in Las Vegas, protecting the credo “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” has raked in tourism revenue for the American city. [E!]

Good amusement is always welcome on public transport, and these prank signs have had London Underground commuters doing a second take. The signs have been making the rounds online, and Mashable compiled a slideshow of some of the funniest here. [Mashable]

Aloha low fares! Hawaiian Airlines has doubled the amount of non-stop flights to Maui out of Oakland and San Jose, leading to a plunge in airfares. [Gadling]

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

Dubai-based airlines Emirates is now allowing passengers on its A380 planes to place cell phone calls in-flight. Emirates has always been a leader when it comes to technology offerings for passengers, but some are wondering whether this measure will annoy as many people as it makes happy. [Digital Trends]

Cashless, virtual ATMs, where already-existing retailers double as mini banks, will bring banking to far-flung locales like rural India. Read more about the cost-effective concept already deployed in Japan and the US here. [FastCoExist]

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

SmartMoney.com has put together a list of 10 things travel sites won’t tell you. Number one is "Don't assume our prices are the lowest". Shopping around is still necessary, as some airlines withhold the best fares for their own websites. [Wall Street Journal]

The numbers are out, and some tourist sites in London attracted far fewer tourists over the Olympics than during the same period the previous year – up to 60% fewer visits in some cases. Despite high volumes of visitors in town for the Olympics, sites like the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral suffered lower-than-usual visitor numbers. [HuffPo]

It’s a no-go

Earlier this week, a US citizen attempted to enter the country at LAX with a disturbing collection of weaponry and related paraphernalia. The man’s clothes first caught security’s attention: he was wearing a bulletproof vest and trench coat; and opening his luggage revealed items including a smoke grenade, knives, a hatchet and body bags. [CNN] Another unsettling element to the story, though, is that it turns out the smoke grenade was the only illegal item he carried. [HuffPo]

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