Travel News of the Week: World’s Shortest International Flight


Disney World’s Big Thunder Coaster Rolls Out Kidney Stones

For years, David Wartinger’s patients told him stories of passing kidney stones shortly after riding roller coasters. Jarring motions and vibrations often jostle stones stuck on the outer area of kidney, enabling them to be passed. A patient told Wartinger he rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad inside Disney World’s Magic Kingdom three times in an hour and passed a stone shortly after each ride. So Wartinger decided to test it himself. Alongside then-urology resident Mark Mitchell, Wartinger visited Disney in 2008. He and Mitchell rode coasters with a backpack loaded with a 3D model of a kidney between them. Testing nearly 200 stones of different shapes and sizes, the pair found Big Thunder Mountain was particularly effective. They found nearly 70% of stones were primed for passage when riding in the rear car at Big Thunder Mountain. Other carts on the ride weren’t nearly as successful. Rough-riding coasters with quick turns are most likely to help stones move along, Wartinger said. Coasters won’t work for everyone, Wartinger said. Much like a person’s fingerprint, the inside of a person’s kidney has a unique pattern. But for patients who know they have a small stone, recently had a larger stone broken-up or women looking to pass a stone before becoming pregnant, roller coasters may be a logical proactive measure.

Paris Approves Nudist Area For Summer Visitors To Strip Off

City councilors in Paris have approved plans for an experimental nudist area in the middle of the French capital next summer. Visitors will be able to strip off in a designated area, possibly within one of the city’s parks or in a wooded area on the outskirts. The plan, proposed by the Green Party, has the support of the Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her Deputy Bruno Julliard. The most likely site is in one of Paris’s large woods, either the Bois de Boulogne or the Bois de Vincennes.

Worlds Shortest International Flight To Be Flown By An Austrian Airline

A little-known Austrian airline is launching what is believed to be the shortest international flight. The flight will cover just 13 miles and is expected to take only eight minutes. People’s Viennaline, which was founded in 2010 and flies to just four destinations, will fly from Friedrichshafen in Germany, to St Gallen-Altenrhein in Switzerland. The two cities are separated by Lake Constance so although they are only 13 miles apart as the crow flights, the journey by land is about 40 miles. The twice daily service will launch on November 2. The flight is the first leg of a new, longer route that will take passengers from St.Gallen to Cologne in northwest Germany. The previous record was a 10 minute flight between Vienna, Austria and Slovakia’s capital Bratislava. It’s not the world’s shortest flight. Europe’s shortest domestic flight is actually between two Scottish villages, Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands, which is acknowledged by Guinness as the world’s shortest commercial flight.


Bangkok Beats London As Most Popular Travel Destination

Bangkok is now the most popular global travel destination according to Mastercard’s annual Global Destinations Cities Index. Bangkok beat 2015’s most popular destination, London, into second place. The index measures international overnight visitor arrivals and ranks the 132 most visited cities around the world. Bangkok is projected to receive 21.47 million international visitors in 2016, followed by London on 19.88 million. Paris, Dubai and New York round out the top five. Mastercard says the difference between the global top 10 and the fastest growing top 10 cities suggests that Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa have become increasingly important to the global economic landscape. Asia Pacific dominates both the global top 10, with five cities, and the 10 fastest growing cities list with seven entries. The five Asia Pacific cities in the top ten are Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Seoul. In Europe, London maintains its top spot, followed by Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

Finnair To Fly Helsinki-San Francisco Seasonal Route Effective June 1

Finnair has announced an seasonal expansion of their U.S. destinations and will serve San Francisco starting June 1st of the coming year. The route will be served three times a week with Airbus A330-300 aircraft and is scheduled to operate until the end of September. Finnair will make San Francisco its fourth U.S. destination. The flights will operate Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through the end of September. Finnair’s San Francisco-bound flight is scheduled for 9 hours, 20 minutes while the return to Finland is scheduled for 11 hours, 45 minutes. The last new U.S. route launched by Finnair came in 2015, when the carrier began nonstop service between Chicago O’Hare and Helsinki. That seasonal service between with three weekly flights in 2015 but was expanded to five weekly flights for the summer 2016 schedule. Finnair offers year-round service between Helsinki and New York JFK and Miami.


“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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