Travel News of the Week: The Brussels Card

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Brussels Card Includes A Public Transport Option

Brussels Card, the all-in-one Brussels museum pass, is now on offer again with a formula including a public transports option. On top of granting free access to 39 museums, giving discounts upon showing the card in 30 shops, attractions and guided tours, holders of this card may make unlimited use buses, trams and tubes of the STIB network, including to and from the airport. And there’s an extra bonus: you save the € 5 issuing a MOBIB card (the usual necessary support for 24, 48 or 72 hours tickets) usually costs. It’s easier and better value!

Emirates to launch enhanced Onboard Lounge as part of cabin upgrades

DUBAI — Emirates is off to a busy start in 2017, having just announced the launch of new cabin products and enhancements for both its A380 and Boeing 777 fleet. According to the airline, which was named Skytrax’s World’s Best Airline in 2016, the multi-million-dollar cabin interiors upgrade program includes an enhanced Onboard Lounge for First and Business Class passengers on its flagship Airbus A380 aircraft.

“Since we first launched the product in 2008, our A380 Onboard Lounge has gone through small but successive enhancements in line with customer feedback to increase the amount of space for our customers to interact in the lounge. In our latest revamp, we have taken inspiration from private yacht cabins, and amongst other thoughtful touches, we have increased the seating space, and also made it more intimate and conducive for our passengers to socialize or enjoy our lounge service,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline. Features include a new seating arrangement along the windows on both sides of the bar, with each seating area equipped with a table and window view. Overall, the lounge can comfortably accommodate up to 26 passengers at a time, including eight seated. 

Orlando International Airport Approves Bags Inc. Pilot Program

Orlando International Airport plans to use its remote sorting facility to alleviate the volume of bags screened inside the main terminal. The facility currently handles luggage for Walt Disney World guests. Leaders at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday approved a one-year contract with Bags Inc. to offer remote airline check-in services. The pilot project, which could start as soon as next month, would help alleviate congestion within the airport’s baggage system, said Phil Brown, the airport’s executive director. The service would provide passengers with boarding passes and luggage check-in services on the first two levels of the airport’s A and B parking garages, he said. None of the baggage would be processed at the terminal’s main baggage handling system, which currently handles luggage for 42 million annual passengers at a facility originally built for 24 million. On the busiest day, the main terminal system handles about 60,000 pieces of luggage. That system has been upgraded over the years, but the demand on the system is still too much. Bags collected at those checkpoints would be transferred to a remote sorting facility for processing and screening if they’re dropped off at least 90 minutes before a flight’s departure time. 

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Buenos Aires Launches Free Gastronomic Tours For Visitors

The city of Buenos Aires is enjoying a special year with its designation as Ibero-American Capital of Gastronomic Culture. Tourists will now be able to join free tours alongside locals and get an insider’s view of the city’s restaurants and eateries, including perennial favorites and hot new discoveries. The tours will take place on the third Saturday of each month at 5 pm, each one focusing on a particular neighborhood and theme, and accompanied by a different specialist. March’s edition will be guided by the prestigious bartender Federico Cuco, a Buenos Aires celebrity and icon for the city’s trendy young inhabitants. Throughout the year tourists will be taken everywhere from traditional Spanish style taverns, Italian stone oven pizzerias, Argentine asado houses (the national style of cooking meat over red hot coal) and much, much more…all with an emphasis on understanding the history, evolution and preparation of each cuisine.

Dinosaurs Are Coming To Stone Mountain Park

After a 65 to 230 million year hiatus, Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s most visited attraction, announced plans to debut its latest addition, Dinosaur Explore, set to open March 30 and run throughout the 2017 season. Dinosaur Explore will feature 20 dinosaurs representing 14 species, T. rex meet and greets, baby dinosaur interactions and a dino dig play area. In addition, there will be an all-new indoor experience: Dinotorium. Inside the Dinotorium, guests can interact with dino rangers, learn about different dinosaur habitats, visit the Dino Nursery, feed baby dinosaurs and play games. Kids are invited to join in the learning fun by becoming junior dino rangers. The prehistoric creature collection will be located behind the Dinotorium on wooded trails where families will discover giant dinosaurs that move and roar just like their ancient ancestors.

When Are You Due Flight Compensation?

If you have a ticket for flights only within Europe,  or with any EU-based airline such as Ryanair or British Airways, you can claim compensation for delays of three hours or more under EU law. Your right to compensation will be calculated based on the length of time your flight is delayed, and the distance you were due to travel. For delays of three hours or more on short-haul flights, you would be owed €250 (£211), and on long-haul flights you would be owed €400 (£337). For delays of four hours or more you can get up to €600 (£506). If you are delayed for two hours you won’t get compensation but you have a right to free food and drink, phones calls and accommodation if you are delayed overnight. Airlines are not legally obliged to compensate customers for delays or cancellations in instances where the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond the airlines control, such as a volcanic eruption, a strike or extreme weather.  This is only applicable within Europe. It does not apply to flights originating in the USA—only for internal European flights on a separate ticket to a Transatlantic ticket.

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On the Wright Trail

Wisconsin is celebrating the 150th birthday of native son Frank Lloyd Wright with events and a new 200-mile trail directing visitors to nine of the sites, homes and buildings he designed. Wright, considered America’s best-known architect, was born June 8, 1867 in Richland Center. The self-guided trail was announced last year. Highway signs, with a graphic design and typography inspired by Wright’s spare, geometric esthetics and style, were unveiled in December. The signs, 115 in all, are located in nine counties along various roads as well as on some Madison city streets. Events scheduled for this year to mark his birthday include an exhibit called “Buildings for the Prairie” at the Milwaukee Art Museum, July 28-Oct. 15, featuring his early portfolio designs as well as furniture, stained glass and textiles.

Oceania Cruises Adds 6 More Cuba Itineraries For 2017

The luxury cruise line has revealed a series of new departures for Fall 2017. Oceania Marina, which kicks off its first Cuba cruise from Miami on March 7, will sail six additional itineraries from Miami in November and December. The cruises will range from six to 13 nights and include the line’s first calls to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba; all Oceania Cuba cruises will call at Havana.

Cuba To Get First Five Star Hotel

Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group plans to transform the historic Manzana de Gómez building into an ultra-modern, 246-room hotel. The building is a 19th-century, former European-style shopping arcade. Called the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, rooms and suites, including a 1,600-square-foot Presidential Suite,will feature high ceilings, a contemporary palette of whites and grays (with pops of vibrant color befitting a Caribbean hotel), and French windows. The Gran Hotel Manzana will be a clear departure from other upscale properties in the country. The hotel could open as early as this spring. Additional features include the rooftop swimming pool, Resense spa, and complimentary in-room internet. “Its location within a famous historic building,” Kempinski CEO Markus Semer said in a statement, makes it “the most exclusive hotel project in Old Havana.”

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