Travel News: Delta brings some First Class touches to Main Cabins

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Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa will move temporarily to Medici Gallery for 3 months

Just a heads-up for those of you planning to visit the Louvre this summer. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa will make a temporary move to the Medici Gallery on July 17 while her home gallery (La Salle des Etats) undergoes a 3-month renovation.

Paris trying to get tour buses out of the city center

CNN Travel reports that Paris’s deputy mayor has revealed the city is working to stop tourist buses causing “total anarchy” in the city. Emmanuel Gregoire said the town hall is working on regulations to limit bus traffic, and would introduce parking areas outside the city. “Buses are no longer welcome in the very heart of the city,” said Gregoire. While the problem has not reached the levels of Venice or Barcelona, Gregoire believes that Parisians are wary of issues caused by overcrowding. He emphasized that the capital is open to mass tourism, and has made great efforts to provide free public toilets, but claimed that “tourists can do what everyone else does and use public transport or switch to environmentally friendly mobility options” instead of buses. However, Gregoire acknowledged that group tours are useful for older visitors. And while restrictions on buses may make life more difficult for tour guides, Gregoire said that they must adapt and use cycling or walking tours.

Delta bringing some First Class touches to main cabin international flights

Main Cabin passengers traveling on international routes with Delta Air Lines will soon have an elevated experience as the airline is introducing a reinvented service with First Class touches starting in November. The experience is to begin from boarding, with flight attendants greeting guests both at the gate and at the boarding door before passengers receive a hot towel service and complimentary “Welcome Aboard” drinks shortly after departure. The drinks will include Bellinis made with sparkling wine and peach puree, while passengers will also have revamped dining options. As part of the refreshed menu, passengers will be able to select larger entrees featuring recipes inspired by Delta One dishes like grilled shrimp marinated in Harissa and served on a slaw of arugula and apples. Meals will be served on new custom-designed dinnerware and upgraded cutlery, with placemats available for each passenger, while dessert (which will be served after the meal service on most flights) will also include a choice between complimentary coffee, tea, wine, or water. Cabin crew will provide a second hot towel service after the meal service in addition to farewell chocolates, with the new changes coming after an extensive review and testing process involving both passengers and cabin crew. Delta also recently upgraded its amenity kit offerings across cabins, introducing cleansing towelettes (one of the items airline representatives said customers request most) in addition to a sleep mask, a dental kit, and earplugs to its Main Cabin kits.

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French Village Hits 114.6 Degrees, Setting New National Record

Last week Friday, the village of Gallargues-le-Montueux located in southern France outside of Montpellier topped 114.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever recorded in continental France. That sweltering heat broke the previous record of 113.2 degrees, which was set just hours before in the village of Villevieille. And those weren’t the only hot spots. Brian Kahn at Earther reports that at least 12 weather stations in France detected temperatures above 111.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the previous hottest temperature set in 2003. According to Agence-France Presse, the temperature spike makes France the seventh European nation to ever break the 113-degree-Fahrenheit mark, joining Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and North Macedonia. France was not the only nation dealing with extreme heat last week. Andorra, Luxembourg, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany all set record temperatures for the month of June.

Is This What Future Travel Looks Like? Face Scanners And The End FF Check-In

Check-in as we know it could become a thing of the past at New Zealand airports, according to an aviation expert. Check-in changes at Air New Zealand removed the straight-to-gate option for domestic travelers this week, led to a handful of furious customers missing their flights. But aviation expert Irene King told Stuff the move was likely just the start of what’s to come in the future as technology changes, and we could see traditional check-in counters dropped altogether. “I think it’s a prompt to get everyone to check-in electronically, rather than at the counter area,” said King of Air New Zealand’s move. “I think they’re trying to push them to pre-check-in because that obviously speeds up the boarding processes.” It had previously allowed domestic travelers without a bag to go directly to the boarding gate and check-in there by scanning the e-ticket barcode on their phone as they board (if they haven’t already checked in online or via the mobile app). Now, customers will have to check in online, via the airline’s app, or in person at a counter, at least 30 minutes before they fly. The move was a “generational thing” as more people become comfortable using smart phones to check-in and travel, King said. But as technology advances, King said there will likely be some more “pretty significant changes” at our borders. She predicts that current check-in processes will eventually be abandoned as more advanced biometric technology is able to be used in airports. “In 5 or 10 years time, I don’t think there will be any of that back-end process. You’ll just drop your bag at the gate, and you will be biometrically scanned.” The technology is currently being trialed in the US and King says once it’s up to speed, “you’ll see it move around the globe really quickly.” “What it’s doing is reducing airline operating costs by not having so many employees, and secondly by not having the large areas in the terminal that they may presently have to have. You may not actually ever see an airline employee until you’re on board the aircraft,” she said.

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First Battery-Powered Cruise Ship Sails For The Arctic

The world’s first cruise ship propelled partially by battery power is set to head out from northern Norway on its maiden voyage, cruise operator Hurtigruten said on Monday. The hybrid expedition cruise ship, the Roald Amundsen, can take 500 passengers and is designed to sail in harsh climate waters. Named after the Norwegian explorer who navigated the Northwest Passage in 1903-1906 and was first to reach the South Pole in 1911, the ship heads for the Arctic from Tromsoe this week and will sail the Northwest Passage to Alaska before heading South, reaching Antarctica in October. Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam: “It’s designed to take excessive energy from the engines and put into the battery when the ship doesn’t need it and put it back into the engine when the ship needs it, it is a way of reducing emissions significantly without having charging stations available,” Skjeldam said. The company, which operates scenic cruise lines along the country’s fjords and into the Arctic, was inspired by Norway’s fleet of hybrid ferries and also its growing fleet of electric cars, he said.

The Tsar Gold Arctic Train From St. Petersburg To Norway

Travelwirenews reports Russia has launched its first train service from St Petersburg through remote Arctic regions to Norway. The service made its debut journey last week with 91 passengers on board. German tour operator Lernidee Trains & Cruises are the company behind the venture, which they launched as no other operator were offering journeys through the Russian Arctic. The train is called “Zarengold” (“The Tsars gold” in German) and has two restaurant cars as well as sleeping cabins in three different classes. Tours officially start in Russia’s fascinating capital Moscow, where passengers can take in sights like the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral; then an express train takes you to the beautiful imperial capital St Petersburg for a few days’ exploration before the boarding the Zarengold north to the city of Petrozavodsk. Here passengers can visit the local star attraction of Kizhi Island, home to Russia’s iconic wooden Transfiguration Church. The last stop before the Arctic is Kem, from where passengers get a ferry to the Solovetsky Islands, the site of a Unesco-listed monastery. The next stop is the world’s largest Arctic city, Murmansk, an industrial but lively place surrounded by stunning scenery. The following morning passengers get off the train and continue by bus to Kirkenes over the border in Norway before flying to the waterfront Norwegian capital Oslo the next day. The 11-day tours cost from €3550 (US$4017) per person and include all accommodation, train tickets, internal flights, meals and excursions.

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