$9 airport shuttle for Duluth, Mankato
A bus service making its debut at airports in Mankato and Duluth will shuttle travelers to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. And it comes with an introductory fare that might be hard to pass up: $9 each way. Called Landline, the service will offer four trips a day between MSP and Duluth and five trips daily between MSP and Mankato starting in June. Fares eventually will rise to as high as $30 to $32, said co-founder David Sunde. Landline plans to announce its first airline partner this spring. Passengers then will be able to book a seat on Landline when creating their itinerary on the airline’s website. Should it take off, there are plans to expand to Brainerd, Minn., and Eau Claire, Wis., by the end of the year.
Little Mermaid lessons
Disney World is offering fans of “The Little Mermaid” lessons on how to be like Ariel, the star of the classic tale. During the one-hour class, students will be fitted with a tail and taught how to move like a mermaid in the shallow end of a pool. Life jackets will be available. The sessions are being held at three Disney resorts: the Art of Animation Resort, the Caribbean Beach Resort and the Yacht and Beach Club Resort. Classes for eight will be held Tuesdays through Sundays at 8 a.m. Teachers hail from the Mermaid Academy, which also sells colorful tails from $109 on its website. The cost is $53.25 for ages “4 up to 100.” For reservations, call 1-407-939-7529 and inquire about Disney World’s “Enchanted Extras.” Agents are booking through September.
Science travel on the rise
Citizen science travel, or trips where the traveler is encouraged to participate in scientific research, is growing in popularity. Environmental charity Earthwatch has been sending volunteers on research trips for nearly 50 years, with tours focusing on climate change, ocean health, wildlife and ecosystems. Ecotourists collect and analyze environmental data in the hope of advancing conservation efforts on a global scale. Earthwatch says scientists and participants have discovered new species and gathered data that have been influential in establishing nature reserves and protecting endangered wildlife, like leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica. The firm’s latest expedition takes citizen scientists to Peru on a weeklong journey to photograph, measure and collect genetic samples of giant manta rays to help halt overfishing. The Peruvian expedition is $2,750 per person.
New York Times
Iceland hit by Wow demise
Wow Air has gone out of business, stranding thousands of passengers and creating potentially huge risks for Iceland’s tiny economy and its growing reliance on tourism. The discount airline, which did not serve Minneapolis-St. Paul, is the eighth European airline to have failed since the summer. But Wow’s demise should bring short-term relief to local rival Icelandair. Both airlines have played a key role in the country’s decade-long boom in tourism. Now visitors to Iceland are set to drop this year for the first time in a decade. Economist Stefan Broddi Gudjonsson said the Wow debacle could cause tourist numbers to drop by around 16 percent in 2019. “This announcement comes at bad time for the Icelandic tourism sector, which is now preparing for the high season,” Gudjonsson said.