737 Max 8 planes grounded
All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft are believed to have been pulled from use worldwide after the model crashed twice in just five months, raising questions about its safety. The United States grounded the planes on Wednesday. Concerns about the model first surfaced after a Lion Air flight crashed near Indonesia in October, killing all 189 people aboard. On March 10, a second plane crashed outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing 157. The FAA and Boeing originally stood by the plane’s safety, and Southwest and American Airlines continued to fly it in the United States. The FAA said that an analysis of new evidence collected at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash affected its decision.
New York Times
Amtrak eyes Duluth train
Amtrak has expressed interest in building an up to $600 million passenger rail line between Minneapolis and the twin port cities of Duluth and Superior, Wis. Leaders in both states welcomed Amtrak’s interest in the proposed Northern Lights Express rail service on Monday. The Twin Ports haven’t had rail service since 1985. The service would run four round trips per day at up to 90 miles per hour on an existing BNSF Railway corridor. The project would be about 80 percent funded through federal grants and a minimum 20 percent through local matching funds. Gov. Tim Walz has proposed an estimated $11 million in bonding for the service.
Cycle South Carolina
Save $200 on a seven-day active adventure in South Carolina with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. The Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel trip costs $2,395 per person double and includes six nights’ lodging; 12 meals; use of custom bike and helmet; full van support; sightseeing activities, such as a Lowcountry boil and a kayak tour of salt marshes; transfers; and taxes. Depart May 5 (1-855-445-5518; vbt.com).
Mardi Gras in Orlando
On a trip to Universal Studios Florida, we could have sworn we were transported to New Orleans. The park’s New York section is currently dressed up like the French Quarter. We were flanked by dancers in sequined pants, feathered costumes and vibrant masks. Smells of king cake and Cajun cooking wafted through the air. Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration, through April 4, features a nightly parade, brass bands, dancing in the streets and plenty of New Orleans cuisine. After stuffing ourselves, it was time to board the swamp-themed parade float. Team members instructed us to throw beads at parade-goers like a frisbee or with an underhand swing. Passholders can sign up for the float rides at universalorlando.com.
Airbnb to buy HotelTonight
Airbnb agreed to buy HotelTonight, its biggest acquisition yet, in a move to increase hotel listings on the site as it prepares for a public offering. The HotelTonight app offers last-minute hotel bookings, seeking to tap into unused inventory largely in urban areas, and has been a travel-industry darling since its 2010 debut. The acquisition extends Airbnb’s reach even further into the hotel industry, where it has been a disruptive rival since its launch just over 10 years ago. HotelTonight appealed to Airbnb because it fits into the company’s own model and will help it cater to growing consumer demand for same-day bookings, according to the company.