New fee for teens flying solo
United Airlines has expanded the age range of children who must use a $150 service when flying without an accompanying adult. Now any child ages 5 to 15 flying solo must pay for the "unaccompanied minor service." Previously the service was required only for ages 5 to 12. Delta and American Airlines charge $150 for children ages 5 to 14. Southwest charges $50 for ages 5 to 11.
Los Angeles Times
Free entry to national parks
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the National Park Service will offer free admission to national parks for 16 days in 2016. The dates are Jan. 18 (Martin Luther King Day), April 16-24, Aug. 25-28 (National Park Week), Sept. 24 and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day). staff report
Backpacks are the new carry-on
Backpacks are increasingly the carry-on bag of choice for many travelers. Options today combine fashion and function and are designed with globe-trotters in mind. The Belgian brand Hedgren just released the Breeze in a polyester material for women in catchy patterns such as a zebra print ($75). Uri Minkoff has the Anto, a unisex design in pebbled leather with a roomy interior ($475). The unisex Excursion backpack from Briggs and Riley, made of a lightweight but durable nylon, has a spacious main compartment that can hold odd-shaped items ($145). Tumi recently introduced the chic leather Mercer Drawstring backpack for women in black or steel blue, with multiple pockets and a generously sized compartment ($595). For men, there's Tumi's Alpha 2; the modern design features a zip pocket with a coded lock to protect your passport ($495). The Quilted Tech nylon backpack for men from Jack Spade is water-resistant and made from a sturdy nylon material ($298). New York Times
Hilton offers 'little extras' for a price
Hilton Worldwide may have found a way to collect extra revenue without annoying guests with hidden fees. Under a new program called Little Extras Upgrade, Hilton's DoubleTree hotels will offer guests in a standard room a package of extras such as snacks and drinks for an added cost of $25 to $35 a night. The packages will include high-speed in-room Wi-Fi, snacks, candy, water, fruit, drink vouchers and an in-room premium coffee brewer. The food and drinks can be delivered to the room or guests can be given 24-hour access to a snack room. "This is a way hotels can be upfront and say, 'You have a choice,' " said Bjorn Hanson, a New York University expert on hotel fees. "I think it's a positive way of having fees and surcharges."
Los Angeles Times
Deal of the week
50 percent off in Bermuda
The Bermuda Tourism Authority is offering a 50 percent sale at 13 island resorts. Properties participating in the Pink Sale include the Fairmont Southampton, Hamilton Princess Bermuda and St. George's Club. Prices vary. For example, a deluxe ocean-view room at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort starts at $120 a night, including taxes (add $11 daily resort fee); normal price is from $275. Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa starts at $273, down from $504. Book Jan. 8-25, and travel Jan. 8-April 30 and Sept. 7-Dec. 31. Blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Info: gotobermuda.com.