Feds reject Minnesota's Real ID extension
The Department of Homeland Security has rejected a request by Minnesota politicians for more time to comply with the new federal Real ID requirement for state driver's licenses.
Minnesotans without a Real ID-compliant license will still be able to board airplanes after Jan. 1. DHS says it plans to give at least 120 days' notice before implementing the Real ID requirement for boarding commercial flights.
Unless the situation changes, at that point Minnesotans would need an accepted form of ID even for domestic flights. Those include a passport, a passport card and DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST).
Craft liquor revolution in Iceland
Iceland is home to a host of new distilleries that are finally starting to produce quality spirits. Most can be visited for tastings. The distilleries are found across the Nordic island, but the spirits are available in many of Reykjavik's bars. Iceland's whiskey boom began in 2009 with the Eimverk Distillery in Lyngas, just outside Reykjavik, but it only started selling commercially in 2014. Their pot-distilled Vor Gin is made with 100-percent Icelandic botanicals like angelica root, kale and creeping thyme. Reyka, Iceland's first modern distillery, was constructed in 2005. "There are a lot of gimmicks in vodka marketing, but the crevices and pores in lava rocks really do filter our vodka, giving it its signature characteristics," Rayka distiller Thordur Sigurdsson said. Thoran, a start-up whiskey distillery, is tinkering with gins and experimenting with sheep dung; its distiller Birgir Sigurdsson predicts the next few years "are going to be the most exciting in Iceland's craft distilling scene." New York Times
Adventure Hotel is for adrenaline seekers
The New Grand Hotel in Nelson, British Columbia, had long ago ceased to be either. So the hotel's owners embarked on a smart overhaul of the 40-room establishment, renaming it the Adventure Hotel. The two-story hotel is in the heart of one of the most vibrant, eclectic mountain towns anywhere. Skiing surrounds this city. Our deluxe room ($129 Canadian/$93 U.S.) had been completely re-imagined with a clean Scandinavian aesthetic. Guests in deluxe rooms have access to a rooftop sauna. Wi-Fi is free. The main floor has a small lounge area, as well as the hotel's Louie's Steakhouse and the Uptown Sports Bar, with its 20 TVs, many of them tuned to curling. (From $69 Canadian/$52 U.S.; adventurehotel.ca.) New York Times
Airfares down, complaints up
Complaints against airlines are on the rise, even as airfares are falling. A study by Expedia of more than 10 billion ticket transactions recorded an 8 percent drop in airfares worldwide. But rather than singing the praises of airlines, passengers are complaining at a 36-percent rate higher than last year, according to consumer data. Paul Hudson, president of flyersrights.org, said he isn't surprised, because airlines continue to charge high fees to check bags and change reservations while packing more passengers into smaller seats. "The service level has dropped," he said. Vaughn Jennings, a spokesman for trade group Airlines for America, downplayed the data: "The customer complaint rate remains remarkably low. Air travel remains one of the best consumer bargains out there." Los Angeles Times