TIME Infectious Disease

How to Get to Monrovia and Back

A Brussels Airlines plane bound for Monrovia at Brussels Airport in Brussels on Aug. 28, 2014.
A Brussels Airlines plane bound for Monrovia at Brussels Airport in Brussels on Aug. 28, 2014. Dominique Faget—AFP/Getty Images

People, and viruses like Ebola, can go anywhere these days

None of the passengers who flew with Ebola Patient Zero from Monrovia, Liberia to Dallas, Texas will have to worry about catching the deadly virus. The patient wasn’t contagious in-flight. Airlines may be called carriers, but airplanes themselves are not particularly good at spreading viral diseases such as Ebola.

What they are good at is transporting people infected with viral diseases from a seemingly far off and remote city such as Monrovia to a big American town such as Dallas. But the global economy has brought cities a lot closer together, and changed disease vectors accordingly.

Need to get to Monrovia? Easy. We can book a trip for you immediately if your passport is handy and you have the visa. There’s a flight leaving JFK in New York City at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday that gets you into Monrovia 21 hours and 25 minutes later. (Relax, Delta passengers; the airline serves Monrovia through Accra from New York, but suspended that connecting service on August 30.) The current itinerary is JFK to BRU to DKR to ROB, airline code for New York to Brussels, where you’ll change planes, then a stop at Dakar, Senegal, before heading to Monrovia’s Roberts International Airport. All that travel takes place aboard Brussels Airlines on wide body Airbus 330s. Indeed, the worst part of the trip may be flying to New York on a commuter jet from Dallas.

You have other options, too: the airline-listing site Kayak offers 1,673 combinations that will get you to Monrovia from New York. Or you can make 574 connections through Chicago. And Open Skies agreements that freed global airlines to fly point-to-point across continents have, as the State Department puts it, “vastly expanded international passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States.”

You can hop an A380 on Emirates Airlines from Dallas to Dubai, change there for a Qatar Air flight to Casablanca and then find a Royal Maroc 737-800 to Monrovia via Freetown. Or fly non-stop to London and then connect via Casablanca or Brussels to Monrovia.

The point is, you can get anywhere from here. And so can the germs.

TIME Aviation

Flights in Chicago Slowly Return to Normal After Control Center Fire

Flight Cancellations Continue At Chicago's O'Hare After Yesterday's Fire
The arrival and departure display at O'Hare International Airport shows a list of cancelled flights on Sept. 27, 2014 in Chicago. Scott Olson—Getty Images

More than 2,000 cancelled flights and delays

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it expects a Chicago-area air traffic control center to be fully operational in a couple weeks, after a fire there Friday led to thousands of canceled and delayed flights.

The fire at the air traffic control center in Aurora, Ill. led to more than 2,000 canceled flights on Friday at Midway and O’Hare airports. By Sunday, O’Hare Airport was about 60% operational while Midway was about 75% operational, according to the FAA, after Aurora-based traffic controllers relocated to facilities across the Midwest. Delays continued to persist on many flights.

The air-traffic controllers will continue to work at other facilities until the Chicago center is fully operational, which is expected to happen by Oct. 13

TIME technology

Concorde Discord: Insulted Prime Minister Gets Revenge With Airplane

Concorde
Concorde in flight, circa 1976 Evening Standard / Getty Images

Sept. 26, 1973: a Concorde jet makes its first non-stop flight over the Atlantic

Its slogan was “Arrive before you leave,” but Concorde passengers had to settle for slightly slower travel than that, at twice the speed of sound.

It took years of testing to convince the public it was safe to fly that fast. Although the famous Concorde first flew in 1969, the supersonic turbojet didn’t begin carrying commercial passengers until 1976. Meanwhile, test pilots broke record after record. On this day, Sept. 26, in 1973, the Concorde made its first nonstop flight across the pond, from D.C. to Paris, in a record-smashing three hours and 32 minutes. A Boeing 747 took twice as long to go as far.

Cruising at 1,350 miles per hour, Concorde went on to set the record for the fastest-ever transatlantic airliner crossing, on a 1996 New York-to-London flight that touched down just two hours, 52 minutes, and 59 seconds after takeoff.

The plane was both an engineering marvel and a model of international collaboration. Designed and produced by a partnership between the French and British governments, it joined the fleets of both Air France and British Airways. However, mixing business with politics between foreign powers didn’t always go smoothly, however. For one thing, the effort was a massive financial loss. Only 20 planes ever entered commercial service, and neither government recouped their investment in engineering and testing.

And then there was the extra “e.” Originally, the French and British officials overseeing the plane’s development agreed that it would be spelled “Concorde,” in the French way. But British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan reportedly felt snubbed once when French President Charles de Gaulle visited London and declined to see the prime minister, saying he had a cold; in retaliation, Macmillan decided to spell the name the British way on British planes — without the “e.”

Britain’s aviation minister at the time, Tony Benn, later told The Guardian that he came up with a plot to restore the “e,” and concord between the countries, when he attended the plane’s French roll-out in Toulouse. There, he simply announced that Britain was putting the “e” back on.

“We had to have the same name for the same aircraft, and besides, it was reversing an insult to the French,” Benn explained. “I didn’t tell anybody I was planning to do it, but once I had announced it in Toulouse, they couldn’t do anything about it. I said, ‘E stands for excellence, for England, for Europe, and for the entente cordiale.’”

The plane’s spotless safety record was shattered in 2000, when a French Concorde crashed just after takeoff at Charles de Gaulle Airport, killing all 109 people on board along with four on the ground. The damage to its reputation, coupled with an aging fleet and financial losses, conspired to ground the Concorde for good three years later.

Read about that crash here, in TIME’s archives: Doomed

 

TIME Travel

The World’s 50 Greatest Dream Trips

Dream Trip: Berlin
Berlin Dagmar Schwelle

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

That’s what Travel + Leisure editors asked travelers on the streets of New York City, as well as their followers on Twitter and Facebook. Their answers spanned the globe—from the beaches of Brazil to a South African safari to the Canadian Rockies.

Berlin

“I would visit the Berlin Wall and try new foodie hot spots.” —Victor Au Yeung, 28, Doctor

The former West is buzzy thanks to Bikini Berlin, a new cool-kid shopping center full of local high-design brands such as Gestalten. Next door, there’s the whimsical 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, whose rooftop restaurant Neni and Monkey Bar lounge are the city’s hardest-to-get reservations. November 9 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. See it via a new food-focused tour from Berlinagenten, which includes meals at three restaurants along or near the wall.

St. Lucia

“My husband and I would relax by our in-room pool with a view of the Piton mountains, and then enjoy a couples massage.” —Jen Christiansen, via Facebook

At the Piton-facing Jade Mountain, all but five of the 29 open-air suites come with private infinity pools. (You’ll have to tear yourself away to make it to the beach.) As for that massage: we suggest the neighboring Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, where the Rainforest Spa has seven tree-house treatment rooms.

Argentina + Chile

“I could really get into a #SouthAmerican #food tour.” —@IMJPRO

We’ve narrowed it down to two culinary capitals. Here’s how to tackle them, one meal at a time.

Buenos Aires: In Monserrat, Gonzalo Aramburu puts a “Nueva Cocina” spin on traditional dishes such as gnocchi soufflé and suckling pig at Aramburu Bis, whileSucre Restaurant Bar & Grill reflects chef Fernando Trocca’s global sensibility (think risotto with Black Angus osso buco).

Santiago, Chile: Boragó is the top table in a city that’s just beginning to celebrate its culinary roots. Chef Rodolfo Guzman turns native ingredients—shellfish, mushrooms, herbs, and highland flowers—into edible bonsai. 99 is young, radical, and market-fresh. Don’t miss the wild-boarcaldo if it pops up on the three-course lunch menu.

Petra, Jordan

“Ever since seeing Indiana Jones, I’ve wanted to visit the historic sites of Petra.” —@sarahjenksdaly

You should follow Indy’s footsteps through the slot canyon, or siq, that leads to the Treasury building, hewn by hand from a sandstone cliff. But there are many worthwhile sites, including cave dwellings and a massive colonnaded Monastery that sits atop the highest peak (it’s a steep hike, so hire a horse or donkey). Our tips: start early to avoid the afternoon heat; use a guide, who can explain Petra’s architecture and mysterious history (we love Mahmoud Ahmed); and stay at the Mövenpick Resort Petra, with a pool and prime location just outside the entrance.

Paris

“It’s the ideal city for romance. I’d love to visit museums and eat amazing food.” —Angela Harry, 47, Patient-Care Technician

The city’s smaller museums are quieter, and much more romantic. A short walk from the Jardin du Luxembourg, Musée Maillol is a love letter to the artist Aristide Maillol founded by his muse, Dina Vierny; you’ll also see works by Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. The gardens of the Musée Rodinare intimate and peaceful—and right next door to Alain Passard’s L’Arpège, which offers a poetic and refined twist on farm-to-table eating. And the Jacquemart-André Museum—set in a 19th-century mansion—has works by everyone from Botticelli to Boucher.

Read the full list HERE.

More from Travel + Leisure:

MONEY Airlines

Holiday Travel Just Got More Annoying Thanks to New Airline Fee

A ground crew member loads baggage onto a Spirit Airlines Inc. plane at the San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California, U.S.
Sam Hodgson—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Spirit Airlines already charges more fees than any other domestic carrier. Now it's adding a surcharge for checked bags on flights around the holidays.

In an industry enraptured with airline fees, Spirit Airlines stands out as the most fee-crazed carrier of all in the U.S., with fees for things others still provides at no additional charge, including carryon luggage, water, and the printing of a boarding pass at the airport. (If you don’t print yours at home, you’re asked to cough up $10 at check-in.) Spirit is also known for being highly profitable, and for being outrageous to get attention—the latest example being the gimmick of giving away free miles to customers who send a message to the airline explaining why they hate it so much.

This past spring, Spirit relaunched its brand to better explain how exactly it does business—low upfront fares combined with a la carte fees for almost anything beyond basic transportation, dubbed the “bare fare”—in order to quell the hate. CEO Ben Baldanza has also gone on record saying that his company may stop adding fees because it’s become difficult to think up any more new ones.

Apparently, however, the creative folks at Spirit have put their heads together and come up yet another fee—or, rather, a fee on top of a fee it already charges. The Los Angeles Times reports that Spirit has quietly tacked on a $2 surcharge on top of its usual checked baggage fees for passengers traveling during the peak winter holiday period, December 18 to January 5. The standard price to check a bag during online check-in is $40 for the first piece of luggage, so if you’re flying during the holiday period, it’ll run $42.

“Winter is coming … and that means holidays. Which means more people than ever will be traveling with Spirit to visit their loved ones,” states a message from Spirit attempting to explain the holiday surcharge. “To make sure we have room for everyone’s bags, we’re encouraging customers to pack a bit lighter.”

It almost sounds as if without such a fee, and without customers packing less, Spirit might have difficulty finding space for all the luggage people want to bring. Which is preposterous. Clearly, the fee is intended to milk passengers for a couple more bucks here and there, at a time when they’re more likely to have to pay up because they’re flying with gifts and bulky winter clothing.

No matter how Spirit tries to spin this, the airline is yet again demonstrating that it’s in love with fees, that it can’t help but push the envelope with the annoying, outrageous, nickel-and-diming of its customers—and that, in all likelihood, it’ll maintain its status as a highly profitable operation regardless.

TIME Accident

Bus Crash in Delaware Kills 2, Injures 48

Delaware Bus Crash
Passengers from a tour bus are treated for injuries near the overturned bus at the Tybouts Corner on ramp from southbound Del. 1 to Red Lion Road in Bear, Del. on Sept. 21, 2014. John J. Jankowski—The Wilmington News-Journal/AP

The bus was traveling from Washington, D.C. to New York

A sightseeing tour bus crashed in Delaware on Sunday, killing two people and injuring 48, police said.

The bus, owned by New York-based company AM USA Express, was traveling from Washington, D.C. to New York City at the time of the crash, Delaware state police said. The names of the passengers who perished in the crash have not yet been released, though police have identified them as a 30-year-old female passenger from Turkey and a 54-year-old female passenger from New York.

The bus overturned near an exit ramp in New Castle, Delaware, according to the preliminary investigation. The bus was a part of a three-day tour hosted by E World Travel and Tours that began on Friday, according to police. Passengers are being treated at several hospitals in the area, and at least a few are reportedly in critical condition.

MONEY Travel

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Tipping

Man signing credit card bill at restaurant
Tetra Images—Getty Images

It's not your imagination. In today's world, we're expected to tip more people, and at increasingly higher amounts. What's up with that?

In the past few days, tipping has been at the center of controversies involving the Philadelphia Eagles’ LeSean McCoy, who left a 20-cent tip at a restaurant, and Marriott, which launched a campaign to encourage guests to tip housekeepers. The latter prompted many to respond by bashing the upscale hotel company for not paying maids higher wages in the first place.

Clearly, the subject of tipping—fraught with guilt and obligation, clouded with issues of class and income inequality—strikes a chord. It certainly doesn’t help that there’s so much we don’t understand about gratuities. For example …

Until very recently, most travelers didn’t tip hotel maids. Marriott’s initiative to prod guests to tip housekeepers seems to have firmly established the practice as standard. And indeed, it does seem to be the standard: Only 31% of American travelers said they don’t tip maids, according to a recent TripAdvisor survey. As recently as 2011, however, the ratio was reversed, with industry experts such as Michael Lynn of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration pointed to data suggesting that only 30% of hotel guests actually left tips for housekeepers. In 2006, New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey admitted he, presumably like nearly all business travelers, generously tipped almost every hotel staffer he encountered but had been overlooking the maids, “perhaps because they were unseen, working in the room when the guest was gone.”

Where you leave the money matters. Marriott provides envelopes so that guests can leave a tip, and perhaps a note of gratitude, for housekeepers. Hotel guests may not be exactly sure where to leave tips for the maid—and the maids themselves may not know if money left out in the open is intended for them. In one anonymous Q&A, a hotel maid offered the advice that hotel guests should “leave [the tip] where it’s obviously for the recipient—like a $20 on the nightstand for a hooker!” Her suggestions: on the tray with the ice bucket, or in the bathroom under the water glass.

Some stereotypes about tipping appear to be true. Certain ethnic groups are perceived to be less generous tippers than others. Apparently, these theories are not simply urban myths. One recent study found that Hispanics tipped less at restaurants than whites after controlling for factors such as bill size and the customer’s personal feelings about the quality of the service and food, while the conclusion in another survey declared “restaurant servers and their managers can expect below average tips from black customers regardless of their social class.” Only 11% of Italians in a recent survey, meanwhile, said that they “always” tipped for service on vacation, compared with 60% of Americans.

Millennials are bad tippers too. Millennials are known to love tasting new foods and tend to dine out in “upscale, casual-dining” establishment more than older generations, yet roughly one-third of Gen Y tips less than 15% at restaurants. Only 16% of people in demographics older than the millennials admit to tipping less than 15%.

Dads tip babysitters, moms stiff them. Men typically tip the babysitter for an average of $2.20, while the typical babysitter tip offered by women is $0, according to a PayScale survey.

There’s a payday loan banking alternative that runs on tips. It’s an app called Activehours, and it allows hourly employees to get paid for the time they’ve worked—before payday, and with no mandatory fees. Instead of the loanshark-like terms of the typical payday loan, users have the freedom to pay Activehours whatever amount (including $0) they want for the service.

Cheapness is only one reason people don’t tip. The NFL’s LeSean McCoy said that he is normally a generous tipper, but that he left a 20-cent tip on a recent restaurant bill as “a kind of statement,” with the message being that the food, service, and general level of respect weren’t up to snuff. Other restaurant customers have been shamed for using homophobia, racism, religion, and, in one instance, being spurned by the bartender after groping her, as excuses for why they didn’t tip their waitstaff.

Holiday season tipping can be traced back to newsboys. The annual tradition of tipping doormen, mail carriers, maids, nannies, and others originated in the 1700s, when young newspaper delivery boys got in the habit of hitting up subscribers for gratuities on Christmas or New Year’s Day. The practice, which existed well into the mid-1950s according to Bloomberg News, was adopted by bootblacks, street sweepers, and other local service people.

Waiters haven’t always gotten 20%, or even 15%. It makes sense that we tip more as time passes, just to keep up with inflation. That doesn’t explain why we’d be expected to tip at an increasingly higher percentage, however, because as our restaurant bills have gone up, so have the gratuities. (If a fancy dinner in 1950 cost $50, a 15% tip would be $7.50; if a comparable fancy dinner in 2000 ran $100, the tip at a 15% rate would double too.)

Nonetheless, the standard percentage to tip waitstaff has risen over the decades. According to a PayScale study, the median tip is now 19.5%. In recent years, some waiters and restaurants have suggested that 25% or even 30% is the proper gratuity level, and that a 20% tip, once considered generous, is just average today. As recently as 2008, though, an Esquire tipping guide stated “15 percent for good service is still the norm” at American restaurants. An American Demographics study from 2001 found that three-quarters of Americans tipped an average of 17% on restaurant bills, while 22% tipped a flat amount no matter what the bill, and the gratuity left averaged $4.67. Meanwhile, in 1922, Emily Post wrote, “You will not get good service unless you tip generously,” and “the rule is ten per cent.”

Emily Post herself sorta hated tipping. In that 1922 guide, Post wrote, “Tipping is undoubtedly a bad system, but it happens to be in force, and that being the case, travelers have to pay their share of it—if they like the way made smooth and comfortable.”

Tipping was once considered demeaning and anti-American. Slate, the New York Times, and Esquire are among the outlets that have published epic rants calling for the end to the “abomination” of tipping in the last year or so. No one made the case better than the Times’ Pete Wells, who summed up of our current tipping system, “it is irrational, outdated, ineffective, confusing, prone to abuse and sometimes discriminatory. The people who take care of us in restaurants deserve a better system, and so do we.”

Those who defend tipping, and/or those who just insist on always tipping generously tend to think of gratuities as the great equalizer: Tips are necessary because waitstaff and other workers aren’t paid enough by their employers, and gratuities help provide them a living wage. A century ago, however, anti-tipping groups felt they were being progressive by declaring war on the demeaning system because it implicitly created a servile class that depended on the generosity of richer, aristocratic customers—and was therefore anti-democratic and anti-American. The anti-tipping movement gained steam in the late 1890s and continued through the 1910s, when a half-dozen states tried (but ultimately failed) to make tipping illegal.

Waitstaff today need tips even more than you think. As much as some people would love to replace tipping with a more sensible system—like, you know, just paying workers more money—today’s waiters and waitresses remain stuck desperately in need of gratuities. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that nearly 15% of America’s 2.4 million waitstaff live in poverty, compared to 7% of all workers.

Some workers get tipped way more than waiters. Waiters and waitresses get an average of 63% of their wages from gratuities, per the PayScale study, but workers in the stripper/exotic dancer category earn the highest median hourly tips of all, at $25.40 per hour.

We tip for totally nonsensical reasons. Studies indicate that diners tip more when a waitress wears a barrette, flower, or some other ornamentation in her hair, when the server repeats orders to the customer, and when the waiter introduces him or herself by name ($2 extra, on average). Another study showed that the quality of service generally has very little effect on how much the customer tips. And in yet another survey, various consumers admitted that they tipped more when the server was white, black, female, or attractive, among other categories.

Sometimes even experts have no clue how much to tip. Or if you should tip at all. When Marketplace asked Cornell’s Michael Lynn earlier this year about the norm for tipping the barista at Starbucks, or any coffee shop for that matter, he paused and sighed before giving the honest answer: “I don’t know.”

MONEY Scottish Independence

Why American Travelers Should Be Rooting for Scottish Independence

A house displaying a saltire and "yes" banner is seen in front of Stirling Castle, Scotland September 10, 2014.
The referendum on Scottish independence will take place on September 18, when Scotland will vote whether or not to end the 307-year-old union with the rest of the United Kingdom. Russell Cheyne—Reuters

An independent Scotland would weaken the pound and save American travelers quite a bit of cash.

On September 18, Scotland will vote on whether it wishes to continue to be part of the United Kingdom or become its own nation for the first time in more than 300 years. An independent Scotland could have huge ramifications for England, the European Union, and even the world, as nations and peoples find their economies, politics, and diplomacy roiled by a new world order.

But discussions of global politics aside, let’s talk about what really matters: What does this all mean for Americans wanting to save a few bucks traveling to London this fall? On that front, an independent Scotland looks absolutely awesome.

For years, spending a few weeks in England has been difficult for American tourists, and not just because many Brits tend to feel near-French levels of hostility towards us Yanks (going back quite some time). The English pound has hovered well above the dollar for decades, reaching an exchange rate of two to one in 2007. Since then, the pound has fallen a bit, but it still remains frustratingly valuable relative to the dollar. One pound sterling is currently equal to about $1.62, meaning a trip to U.K. can be an extravagance for even well-off Americans.

But that could all change if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom behind. According to a recent Bloomberg survey of economists, a majority believe a “yes” vote for Scottish independence could cause the pound to drop 10% in value relative to the dollar. In contrast, 63% of surveyed economists said the English currency could jump up to 5% on a “no” vote, with a minority predicting an increase as high as 10%.

The takeaway here for American travelers looking to visit Buckingham Palace is that a vote for independence could make your trip a lot cheaper. American Express estimates the average family spends $1,145 per person while on vacation, which amounts to a total of $4,580 for a family of four. If the pound falls 10% from its current levels (from $1.62 to the $1.46 suggested by Bloomberg’s economists), that sum of money could buy £3,137. But if the union prevails and the pound gains 5% of its value (raising the price of the pound to $1.71), our example family can only purchase about £2,676.

That means the difference between an independent Scotland and still-united United Kingdom, at least for the American trraveler, is £461—the equivalent of $755 at the higher exchange rate. In short: American tourists will save almost $800 if Scotland goes its own way. With that kind of cash, you could even make a stop in Edinburgh and thank the Scots for the extra dough.

Just don’t brag about your savings at an English pub.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser