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Travel

    If you love heights, this is one tourist attraction you won't want to miss. >> Read more trending news  According to CNN, the country's longest pedestrian suspension bridge opens May 17 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. >> Watch a video of the attraction here The 680-foot-long SkyBridge is part of the newly renovated SkyLift Park at the top of Crockett Mountain.  >> See a photo of the bridge here 'Guests will be able to walk across at their own pace, taking in the views and enjoying the spectacular setting before walking back when they're ready,' the SkyBridge website says. 'With a height of 140 feet at its midpoint, the SkyBridge is an absolutely spectacular but easily attainable experience you'll remember for a lifetime – especially as you cross the glass-floor panels in the middle of the span.' >> See the glass panels here In recent years, only one part of the attraction has been open for business: the SkyLift, a chairlift that takes visitors from downtown Gatlinburg to the the mountaintop and back. Since deadly wildfires ravaged the area in November 2016, operators haven't allowed passengers to get off the lift at the top of the mountain, WBIR-TV reported. But that's about to change. In addition to the bridge, the updated park will have an observation deck, a gift shop, and a snack shop and bar, WVLT-TV reported. >> Check out the view here No reservations are required. Tickets can be purchased at the base of the SkyLift. Adult tickets are $19.95 per person, with seniors 65-plus paying $17.95 per person. Tickets for children ages 4-11 are $14.95 per child and children ages 3 and under enjoy free admission.   Read more here.
  • A Seattle-bound Alaska Airlines flight from Chicago was diverted to Minneapolis-St. Paul after the crew reported odor in the cabin on Wednesday evening.  As a precaution, Flight 51 landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at 7:17 p.m. local time.  >> Read more trending news  Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told The Associated Press on Thursday that the smell was similar to that of burnt plastic. The source had not been identified. Six crew members received medical evaluation at the airport and four were transported to the hospital for further evaluation. Two of the 144 passengers were evaluated at the airport. Some people reported having trouble breathing, Hogan said. The flight was canceled and passengers were re-booked on a different flight to Seattle.  The cause of the odor is being investigated and the plane has been removed from service pending an inspection.
  • Southwest Airlines completed its first flight to Hawaii Tuesday, the first step in the carrier’s process to have planes for travel to the islands. According to a news release, the flight is part of the airlines’s Extended-range, Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration. >> Read more trending news  USA Today reported that, according to Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish, no passengers were on the two-engine Boeing 737 jet, which departed from Oakland, California. FAA representatives and Southwest employees, including pilots, were on board as part of the certification process. The flight returned to the contiguous United States Wednesday, arriving at Dallas Love Field Airport in Texas that afternoon. Parrish told USA Today that the airline will announce details on when flights will be available at a later date. “Once we pass all phases of the ETOPS application process to the satisfaction of the FAA and receive our ETOPS authorization, we will announce further details of timing for selling and operating flights,” he said.  Once the service begins, Southwest flights to Hawaii will be from California, and inter-island flights will follow.
  • Delta Air Lines said it will ban service and support animals under 4 months old, and will also ban emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours. The change, effective Dec. 18, is the latest tightening of policies on service animals and emotional support animals by the airline.  >> Read more trending news  The company said in a Monday announcement that it has seen an 84 percent increase in incidents reported involving service and support animals in 2016 and 2017, “including urination/defecation, biting” and a mauling by a 50-pound dog. Delta said its new policy aligns with the CDC vaccination policy, and the limit on emotional support animals on long flights lines up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act. “These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs -- such as veterans with disabilities -- to travel with trained service and support animals,” John Laughter, Delta senior vice president of corporate safety, security and compliance, said in a statement. Some of the airline’s policy changes earlier in the year have prompted criticism from groups representing people who use service animals, including those who use pit bulls.  The new policy takes effect for tickets booked Dec. 18 or later. Regardless of booking date, it will also take effect for flights Feb. 1 or later. Delta said it will contact customers to adjust reservations if the policy affects them. More information on the airline’s service and support animal policy is at Delta.com. 
  • New documents filed this week in Orange County, Florida, offer a first look at plans for Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park. >> Watch the news report here The plans will transform 540 acres of empty land near Lockheed Martin. That’s in addition to the construction of two hotels on the old Wet ‘n Wild property as part of the 4,000-room Endless Summer Resort. “I see a very big easel for Universal Orlando and Comcast to paint through over the next few years,” said theme park analyst Rick Munarriz. “Universal now has the coloring book; now they just need to show us their crayons.' Documents filed with the county this week show plans for major infrastructure upgrades. There will be 100 acres of new roads and more than 5,000 parking spots. Munarriz said 5,000 parking spots seems like a conservative number. “So I’m thinking there's going to be a transportation system to get people from the resort to the new resort,” Munarriz said. >> Read more trending news  The plans do not show exactly what's coming, but Universal has trademarked the name “Universal's Fantastic Worlds.” The new Nintendo Land, including Mario Kart and a Donkey Kong roller coaster, was supposed to be built at the KidZone section of Universal Orlando. But analysts said those rides, which are already designed, will likely go into a new park. “[Universal] really needs to step up its game if it's going to compete with what Disney has coming in three years. That is why we have this new playground coming,” Munarriz said.
  • BrewDog will celebrate the opening of its new “beer-hotel” in Ohio this weekend.  The brewery said the hotel, named the DogHouse, is the “world’s first craft beer hotel,” according to BrewDog’s website.  >> PREVIOUS STORY: World’s first beer-themed hotel may be coming to Ohio Named the DogHouse, the hotel in Canal Winchester, a city near Columbus, is the first of its kind and features 32 rooms, including eight deluxe suites and a workout facility, according to WBNS. Other features include a lobby bar with games and activities, a marketplace for takeaway food, international continental breakfast daily and select dog-friendly rooms. Guests also will have views of the brewery throughout in order to watch the brewers work. All rooms include in-room refrigerators stocked with BrewDog beers, in-shower fridges, in-room taps, 42-inch flat screens and plenty more. >> Read more trending news  In addition to the craft beer escape, BrewDog also has unveiled its on-site, interactive beer museum. This 6,000-square-foot space provides a journey through the brewing process, a deep dive into the history of craft beer, and a hands-on experience of 'the fundamental four' ingredients that contribute to the creation of a craft beer. Established in 2007, BrewDog has grown from selling craft beer in the United Kingdom to exporting to 60 countries and 49 bars around the world. The first night patrons can sleep at the DogHouse hotel will be Aug. 26, according to the website. Read more here.
  • What’s the most livable city in the United States? The results may surprise you. The Economist Intelligence Unit's annual Livability Survey, which ranks 140 cities worldwide on factors like stability, health care, culture, education and infrastructure on a scale of 1-100, was released this week. >> Read more trending news  The top U.S. city was Honolulu, which ranked 23rd worldwide. Pittsburgh was the next highest-ranking American city, coming in at No. 32 overall. Washington (No. 37), Minneapolis (No. 39), Boston (No. 42), Chicago (tied for No. 44), Miami (tied for No. 44), Seattle (No. 46), San Francisco (No. 49) and Atlanta (No. 50) were the only other U.S. cities to rank in the top 50 globally, CNBC reported. >> On WPXI.com: Pittsburgh ranked as most livable city in continental United States The No. 1 city worldwide was Vienna, Austria, with an overall livability rating of 99.1 out of a possible 100. Pittsburgh, by comparison, had a 92.1. While no U.S. city cracked the top 10, Canada had three cities rank high, with Calgary (No. 4), Vancouver (No. 6) and Toronto (No. 7) all among the best in the world The ranking offers a limited look at the list for free. The full report with updates twice a year can be purchased here. – The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • Southern Living recently polled its readers to discover their picks for the top places to visit in the South. Blackberry Farm, in Walland, Tennessee, south of Knoxville, took home the top prize. >> Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards Southern Living noted, 'Blackberry Farm emanates hospitality, from its farm-to-table offerings to the porches on guest cottages.' Blackberry Farm is a luxury hotel and resort situated on a 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains. There is a spa, brewery and working farm on the property. The resort offers plenty of wine and dining options, musical entertainment, workshops and more.  Activities include horseback riding, archery, fly fishing, hiking and paintball. >> Read more trending news  One Facebook reviewer noted, 'Have traveled quite well in my 50+ years, but Blackberry Farm stands out as the BEST of all. They anticipate your every wish and deliver it with cordial efficiency. Understated, approachable elegance. Go there, go there, go there! It is transforming.' Southern Living honored The Barn at Blackberry Farm by awarding it the best restaurant in Tennessee, too.
  • When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style. >> Read more trending news  Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed. According to a comment on its Facebook page, a two-hour tour will likely cost $400 or about $67 per person. That includes the cost of the boat, the captain and possibly a crew member. Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations: Carolina Beach, North Carolina Exhuma, Bahamas Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Islamorada, Florida Key West, Florida Lake George, New York Madeira Beach, Florida North Miami, Florida Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida Tampa Bay, Florida Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums. 
  • A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards. >> See the full rankings here The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016.  >> Read more trending news  Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide. >> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists