Air travel chaos

May 20, 2023
Hello, Insiders. With Memorial Day in a little over a week, many of us are thinking about travel — planning it, booking it, avoiding it.

So, today’s edition is all about travel. Our big story digs into why flying sucks so much. We’re also looking at where Americans can travel without a passport, sharing tips for solo travel, and digging into a flight-attendant pet peeve. Let’s go.

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Air travel sucks

Marianne Ayala/Insider


Epic flight meltdowns, more than a million mishandled bags, and a nationwide ground stop caused by outdated equipment — these are just a few reasons why it sucks to fly right now.

Whatever happened to the “jet set” of the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s? When flyers would dress to impress with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other, enjoying impeccable service, cushy seats, and plenty of legroom.

Well, one law changed it all. The Airline Deregulation Act intended to open up competition among airlines and bring down prices, but it also opened up a cost-cutting race to the bottom.

Insider’s Bartie Scott and Juliana Kaplan broke down where it all went wrong.


European flair, islands, & solo travel

 Solvang, California. George Rose / Contributor


  • Places that feel like Europe. You don’t have to travel across the pond for a taste of Scandinavia. Instead, you could visit Solvang, California, which was founded by Danish-American settlers. Here are 12 places in North America that feel like Europe.
  • Eight islands Americans can visit without a passport. Can’t get your passport renewed? No problem. American citizens can now travel to several US territories beyond the 50 states, including Puerto Rico, without one. Check out the other destinations.
  • The things you need when traveling alone. For the past decade, Nicole Jordan has explored 22 countries as a solo traveler. She explained why she always packed her first-aid kit and microfiber towel. Here are nine things she never travels without.

Bunk beds, carry-ons, & more

Air New Zealand


  • Bunk-style beds in economy? We’ve got a roundup of airline-cabin concepts aiming to revolutionize air travel, including a “Skynest” in economy and heated business-class seats.
  • A stocked carry-on bag is a lifeline while traveling. Travel reporters and editors share 21 genius carry-on accessories they can never fly without.
  • You don’t want to be called “gate lice” at the airport. That’s a name used to describe travelers who crowd the gate before boarding — a major flight-attendant pet peeve.
  • In a “bait and switch” Airbnb scam, a host changes addresses or units at the last minute. Here’s how to avoid them.
  • “Scott’s Cheap Flights is my go-to for finding dirt-cheap international and first-class fares.” Insider’s travel editor Emily Hochberg shares why she always turns to the free newsletter and website.
  • A couple has committed to non-airplane travel since 2017. They’ve covered thousands of miles by bike and train — and say they don’t plan to go back in the air.
  • “I went from working on cruise ships to taking more than 20 a year as a guest.” YouTuber J. Alexander shares his best advice — and says you have to sail to Antarctica.
  • What’s better — plane or train food? Insider’s Jordan Parker Erb reports that the options, portion sizes, and flavors you get on a train are way better.

Mediterranean cruise

Grace Deam


Our writer paid $1,890 for a private cabin on a seven-night cruise around the French Riviera on a small sailing ship called the Star Clipper. Go onboard.

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This edition was compiled by compiled by Hallam Bullock and Lisa Ryan, and edited by J.R. Stacey. Get in touch:

Categories: Lifestyle

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