How Your Credit Card Can Save You $50 Every Time You Fly

iStock
iStock

In an effort to squeeze profitability out of their flight schedules, airlines have become downright miserly in both comfort and free amenities. In 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was ordered by a Washington federal appeals court to review the cramped seating arrangements that may pose a safety risk for people in an evacuation. And in what’s being marketed as “Basic Economy” service for the cheap seats, passengers are expected to pay a $25 fee for a carry-on item larger than a backpack. The charge is doubled if you try to sneak it on.

It’s up to the FAA to do something about the seats, but you can do something about the fees. Over at Thrillist, Ryan Craggs explains that the major domestic airlines (American, United, Delta) all promote credit cards that come with travel perks. If you’re a member, you’re exempt from Basic Economy’s draconian carry-on policies. Participating cards are typically found on an airline’s terms and conditions page, like this one for American.

Some of these programs even allow you to carry on an item as well as check a bag—all without fees. But make sure you scope out the airline's individual baggage policies, as not all of them try to squeeze you for every nickel. Southwest, for example, doesn't have a carry-on surcharge.

The catch—and there’s almost always a catch—is that many of the eligible credit cards come with an annual fee. But if you fly more than twice a year, you’re still likely to come out ahead.

[h/t Thrillist]

A Finnish Tourism Company Is Hiring Professional Christmas Elves

iStock.com/kali9
iStock.com/kali9

Finland isn't quite the North Pole, but it will be home to a team of gainfully employed Christmas elves this holiday season. As Travel + Leisure reports, the Scandinavian country's Lapland Safaris is looking for elves to get guests into the holiday spirit.

Lapland Safaris is a tourism company that organizes activities like snowmobiling, Northern Lights-gazing, skiing, and ice-fishing. The elf employees will be responsible for leading guests to their buses and conveying important information, all while spreading holiday cheer. The job listing reads, "An Elf is at the same time an entertainer, a guide, and a mythical creature of Christmas."

Each Lapland Safari elf will receive training through Arctic Hospitality Academy prior to starting the job. There, they will learn "the required elfing and communication skills." Training will be conducted in English, but candidates' knowledge of French, Spanish, or German is a plus.

To apply, aspiring elves can fill out and submit this form through Lapland Safaris's website. The gig lasts from November 2018 to the beginning of next year, with employees having the option to work at any of the company's Finnish destinations (Santa's workshop is unfortunately not included on the list).

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Truth Behind Italy's Abandoned 'Ghost Mansion'

YouTube/Atlas Obscura
YouTube/Atlas Obscura

The forests east of Lake Como, Italy, are home to a foreboding ruin. Some call it the Casa Delle Streghe (House of Witches), or the Red House, after the patches of rust-colored paint that still coat parts of the exterior. Its most common nickname, however, is the Ghost Mansion.

Since its construction in the 1850s, the mansion—officially known as the Villa De Vecchi—has reportedly been the site of a string of tragedies, including the murder of the family of the Italian count who built it, as well as the count's suicide. It's also said that everyone's favorite occultist, Aleister Crowley, visited in the 1920s, leading to a succession of satanic rituals and orgies. By the 1960s, the mansion was abandoned, and since then both nature and vandals have helped the house fall into dangerous decay. The only permanent residents are said to be a small army of ghosts, who especially love to play the mansion's piano at night—even though it's long since been smashed to bits.

The intrepid explorers of Atlas Obscura recently visited the mansion and interviewed Giuseppe Negri, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were gardeners there. See what he thinks of the legends, and the reality behind the mansion, in the video below.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER