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11 Super Expensive Airline Routes

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Sorry, there won't be any free upgrades to these first-class cabins: By heading to the airline websites, or calling the airlines directly, you can unveil a realm of commercial air travel only the multi-millionaires and above can afford. Now close your eyes and dream you're a billionaire (who is traveling from June 20 to 28).

11. China Southern Airlines: $11,000+ Beijing to Amsterdam (via OneWorld.com)

When you fly first class on this airline, you'll choose between Western or Chinese cuisines served on fine china and paired with fine wines for your in-flight meal. Kick back in a lush armchair that turns into a 77-inch bed, and call your mom to brag on the satellite phone. Now take a minute and count around you—yes, that’s right, there are only three other first-class people as high-rolling as you.

10. Qantas Airlines: $13,000+ L.A. to Melbourne (via Qantas.com.au)

Forget the economy-class flip-out footrest—this suite offers a fully flat extra-wide sheepskin mattress bed with down pillows and duvet. Of course, if you want to sit up during your flight, your bed turns into a chair that features an ottoman. Dining options include an eight-course tasting menu or made-to-order a la carte menu with a sommelier on hand for wine pairing options. When you’re done sleeping and dining, you can watch hours of TV shows and movies or play interactive games on your 17-inch touch screen monitor (on A380 planes only) with noise-cancelling headphones and on-demand controls.

9. Singapore Airlines: $15,000+  New York JFK to Singapore (via Singapore Airline Reservation Line)

Singapore installed a limited number of double-sized beds into the first-class suites on their A380 airplanes. (They also have the option of an armchair/pull-out bed if you desire.) You can pick from over 60 dishes served with only the finest Givenchy tableware and coupled with some of the finest wines and champagnes available. There's also a Book the Cook service that enables you to pre-order and have your gourmet main course specially prepared for you.

8. Swiss International Air Lines: $17,000+ NYC JFK to Singapore, connecting through Zurich (via Swiss Air's PR Department)

Feeling the competition, Swiss introduced its new first class in 2009 on the A330 airline with partitioned-off suites that include widescreen televisions and armchairs that transform into 80-inch full-length beds. The airline also doles out luxury amenities like La Prairie hand cream, moisturizing body lotion, and facial sprays, along with comfy pajamas and slippers from Zimmerli of Switzerland.

7. Virgin Atlantic: $21,000+ (with chauffeur) JFK to Singapore (via Virgin Atlantic PR)

When you fly first class on Virgin Atlantic, it's all about fun. That tray at your seat isn't for work; it's a flip-down “cocktail table.” Take photos of the plane and send them via texts to your friends from your complimentary mobile phone, grab a drink at the 8-foot bar and meet new friends, or head back to your seat and sprawl out on your full-length leather chair that turns into an 87-inch flat bed surrounded by Swarovski crystals and a 12-inch touchscreen monitor.

6. Etihad Airways: $23,000 from San Fran to Abu Dhabi (via Etihad.com)

While your own personal chef whips up a Mezoon Grille or Taste of Arabia dish, you can relax and watch your 23-inch widescreen TV or slip on your personal loungewear in the changing room and pull out the mini-desk to play cards on. The over 6-foot chair-bed got you achey? Just turn on the massage settings and curl up with a bottle from your personal mini-bar, because this is one ride you’re gonna want to take full advantage of. 

5. Japan Airlines:  $24,000+ LAX to Paris (via OneWorld.com)

The newest Japan Airlines first-class suites on Boeing 777 and A380 airplanes are covered in old-school wood paneling to help you feel right at home. Fliers also get a 23-inch TV screen, a choice between a Western or Asian-styled menu plan, and a Tempur 26-inch-wide armchair that pulls out to a six-foot-plus full-length bed. If you need a good leg rub, a portable air massager can be provided for you; if you forgot your laptop battery, don’t worry—they will gladly lend you one of theirs. The airline also provides pain relievers and nasal sprays to help you breathe a little easier.

4. Cathay Pacific: $25,000+ Hong Kong to JFK (via CathayPacific.com)

Unveiled just last June, these upgraded exclusive pods on the B777 offer the usual soft armchair that pulls into a bed, but also an amenity bag from Ermenegildo Zegna for the men and Trussardi for the ladies, along with Aesop skincare products, shoe bags and pjs from Shanghai Tang, Bose noise-cancelling headsets, and a new 4.3” LCD touchscreen controller to enjoy hours of endless entertainment.

3. Korean Air: $27,000+ NYC JFK to Beijing (via KoreanAir.com)

These 26.5-inch Korean Air Kosmo seamless seats turn into beds in their own private, wood-trimmed, walled-in suites, which boast the biggest LCD screens in the sky—23 inches—and Bose nose-isolation headsets.

2. Lufthansa: $27,000+ JFK to Hong Kong (via Lufthansa.com)

Not to be outdone, Germany’s national carrier won’t make you choose between a bed and an armchair—they give you both. With no real walls around the suites, Lufthansa’s not quite as private as the other first-class suites, but the A380 airplanes are outfitted with air humidifiers pumping loads of moisturizing oxygen onto their first-class passengers so you don’t land looking like a prune. A warm duvet, amenity kit, and fine-dining courses with selections like curried reindeer make the trip memorable.

1. Emirates: $30,000+ L.A. to Dubai (via Emirates.com/us)

Topping off the list, is, naturally, the United Arab Emirates’ lavish A380 airline suite. With private three-wall suites (plus closeable door) and two lounges on the plane, Emirates takes it one step further and offers their highest-paying customers two classic walnut and marble state-of-the-art shower systems complete with shower kits and fine linens. Also available: relaxing chair-massages and mini-bar parties.

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entertainment
The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

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Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain
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Weird
9 False Rumors With Real-Life Consequences
King Louis XV of France
King Louis XV of France
Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain

Don’t believe everything you read—or everything you hear. Unverified but plausible-sounding rumors have been the basis for violent death and destruction throughout history, whether or not the stories had anything to do with the truth.

In their book A Colorful History of Popular Delusions, Robert Bartholomew and Peter Hassall describe rumors as “stories of perceived importance that lack substantiating evidence.” They also note that the sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani describes rumors as “improvised news,” which tends to spread when the demand for information exceeds supply. Such an information deficit most often occurs during wars and other crises, which might explain why some rumors have had such dramatic results. Here’s a selection of some of the most interesting rumors with real-life results collected in Bartholomew and Hassall’s book.

1. KING LOUIS XV WAS KIDNAPPING CHILDREN.

In 1750, children began disappearing from the streets of Paris. No one seemed to know why, and worried parents began rioting in the streets. In the midst of the panic, a rumor broke out that King Louis XV had become a leper and was kidnapping children so that he could bathe in their blood (at the time, bathing in the blood of children was thought by some to be an effective leprosy cure).

The rumor did have a tiny kernel of truth: Authorities were taking children away, but not to the king’s palace. A recently enacted series of ordinances designed to clear the streets of “undesirables” had led some policemen—who were paid per arrest—to overstep their authority and take any children they found on the streets to houses of detention. Fortunately, most were eventually reunited with their parents, and rumors of the king’s gruesome bathing rituals were put to rest.

2. LONDON WAS GOING TO BE DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE.

Two small earthquakes struck London at the beginning of 1761, leading to rumors that the city was due for “the big one” on April 5, 1761. Supposedly, a psychic had predicted the catastrophe. Much of the populace grew so panicked that they fled town for the day, with those who couldn’t afford fancier lodgings camping out in the fields. One soldier was so convinced of the impending doom that he ran through the streets shouting news of London’s imminent destruction; sadly, he ended up in an insane asylum a few months later.

3. JEWS WERE POISONING WELLS.

A deep well
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Reports that Jews ritually sacrificed Christian children were not uncommon during the Middle Ages, but things took a particularly terrible turn during the spread of the Black Plague. In the 14th century, thousands of Jews were killed in response to rumors that Satan was protecting them from the plague in exchange for poisoning the wells of Christians. In 1321 in Guienne, France alone, an estimated 5000 Jews were burned alive for supposedly poisoning wells. Other communities expelled the Jews, or burned entire settlements to the ground. Brandenburg, Germany, even passed a law denouncing Jews for poisoning wells—which of course they weren't.

4. BRIGANDS WERE TERRORIZING THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE.

In July 1789, amid the widespread fear and instability on the eve of the French revolution, rumors spread that the anti-revolutionary nobility had planted brigands (robbers) to terrorize the peasants and steal their stores of food. Lights from furnaces, bonfires, and even the reflection of the setting sun were sometimes taken to be signs of brigands, with panic as the predictable result. Provincial towns and villages formed militias in response to the rumors, even though, as historian Georges Lefebvre put it, “the populace scared themselves.” In one typical incident, near Troyes on July 24, 1789, a group of brigands were supposedly spotted heading into some woods; an alarm was sounded and 3000 men gave chase. The “brigands” turned out to be a herd of cattle.

5. GERMAN-AMERICANS WERE PLOTTING SNEAK ATTACKS ON CANADA.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police marching in a Canada Day parade
iStock

Canada entered World War I in 1914, three years before the United States did. During the gap period, rumors circulated that German-Americans sympathetic to their country of origin were planning surprise attacks on Canada. One of the worst offenders of such rumor-mongering, according to authors Bartholomew and Hassall, was British consul-general Sir Courtenay Bennett, then stationed in New York. In the early months of 1915, Bennett made “several sensational claims about a plan in which as many as 80,000 well-armed, highly trained Germans who had been drilling in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, were planning to invade Canada from northwestern New York state.” Bizarre as it may sound, there was so much anxiety and suspicion during the period that Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden requested a report on the story, which the Canadian police commissioner determined to be without any foundation whatsoever.

6. THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT WAS HUNTING HEADS FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

In certain parts of Indonesia, locals reportedly believe—or once did—that large-scale construction projects require human heads to keep the structures from crumbling. In 1937, one island was home to a spate of rumors saying that a tjoelik (government-sanctioned headhunter) was looking for a head to place near a local jetty construction project. Locals reported strange noises and sights, houses pelted with stones, and attacks from tjoelik wielding nooses or cowboy lassos. Similar rumors surfaced in 1979 in Indonesian Borneo, when government agents were supposedly seeking a head for a new bridge project, and in 1981 in Southern Borneo, when the government headhunters supposedly needed heads to stabilize malfunctioning equipment in nearby oil fields. Terrified townspeople began curtailing their activities so as not to be in public any longer than necessary, although the rumors eventually died down.

7. POWERFUL APHRODISIAC GUM WENT ON SALE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

An assortment of sticks of pink bubble gum
iStock

In the mid-1990s, the Middle East was home to some alarming rumors about aphrodisiacal gum. In 1996 in Mansoura, Egypt, stories began spreading that students at the town’s university had purchased gum deliberately spiked with an aphrodisiac and were having orgies as a result. One local member of parliament said the gum had been distributed by the Israeli government as part of a plot to corrupt Egyptian youth. Mosque loudspeakers began warning people to avoid the gum, which was supposedly sold under the names “Aroma” or “Splay.” Authorities closed down some shops and made arrests, but never did find any tainted gum. Similar rumors cropped up the following year in the Gaza Strip, this time featuring a strawberry gum that turned women into prostitutes—supposedly, the better to convince them to become Shin Bet informants for the Israeli military.

8. SORCERERS WERE PLAGUING INDONESIA.

In the fall of 1998, a sorcerer scare in East Java, Indonesia, resulted in the deaths of several villagers. The country was in crisis, and while protests raged in major cities, some in the rural area of Banyuwangi began agitating for restitution for past wrongs allegedly committed by sorcerers. The head of the local district ordered authorities to move the suspected sorcerers to a safe location, a process that included a check-in at the local police station. Unfortunately, villagers took the suspects’ visits to police stations as proof of their sorcery and began killing them. Anthropologists who studied the incident said the stories of supposed sorcery—making neighbors fall sick, etc.—were based entirely on rumor and gossip.

9. OBAMA WAS INJURED BY A WHITE HOUSE EXPLOSION.

These days, rumors have advanced technology to help them travel. On April 23, 2013, a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account claimed that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. That lone tweet caused instability on world financial markets, and the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index lost $130 billion in a short period. Fortunately, it quickly recovered. (Eagle-eyed journalists were suspicious of the tweet from the beginning, since it didn’t follow AP style of referring to the president with his title and capitalizing the word breaking.)

An earlier version of this story ran in 2015.

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