Sky High: America's 10 Best Airlines

iStock.com/asiseeit
iStock.com/asiseeit

Summer air travel is always stressful, but this year promises to be a little more difficult than usual. A fleet of 350 Boeing 737 Max jets has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) owing to a software flaw. According to Consumer Reports, that could mean up to 40,000 fewer available seats per day at major airlines like Southwest and American until the issue is resolved.

With more flights reaching capacity, comfort and convenience in air travel is more important than ever. Personal finance site WalletHub crunched numbers to evaluate the overall quality of the nine major airlines as well as three regional carriers, rating them according to 2018 airline data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. And it's not just about cheap tickets. 

WalletHub used a points system methodology to score each airline across four main categories: baggage handling and departures, animal safety, passenger comfort, and overall safety. Baggage handling and departures, including canceled flights and delays, was worth a total of 50 points. Safety was worth 30. Passenger comfort, 15. Pet handling, five. (The total maximum score was 100, but this being the airline industry, that would be a lofty goal for any company to meet.)  Here's how they ranked America's 10 best airlines:

  1. Alaska Airlines

  1. Delta Air Lines

  1. SkyWest Airlines

  1. Spirit Airlines

  1. ExpressJet Airlines

  1. Hawaiian Airlines

  1. United Airlines

  1. JetBlue Airways

  1. Southwest Airlines

  1. American Airlines

Alaska Airlines came in first for overall passenger satisfaction, though other airlines in the list ranked higher in individual categories. The site found Delta to be the most reliable overall, with the highest scores for baggage retention and on-time flights. JetBlue got the highest marks for in-flight comfort. Southwest and ExpressJet received the fewest number of consumer complaints.

Obviously, every individual’s experience will be different, but this should give you some idea of where airlines fall in terms of overall quality of service. And if your summer flight winds up getting delayed or canceled, remember that there are steps you can take, including inquiring about vouchers or approaching your credit card company for assistance.

[h/t WalletHub]

Hundreds of Kangaroos Roam the Green at This Australian Golf Course

burroblando/iStock via Getty Images
burroblando/iStock via Getty Images

Anglesea Golf Club has all the makings of a regular golf club: an 18-hole golf course, a mini golf course, a driving range, a clubhouse, and a bistro. But the kangaroo mobs that hop around the holes add an element of surprise to your otherwise leisurely round of one of the slowest games in sports.

Person takes photo of a kangaroo
Anglesea Golf Club

According to Thrillist, the kangaroos have been a mainstay for years, and the club started giving tours a few years ago to ensure visitors could observe them in the safest way possible. For about 25 minutes, a volunteer tour guide will drive a golf cart with up to 14 passengers around the course, sharing fun facts about kangaroos and stopping at opportune locations for people to snap a few photos of the marsupials, which are most active in late afternoon and early morning. Kangaroos are friendly creatures, but Anglesea’s website reminds visitors that “they can also be quite aggressive if they feel threatened.”

Post-graduate students and academic staff from Melbourne University’s zoology department have been researching Anglesea’s kangaroo population since 2004, and some of the animals are marked with collar and ear tags so the researchers can track movement, growth, survival, and reproduction patterns throughout their life cycle.

One of the reasons kangaroos have continued to dwell on land so highly trafficked by people is because of the quality of the land itself, National Geographic reports. The golf course staff regularly sprinkles nitrogen fertilizer all over the green, which makes the grass especially healthy.

Kangaroos graze on Anglesea Golf Course
Anglesea Golf Club

If you decide to plan a trip to Anglesea Golf Club, you can book a kangaroo tour here—adult tickets are $8.50, and children under 12 can come along for just $3.50 each.

[h/t Thrillist]

House Boasting a ‘Harry Potter Room’ Under the Stairs Hits the Market in San Diego

Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Matt Robinson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When Harry Potter fans dream of living like the boy wizard, they may picture Harry's cozy quarters in the Gryffindor dormitory at Hogwarts. One home owner in San Diego, California is trying to spin one of Harry's much less idyllic living situations as a magical feature. As The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, a listing of a three-bedroom house for sale in the city's Logan Heights neighborhood boasts a "Harry Potter room"—a.k.a storage room under the stairs.

In the Harry Potter books, the cupboard under the stairs of the Dursley residence served as Harry's bedroom before he enrolled in Hogwarts. Harry was eager to escape the cramped, dusty space, but thanks to the series' massive success, a similar feature in a real-world home may be a selling point for Harry Potter fans.

Kristin Rye, the seller of the San Diego house, told The Union-Tribune she would read Harry Potter books to her son, though she wouldn't describe herself as a super fan. As for why she characterized her closet as a “large ‘Harry Potter’ storage room underneath stairs" in her real estate listing, she said it was the most accurate description she could think of. “It’s just this closet under the stairs that goes back and is pretty much like a Harry Potter room. I don’t know how else to describe it," she told the newspaper.

Beyond the cupboard under the stairs, Rye's listing doesn't bear much resemblance to the cookie-cutter, suburban home of 4 Privet Drive. Nearly a century old, the San Diego house has the same cobwebs and a musty smells you might expect from the Hogwarts dungeons, the newspaper reports. But there are some perks, including a parking spot and backyard space for a garden or pull-up bar. The 1322-square-foot home is listed at $425,000—cheaper than the median price of $620,000 for a resale single-family home in the area.

If you want to live like a wizard, you don't necessarily need to start by moving under a staircase. In North Yorkshire, England, a cottage modeled after Hagrid's Hut is available to rent on a nightly basis.

[h/t The San Diego Union-Tribune]

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