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You Can Now Hop a Private Jet For Just $109

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Private jets are pretty much the pinnacle of luxury (OK, aside from maybe yachts and everything on Cribs). Now, a public charter operator is making them accessible for all. That’s right, it’s time to live out those champagne dreams just like you always knew you were meant to.

California-based JetSuite is rolling out affordable jet travel for short, West Coast flights with fares starting at just $109 for a one-way trip (that will get you to Buchanan Field Airport, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank). Tickets for JetSuiteX flights are on sale starting this week, and while they only offer a limited set of departures and destinations, more are set to be added in the coming year. The top-tier price for a one-way flight is about $300.

The flights offer business class-style seats and a 36-inch seat pitch (the distance between a point on one seat to the same point on the seat in front of or behind it). Other cushy perks include free Wi-Fi and streaming inflight entertainment, beamed right to your personal electronic device.

“It’s a private jet-style experience for the price of an airline seat,” JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox told Condé Nast Traveler.

Perhaps best of all, JetSuite wants to help you avoid the worst thing about air travel: fellow travelers. By employing terminals usually reserved for private air travel, you can avoid the crowds and even the TSA, through there are still security screenings. To further feed the thrifter in you, the flights will even get you points on JetBlue.

Before you get too invested in actualizing that long-held fantasy of flying like a celebrity, know that these jets don’t fall under the literal definition of "private." JetSuite is in the process of acquiring 10 Embraer E135 regional jets, which are designed to hold 30 seats.

With the service, JetSuite hopes to exploit a potential market interested in smaller airports and shorter flights. While the company hopes to appeal largely to business travelers, affordable fares and the ability to check-in 15 minutes before take take-off are the kind of features everyone will like.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Live Smarter
This Travel Site Factors in Baggage Fees to Show You the True Cost of Your Flight
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If you're looking to find the best deal on airfare, there are more tools out there to help you than ever before. Travel sites allow users to compare ticket prices based on airlines and the dates of their trip, but the numbers they show don't always paint the full picture. Additional fees for baggage can make a flight that seemed like a steal at booking suddenly a lot less convenient. Fortunately for frugal flyers, KAYAK has found a way to work this factor into their equations, Travel + Leisure reports.

To use the fare search engine's new baggage fee feature, start by entering the information for your flight like you normally would. Flying from New York to Chicago and back the first week of May? KAYAK recommends taking Spirit Airlines if you're looking to pay as little as possible.

But let's say you plan on checking two bags on your flight—different airlines charge different baggage fees, so Spirit may no longer be the cheapest option. If that's the case, KAYAK includes a Fee Assistant bar right above the search results. After entering the number of carry-on and checked bags you'll be traveling with, the results will automatically update to show the true cost of your fare. Ticket prices for New York to Chicago rise across the board with the addition of two checked bags, and Delta now becomes the best deal if you're looking to book through one airline.

The new baggage fee assistant is one way for travelers to make savvier purchases when booking online. But even with the added fees included, you'll need to do some extra research to determine the true value you get from each ticket price that pops up. Wi-Fi, legroom, and in-flight meal quality are all factors that could make a slightly more expensive airline worth it once you board.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Forensic Analysis Suggests Bones Discovered on a Pacific Island May Belong to Amelia Earhart
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In 1937, the most famous female pilot of the day became the center of one of the most enduring aviation mysteries of all time. Amelia Earhart, best known for being the first woman to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic, vanished while attempting to circumnavigate the globe with her navigator Fred Noonan. Eighty years later, potential clues regarding her fate are still being considered. The latest is a forensic analysis that has one scientist claiming he's identified the bones of Amelia Earhart, The Washington Post reports.

The 13 bones were recovered from the island of Nikumaroro in the South Pacific in 1940. A British expedition surveying the island for settlement came across the remains, along with a bottle of an herbal liqueur, a box designed to hold a Brandis Navy surveying sextant (a navigation instrument), and a woman's shoe. All pieces are items that would have plausibly been on board if Earhart had crashed her Lockheed plane in the area.

A popular theory about Earhart's disappearance around that time was that she had died a castaway on a remote Pacific island similar to that one. Experts suspected that the bones may have belonged to the lost pilot, but the researcher who conducted an analysis in 1941 concluded they belonged to a man.

Forensic osteology, the study of bones, was in its infancy at the time of the analysis. With this in mind, University of Tennessee anthropologist Richard L. Jantz recently revisited the potential evidence that had been ignored by Earhart researchers for decades, a process he describes in a new study published in the journal Forensic Anthropology.

He used more sophisticated methods than were available in 1941: A computer program he helped design called Fordisc allowed him to estimate the sex, ancestry, and stature of the specimen from bone measurements. He then compared this data to the estimated size of Amelia Earhart's skeleton based on what we know about her height, weight, and overall proportions. From this research, he found that the Nikumaroro bones are more similar to Earhart's physique than 99 percent of the individuals he looked at in a reference sample.

The castaway theory is just one of many explanations experts have given for Amelia Earhart's disappearance. Other possibilities suggest that she crashed and died at sea, that she crashed in Papua New Guinea, or that she was captured by Japanese forces and died a prisoner. Since her disappearance, many of these theories have been validated by new evidence and then discredited when that evidence turned out to be either fabricated or blown out of proportion. But if the claims of this new study hold up to scrutiny, they could change the way the story is told going forward.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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