Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 17.10.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

‘Banned Booty’ turns confiscated TSA items into art

USA Today

Alas, this pink stun gun — recently confiscated from a clueless passenger at Salt Lake City International Airport — won’t be included. Neither, as far as we can tell, are once prohibited but now permissable snow globes.

But plenty of other items intercepted by the ever-vigilant Transportation Security Administration will be on display at “Banned Booty — Palm Spring Checkpoint,”an art exhibition opening Oct. 18 at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Known for its collection of flyable World War II aircraft, the California museum takes a contemporary turn with “Banned Booty.” Open through May 2013, the exhibit features mixed-media installation pieces that artist Steve Maloney created from items plucked from carry-on luggage by the TSA at the Palm Springs International Airport.

“American travel changed radically after Sept. 11, 2001, (and) the ‘Banned Booty’ series captures a small aspect of this change,” says Maloney in a press release.

“Armed with 21st-century passenger booty, I shaped artistic interpretations of our time. Two-dozen professional hairdressers’ scissors compose ‘A Cut Above.’ Needle-nosed pliers and a physician’s reflex hammer must have belonged to ‘Seasoned Travelers.’ And ‘Houdini Booty Lock Up,’ my take on a contemporary time capsule, cuts across every demographic line,” Maloney says. “Enclosed within the work’s bulletproof Plexiglas cube is a common blender blade, barbells, a butane torch and corn-on-the-cob skewers, all wrapped with 60-feet of hand-painted chain.

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McDonald’s sues city of Milan over eviction

Toronto Sun

McDonald’s has sued the city of Milan for 24 million euros in damages over being kicked out of a tourist-packed shopping arcade, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, after the U.S. fast food chain had rented the space for 20 years.

A second Prada store will replace McDonald’s in the 19th-century marble-floored shopping mall as a result of a public tender whose terms McDonald’s called “unfair.”

To celebrate the last days of one of its busiest restaurants in Italy, McDonald’s offered free burgers, fries and drinks to over 5,000 people from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

“We wanted to say goodbye to the Galleria with a smile,” said Paolo Mereghetti, head of communication at McDonald’s in Italy.

Losing the spot in the Galleria, which links the city’s historic Duomo cathedral to La Scala Opera house and is close to the chic Montenapoleone shopping street, would cause a 6 million euro loss in missed annual sales, said Mereghetti.

“No jobs will be lost as a result,” he said.

In a show of affection, 1,500 people left messages on a Facebook page set up in early October to comment on the closure.

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The airport of the future… Big Brother-style

Airport security needs to undergo a radical overhaul or else passengers will become further disgruntled, lines will grow and terminals will be overwhelmed, airline executives said at a global aviation conference.

“We simply can’t cope with the expected volume of passengers with the way things are today,” Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade group.

He predicted that by 2020 governments will be using a “checkpoint of the future” where passengers can race though without stopping, removing clothing, or taking liquids and laptops out of bags.

While a lot of work has to be done to get numerous countries and regulators on board, Tyler is optimistic that today’s “one-size-fits all approach to screening” can be replaced with a system based on individual passenger risk. The industry hopes to test the concept at a handful of airports starting late 2014.

The example cited by Tyler and airline executives of what is working: the US Transportation and Security Administration’s relatively new PreCheck program.

Frequent fliers who voluntarily share more information with the government get to keep their shoes, belts and light jackets on at security. The program will be expanded to 35 airports by the end of the year.

“If you are willing to share a little more information, then you can have a much better experience,” John S. Pistole, head of the TSA, told the conference. “We can then spend more time on those we know the least about.”

The additional personal information would most likely be handed over voluntarily to the government by passengers who see the benefit of the time savings.

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China to open atomic bomb site for tourism

The Telegraph

Officials in China are planning to turn the base where the country’s first atomic bomb was developed into a tourist attraction.

According to the Xinhau news agency, around 6m yuan (£595,000) is set to be spent on the site in the autonomous Xinjiang region to the northwest of the country.

The unusual development project is being carried out by the local government and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Visitors will apparently be able to visit the laboratories and dormitories scientists used, while a 300-metre anti-air strike tunnel has also been earmarked for renovation and display.

According to a report on the BBC, officials say the base in Malan will be turned into a “red tourism site”, which are chosen by the Communist Party to celebrate important events in its history.

The country tested atomic bombs in the area in the 1960s, with the first recorded detonation taking place in the desert near Malan on October 16, 1964.

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