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Website allows users to pay for flights on payment plan

Website allows users to pay for flights on payment plan

Another website is on the market to help people pay for pricey airfare on a repayment plan.

CNN Money reported that has partnered with Affirm, a financial services company, so that users can set up various payment plans to pay for airplane tickets.

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Those plans, according to CNN Money, may be three, six or 12-month purchase plans, which have varying interest rates on the loans, based on credit-worthiness, ranging from 10 percent to 30 percent APR.

It requires those on the plan to have established credit, and they will need to submit their name, email, street address, birth date, phone number and the  last four digits of their Social Security number so that a soft credit check may be run. CEO Jeff Klee said the program is geared toward travelers who can't afford their trip or do not have a credit card.

"When you want to take a vacation, it's a lot of money to put up out front and you might not be able to manage it all at once," Klee told CNN Money. "Spreading it out ... makes it become more easy to manage."

Klee said there is no limit on how many tickets a user can request financing for, and users get credit approval within seconds.

Financing is only for tickets that cost $100 or more.

This is not the only company to offer a repayment plan for airline tickets. Airfordable launched earlier this year and according to its website it does not require credit checks and does not have compounded interest. 

Disney giving out free insect repellent to help keep visitors safe from Zika

As the number of locally transmitted Zika virus infections continues to increase in Florida, Disney World has started to give all visitors and cast members free insect repellent.  

Disney announced the move on the Frequently Asked Questions section of its website as an answer to park goers’ questions about how to protect themselves from Zika.

“In an abundance of caution, we are taking additional measures and preventative efforts throughout our property, including providing complimentary insect repellent for guests and cast members,” the post said.

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Susan Conway came prepared when she visited Disney World over the weekend.

"This is what we were told, to put wipes (on her two sons). After 20 minutes left dry, then put the sun tan lotion on top," she said. 

Conway was in Florida from Great Britain with her husband and two sons.

Other Disney guests weren't concerned about getting Zika, but appreciated what Disney was doing. 

"I think it's good, it's a good thing to protect people from that," Victoria Strickland said. "For me, I'm not worried about it."

Disney said it was vigilantly tracking Zika infections in the state in an effort to keep visitors informed.

“At this time, the Florida Department of Health has reported that there are no reported cases of active transmissions of the Zika virus in the Orlando area and counties surrounding Walt Disney Resort,” the company’s website said.

Other tips Disney gave for the prevention of mosquito bites (from the CDC):

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks to cover skin, when possible.
  • Use Insect Repellent:
  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
  • Do not spray insect repellent on the skin under clothing. Apply insect repellent to bare skin and clothing.
  • For those using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • According to the CDC, insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective, for adults, when used as directed.


For Babies and Children:

  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

Man dressed as Zorro detained during LAX panic

False reports of gunfire later determined to be "loud noises" late Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport sparked chaos as travelers fled, shutting down terminals and delaying flights. 

Meanwhile, a man wearing a Zorro costume – complete with a plastic sword – was briefly detained, though it was not clear why.

According to KTLA and The Associated Press, the panic began about 9 p.m. PDT when hundreds of travelers ran onto the tarmac and surrounding streets after hearing the noises or false reports of a gunman. 

LAPD spokesman Andy Neiman later tweeted, "Report of shooting at LAX proved to be LOUD NOISES only," adding that investigators were trying to determine what had caused the noises.

Neiman added that there were no shots fired and no injuries.

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CNN reports that the Federal Aviation Administration issued a 30-minute ground stop. Three terminals and nearby roads were temporarily closed, and many passengers had to go through security screening again, according to the AP

According to CNN, up to 23 flights were diverted and 68 were delayed during the scare.

During the commotion, Paula Leonhauser saw a man in a Zorro costume who appeared to be greeting his girlfriend, she told KTLA.

"She said to him, 'I have one more bag to get. Wait out here.’ And he turned and went down the sidewalk a little bit," Leonhauser said. "I don’t know whether that is the person who they were frightened of, but what happened next was the police yelled … at all of us to get down and get away."

Leonhauser, who said at least one officer drew a gun, added, "It was frightening. It was absolutely frightening. It was mayhem."

The airport confirmed on its Twitter account that the man had been detained but did not disclose any other details. CNN reports that the man had nothing to do with the incident and was on his way to Las Vegas.

Read more here.

French tourism declines amid fears of terrorism

France is facing potentially more than $1 billion in lost revenue this year because of huge declines in tourism.

Safety concerns have been one of the biggest reasons why the country has lost over $850,000 in revenue already in the first six months of 2016.

The terror attacks in Paris last November were called Europe's worst in the past decade.

Terrorist attacks in Nice and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray followed.

Besides violence, workers' strikes and floods are said to have played a part in international tourists' decisions to stay away.

So far in the Paris region, there has been a 46 percent decline in Japanese visitors, 35 percent fewer Russians and 27 percent fewer Italians.

American travelers seem the least affected. Their numbers have dropped by roughly 5 percent.

France might have one advantage with Americans. As those in the U.S. plan their trips, they are said to be considering more expensive destinations, which, from their perspective, could offer better protection.

According to the French government, the country is the No. 1 tourist destination in the world, and tourism is extremely important to the French economy. The sector represents roughly 9 percent of its GDP.

"It's time to realize that the tourism sector is going through an industrial disaster," the head of Paris' tourism board said.

Swimming with wild dolphins could be banned in Hawaii

One of Hawaii's most popular tourist activities may soon be illegal.

Federal regulators have proposed a ban on swimming with the state's spinner dolphins in the wild.

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Spinner dolphins are known for their high, spinning leaps and friendly demeanor, which makes them extremely popular with tourists and locals alike.

But they are nocturnal, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, constant contact with humans during the day is negatively affecting the animals.

"Over time, their health may be impacted. They may not nurture young as well. They may abandon their young or habitat, and they may suffer long-term population impacts," assistant regional administrator for protected resources with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Ann Garrett told KGMB.

The proposed rule would ban swimmers and vessels from coming within 50 yards of a spinner dolphin in the ocean, and it would extend two nautical miles from shore.

Many animal rights activists are in favor of putting the ban into action, but some local businesses that operate dolphin tours and excursions have mixed feelings about the idea.

"Our people stay in a neutral way. We don’t chase them or hoard them or corral them in any way. We allow the dolphins to come to us," Richard Holland, president of Ocean Journeys LLC, told KHON.

Officials said if the proposal becomes a rule, it will probably go into effect sometime next year.

Read more at the Associated Press

Disney's Animal Kingdom slashing hours, shuttering after-dark attractions Sept. 5

According to Disney’s Animal Kingdom website, park hours are going to incrementally get shorter over the next few months and the after-dark attractions will move to different time slots.

Disney said the after-dark attractions will continue in the fall, despite the shortened park hours. The attraction times will be moved accordingly. 

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The park extended its hours to 11 p.m. in the spring and introduced several after-dark attractions, including The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, Tree of Life Awakenings and the supposedly upcoming Rivers of Light.

Disney did not give a reason for shortening Animal Kingdom’s operating hours. The company recently released its third-quarter earnings which showed a 6-percent increase in revenue at its parks and resorts, despite a drop in attendance.

According to the Animal Kingdom website, starting on Sept. 6, the park will close at 9 p.m.; starting Sept. 30, it will close at 8:30 p.m.; starting Oct. 2 it will close at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 12 it will close at 7 p.m.; and on Nov. 1 the park will close at 6 p.m.

With the exception of the week of Dec. 25-31, when the park will stay open until 8 p.m., the 6 p.m. closing time will be in place at least through the start of 2017.

Have you traveled lately? Credit card hack affects 20 hotels

If you’ve traveled within the last year, you could have stayed at several hotels that were targeted by hackers.

An undisclosed number of people who used credit cards at 20 Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott, Westin and other hotels in 10 states and the District of Columbia may have had their cards compromised after the hotel payment systems were hacked.

HEI Hotels & Resorts, which operates just under 60 hotels and resorts under a variety of brands, said that after being notified by its credit card processor of a potential breach, it conducted an internal investigation that found malware on its payment processing systems at the 20 hotels.

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The malware was designed to capture debit and credit card information such as names, card account numbers, card expiration dates and verification codes, according to a release.

The hack potentially affected cards used at point of sale terminals, such as those at the hotels’ restaurants and stores, between December 2015 and June 2016. Systems at a few of the affected locations were found to have been infected with the malware as early as March 2015.

Retailers and other companies that deal with large numbers of credit cards have become popular targets for hackers looking to make a quick buck by collecting and selling the information on the internet in bulk.

Among the hotel chains, Hilton Worldwide, Trump Hotel Collection and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have all confirmed POS system breaches within the past year or so.

The impacted HEI Hotels & Resorts included locations in Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Virginia, California, Tennessee, Colorado, the District of Columbia and Minnesota.

Customers who notice anything out of place should contact their card issuer.

Airline passengers will pay more to avoid 'middle seat'

You may know the feeling: You're traveling alone, squeezed into a row between two strangers.

With record capacity and more full flights, airlines are packing in passengers, and that means that if you're flying by yourself, you might get stuck with the infamous "middle" seat.

"If they go to sleep and put their headphones on, then, you know, that's the awkward thing, and then having to say, 'Excuse me' to go to the bathroom is even worse. But I mean, what can you do?" LaShawn Norfus asked.

Travelers can pay more.

Southwest Airlines doesn't assign seats, but passengers can spend more on an early boarding pass and increase the chance of grabbing a different seat.

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As of last year, if you buy Delta's cheapest ticket, you have to wait until check-in to pick your seat. If you pay more you can lock in the seat you want ahead of time.

National reports claim that American and United might go in the same direction.

"That's where the market's coming to, and expect that to continue," airline expert Michael Lowery said.

He said that if passengers don't want to pay more, they should research the planes for the flight they want and see which one's floor plan has fewer middle seats.

"It's on the website,” Lowery said. “It'll give you what plane it is and you can just look at it. Or you can do their search feature for a date, (and) it will tell you what type of plane it is."

Of course, if that sounds like too much work, there's always begging and bribing the person next to you to switch.

At least one airline hopes the middle seat issue helps its business.

Frontier recently changed its seats. It had room to add a fraction of an inch to each seat, but decided to give all the extra room to the middle ones.

"Instead of giving each seat an extra third of an inch, we can go ahead and give that middle seat a full extra inch and make one of the least popular seats on the plane not as bad," Frontier spokesman Richard Oliver III said.

The seats are now 19 inches wide instead of 18.

TSA confiscates record amount of guns in carry-ons at airports across country

Transportation Security Administration officials discovered a record-breaking 78 firearms this week in carry-on bags at U.S. airports. Of the 78 firearms discovered, 68 were loaded and 21 had a round chambered.

The previous record of 74 firearms was set in May 2016.

Four inert replica grenades were also discovered this week, along with a cane sword and a knife concealed in a bottle of pills, according to a post on the TSA blog.

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TSA officials want to remind travelers that firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should be familiar with those laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Security line delays are caused each time the TSA finds a dangerous item. Passengers can be given a citation or in some cases, arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000. The TSA offers tips on traveling safely with firearms and ammunition.

When in doubt, TSA officials recommend leaving the item at home.

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