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New levels of luxury on planes, from double beds to high-walled suites

<i>TOH TING WEI/AFP via Getty Images</i><br/>American Airlines is dropping first-class seats on international flights in favor of new-and-improved business class suites
AFP via Getty Images
TOH TING WEI/AFP via Getty Images
American Airlines is dropping first-class seats on international flights in favor of new-and-improved business class suites

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

This week in travel: Europe’s most underrated destinations, the world’s spiciest foods and the airlines introducing double beds and high walls in business and first class.

The high life

American Airlines is dropping first-class seats on international flights in favor of new-and-improved business class suites, and high-altitude, business-class fanciness is also on the rise elsewhere.

In fact, some airlines almost seem to be encouraging their elite travelers to get down to business, with the introduction of snuggle-friendly double beds.

Meanwhile in first class, a new generation of high-wall supersuites are reaching right up to the ceilings of some of the latest wide-body jets, offering unprecedented levels of privacy.

As for the rest of us in economy, it’s more about squeezing than snuggling. Airplane seats are shrinking and US travelers have a lot to say about it.

Turkish Airlines recently removed several seats to make the plane more accessible to the world’s tallest woman, who in September took her very first flight.

Destination inspiration

When you’ve already partied in Paris, larked across London and frolicked around Florence, it’s time to go deeper.

There are unexplored pockets galore on the vast continent of Europe, and we’ve put together a roundup of 21 of the most underrated places to whet your appetite.

If you’re looking to make your European adventure more permanent, Portugal has introduced a new temporary-stay visa geared toward remote workers, adding to several other options that make moving to the country possible.

With 1,100 miles of sunny coastline to sample, not to mention the tasty pastéis de nata and Port wine, it’s not surprising it’s become one of the hottest destinations for a brand-new start.

Luxury stays

Sometimes in life, the happy opportunity comes along to go all out.

We’re talking the whole nine yards — tropical island escape, French château, tented safari. All the bells-and-whistles with an eye-watering price tag for a completely unforgettable vacation.

If this is you, or you dream that one day it could be you, take a look at our roundup of 13 of the best hotels to add to your (Champagne) bucket list.

The Maldives is one of the world’s most popular choices for this kind of once-in-a-lifetime trip, but at Kudadoo Maldives Private Island Resort they’re also thinking about the future of our day-to-day existence. Here’s how they built a sustainable resort in the planet’s most low-lying country.

Bold flavors

Have your cooling glass of milk handy: We’ve put together our list of the 20 best spicy foods, from Nigeria’s egusi soup to India’s vindaloo.

A napkin to mop your brow would be a welcome accessory with those dishes, but when it comes to Hong Kong’s famous TPK-style roasted pigeon, the meal is brought to your table along with a pair of plastic gloves. Here’s why.

Moving on to dessert, a Czech pastry has become one of Texas’ most popular treats. Watch here to learn why kolaches should be an essential part of any visit to the Lone Star State.

And finishing off with coffee: a caffeine connoisseur has experimented with deep-frying coffee beans. Sounds terrible? Well, watch the video to hear his verdict.

Making merry

Sniff the air. Can you smell that gingerbread drifting on the breeze? Christmas is so close you can almost hear the sweet tinkle of sleigh bells and Mariah Carey’s laughter.

Some cities, including New York, have already launched their winter villages. Here’s our roundup of the best Christmas markets taking place in 2022.

In case you missed it

The National Park Service wants people to stop licking psychedelic toads.

Alongside hallucinations, the Sonoran desert toad’s toxin can cause seizures and even death.

Explorers have found cameras lost on a glacier 85 years ago.

They belonged to American adventurer Bradford Washburn. Here’s the incredible story.

It’s official: The world’s largest plane is going to be rebuilt.

The Antonov AN-225 was destroyed earlier this year by Russian forces in Ukraine.

There’s a lot more to Dubai than just skyscrapers and shopping.

Find your dream itinerary by trying our interactive quiz.

Carrying on

Florida Man (or woman) may have struck again, this time after being caught hiding a gun inside a raw chicken at a TSA checkpoint in the Sunshine State.

While most of us are aware weapon-stuffed poultry is a big airport no-no, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have put together this handy guide breaking down TSA’s carry-on bag rules — as well as sharing some of their favorite luggage options.

Be careful on your way back, too: Even a forgotten rogue sandwich can lead to fines of thousands of dollars. Here are the US border food rules you need to know.

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