Travel news: Turkmenistan wants to close ‘Gates of Hell’

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(CNN) — This week, the United States declared Canada a “very high” risk travel destination, unveiled the world’s most powerful passports for 2022 and the president of Turkmenistan called for the country’s “Gates of Hell” to be closed.

Canada considered ‘very high’ risk

Say it is not so! After very low Covid numbers during the pandemic, the world’s second largest country in terms of total area has recently seen a very sharp rise in the number of cases.

Spirit Island in Canada’s Jasper National Park.

Jeff Penner/Adobe Stock

passport envy

Travelers have never had it so good.

No seriously. Pandemic restrictions aside, passport holders worldwide now have visa-free entry to 107 countries on average – almost twice as many as in 2006.

The problem is, there is no such thing as an average passport. A new report says two Asian countries will hold the title of the world’s most powerful passports by 2022, and the gap between the top-ranked countries and those at the bottom has never been greater.
Then there are those extra special VIP passports — diplomatic, investigative, even presidential — with rights the rest of us can only dream of. Here’s our explanation of the passports that open all doors.

The shortest flight in the world

In Scotland’s Orkney Islands, there is a regular scheduled flight that takes less time than taking off your belt and shoes for the airport security box.

Loganair flight LM711, between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray, covers a route of 2.7 miles and takes just 53 seconds on a good day. So it is on the world’s shortest passenger flight.
And if you’re interested in aviation savings, check out our story on why commercial jets may soon be flying with just one pilot.

2021: Year of the Unruly Air Passenger

Attacks on crew members. Public intoxication. swearing. According to data from the Federal Aviation Administration, 2021 was the worst ever for unruly passenger behavior on U.S. aircraft.

And This Year Doesn’t Look Much Better — American Airlines is already saying a man has been detained after he damaged a plane while boarding.

‘Gates of Hell’ may close soon

Turkmenistan’s Darvaza gas crater is celebrated around the world as the closest thing on Earth to a fair-to-good portal to the underworld.

The crater was formed in the early 1970s when the ground collapsed during a Soviet gas drilling expedition, and the natural gas has been burning ever since.

In the world of international tourist attractions, if the Darvaza Crater is hell, London’s much-discussed Marble Arch Mound is something of a disappointing purgatory. The $8 million lumpy mound closed on January 9, just six months after opening.

Precious family letters come home

A family’s irreplaceable collection of letters from the 1940s to 1970s was accidentally left behind on a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago. Against all odds, they were reunited with their owner.

In case you missed it

The Soviet Union built one of the world’s most incredible flying machines.

This “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” podcast in Tokyo might help you get in the mood.

Is there anything more curvaceous carbalicious than the plain potato?

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