Happy returns: When a trip to the airport changes your life

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In travel news: A court ruling on the seat recline question, the last Boeing 747 rolls off the assembly line and the TSA finds a live dog and an array of weaponry in passengers’ luggage.

Airport connections

Airports aren’t always sterile waiting rooms; sometimes, they’re where the rest of our lives begin.

Atlanta men James Sanford and Daron Fowler met at a luggage carousel in the Dominican Republic. Next year, they celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Actor Hana Sofia Lopes’ luggage went missing en route to Montreal, where she was attending an important industry event. Airport worker Azalia Claudine Becerril Angulo did Sofia’s makeup, found her bags, and now the two are friends.

And after a flight was canceled between Orlando, Florida, and Knoxville, Tennessee, 13 stranded strangers went on an impromptu road trip together. Here’s what happened.

The return of overtourism

It’s been 50 years since NASA astronauts took the photo known as the “Blue Marble,” which transformed the way we viewed Earth and our place in the universe. And it was just last month that the population on our planet hit eight billion for the first time.

Things are getting a little crowded. That’s especially the case now that travelers are back on the move again, and we’re seeing the return of the phenomenon known as “overtourism.”

In Italy, Naples has introduced a one-way system for pedestrians on one of its most popular streets. And in Taiwan, which lifted its entry restrictions two months ago, critics say its “living hell” traffic is a danger to visitors.

If you want to prepare yourself for which places might be buzzing with tourists in the coming year, Google has revealed its top trending flight searches of 2022.

Taste for adventure

For some people, lying on a beach for two weeks each August is not enough. The open road is always calling.

Like the British couple who drove across the world in a Land Rover in the 1970s. Or the 22-year-old Wisconsin woman doing it by motorcycle right now.

Some families homeschool their kids while backpacking across continents. And a 78-year-old Louisiana-born explorer has visited more than 50 countries and is still on the move.

Misbehaving travelers of the week

Is it OK to recline your seat? Not if you smash the laptop screen of the person behind, a Chinese court has ruled, fining the offending train passenger $478.

And at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a passenger arrived fully ready for any on-board rumbles: TSA officials confiscated nunchucks, three saw blades, a switchblade and a folding knife from his carry-on bag.

Finally, a dog was accidentally sent through the X-ray machine at an airport in Wisconsin, just weeks after a live cat was found trapped inside a suitcase at New York’s JFK Airport. The cat at least was treated to a Thanksgiving spread as he recovered from his ordeal.

Speaking of cats, some travelers question whether they should be boarding planes at all.

This town will pay you $30,000 to move there

The picturesque Italian town of Presicce, in the sunny southern region of Puglia, is offering to pay people up to $30,000 if they buy a cheap house in its older district.

Luxury travel gifts

If you’re looking for a little somethin’ somethin’ to spoil the special someones in your life, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have selected 29 fabulous holiday gifts priced at over $100 for luxury travelers.

In case you missed it

Frozen food has been named “dish of the year” in Japan.

The average Japanese family’s spend on frosty fare went up 20% in two years.

There are 23 countries that rank as the “most welcoming” in the world.

At least in terms of visa restrictions.

The last Boeing 747 has rolled off the assembly line in Washington.

Here are five ways the jumbo jet changed travel.

It’s now legal to go topless in Nantucket.

But controversial new laws were passed in Indonesia, banning sex outside marriage, even for visitors. Here’s what tourists need to know.