Unlocking the World

The best time and days to book your domestic and international flights

Maureen O'Hare, CNNPublished 25th February 2023
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(CNN) — This week in travel news: the best time and day to book your flights, new business and first class cabins for Qantas and Air France, and the only woman living on an island populated by convicted criminals.

When should you book your flights?

With some airfares up by as much as 50%, it's more crucial than ever to get smart about your booking strategy. An expert at travel site Hopper tells CNN you should start tracking your May, June and July vacations now. And there's a "Goldilocks window" for booking -- not too early, not too late -- says another expert from travel site Going.
Get your laptop and credit card out on a Sunday to stand the best chance of securing the best deals, says booking platform Expedia. You can refine your search further with flight comparison site Skyscanner's new Savings Generator, launched this month. Plug in your departure city, your destination and when you'd like to travel, and it'll help you pinpoint the best time to book and the cheapest time to travel.

New cabins for Qantas and Air France

If you're an airline planning to launch record-breaking new 19-hour flights connecting Australia with New York and London, you'd better make darn sure you're offering your customers a comfortable experience -- especially for those shelling out the big dollars in the front section.
Qantas has revealed the first and business class prototypes for the Airbus A350s that will be serving its new "Project Sunrise" routes that are slated to launch in 2025. The airline says its First Suite will feel like "a mini boutique hotel."
That follows the unveiling last month of Air France's swanky new long-haul business cabin, complete with sliding doors and redesigned seats. It debuted on a Boeing 777-300ER flying Paris-New York and the first destinations it will serve are New York, Rio de Janeiro and Dakar, Senegal.

Prison islands turned paradise isles

Back in 2011, Giulia Manca went to a former Italian prison island in search of a relaxing break. Twelve years later, she's the only woman living on an island populated by convicted criminals and is loving life in the "Alcatraz of the Tyrrhenian Sea."
Over in Mexico, one of the country's most notorious prisons began a new chapter in December as a Pacific Ocean getaway. The former penal colony on the Islas Marías archipelago now boasts a tourism center, restaurant and cafe, as well as villas for guests to stay in before hitting the beaches.

Seeing the world by bike

Dubai could be getting an indoor, climate-controlled, 93-kilometer cycling superhighway looping round the city, if developer URB gets its way. The greenery-filled corridor "aims to make Dubai the most connected city on Earth by foot or bike."
The move could perhaps earn the Middle Eastern hub a future spot on our list of the world's best cities to see by bike: destinations in North America, Scandinavia and Asia Pacific all make the current roundup.
Two people who have a better knowledge than most of global cycling culture are British couple Laura Massey-Pugh and Stevie Massey, who last year became the fastest cyclists to circumnavigate the world on a tandem bicycle.

Summer of '69

Anthony met Barbara at a Greek ferry port in the summer of 1969. He was a 28-year-old American college graduate with a third-class ticket and she was a 24-year-old flight attendant for Air France, traveling in second class.
Like Jack and Rose in "Titanic," the boat's class divisions didn't stand in the way of love. Here's how Anthony jumped the barriers to the meet the woman who'd be his bride.

Best budget earbuds

What dinky little travel essential are you most likely to lose -- and most likely to mourn when you do? For many of us, the answer is earphones.
If you're someone whose most cherished travel companion is a playlist or podcast, but also doesn't like to break the bank on something that could end up on the floor of a foreign city's metro system, take a look at this guide to best budget earbuds. It's been put together by our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN.

Disruptive traveler of the week

After a brief hiatus, we're sorry to say unruliness is back. An American Airlines flight was diverted to a North Carolina airport on February 22 due to a disruptive passenger. The woman was taken into custody, but a misdemeanor charge was dismissed.

In case you missed it

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Turn on the waterworks, this one will touch your heart.
This Asian nation has the world's most "powerful" passport.
What it's like to live off grid in a traditional Maya village.
And why their lifestyle is now under threat.