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Southern Living names this resort best in the South

Southern Living recently polled its readers to discover their picks for the top places to visit in the SouthBlackberry Farm, in Walland, Tennessee, south of Knoxville, took home the top prize.

>> Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

Southern Living noted, "Blackberry Farm emanates hospitality, from its farm-to-table offerings to the porches on guest cottages."

Blackberry Farm is a luxury hotel and resort situated on a 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains.

There is a spa, brewery and working farm on the property. The resort offers plenty of wine and dining options, musical entertainment, workshops and more. 

Activities include horseback riding, archery, fly fishing, hiking and paintball.

>> Read more trending news 

One Facebook reviewer noted, "Have traveled quite well in my 50+ years, but Blackberry Farm stands out as the BEST of all. They anticipate your every wish and deliver it with cordial efficiency. Understated, approachable elegance. Go there, go there, go there! It is transforming."

Southern Living honored The Barn at Blackberry Farm by awarding it the best restaurant in Tennessee, too.

Delta opens pop-up lounge for middle-seat passengers at Logan

No one likes being stuck in the middle seat, no matter where their flight may be going.

With that in mind, Delta Airlines partnered up with Coca-Cola for a special treat specific to those stuck in the middle seat.

The Atlanta-based companies are offering a a pop-up "Middle Seat Lounge" at Boston Logan International on Monday for only one day.

“From getting the VIP treatment with fellow middle seat travelers in the lounge to a surprise onboard, we wanted to recognize Boston middle seat customers in a unique way that will brighten their Monday,” said Julieta McCurry, Delta’s Managing Director

Those with a Delta boarding pass showing a middle seat assignment can enter the lounge near Boston Logan’s gate A11, where there will be a Coke beverage station and an appearance by Celtics TV analyst and former NBA star Brian Scalabrine.

Lucky Delta passengers flying out of Logan can even win a trip by posting a selfie with their seatmates.

Middle seat passengers can also bring a "three-pack" of Coke bottles to share with their seatmates.

>> Read more trending news 

“Coca-Cola is excited to partner with Delta to help celebrate middle seat travelers and provide them with a special beverage experience during their time at Boston-Logan International Airport and onboard,” said Lou Grill, Coca-Cola North America’s Vice President. “This unique opportunity to Share a Coke with fellow seatmates is another way to create meaningful moments and enhance our fans’ travel experience.”

Delta is expanding its flights in Boston this summer, and Coca-Cola also has a large presence in the area. The two companies have been partners since 1927 through Delta’s serving of Coke products on flights.

“From growing our Boston network to offering lie flat beds in Delta One on flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles to having two Delta Sky Clubs for guests to enjoy in Boston, we are investing in creating an unmatched experience for customers — one that’s right for every customer on every flight,” said Charlie Schewe, Delta’s Director of New England Sales.

This isn't the first time the two companies have joined efforts to bring a special treat to their clients.

Last year, the companies worked with 12 artists around the world to transform tray tables on a Boeing 767 into art. On that plane, the designs curated were all over the coach class seats for about a month.

Advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy New York worked alongside Delta and Coca-Cola to create the art gallery.

The tray table art was then displayed at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this story.

Southwest Airlines plane, pickup truck collide at Baltimore's BWI Airport

A truck struck a Southwest Airlines plane Monday morning at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, multiple news outlets are reporting.

>> RELATED STORY: Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure

According to WJLA, none of the 172 passengers on Southwest Flight 6263 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were hurt when the pickup hit the plane, which was heading to its gate about 1:30 a.m. EDT. Those on board "were being assisted off the plane," WJLA reported.

Officials did not say whether the truck driver was hurt, WTOP reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The airline apologized to passengers who took to social media to complain when the incident put a snag in their travel plans.

"We're so sorry for the trouble tonight in Baltimore," the airline responded to one user who tweeted that it had been a "crazy couple of weeks" for Southwest. "We appreciate your patience, and our Team will do everything they can to get you all on your way as soon as possible."

>> RELATED STORY: Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

The incident comes less than one month after a Southwest passenger died when a plane with a damaged engine and broken window made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Read more here or here.

Viking Cruise announces 8-month-long trip

Imagine leaving all cares behind and climbing on board a ship for a monthslong world cruise. Viking Cruises is offering a new itinerary that the company calls the “longest-ever continuous world cruise.”

Those lucky enough to be able to take the time away from responsibilities and afford the trip, will embark on a 245-day trip from London on Aug. 31, 2019. After six continents, 59 countries and 113 ports, the ship will return to London after eight months, Forbes reported.

The ship will be the Viking Sun, which has a capacity of 930 passengers. It is the newest of the Viking ocean-going fleet, having been built just last year.

>> Read more trending news 

Usually world cruises by other lines last 90-120 days, broken into 20- to 30-day chunks. This voyage will have two segments that will last 127 days and 119 days each.

The long cruise comes with a large price tag -- $92,990 per person for the entire eight-month trip. Two shorter trips that correspond with the segments will set travelers back about half that cost, USA Today reported.

According to Viking Cruises, those who book by the end of May will get free business class airfare, shore excursion credits, ship board credits, unlimited Wi-Fi and a beverage package.

Starflyer, world's tallest spinning ride, opens soon in Orlando

The world’s tallest spinning ride, the Starflyer, will be opening soon in Orlando, Florida.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Read more trending news 

The ride will be 450 feet tall and is set to open in June along International Drive.

Developer Chuck Whittall has spent a lot of money to swing business into I-Drive. He has invested nearly a billion dollars between the Coca Cola Orlando Eye and the I-Drive 360.

The Starflyer will be 50 feet taller than the Orlando Eye.

>> On WFTV.com: PHOTOS: Starflyer set to open in June

"To the very top, it's 450 foot. Riders will actually fly at 400 feet; slightly over 400 feet,” Whittall said. "We just finished the certifications on it, and we're just making sure it's working absolutely perfectly."

Whittal said he’s also working on a second phase of I-Drive 360. He is developing a new hotel and more retail space, and putting several hundred million dollars into building apartments to get people to live on I-Drive.

>> On icFlorida.com: Would you take a swing on the StarFlyer?

"I think I-Drive is the go-to destination for conventioneers and for half-day experiences,” Whittall said. "Once you get tired of the theme parks, you still want to have fun and do things. We offer all that here."

Developer Josh Wallack told WFTV’s Jamie Holmes that he’s also sinking hundreds of millions into I-Drive.

First came Mango's and the Hollywood Plaza Complex is next. It will be a rooftop restaurant with a 360-degree view of Orlando.

>> On WFTV.com: Read more Orlando theme park stories

The biggest hurdle remains traffic on I-Drive.

The restaurant is on top of a parking garage with 880 spots.

"This is now the I-Drive entertainment district, and we are looking to make this downtown Orange County,” Wallack said.

TSA wins three Webby Awards

The Transportation Security Administration isn’t known for its humor, but the government agency has won three internet awards thanks to its lighthearted messages used to keep us safe.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences awarded the TSA Instagram account with awards for - Marketing/Corporate Communications, Social Content Marketing/Weird and the People’s Voice Award: Social Content Marketing/Weird.

TSA uses its various social media accounts, like on Instagram and Twitter, to “inform, educate and at times even entertain millions of travelers across the country.”

>> Read more trending news 

Just last month, its social media teams reminded travelers that swords are not allowed as carry-on items in tweet that started, “We expected this would happen once they started offering direct flights from San Antonio to Gondor.”

>>Read: TSA Instagram post: Cool it, Aragorn, you don't need your blade on the plane

“We’re not in the entertainment business, but mixing humor with our messaging has been a very successful formula for us, and I’m glad IADAS as well as our followers have recognized and appreciated that.” Bob Burns said.

Burns is the TSA’s social media lead who runs the agency’s Instagram account and writes the captions for the photos.

Not only do the TSA’s social media accounts give lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek reminders, they also give tips on how to get through screening, packing and highlights its canine officers, plus it offers specific information on Twitter for big, national events like the Super Bowl.

TSA had 1,200 tweets in 2017 on its main account, and its Instagram account has more than 865,000 followers.

Guests use Bluetooth technology at Disney hotel to enter rooms

Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations.

Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms.

The theme park rolled out the technology at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Over the years, the My Disney Experience app has been an expanding feature of how guests navigate the parks and hotels.

Previous story: Your smartphone could unlock Disney hotel rooms

Guests can use it to check ride wait times and even clean up park photos.

But guests can also use it to plan their hotel stay, skip the check-in desk, and go straight to their rooms.

"If you choose to, you can actually bypass the front desk area, if that's important to you, and start your vacation earlier," Michael Trum, with Disney digital guest experience, said.

Here’s how it works: Guests take their cellphones and hold it up to their hotel room door, and that’s when a little Disney magic happens.

>> Read more trending news 

"They're Bluetooth-enabled. Your phone, most smart phones. We've upgraded our locks to be Bluetooth enabled as well. So, they pair together, via security obviously," Trum said.

The technology can be used as a companion to the Magic Bands, which are required to get into the parks.

Long gone are metal hotel room keys, and for the most part, even plastic key cards are gone.

But, since most guests these days aren't far from their phones, the Bluetooth technology gives them a choice.

Many people wonder whether the new technology is safe.

Cellphone passcodes are notoriously hard to crack and Disney stands by the system.

“We obviously designed this with security in mind. We can't go into details on Disney security policies, but our guests should absolutely feel safe using this as an entry point into their rooms," Trum said.

Disney is not the first to use the Bluetooth technology. Hilton and Marriot hotels have been using it for several years.

The FBI said it has never had a case of hackers using phones to enter a hotel room in the U.S.

Disney will expand the service to other hotels over the next several months.

Longest nonstop flight ready to take off

What’s the longest nonstop flight you’ve been on? Maybe a five-hour trip between Los Angeles and Hawaii? Or maybe it’s a flight between New York and London that’s more than 7 hours.

Whatever the time is, the trips have nothing on Singapore’s newest flight.

Thanks to the Airbus A350-900ULR that’s being produced, the airline is planning on offering a nonstop flight between New York and Singapore that will last nearly 20 hours in the air, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The ultra long-range plane had its first test flight Monday with a nearly five-hour round-trip from an assembly plant in Toulouse, France.

Singapore Airlines ordered seven of the new planes that replace the A340-500 that the airlines grounded in 2013, CNN reported.

The plane offers high ceilings and LED lighting and promises low noise level, CNN reported.

Why did free apple cost a woman $500?

A Colorado woman is paying the price for forgetting an apple in her bag when flying internationally.

Crystal Tadlock recently was returning to Arvada from Paris when flight attendants on the international flight handed out apples in sealed plastic bags, KDVR reported.

She said she didn’t want it at the time, so she tossed it in her bag, intending to eat it on her second flight to Denver, KDVR reported.

When she landed in Minneapolis, she went through U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Minneapolis, where she was supposed to declare fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, meat, animal products or live animals, the Washington Post reported.

>> Read more trending news 

That free apple ended up costing Tadlock $500, a fine for not declaring the fruit and bringing it into the U.S., KDVR reported.

Tadlock says she shouldn’t have been fined for a mistake. She’s also saying that Delta Airlines should have told passengers not to take the fruit with them.

She also told KDVR that she asked the agent if she could throw the apple away or eat it. She said the agent said no before handing her the ticket.

Delta officials told The Washington Post that food given during a flight “is given with the intention you consume it on board.”

She told KDVR that she’s upset that she got the ticket when the fruit came from Delta and was marked with the Delta logo.

She says she plans to fight the citation in court, KDVR reported.

Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure

Southwest Airlines said it canceled about 40 flights Sunday as it inspects engine fan blades in the wake of an engine failure last week that led to one passenger’s death.

>> Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight

That’s about 1 percent of Dallas-based Southwest’s daily schedule of nearly 4,000 flights. The airline encouraged passengers to check their flight status. “We anticipate minimal delays or cancellations each day due to the inspections,” Southwest said in a written statement.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has the same type of engines on the Boeing 737s in its fleet and is also adding ultrasonic inspections of the engines, but said it doesn’t expect any operational impact to customers.

>> Who was Jennifer Riordan, the passenger killed on a Southwest Airlines flight?

Both airlines last week, in advance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s official release of an emergency airworthiness directive, said they would accelerate the inspections.

The FAA on Friday issued the anticipated directive requiring airlines to inspect fan blades on certain engines within 20 days. The directive draws from information gathered in the investigation of Southwest’s engine failure last Tuesday. The FAA said the inspection requirement is estimated to affect 352 engines in the United States and 681 engines worldwide.

>> Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest flight showed evidence of “metal fatigue,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. That engine model is on all of Southwest’s 737-700s and 737-800s, which make up the vast majority of Southwest’s fleet.

>> Read more trending news 

Delta has a fleet of about 185 Boeing 737s with the engines, out of a fleet of more than 800 planes of various types.

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