Airplane cabin innovations from saunas to sleeping pods

By Maureen O'Hare, CNN

    (CNN) -- Happy July 4th weekend to our US readers and a wonderful July vacation season to everyone else. Here at CNN Travel, we're riding out the price hikes, the flight cancellations and the chaos, and we are just grateful restrictions are easing and the open(ish) road is ahead.

Here's the latest in travel from around the world this week.

Cabin interiors

Tucked away on wide-body aircraft well out of sight of passengers, there are secret spaces with bunks and power outlets that resemble Japanese-style capsule hotels. They're called crew rest compartments, and their location on the plane varies. Get the lowdown on them here.

Alsoinairplane bunk beds, Air New Zealand has just announced its "Skynest" concept: full-length sleeping pods available to economy passengers. It'll be among the offerings included on its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are due to enter into service in 2024.

On the upper end of the luxury scale, there's Germany's Lufthansa Technik, which recently developed a cabin concept inspired by that must-have item for the ultrarich, the superyacht. We're talkingyacht-like luxury right down to having a sauna, steam room and a retractable veranda.

Travel connections

Disneyland famously claims to be the happiest place on Earth, but for Renata and Brian Mehl, there was a little more magic in the air than usual when they met at the Anaheim resort in January 2012. A Disney proposal followed, and now the Californian pair is celebrating a decade together.

And here's another meeting brought about by an accident of fate. Two women with the same name, Kimberly Pflieger, became friends after becoming aware of each other online. The two women -- one Canadian, one Californian -- went hiking with their partners in Malibu and have further adventures planned together.

News from Asia

Porcupines, armadillos, turtles, lizards and snakes were among the 109 live animals discovered by X-ray in two pieces of luggage at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport this week. Two women have been arrested and charged with smuggling.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, another contender for happiest place on Earth, will reopen to international tourists in September for the first time since the pandemic began. Travelers will face a much heftier daily tourist tax, though: It's now $200 per night, up from $65.

It's not the only Asian destination to raise prices. Indonesia's Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist temple, is also set for a massive price hike.

Alternative transport

So how will we all be getting from A to B by the 2050s? There are plenty of exciting new vehicle concepts in development.

Maybe it'll be "flying ferries" that promise to get us to work in half the time.

Or perhaps by solar-assisted vehicle: A solar-paneled car will go into production this year, and a butterfly-shaped solar-powered trailer is on a four-year trip around the world.

And finally, there are airships: Spanish airline Air Nostrum has just ordered 10 Airlander 10 hybrid aircraft with delivery scheduled for 2026

Australia's abandoned places

Photographer Brett Patman has spent the past decade documenting Australia's abandoned places, from industrial sites to hotels. Read about his work here.

In case you missed it

Cancel culture: Yet more travel chaos is on its way this summer.

It's an international hullabaloo. You'll need coping strategies.

Back by popular demand: Lufthansa will bring the A380 back next year.

The world's largest passenger plane has room for more than 850 travelers.

Could you land a plane in an emergency?

It's the nightmare scenario: Hear stories of people who've lived it.

Copenhagen's currently home to the world's "coolest neighborhood" and its two "best restaurants."

Here's what Anthony Bourdain made of it when he visited in 2013 for "Parts Unknown."

Cool and collected

Vacations should be all about relaxation. But when temperatures are rising, and you've been walking all day from airport lanes to city streets, you need a deodorant you can depend on. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have rounded up 16 of the best deodorants and antiperspirants, as recommended by personal trainers.

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