News and Deals: December 27, 2012 – BBC shuts down Thorn Tree travel forum on Lonely Planet website, China opens world’s longest bullet train line, Hotels fixing 1.4 million hackable door locks and Ancillary fees continue to complicate booking on airline sites

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BBC shuts down Thorn Tree travel forum on Lonely Planet website
The Independent

The commercial arm of the BBC has shut down its hugely popular forum for backpackers and travellers because “uncomfortable themes” were being discussed.

BBC Worldwide suspended the Thorn Tree forum on its Lonely Planet website on Saturday. It brought the travel guide company for a total of £132.2m in two deals in 2007 and 2011.

The closure has been met with consternation by travellers who would normally use the forum over the busy Christmas period to swap advice on methods of travel, hotels and hostels.

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China opens world’s longest bullet train line
CNN

China’s Beijing-to-Guangzhou high-speed rail (HSR) link opened on Wednesday, a 2,398-kilometer journey rated the world’s longest HSR train line.

Once a Shenzhen-Hong Kong HSR link is completed in 2015, the line will connect Hong Kong with the Chinese capital.

The new line connecting Guanzhou with Beijing is designed for a maximum speed of 350 kmh, with an average speed of 300 kmh, state media reported. This reduces travel time between the two cities from more than 20 hours to around eight hours.

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Hotels fixing 1.4 million hackable door locks
Green Bay Press Gazette

The locks on more than 1 million guestroom doors are being repaired after the revelation this summer that they may be vulnerable to hackers.

The New York Marriott Marquis, the biggest hotel in Manhattan, for instance, just completed updating all of its nearly 2,000 door locks. The hotel is one of thousands of properties with guestroom locks manufactured by Onity, a division of United Technologies.

The lock scandal began as a hacker exercise. During a technology conference, an attendee revealed that he’d found a security flaw — a way to unlock a common, electronic hotel-door lock using inconspicuous tools.

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Ancillary fees continue to complicate booking on airline sites
Travel Weekly

Booking a ticket on an airline website these days is a little like finding your way through an ever-changing online thicket in which new obstacles pop up a la the maze in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

The major reasons for this are that airline strategies for ancillaries continue to evolve, as do the ways they display — and sometimes price — those fees on their websites.

Ancillary fees started out as a Hail Mary pass that American Airlines threw five years ago in the face of soaring fuel costs. American announced baggage fees, which had been tried before but had never stuck, but it did so before it had systems for processing and collecting those fees.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

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