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The UK announces $12 entry fee for travelers

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

(CNN) — The United States has been charging visitors for electronic travel authorization since 2009, and now the United Kingdom and the European Union are rolling out entry fees, too. Also in our latest CNN Travel roundup, we bring you a double-decker plane seat and bunk beds in the sky.

UK to charge travelers for entry

Visa waiver schemes have been around for a while. The United States has the $21 ESTA, valid for two years, and Europe will be introducing the 7 euro ETIAS (about $7.50 on exchange rates this week) in 2024. That one will last you three years.

The United Kingdom, you may recall, rather famously fled the EU coop a couple of years back. Now it’s revealed the price tag for its own scheme, the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation): £10 (about $12.50) for two years.

Admittedly, that’s only about the price of a large fish and chips, but it does mean access to the nations that gave us the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle will be more expensive than a pass to the home countries of the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, the Sagrada Familia and the Acropolis combined.

The plan is for the scheme to be rolled out for people who don’t require a visa to enter the United Kingdom – including US and EU nationals – by the end of 2024, with the first nation to join the scheme being Qatar later this year.

Bunk beds and double-decker seats

CNN Travel was at the Aircraft Interiors Expo this week in Germany to check out the wares, including the latest version of the controversial double-decker airplane seat, which went viral after we had a go on it last year.

The new version is roomier and with improved incline but, when all’s said and done, if you’re on the lower set, face cheeks and butt cheeks are level in a way that makes many uncomfortable.

There was a warmer welcome for Delta’s groundbreaking airplane seat concept that allows powered wheelchair users to stay in their own chair, which could improve the flying experience for millions around the world. Our video shows how it works.

Finally, Air New Zealand’s economy class bunk beds were a winner at the Crystal Cabin Awards and are set to hit the skies in 2024. That follows the news in March that Lufthansa will be introducing double bed suites for first class passengers as part of its $2.65 billion transformation of long-haul aircraft cabins.

Award-winning food and wine

Where can I get Haitian food in the Pacific Northwest? Which Philadelphia restaurant does the best tasting menu? Which emerging wine producers should I brag to my friends about discovering? Don’t worry, Travel friends, we’ve got you.

Just check out the illustrious winners of two of the biggest awards in food and drink – the James Beard Awards for US chefs and restaurants and the Decanter World Wine Awards for venerable vinos, both announced this week.

And because you’re a very high-class foodie (no, honestly, we feel sure you are) then you might also be interested in a portable coffee maker so you need never endure a subpar cup on your travels again. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have rounded up 11 of the finest.

Law and order

There’s been a boom in bad behavior on airplanes in recent years – yet another US-bound flight was diverted last weekend – but the most egregious recent example has to be the passenger who opened the door on a South Korea flight. Here’s what the man who was seated next to him had to say about the ordeal.

Down on ground level, there are still people not getting the message that you don’t mess with wildlife. Tourists put a baby elk in their car in Yellowstone National Park in the latest of a string of incidents.

In case you missed it

A real, 3D-printed cultivated fish fillet has just been created. 

Welcome home, honey, your dinner’s in the printer.

Three sand cat kittens were born at North Carolina Zoo.

Witness the cuteness here.

Six years ago, a man set out on a solo hike around the coastline of the United Kingdom. 

Then things took a turn.

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