How Your Credit Card Can Save You $50 Every Time You Fly

iStock
iStock

In an effort to squeeze profitability out of their flight schedules, airlines have become downright miserly in both comfort and free amenities. In 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was ordered by a Washington federal appeals court to review the cramped seating arrangements that may pose a safety risk for people in an evacuation. And in what’s being marketed as “Basic Economy” service for the cheap seats, passengers are expected to pay a $25 fee for a carry-on item larger than a backpack. The charge is doubled if you try to sneak it on.

It’s up to the FAA to do something about the seats, but you can do something about the fees. Over at Thrillist, Ryan Craggs explains that the major domestic airlines (American, United, Delta) all promote credit cards that come with travel perks. If you’re a member, you’re exempt from Basic Economy’s draconian carry-on policies. Participating cards are typically found on an airline’s terms and conditions page, like this one for American.

Some of these programs even allow you to carry on an item as well as check a bag—all without fees. But make sure you scope out the airline's individual baggage policies, as not all of them try to squeeze you for every nickel. Southwest, for example, doesn't have a carry-on surcharge.

The catch—and there’s almost always a catch—is that many of the eligible credit cards come with an annual fee. But if you fly more than twice a year, you’re still likely to come out ahead.

[h/t Thrillist]

The Mental Floss Store Is Back!

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Mental Floss Store

You've been asking about it for months, and today we can finally confirm that the Mental Floss Store is back up and running! Simply head here to find dozens of T-shirts with all sorts of unique designs to choose from, whether you’re in the market for a pi pun, a risqué grammar joke, or something only your fellow bookworms will appreciate. You can even use your new Mental Floss shirt to teach your friends all about scurvy.

Mental Floss Store

If you’re just in the mood to express your love of all things Mental Floss, you can also get our darling little logo on phone cases, tote bags, mugs, baby bibs, and more.

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Head on over to the Mental Floss Store to see our entire collection. And if you use the code FLOSSERS at checkout by end of day Sunday, you'll get 20 percent off your order. 

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The 10 Most Visited National Parks in 2019

Josiah Weiss, Unsplash
Josiah Weiss, Unsplash

The U.S. National Park System comprises more than 400 sites, 62 of which are national parks. Within the parks, visitors can explore forests, deserts, volcanoes, and more. But even with the diversity the National Park System has to offer, many visitors find themselves going to the same iconic parks year after year. To see the most-visited national parks in 2019, check out the list below.

This list comes from recreational visitation data gathered by the National Park Service. It doesn't include national monuments, parkways, or similar units—just the sites with the official "national park" designation.

The Great Smoky Mountains tops the list with roughly 12.5 million visits last year. Stretching across five counties in North Carolina and Tennessee, it's less than a day's drive away for one-third of the U.S. population. The accessibility plus the free admission and gorgeous mountain scenery help make it the country's most popular national park.

It's followed by Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, which saw 5.97 million visits in 2019 to witness its world-famous views. Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park takes third place with 4.7 million visits, and Utah's Zion National Park takes fourth with 4.5 million. Read on for the full top 10.

The National Park Service was established just over a century ago, and it's amassed a fascinating history. Here are some more facts about the United States's national parks.

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  2. Grand Canyon National Park
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park
  4. Zion National Park
  5. Yosemite National Park
  6. Yellowstone National Park
  7. Acadia National Park
  8. Grand Teton National Park
  9. Olympic National Park
  10. Glacier National Park