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Globe Trotting

For Sunday, April 20, 2014

By News Services


Airlines rank low, their websites high

Airlines in the U.S. don't have a very good reputation among travelers. Maybe those ever-multiplying passenger fees and ever-shrinking economy seats play a role in that.

But American carriers can at least take solace in the news that travelers are pretty happy with airline websites.

An annual customer study — the American Customer Satisfaction Index — found that airlines ranked near the bottom among all industries, with a rating of 69 on a scale of 1 to 100.

But the same index found that airline websites got a satisfaction rating of 80. In fact, airline websites ranked slightly higher than websites for online travel businesses such as Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline, which got a score of 77.

The highest-rated websites were for credit unions (86), consumer shipping companies (85) and banks (85).

Viking exhibit draws sold-out crowds

LONDON » A mixture of wonder and intimidation is on display in the exhibition "Vikings: Life and Legend," which runs through June 22 at the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery of the British Museum.

It is already the third-most-successful show in the museum's history in terms of pre-opening ticket sales and has been sold out every day since March 6.

More than 50,000 visitors have absorbed the tales of wily Nordic gods, admired treasure hoards from as far afield as what is now Uzbeki­stan and shrunk from a warrior skull used to scare off enemies on the battlefield.

"Viking" means pirate or raider in the Norse language. Even by medieval standards, the Norsemen who arrived in their wooden warships to raid monasteries and massacre monks were so brutal that, beginning in the 990s, the English King Ethelred the Unready paid them huge sums simply to stay away.

Those coming for their fill of Viking horror will find plenty to feed the imagination: the iron heads of fighting axes, once wielded with one hand to maim and behead; richly decorated double-edged swords; the remains of body-length spears, the Viking warrior's weapon of choice; as well as colorful tales of battlefield intimidation.

The proud centerpiece of the show is the sparse remains of a 121-foot Viking warship, the longest ever discovered.

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