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Sun Country focus is local

Sun Country Airlines, facing more competition from low-cost carriers such as Allegiant Air, is reminding Minnesotans that it too is very Minnesotan, with a series of new in-flight food and beverages from beloved local brands. The airline will serve hot Caribou coffee beginning in early 2022 and make it the official coffee of Sun Country. Fulton Brewing's Sweet Child of Vine IPA will be added to the beer list. Sun Country is also introducing Dot's Pretzels, the zesty Midwest snack with a cult-like following, and a suite of free movies and shows with a Minnesota bent — think "The Mighty Ducks," "Grumpy Old Men," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Juno." Sun Country has already served Fulton Lonely Blonde since 2019, and offers Minnesota-based Prairie Organic Gin and Vodka for in-flight purchase.

Kristen Leigh Painter

Mask fine questions

President Joe Biden's announcement that the TSA would double fines for air travelers who refuse to wear masks raised a few questions, namely over enforcement. Since February, the TSA has received more than 4,000 reports of mask-related incidents, according to a spokesperson. However, only 126 people have faced fines. TSA agents do not have the ability to issue a ticket to someone who refuses on the spot. Once passengers board their plane, the flight attendants are supposed to be the enforcers. But flight attendants don't have a direct line to the TSA or the FAA, the two agencies that can decide whether to impose a fine, said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Nelson applauded Biden's statement, as it signaled to passengers that they must wear masks and respect flight attendants.

New York Times

Rocky Mountain color

It's that time of year when colorful swaths of natural beauty bathe the roadways and hillsides. During a 48-mile, two- to three-hour fall drive on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, observe wildlife, crystalline lakes and jagged peaks. With proximity to the Continental Divide, it's an ideal time to explain to the kids how the "roof of the continent" spills moisture to the east and the west. This expansive, peak-filled Colorado park is also well known for its elk population. The fall rut or mating season is an interesting time to witness animal behaviors as they bugle and battle for supremacy. Look for between 600 and 800 elk grazing at lower elevations during the fall and winter months. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep and the occasional moose browsing the willow thickets.

Vaxxed vs. unvaxxed travel

Eighty percent of vaccinated active leisure travelers plan to take a leisure trip in the coming six months, while 81% of those who don't plan on being vaccinated said the same. But the two groups are planning different types of trips. That's according to MMGY Travel Intelligence's Portrait of American Travelers survey. Considerably more vaccinated travelers are planning stays at hotels/resorts and plan to visit friends and family, travel by personal car, fly domestically and take an international trip than their unvaccinated counterparts. Those who don't plan to get the jab are slightly more likely to travel to attend a conference or convention (10%) than the immunized travelers (6%). MMGY's survey also suggests that 42% of U.S. adults plan on traveling in 2021 for holiday celebrations.