Celebrate the Holidays With Christmas Dinner at Downton Abbey

iStock.com/Emily_M_Wilson
iStock.com/Emily_M_Wilson

For diehard Downton Abbey fans, Christmas won’t be celebrated on December 25 this year. That’s because this year, Highclere Castle, the real-life country estate where much of the beloved show was filmed, is open for a special Christmas dinner on December 15, according to Architectural Digest.

With the help of a company called Premium Tours, you can celebrate the holidays like a Crawley (or at least the Downton cast) on the 5000-acre estate in Hampshire, England, roughly 60 miles outside of London, exploring the castle you've seen countless times on TV.

Each ticket gets you transportation to the estate and back again from London. Once you’ve arrived and grabbed some champagne and canapés, you’ll wander around the castle’s saloon, smoking room, drawing room, and temporary Egyptian exhibition, with official guides on hand to answer questions and talk about the house’s history, architecture, and art. You’ll be served a three-course meal with wine, with dishes like Lady Carnarvon charred salmon and avocado tian leaf salad (one of the sample appetizers) and baked goat’s cheese, pine kernels, and red onion puree wrapped in filo pastry with watercress foam (a sample second course). Once you’re stuffed with Christmas pudding, you’ll be treated to a performance by a group of carolers.

From pick-up to drop-off, you’ll have eight hours and 30 minutes of aristocratic fun. You’ll need to dress the part, though. The event page specifies formal dress, with suits and ties for men and cocktail dresses for ladies.

Tickets are priced at $625, but if you book now, you can snag them for $155 apiece. Sounds like the perfect way to spend your year-end bonus. Hopefully, that will tide you over until the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie premieres next year.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

How to Avoid Paying for Your Already-Booked Hotel Room When Your Flight Is Canceled

jacoblund/iStock via Getty Images
jacoblund/iStock via Getty Images

The news that your flight has been delayed or canceled is the last thing you want to hear on your way to the airport. Flight disruptions are more than just inconvenient—they can be expensive. If you planned your trip around arriving at your destination at an exact time, rearranging your itinerary and rescheduling bookings can end up significantly stretching your travel budget. Fortunately, canceling accommodations at the last minute doesn't always have to lead to financial loss. According to Lifehacker, there are tactics you can use to get a full refund on your hotel room.

In some cases, hotels will refund your money without any hassle. Take a look at the fine print of your reservation confirmation: Many major hotel chains give customers the leeway to change or cancel their stay up to 48 to 72 hours before they arrive.

If you're canceling due to a change in flight plans, you're likely scrambling to figure things out with little time to spare. But missing the official window to change your reservation doesn't necessarily mean you're out of luck. Call the hotel's front desk directly and explain your situation. There's a chance they'll take pity on you and refund your money or allow you to tweak your dates at no extra cost. If the reason for your rescheduled flight is a severe weather event that's also affecting your destination, it's especially likely that the hotel will be understanding—and possibly even overbooked and desperate to make room for other guests.

Of course, after trying every trick in your arsenal, the hotel may simply refuse to accommodate you and force you to pay full price for a reservation you can't make use of. When that happens, it's time to look elsewhere for compensation. Under the Montreal Convention, a treaty that covers most international travel, you can receive a payout of up to $5870 to cover financial loss caused by international flight delays in some cases. Here's how to receive the biggest reimbursement possible for the cancelled flight itself at the same time.

[h/t Lifehacker]

Here’s How to Find Out If Your MacBook Pro Was Just Banned by the FAA

shironosov/iStock via Getty Images
shironosov/iStock via Getty Images

Back in June, Apple issued a recall of approximately 460,000 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops sold between September 2015 and February 2017, stating that “the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk.” Now, Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned airlines to ban those batteries from flights.

Technically, airlines could have started banning the laptops as soon as Apple issued the recall, since 2016 airline safety instructions mandate that all recalled batteries may not fly as cargo or in carry-on baggage. The FAA has essentially alerted them to the recall and reminded them about the existing rules.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency banned the laptops in early August, which has been implemented so far by TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy, and Air Transat. Domestic airlines in the U.S. are now following suit, so it’s worth finding out if your laptop battery is part of the recall if you have plans to fly soon. Even if you don’t have any current travel plans, it’s a good opportunity to get your recalled battery replaced—which Apple will do for free.

Fast Company outlines exactly how to check your device: Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen, and tap “About This Mac.” If you see “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15 inch, Mid 2015)” or a similar description, copy the serial number, and paste it into the box under the “Eligibility” section on this page. If your laptop was affected, scroll down and follow the directions to make an appointment for a replacement battery.

Once your battery is replaced, you’re free to fly with your MacBook; just make sure to bring documentation of your battery replacement to the airport, in case officials ask for proof.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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