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What you wanted to know about aviation safety but were afraid to ask

Editor’s Note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get the latest news in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.

In travel news this week: Why flight attendants want you to stop ignoring them, what Brits don’t want in their tea and Italians don’t want on their pizza, plus how to stay safe if you ever encounter a lion in the wild.

Plane safety

What the recent incidents on board Japan Airlines flight 516 and Alaska Airlines flight 1282 have taught us is that it’s a good idea to keep calm and listen to the cabin crew – and that begins right from those routine safety instructions. JAL crew had just minutes to safely evacuate all 379 people off flight 516 when the plane turned into a fireball after a runway collision. Here’s what Japan Airlines got right.

The FAA on Wednesday approved inspection critera to allow grounded 737 Max 9 planes to return to the air, after a door plug flew off flight 1282. Find out more about how this will affect passengers. Also, check out this explainer on why airlines plug up emergency exits in the first place (no prizes for guessing that the answer begins with “money.”)

Thankfully, “explosive decompression” events like this where an airplane suddenly depressurizes are incredibly rare. Here’s what happens when it does occur and what the risks are for those on board.

And ending on some much more everyday flying security tips: Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have this roundup of 13 TSA-approved locks that will keep your luggage safe on its journey, according to travel experts.

Food controversies

South Korea’s government is urging people not to eat fried toothpicks, after the practice of chowing down on deep-fried fang-fiddlers went viral on social media. And in India, all eyes are on a lawsuit between two restaurant chains over who invented butter chicken – that tasty combo of tandoor-cooked fowl and a creamy, buttery, tomato gravy.

Saudi Arabia is set to relax its alcohol rules, with the kingdom’s first liquor store reportedly being earmarked to open in the capital of Riyadh. It will serve non-Muslim diplomats exclusively.

There’s beverage news in the West also. A US scientist outraged the British by suggesting tea could be improved by the addition of one very controversial ingredient. Before long, the American embassy was leaping in to stir things up.

Tea is as sacred to Brits as pizza is to Italians, and Italy was in an uproar earlier this month when a Naples pizza maestro added pineapple pizza to his menu – for many, about as welcome a topping as e-coli. But, says a fan, “It’s good, it’s fresh… it becomes a fixation.”

Destination inspiration

A new bullet train route has made it easier than ever to visit Japan’s underexplored Hokuriku region, tucked between the Japanese Alps and the coastline of the Sea of Japan. It’s celebrated for its hot spring villages and excellent king crab.

And for a spectacular African destination you’ve probably never heard of, consider a trip to Lubango, Angola’s second-largest city. It’s a green and temperate region in the bottom-left corner of the continent, and Lubango’s location on a steep plateau offers up stunning landscape views.

Finally, for the ultimate in glorious seclusion, check out our roundup of the best islands in Europe for getting away from almost everyone. You’ll be sure to find a favorite – from the Netherlands and Portugal to Iceland and Greece.

Wild animal encounters

Would you know what to do if you encountered a lion up close? One piece of advice -- don't tuck tail and run. - marth/Alamy Stock Photo
Would you know what to do if you encountered a lion up close? One piece of advice -- don't tuck tail and run. - marth/Alamy Stock Photo

If you came face to face with a lion in the wild, would you know what to do? Here’s how to avoid dangerous situations and spot the signs a big cat is ready to attack.

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