Airlines Are Unlocking New Value In Their Frequent Flier Programs

February 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Reversing the direction of what we’ve seen recently in frequent flyer programs, Business Insider says that airlines are now finding value in their frequent flyer programs.

The recent trend has been for airlines to find ways to deny privileges to customers involved in frequent flyer programs (such as putting a stop to mileage runs). That trend probably isn’t going to change, but airlines are finding ways to monetize these programs in a way that, so far, doesn’t seem to be of much benefit to travelers themselves.

Multiple racks of servers

If you’re using Big Data, you need some Big Servers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting on board the Big Data bandwagon, airlines have started harvesting and selling the data they’ve gathered about their frequent flyers. They’re selling this data to a variety of sources; Business Insider lists credit card providers, rental car companies, and hotels.

This data is so valuable, Air Berlin recently sold a stake in its frequent flyer program for more than what the entire Air Berlin corporation was valued at.

“It’s extremely powerful data, especially as it tends to be slanted towards the premium segment,” said Marc Allsop, senior vice president and head of global business development at Aimia.

In other words, frequent flyers tend to be very desirable customers. Anyone who travels enough to rack up that many miles tends to have money to spare, even when the person’s travel is on the company’s dime.

Plus, the information being harvested isn’t just related to facts about the person. It can potentially include details about recent trips a particular person has taken.

How do you feel about your frequent flyer information being harvested and sold to a third party? Leave us a comment to let us know if that sounds just fine to you or if you’d prefer to go back to the days when your data was just between you and your airline.

Travelpro to Debut Dynamic New Luggage Collections at 2015 Travel Goods Association Show

February 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Travelpro, the original inventor of Rollaboard luggage and winner of the 2013 Travel Goods Association’s (TGA) New Product Innovation Award, will proudly introduce its latest luggage innovations at the 2015 TGA Show, which will take place in Las Vegas from March 10 – 12. Travelpro will introduce three new lines designed to delight frequent business and leisure travelers – the Platinum Magna 2 Collection, the Maxlite Hardside Collection and the TPro Bold 2.0 Collection.

Travelpro redefines luxury travel with the Platinum Magna 2 Collection. Handsomely crafted with premium fabrics and genuine leather accents, this ultra-durable 13-model collection is the pinnacle of fashion, smart functionality and design innovation. Backed by Travelpro’s “Worry-Free” Warranty, Platinum Magna 2 ensures a lifetime of satisfaction.

Maxlite Hardside Spinner Collection

Maxlite Hardside Spinner Collection

Platinum Magna 2 features self-aligning MagnaTrac spinner wheels that ensure the luggage rolls in a straight line, a patented Contour Grip with updated design accents and cushioned touch points, and the robust PowerScope extension handle system that minimizes wobble. The high density ballistic nylon fabric, available in black and olive green colorways, comes standard with DuraGuard coating for stain and abrasion protection. The roomy main compartment has tapered expansion of up to 2″ on select models, maximizing space and packing flexibility, while keeping the center of gravity low.

Flyers can travel light and travel right with Travelpro’s Maxlite Hardside Collection, an amazingly lightweight 4-piece series that features a strong 100% polycarbonate hard shell for premier protection plus the patented Contour Grip to ensure effortless maneuverability and superior comfort and control. Featuring 2″ of expansion capacity, a Business Plus model and a dual wheel spinner system, the versatile Maxlite collection is a breakthrough in lightweight durability, style and value. All models in the collection are available in black and grape shell colors.

Crash protection is provided by protective side feet, molded wheel housings and built-in skid guards. The telescoping handle adds length and strength with airline-grade aluminum handle system with stops at 38″ and an extra-tall 42.5″ to ensure a comfortable roll for users of different heights. Travelers can relax knowing this collection features ergonomic, high-tensile strength zipper pulls that fasten directly to the built-in TSA lock to secure luggage contents. The split construction design allows for easy packing of clothes and contents within two full compartments that create separation of belongings. An interior divider panel with accessory pockets and a built-in mesh pocket provide handy storage for electronics, power cables and more.

Tpro Bold 2 Group Photo

Tpro Bold 2 line of bags

The TPro Bold 2.0 Collection by Travelpro is a durable, lightweight and versatile 9-piece collection which is perfect for those with a sense of adventure. It is ready to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Loaded with extras, creature comforts and flexible packing options, this premier collection embodies Travelpro’s next generation of action luggage.

Made of rugged, high-density polyester fabric with a water-repellent coating for greater stain and abrasion resistance, this line features a comprehensive offering, including Rollaboard and Spinner models, a backpack, a soft duffel bag and two drop bottom rolling duffel bags. Multiple carry handles make the luggage easy to transport in and out of a car or airplane overhead bin. The drop bottom rolling duffel models include a zippered divider panel for two separate packing spaces or, if opened, one large main compartment. The backpack, 22″ Rollaboard and 21″ Spinner models provide a padded tablet pocket for protection and easy access during travel. An “intelligent” interior offers packing flexibility with a mesh pocket and wet pocket, ideal for toiletries or wet clothing, built into the lid.

Available in distinctive blue and purple fabric colors with black accents, the T-Pro Bold 2.0 Collection offers dual spinner wheel models that allow an effortless roll in any direction, an aircraft-grade aluminum telescoping handle system strong enough to support a tote or case, and protective wheel housings, skid guards and molded rubber corner guards for crash protection. Compression straps provide extra security, while a hidden back pocket allows quick access to keys, electronic cables, phones and more.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard wheeled luggage, Travelpro has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. Travelpro is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently understanding and exceeding their needs. Travelpro was honored to once again be voted as the “World’s Best Luggage” by Premier Traveler Magazine in 2014.

Please visit the Travelpro website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @Travelprointl.

To Boost Safety, Cruise Lines Want to Be More Like Airlines

February 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

With a number of embarrassing, and very public, hits to cruise ship safety over the last several years, cruise lines are looking at the airline industry as a standard for safety. A recent article in Businessweek looked at how cruise lines are responding to three huge safety failures in 2012 and 2013, including the infamous grounding of a cruise ship in Italy in 2012 and two serious fires in 2013.

The cruise lines have realized that they need to focus on being safe by reducing crew errors and increasing safety protocols.

Since the 1980s, safety has been a high concern for airlines. They’ve pioneered many programs that cruise lines now hope to adapt for themselves. They have seen that crew error is the largest risk factor in any type of accident, so they’re working to reduce those first.

Carnival Liberty, Carnival Triumph and Carniva...

Carnival Liberty, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Glory (near to far) docked in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The plan is to implement programs that make sure staff are following procedures. Such measures taken from the airline industry include a no-blame reporting structure where staff can report violations of protocol with no consequences.

Another way airlines have increased staff efficiency is to randomly send personnel out for an annual performance check of pilot performance in the cockpit. The cruise line is considering that as well.

Another airline safety protocol is to track data from the cockpit related to any deviation from standard procedure and finding out why it occurred. This could be an important protocol to increase cruise ship safety.

What do you think about cruise ship safety? Would you venture out into the high seas after these issues that have arisen over the past few years? Leave us a comment on the blog or our Facebook page to let us know what you think.

Use Your Smartphone As Your Hotel Key

February 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

For weary travelers, even the tiniest road block can seem exhausting and annoying. In an attempt to smooth things out for their guests, Starwood Hotels and Resorts now gives guests the option of skipping check-in and using their smartphones as their hotel keys. Hilton is also planning on rolling out a similar scheme later this year.

The phone as room key may be a bit more complicated than it sounds though. Starwood has only rolled out the feature in one hotel so far, with plans to include it in more hotels later this year. There’s a lot of technological behind-the-scenes work that goes into making this work, such as replacing the current locks with new ones, and making sure the steps are in place so guests don’t accidentally unlock their doors.

English: Windows Phone 7 powered LG Panther(GW...

English: Windows Phone 7 powered LG Panther(GW910), Prototype smartphone for developers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Plus, this only works with one phone per room, so if more than one guest is staying in the room, one of them gets to use their phone, the other(s) will use a normal room key.

In this case, hotels see many reasons to go the extra mile to make checking in easier. They’re hoping that getting guests comfortable with using their phones for hotel-related activities will ease the guests into using other hotel apps. Future wish-list items include allowing guests to order drinks while sitting poolside, book spa packages, and order expensive room service, all with a mobile app.

Of course, a lot of hotels have begun to roll out the ability to check in via your phone. You can get all the red tape out of the way while you’re in the cab, and then just pick up your old fashioned hotel key on your way to your room.

What are some things you would like to be able to do at a hotel with your smartphone? Leave a comment below and let us hear from you.

Important Travel Documents For Traveling With Kids

February 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling with your children isn’t like running down to the grocery store with them. Just like you need your own passport and other travel documents, you need to have certain documents with you when you travel with your kids.

The Huffington Post has an extensive and helpful list they suggest you carry with you when traveling internationally with your family.

Air Canada planeObviously, a passport isn’t going to be a necessity on domestic trips, but HuffPo suggests you bring physical copies of the following: your child’s birth certificate, a signed permission slip if there’s a parent who isn’t traveling with you, vaccination certifications, travel insurance, emergency contacts, telephone numbers for healthcare facilities at your destination, emergency first aid instructions, a list of your child’s allergies, and your full itinerary with contact information.

The list makes a lot of sense, although it may be a little too thorough. Be aware that carrying all that paper documentation can be a security risk. (Think about what happens if that information were stolen.) But you can keep a lot of it on a cloud-based app, such as Evernote or Google Drive, which you can download to your phone or tablet as needed.

On the other hand, what if your phone charger is damaged or you end up in a remote site with no service? With Evernote, you can download documents to your phone’s app, and then lock it with a security code. Otherwise, you could end up with a huge phone bill if you need to access another country’s wireless network to access the information.

Be sure to do your research before you travel and know what you need. You may not need everything on this list for some of the places you’re visiting, so it’s better to determine it in advance.

Photo credit: Caribb (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Worth It or a Waste? The Real Deal on Five Common Travel Upgrades

February 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent article on Lifehacker got us chatting about which travel upgrades seem worth it to us, and which were a waste of money.

There were differing opinions on the Travelpro team about whether shelling out for extra space is worth the additional cost. Those of us who feel hemmed in on flights, especially those of us who are tall (I’m 6’5″) said they will pay extra, especially for longer trips. Those who are more frugal (or smaller) said they don’t see a big difference in comfort and recommend snagging an aisle seat since that can give you the illusion of more space. Another good way to increase the amount of space you feel like you have is to keep the under seat luggage to a minimum. It’s worth it if you need the room, but a waste if you’re smaller, or the trip is shorter than two hours.

English: Delhi Airport Lounge

Delhi Airport Lounge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We didn’t like the idea of paying for wifi, either at the airport or your hotel, especially if you’re on vacation. And even if you’re traveling for business, we suggest you trot down to a local coffee shop to get wifi while you sip a nice latte. Another option, which the article also mentions, is paying for a mobile hotspot so you have your own wifi wherever you go. And apparently, the new iPhone 6 includes this as a feature you don’t even have to pay extra for the bandwidth. (Another reason to upgrade sooner rather than later!) This one is a waste, unless you get the iPhone or other mobile hotspot.

A luxury we can get behind is the concept of club floors at hotels. These are special floors that serve meals, snacks, and drinks. You pay extra for the access but you do get pampered and you can eat there instead of going out. This feature adds about 20 to 30 percent to your bill, which is fine for those who don’t plan on eating out very often, making this worth it for the home bodies. It’s pleasant to be pampered, but foodies may not find it worthwhile. But if you’re going out more than staying in, or you prefer local eateries to chain food, this one is a waste.

A luxury the article doesn’t discuss is the option of paying for a day in the first class airport lounges. This typically costs about $50 for a day. It’s a great idea if you’re traveling for business or if you have a particularly long layover. The atmosphere is a lot more relaxed than the rest of the airport. Wifi is included and the staff make sure you know when your flight is getting ready to leave. This one is definitely worth it.

What are some of the worth it/waste upgrades you’ve found on your travels? Leave us a comment and let us know.

The Case of the Disappearing Amenities

February 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Most people take home a tiny bar of soap and some lotion when they leave a hotel. They may also have tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner tucked away in their luggage as they glide through the lobby and out the front doors. Perhaps a shower cap to boot.

Not a big deal, as it turns out. In fact, many hotels sort of expect, and even want you to take their small sample soaps.

Sofitel Arc de Triomphe מלון סופיטל שער הניצחון

Sofitel Arc de Triomphe מלון סופיטל שער הניצחון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent study by Hilton Hotels showed that 73 percent of respondents were willing to admit they took home some swag from their last visit to a hotel.

People take these toiletries home and use them to stock their guest bathrooms. It does feel pretty fancy to select your own soap when staying the weekend with Auntie Margie. Others use the stuff themselves or even give it away as gifts. (Because nothing says love and friendship like a small bar of soap with a major hotel chain’s name on it.)

In fact, Hilton is using premier brands as an additional selling point for their hotels. A recent article in Premier Traveler Magazine’s website lists Neutrogena, Giovanni, Aroma Actives, Refinery, and Peter Thomas Roth as new additions to Hilton’s arsenal of body care products. These are some toiletry heavy hitters. Hilton, in fact, is glad to offer these miniature bottles of bliss as part of what they offer the weary (and upscale) traveler.

We understand the importance of quality toiletries in ensuring guests stay revitalized during — and after — their travels,” said Chris Naylor, vice president, brand operations for Hilton Worldwide. “The refresh of these bathroom products is part of our commitment to enhancing the overall travel experience, leaving our guests fresh and ready for their next adventure.”

The brands themselves also get buzz from being placed into the posh hotels.

Of course, it’s unlikely that someone will book into a hotel based solely on a love for Peter Thomas Roth, but these little details add up. And in the world of high end travel, encouraging your guests to steal soap can be a solid move.

Airplane Cabin Designed for Optimal Rollaboard Luggage Space

February 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent article on the PSFK.com website discusses the emergence of a way more convenient form of travel. The Embraer Air E2 jet seeks to maximize the room for your carry on luggage as well as make the flight itself more comfortable. There’s 40 percent more room for luggage onboard the plane, and you can actually fit an airline standard piece of luggage in the overhead bin, wheels first. Not having to obsess over the size of your suitcase would be a wonderful feeling.

Skywest Airlines Embraer EMB-120ER

Skywest Airlines Embraer EMB-120ER, a precursor to the new E2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plus, each traveler has a lot of personal space. Seats move around independently, and there’s enough room for it so no one will yell at you for leaning back or putting your knees in the back of their seat. The seats can even be staggered so you’re not directly next to the person in your row.

The designers tried to rethink the way flyers experience their trip, so the planes were designed to be more comfortable and personable. They wanted to give passengers a feeling of having their own territory during the flight.

The Embraer Air E2 jet is slated to come out in 2018. However, it may not be very likely that the weary American traveler will see one of these up close and personal. Embraer, a Brazilian company, serves the market for planes that seat up to 130. That’s definitely smaller than our large jets. And although it’s around the size of a commuter jet, it seems unlikely that the folks flying local routes between regional airports are going to spring for a high-end plane.

That said, SkyWest has apparently placed an order for 100 of them, so you may be one of the lucky few if you book a SkyWest flight in three years or so.

Love Your Luggage with Gifts from Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage This Valentine’s Day

February 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Special Pieces Make Hearts Race

Make that special someone’s Valentine’s Day memorable this year with selections from Travelpro’s “2015 Valentine’s Travel Gift Guide.” Travelpro, the original inventor of Rollaboard luggage and a leader in innovative, high-quality luggage design, announces stylish and unique items under the Travelpro and Atlantic brands.

“Flowers and candy are nice. But nothing compares to giving the gift of traveling in style with Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage,” said Scott Applebee, vice president of marketing for the Travelpro family of brands. “We have many options for this special day that fit every budget and lifestyle.”

Crew Executive Choice Ladies' Tote

Crew Executive Choice Ladies’ Tote

For the ladies we love, the “2015 Valentine’s Travel Gift Guide”‘ features the Crew Executive Choice Ladies Business Tote, perfect for today’s female business and frequent travelers. This premium tote integrates fine leather accents and durable fabrics with functionality, including a padded, removable laptop sleeve, an RFID blocking pocket to keep credit cards and passports safe and a business organizer to store business essentials. The attention to detail, confident style and functional efficiency are a reflection of Travelpro’s commitment to business travelers worldwide.

Whether your sweetheart is male or female, they will be excited to receive the T-Pro Bold 2.0 Computer Backpack. This multi-functional piece has it all — a padded computer and tablet sleeve that secures and protects your devices during travel and an organizer that holds pens, pencils, keys and other essentials. A quick loop on the back allows you to secure the backpack over the handle of Rollaboard or Spinner luggage when travelling, and multiple exterior pockets allow easy access to cables and other electronic accessories. The T-Pro Bold 2.0 Soft Duffel Bag is sure to please anyone you want to be your Valentine. With a large main compartment for ample capacity and front and side pockets for storage of quick access items, you can’t go wrong with this gift. An adjustable strap and three handles make for easy lifting and loading into the airplane overhead bin or the trunk of a car.

The Crew 10 Hardside collection

The Crew 10 Hardside collection

Everyone you adore will appreciate Travelpro’s Crew 10 Business Plus Hardside Spinner, which incorporates the most advanced technology for Hardside Spinner luggage. Available in black or merlot, this stylish dual-wheel spinner model features Travelpro’s latest innovations, including our PowerScope Extension Handle, Contour Grip, Mobile Office Pocket, Duraflex buckles and SUPRA Zipper Heads. A tough, high-impact polycarbonate shell and fashionable accents make this luggage a must have for any frequent traveler.

The Atlantic Solstice 20″ Expandable Hardside Spinner will be a favorite gift for the female traveler this Valentine’s Day. The 100% polypropylene hard shell material is lightweight, durable and scratch resistant. With four bright, vibrant colors: Bubblegum Pink, Blueberry, Grape and Orange Sherbet, this carry-on model won’t get lost in the sea of luggage at the airport.

The new Atlantic Ultra Lite 3 21″ Expandable Spinner is a special gift for a traveler who likes the ease of use of lightweight luggage and durability that is backed by a 10-year warranty. Available in Turquoise, Purple and Black colorways, Atlantic Ultra Lite 3 is equipped with an intelligent interior for packing flexibility, including two side mesh pockets to store accessories, a full lid pocket to keep shirts and blouses wrinkle free and adjustable tie-down straps with Duraflex buckles to keep your clothes securely in place.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard wheeled luggage, Travelpro has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. Travelpro is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently understanding and exceeding their needs. Travelpro was honored to receive the New Product Innovation Award from the Travel Goods Association (TGA) in March 2013 for the revolutionary Platinum Magna luggage collection.

Please visit the Travelpro website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @Travelprointl.

About Atlantic Luggage

Since 1919, the Atlantic brand has been synonymous with affordable, value-added and lightweight luggage. As a market leader in the lightweight luggage segment, including neatly designed uprights and spinners to trendy and smart garment bags and totes, all Atlantic branded luggage is of superior quality and durability. Whether for business or pleasure, travel is easier with Atlantic luggage, now part of the Travelpro family of brands. Please visit Atlantic Luggage at www.atlanticluggage.com for a list of the latest products available for purchase and the nearest retail locations.

Avoid Selfies on Vacation

February 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

An October article by Narina Exelby on the Kitbaggers website really struck a chord with us, when it comes to vacation photos. She discussed how taking photos of yourself — selfies — while on vacation can distract you to the point where you fail to relish the beauty and new experiences around you.

We couldn’t agree more.

Exelby argues that selfies take time away from what is really important when traveling, which is exploring new things and remaining present to appreciate the moment.

Eiffel Tower SelfieAlthough everyone is free to take selfies at any time, we agree with Exelby. Slow down and take a look around you when on vacation. Enjoy yourself and don’t worry about telling people back home what you’re up to.

Posting a selfie to Twitter or Facebook can take as much as three minutes. If you do that five times a day, that’s 15 minutes per day spent posting photos. That’s over an hour a week. That time really adds up, and your vacation becomes more about posting photos of yourself rather than enjoying the vacation. Instead of admiring the Eiffel Tower, you’re focused on getting the best possible shot of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Another concern is that constantly updating your social media streams with vacation photos can be a security risk. That photo of you in a canoe in Florida lets folks know you’re not home, and won’t be for a while. And if you’re traveling some place where your personal safety is at risk, you may want to keep a lower profile.

You can still take pictures. You can even take selfies. Photos are a great way to remember fun times you’ve had. But don’t let the photos become the main driver of your vacation. It should definitely be the vacation, and your time to relax, that comes first.

Photo credit: Carlos Mota Jr. (Fickr, Creative Commons)

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