American Launches Live Baggage Tracking

December 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

If you fly American or US Airways, you may just find a good use for that baggage claim ticket you receive when you check your bag at the ticket counter. No longer is it only useful if you actually lose your bag.

Now you can use the information it contains to track your bags in real time.

This new free service is an effort by American to reduce the number of bags it reports as lost to the US Department of Transportation. (You probably didn’t know they had to do that, did you?)

In the July 2015 report (interesting reading for a travel nerd), American ranked 10th out of 13 carriers, with four bags lost for every 1,000 passengers it transported.

Palermo (italy) Airport Baggage Claim

Palermo (italy) Airport Baggage Claim

That doesn’t sound so bad, but compared to the top three with the least number of bags lost — Virgin America (less than one bag for every 1000 passengers), JetBlue (1.68/1000), and Delta (1.82/1000) — maybe American felt it was time this process issue was addressed.

In order to track your bag, all you have to do is go to AA.com/baggage and click the “track your bags” link. Enter your last name and either your record locator (which is on your boarding pass) OR baggage ID number from your baggage claim ticket, and you can see a record of each of the six times your bag will be scanned from check-in to baggage claim carousel loading.

The tracking feature is currently available on American’s standard and mobile sites, but has not yet been incorporated into its mobile app.

In our next article, we’ll tell you how USDOT actually determines what constitutes a “lost” bag.

Have you ever suffered a lost bag on a recent trip? What happened? How did you manage? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

 

Photo credit: Bernhard J. Scheuvens (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)

Business or Leisure Travel: Can One Piece of Luggage Do Both?

December 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

If you travel regularly for business, you probably have your routine down to a science. You certainly don’t check your luggage; you can’t afford to wait at the carousel or risk losing your bag due to an airline foul-up. But what if you don’t travel very often, and want to invest in a bag that can be used for both business and leisure travel?

We know all travelers want durability, but those who travel regularly for business need something that will withstand rigorous use. Worse than losing your luggage is using alternate luggage because your bag has to go in for repair of a damaged wheel, a broken telescoping handle, or a malfunctioning zipper.

Platinum Magna 2 Luggage Collection

Platinum Magna 2 Luggage Collection

Our Platinum Magna 2 and Crew series bags are backed by a lifetime warranty and come in models ranging from backpacks, computer briefs, totes, garment bags, Rollaboards and Spinners in a variety of sizes. The Platinum Magna 2 collection warranty also covers damage caused by airline baggage handlers. Hybrids are also available in the Platinum Magna 2 series such as a business organizer with a laptop or tablet sleeve in the front pocket of a Carry-on Spinner.. It eliminates the need for another carry-on to manage as you maneuver through airports and hotels.

While these same bags will accommodate an efficient leisure traveler, our lighter weight Maxlite Collection, which includes soft and hardside versions, has spinners and rollaboards in a variety of sizes for leisure and business travel. These are tested to the same performance standards as our Platinum and Crew series for frequent business travelers.

For the leisure traveler looking for luggage that can go anywhere adventure takes them, the T-Pro Bold 2.0 series offers a line of nine pieces, ranging from a backpack to drop-bottom rolling duffels to spinners, each with special features for the leisure traveler’s specific needs.

What will work best for leisure depends on what type of travel you’ll be doing. If you need to conform to the ever-increasing airline restrictions or you travel mainly by car, we have a bag that will meet your demands. However, the more casual adventure look of T-Pro Bold 2.0 may not be suited to the button-down business image you’re trying to portray on your next business trip.

What do you think? Do you prefer a one-bag-fits-all approach, such as a Rollaboard and backpack, for all kinds of travel? Or do you prefer the right-bag-for-the-right-job approach, and carry specific bags on specific trips? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Atlantic Luggage Debuts the Amazingly Innovative Unite 2 Collection to Much Acclaim

December 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Unique Features Offer Travelers the Ultimate in Convenience, Style, and Value

Get ready for family travel with the newest offering from the market leader in lightweight, affordable luggage, Atlantic®, where, as they say “Life is a Trip!” The Unite™ 2 collection will make your imagination take flight with design innovations such as the Link2Go™ System which connects luggage together, so you can easily push two pieces with one hand.

Atlantic Unite2 GroupThis system gives traveling families the option to roll more pieces, more easily by connecting luggage together, allowing you to roll through busy airports with much less effort. The Atlantic Unite 2 collection with the updated Link2Go system is a unique way to attach two attractive Spinner models together. It couldn’t be easier. Just connect the Spinners back-to-back with the side Velcro straps and you’re ready to go. In addition, you can roll up to four pieces at once using a combination of a quick loop on the back of the carry-on models and the Link2Go system.

But the exciting new features don’t stop there. How convenient would it be to charge your smart phone or tablet while traveling? Atlantic has solved that problem with the addition of an external USB port and integrated battery pouch in the Carry-on Spinner model which provides convenient access to power electronic essentials on the move. Masterfully versatile and lightweight, the affordable Unite 2 is perfect for family travelers who need an extra hand and electronic devices that are always charged for immediate use.

“This stylish collection is value packed in every component, including tapered expansion which adds up to 2″ of room while increasing stability, durable crash protection, and 360 degree spinners which roll effortlessly,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro family of brands which includes Atlantic luggage.

Atlantic Unite2 USB PortPleasing even the most demanding customer are additional features such as multi-stop telescoping handles, low-profile carry handles, and a mesh lid pocket that provides handy space to keep shirts and blouses wrinkle-free. The Atlantic Unite 2 Collection also includes adjustable hold down straps, a side mesh pocket, and a built-in wet pocket, perfect for storing toiletries or wet clothing. In keeping with Atlantic’s commitment to quality, the Collection comes with a 10-year warranty.

Available in black and blue fabric colors, the Atlantic Unite 2 Collection consists of a soft tote, wheeled tote and 21″, 25″ and 29″ expandable Spinners.

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, from cleverly designed uprights and spinners to trendy and smart garment bags and totes, all Atlantic-branded luggage comprises superior quality and durability. Whether for business or recreation, travel is more pleasurable with Atlantic luggage, part of the Travelpro® family of products. Please visit the Atlantic Luggage website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations.

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 on every continent. The company is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently meeting and exceeding their expectations. 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.

Boats, Trains, and Automobiles: Luggage Options When You DON’T Fly

December 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Travel seems to revolve around airplanes these days, but there are other ways to travel the country. If you don’t have to conform to airline guidelines and your plans take you away from home for more than a week, you may need to take more with you. Investing in larger luggage allows you to get your stuff from here to there without putting yourself or your clothing through contortions to do so.

We offer many options for those who choose other means of transportation for their getaways. While not everyone needs the space afforded by larger luggage, it can be a space saving option to consider, especially for families traveling by car.

30 inch Tpro Bold Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel

30 inch Tpro Bold Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel

Our 26″ and 30″ rolling duffel bags can accommodate the needs several travelers, particularly several children or the clothing for an adult and a child, reducing the number of bags in the trunk or on the train or boat. Many of these duffels are drop-bottom, meaning that there is a separate lower compartment for storing shoes, cables and other odd-sized items. If you want one large compartment, you can unzip the divider panel for one large packing space. They are an excellent value for the price.

Travelpro has developed a specific bag for the non-airplane traveler: the 33″ Expandable Spinner model. Available only through certain retailers, this case is our largest offering, designed specifically for the traveler whose needs exceed the 28″ and 29″ cases. The bag operates with a spinner wheel system, allowing it to be pushed or pulled, and it is surprisingly lightweight for its size.

Or if you’re like most dads, you may want a “hotel bag” — the bag that gets taken into the hotel so you don’t have to unpack everything — on long car trips. A smaller duffel or backpack could serve that purpose.

What kinds of bags do you take when you’re not traveling by plane? Do you have a favorite or a go-to bag? Share your stories with us in the comment section below, or on our Facebook page.

Will the U.S. Government Regulate Airline Seating?

December 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever feel like a heard of cattle being herded to market instead of a human being when you board your airplane? The aisle is narrow and your head almost grazes the ceiling. But that’s not the worst part of the experience. Things really begin to feel confining after you have found your seat.

There’s a new movement that’s gaining momentum among travelers: aviation civil rights. Leading this fight for more space are Travelers United and FlyersRights, two advocacy groups seeking the government’s regulation of airline seating. Chris Elliott, who has written articles on Travelpro luggage in the past, wrote an editorial for the Washington Post about the subject. He believes that just as there is legislation that determines safety for steerage passengers on boats and passengers in automobiles, similar laws should guarantee certain travel conditions for passengers.

Economy Class airline seating onboard onboard an Aerolíneas Argentinas Airbus A340-200, enroute from Auckland to Buenos Aires

Economy Class cabin onboard an Aerolíneas Argentinas Airbus A340-200, enroute from Auckland to Buenos Aires. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his editorial, Elliott cites seating changes — the decrease in legroom from 35″ to 31″ and the reduction in seat width from 18″ to 16 1/2″ — as not only an emotional violation of personal space, but a safety issue. Space designated for animals is regulated, so why are airlines being allowed to change how it transports its passengers without oversight?

The fight comes down to politics and the free market. The airlines believe that if you want or need more space, you can pay for it, and that further involvement from the government would not only result in price increases for the consumer, but a stifling of competition within the market.

But Elliott and others counter that, just as the government saw the need to regulate automobiles for safety by requiring seat belts, passengers need laws that will govern their safety while traveling in airplanes.

Decreased legroom and smaller aisles have been cited as potential hazards for evacuation “in the event of an emergency,” and regulation that benefits travelers’ basic human rights was successfully enacted after passengers spent inordinate hours on the tarmac without food, water, or access to bathrooms.

The Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection has just announced it will not make a recommendation on minimum seat sizes. Some believe it will take a tragedy to see change. Until then, it appears consumers will have to either put up or shut up.

Where do you stand (or sit)? Should the government regulate airline seating sizes, or should they let the market dictate? Do you pay for the extra room in economy plus or business class? Or do you suffer in silence in the smaller seats? Leave a comment below or
on our Facebook page
.

Quebec City Airport Deploys Apple Watches

November 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Technology drives efficiency in our daily lives. We retrieve information from our laptops, tablets, and phones and use it to make decisions in real time. But can personal technology be deployed — and trusted? — in a airport environment with the same results?

According to an article on FutureTravelExperience.com, airport management at Canada’s Quebec City Airport is testing this idea by equipping workers in specific roles with smartwatches. They’re working with SITA Lab, a technology research firm that works with the air transport industry to conduct the tests.Quebec City AirportThe watches replace tablets that workers used to check for updates about gate changes and other operational details. The watches are connected to the SITA Airport Management System, which will push notifications to duty managers with real-time operational updates.

Being able to push notifications to a wearable device is allowing workers to take immediate action, according to Marc-André Bédard, Quebec City Airport’s Vice President of Information Technology. This, in turn, is creating a better experience for travelers, eliminating wait times that caused delays because workers weren’t getting critical details in a timely manner.

While this trial may signal the end of the walkie-talkie, it remains to be seen if the smartwatches can withstand the rigorous wear and tear these workers put them through during their typical shifts. If it does, we’re curious as to how well the watches will hold up to this kind of use, and whether the technology will spread to other airports around the world.

What are some of your TILTS (“technology I’d like to see”) ideas? What about technology you’ve seen used in airports, train stations, or on the road? Share your experiences with us below or on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons user Harfang (Creative Commons)

The Pros and (Considerable) Cons of Bus Travel

November 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Some people really like a deal. Others are gluttons for punishment, especially reporters who need a column topic.

Seth Kugel, the Frugal Traveler, recently profiled Megabus and his experience traveling from New York to Silver Springs, Md., to Knoxville, Tenn., to Lexington, Ky. The entire itinerary cost him $63. But was it worth it?

Haven’t heard of Megabus? Well, perhaps you’re not cash-strapped and looking for the cheapest possible way to get to your desired destination. Megabus’ fares start at $1. No, that’s not a typo.

English: Megabus #58538 sits on the west side ...

Megabus #58538 waiting to depart on the Megabus M24 line. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Serving the 14 of the 50 states, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, and eleven countries in Europe, Megabus is all about bang for the buck.

Megabus is a double-decker, climate-controlled, clean coach that will get you where you need to go, but it doesn’t boast it will do much more than that. Still, it’s not trying to pass itself off as something that it’s not. It’s no-frills, affordable, reliable way to travel. Period.

Megabus is just the latest iteration of bus travel. Greyhound popularized affordable mass ground transportation and became a favorite of those averse to flying. My sister was one of those travelers.

While she lived in Grand Rapids, Mich., the rest of the family lived in Jackson, Miss. In order to visit us, she would embark on a road trip that took 48 hours end-to-end. Her trek included long layovers at terminals in major cities as well as circuitous routes between her Point A and Point B. You could say that she wasted all kinds of time en route, but she preferred it to flying, and she thought it was completely worth it.

So, if you don’t have much money, but have to get somewhere within the United States or Canada, consider Megabus. Just remember Seth’s biggest suggestion: pack a pillow and a blanket.

CBP to Expand Pre-Clearance Facilities

November 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The last thing an international traveler wants to deal with after a long trip is getting through customs. It’s always an unknown, like playing a game of roulette. Will it take a few minutes or will it take an hour?

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is in discussions with 10 additional overseas airports to roll out the “welcome home” banner by instituting pre-clearance processes similar to what it already has in place at 15 other international airports. It’s a lot like the TSA’s Pre-Check program, where select individuals can bypass the TSA checkpoint and walk right to their gate.

English: US Immigration and Customs at Shannon...

US Immigration and Customs at Shannon Airport, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I want to take every opportunity we have to push our homeland security out beyond our borders so that we are not defending the homeland from the one-yard line. Pre-clearance is a win-win for the traveling public. It provides aviation and homeland security, and it reduces wait times upon arrival at the busiest U.S. airports,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a DHS press release.

CBP currently offers this service at nine airports in Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnepeg, as well as airports in Dublin and Shannon, Ireland; Aruba; Nassau, Bahamas; and Bermuda. When passengers fly through pre-clearance airports, they are treated similar to passengers on a domestic flight.

The 10 proposed new sites include: Tokyo’s Narita International; Brussels, Belgium; Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Oslo, Norway; London Heathrow and Manchester in the United Kingdom; Madrid, Spain; and Instanbul, Turkey.

Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of the CBP, said that pre-clearance helps identify security threats. Last year it expedited re-entry for 17 million US-bound passengers.

Here’s how the process works: while in flight, passengers complete a simple customs form. Upon arriving, they are directed to a self-service kiosk. The kiosk scans their passport, photographs them to ensure their identity matches the passport, scans the customs form electronically, and issues a receipt. A customs officer scans the receipt and may ask a few questions. Then he or she sends the passenger on their way.

And they get to go home a little bit faster.

Four Travel Myths Busted

November 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

We all think we know the ins and outs of air travel, knowing as much about the rules and tendencies of airlines. But it turns out, these hard and fast rules aren’t nearly as hard or fast as we previously thought. Good Morning America and Yahoo recently busted four travel myths, and discussed how they’re not always correct.

Economy is always cheaper than first class. Not so. It depends on the route and how many stops you’re willing to make along the way. For instance, the same flight between LA and New York could be $500 less in first class than it is in economy if you’re willing to incorporate a stop into your travel itinerary. If you’re more interested in saving money than time, it’s a good idea to investigate flights with at least one stop. It might take you longer to get there, but the first class amenities might make you forget all about the time.

English: S7 Airlines Boeing 767-300.

S7 Airlines Boeing 767-300. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Non-stop flights are “never” cheaper. It’s possible they aren’t, but this statement misses the real question: how valuable is your time? Time is money, especially when you’re talking about valuable, not-getting-it-back vacation time. If you want to have more time on vacation, and less time traveling, you may want to spend the extra money on that nonstop flight.

Discount airlines “always” have the cheapest flights. Again, no blanket statement can ever bear the weight of being true 100 percent of the time! The only way you’ll know which airline has the cheapest fare is to comparison shop. Use a comparison website like Expedia or Travelocity, and then check out the airlines’ websites themselves. You may occasionally find the big legacy airlines are offering the cheaper flights.

Summer flights are “never” delayed as much as winter flights. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Thunderstorms can involve severe turbulence, lightning strikes, icing due to sudden temperature change, hail damage, and water ingestion by the engines. When thunderstorms occur at or near hub airports, the probability of any of these occurring can halt inbound and outbound traffic, which in turn can create ripple effects to more destinations than a severe winter storm in the Dakotas.

The takeaway is there are no absolutes in travel, and myths are often just that. If you can be flexible and do your due diligence, there’s a good chance you can find a flight that will suit your needs and your desires.

Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage Announce Their ‘2015 Holiday Gift Guide’

November 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Show How Much You Care for the Travelers on Your List by Selecting their Favorite Gifts

As families and friends prepare for the upcoming holidays, let us make it easier on you by offering the penultimate resource – the 2015 Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage Gift Guide for this year’s holiday season. As thoughts turn to seeking out great presents for loved ones, these premium brands will ensure wishes come true for all those travelers on your list.

The possibilities, like your plans for the New Year, are endless. The only question is ‘where to start?’

“No matter how uncompromising or discerning the person you are buying for, our 2015 Gift Guide has items to please everyone on your list,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro and Atlantic brands. “Our products embody the most advanced technology available today, combining style and functionality that is sure to impress.”

Surprise the frequent traveler in your life with a couple gifts from the Travelpro Holiday Gift Guide

Surprise the frequent traveler in your life with a couple gifts from the Travelpro Holiday Gift Guide

This Gift Guide includes products that offer distinctly durable construction, travel-tested features, impressive design and superior materials built to go the distance. We can start with the Atlantic Ultra Lite 3 29″ Expandable Spinner, which is perfect for families looking for lightweight luggage at an affordable price. Made with a water-repellent polyester fabric and high-mileage wheels like our more expensive luggage, this attractive spinner is built to please. Featuring expansion capabilities for extra packing, this model of the Atlantic Ultra Lite 3 line comes with a 10-year warranty.

The Atlantic Ultra Lite Hardside 21″ Expandable Spinner features expansion capabilities for extra packing, high-mileage dual Spinner wheels and the strength of a protective hard shell for families on the go. A stylishly textured finish resists scratching over the long haul. This piece includes 360 degree spinner wheels which roll effortlessly in any direction, a retractable aluminum-grade extension handle with multiple stops for users of different heights, and protective wheel housings for crash protection.

The T-Pro Bold™ 2.0 by Travelpro 26″ Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel is another item sure to bring smiles to your gift recipients. This piece is superior in packing flexibility, with a zippered divider panel that allows for two separate packing spaces or, if opened, one large main compartment. Made of water repellant fabric with a coating for greater stain and abrasion resistance, this luggage has durable crash protection, high performance ball-bearing wheels and a strong telescoping handle system with stops at 38″ and an extra-tall 42″ to ensure a comfortable roll for users of different heights.

Travelpro redefines premium travel with the Platinum Magna™ 2 21″ Expandable Spinner. Handsomely crafted with superior fabrics and genuine leather accents, this ultra-durable model represents the pinnacle of fashion, intelligent functionality, and design innovation. With patented Magna Trac™ Dual Spinner wheels, the wheels always roll straight with minimal effort. Backed by Travelpro’s Worry-Free Lifetime Warranty, the Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner is the ideal carry-on model for the serious traveler on your holiday shopping list.

Another thoughtful gift-giving choice is the Travelpro Maxlite 19″ Business-Plus Carry-on Hardside. This product incorporates the most sophisticated technology and style for hardside spinner luggage in today’s market. Constructed from 100% polycarbonate material, this hard-working carry-on is engineered to withstand high impact handling and the rigors of long distance travel, while still being lightweight. Another extra is a builtin business organizer and padded laptop/tablet sleeve located in the front pocket for easy access to business essentials during travel.

For the business traveler looking for convenience and functionality, the Travelpro Crew™ Executive Choice™ Checkpoint Friendly Computer Backpack is an excellent gift choice. This sophisticated item features a padded and quilted corduroy pocket for laptops up to 15.6″, plus a separate padded tablet pocket. A built-in business organizer and removable cord pouch provide efficient storage for business essentials and power cables. Added security is ensured with an RFID-blocking pocket which keeps credit cards and passports hidden to protect against loss and identity theft.

Inspired by the blockbuster films and designed for children ages 3 through 11 years old, the Universal Hardside Collections spotlight the iconic visuals from Minions and Jurassic World, combining fun with modern travel features. Made out of strong ABS hardside material with PC film, the 3 pieces in each collection offer a retractable handle system with multiple stops to accommodate children of different heights. A low profile top carry handle makes them simple to pick up, while inline skate wheels allow children to easily take care of their own luggage. In addition, parents will like the two compartment design with interior zippered divider panels and elasticized hold down straps for packing capacity and flexibility. The Minions and Jurassic World Hardside Collections are backed by a three year product warranty.

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 on every continent. The company is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently meeting and exceeding their expectations. 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.

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, from cleverly designed uprights and spinners to trendy and smart garment bags and totes, all Atlantic-branded luggage comprises superior quality and durability. Whether for business or recreation, travel is more pleasurable with Atlantic luggage, part of the Travelpro® family of products. Please visit the Atlantic Luggage website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations.

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