A New Adjustable Seat That Gives You More Room

May 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Tired of cramming into a tiny seat while your five year old looks like, well, a five-year-old sitting in a grownup seat? Don’t you wish you could shift the arm over just a couple inches to give your hips a little relief?

The Morph airline seat, by British company Seymourpowell, allows the width of seats to be changed, giving a more comfortable flying experience for everyone. If the normal seats are too small — a common complaint — you can adjust the width of the seat which, admittedly, will narrow the seat next to you.

While we like the idea of a little extra hip room, we have a few concerns for both passengers and airlines.

Out of Context

So, what if you could change the width of one of these to suit your hips? (Photo credit: mikecogh)

The benefit of the Morph seat is the ability to accommodate passengers of varying width. Small children can have the seat moved in, while larger passengers can expand their seat. And since the seats are made with fabric, the adjustment will be easy.

However, would airlines charge passengers more for wider seats? And what will that do for passengers with smaller seats? Will they be given a discount for reducing their, uh, footprint? And how will airlines monitor the system? Some passengers might want to save a few bucks and request a smaller seat when they really need an average one. The problem is that the airlines won’t know if the passenger will fit until he or she arrives.

And what about unsold seats? If two passengers request larger seats in the same row, there may be a very small seat that no one wants. If it’s the last seat, it can go unfilled, which is great for the two passengers, but is a problem for the airline. Will the cost of the wider seats make up for the lost one? And if so, how much more will the wider seats cost?

We don’t think the Morph Seat is a bad idea. In fact, it’s a great concept for passengers with small children. Parents can get the larger seat, while children can get the narrow seats. But we suggest only having a few rows of Morph seats per flight, to avoid the issue of unsold seats and raising ticket prices to offset the losses.

The current up-selling on flights has given the passenger more options like larger seats and more leg room in first class and business class, as well as Economy Plus. These options add choice, but also add complexity. The Morph seat is especially complicated because it came about right after the Airbus regulation that all airlines must offer at least an 18-inch seat width to all passengers. Only time and trial will tell if this concept will be a success on economy flights.

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Five Baggage Handling Solutions That Can Enhance the Passenger Experience

May 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

We’re seeing a lot of technological changes that can improve travelers’ experience as they fly around the world. Here are five baggage handling solutions that we think, if they were adopted around the world, would make flying much more enjoyable (or at least less stressful).

1. Home-Printed Bag Tags

Example of IATA airport code printed on a bagg...

Example of IATA airport code printed on a baggage tag, showing DCA (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bag tags printed from home allow passengers to skip check-in and have the bags ready to go when arriving at the airport. You will have more control over your travel experience and could lower your drop off time to as little as 30 seconds. One drawback is some passengers don’t have the printing capabilities, so not everyone can take advantage of it. In addition, if your home printer is low on ink, the tag will not be able to be read by the baggage scanning device. Even with these potential drawbacks, the number of passengers who will not need to print tags at the airport will dramatically speed up check-in times.

2. Permanent Bag Tags

To those annoying bag tag stickers that can fall off, we say enough! The Vanguard ID company has created the ViewTag, designed to replace the throw-a-way paper tags used today. This permanent tag can be updated with a synchronization of a smartphone or tablet. Think about the positive environmental impact of using a permanent tag. Think about the waste of the huge number of throw-a-way bag tags that are created throughout the world’s airports.

After meeting Rick Warther from Vanguard in our office, we know how hard it is to design a permanent tag. There are still some things to consider when thinking about wear and tear and the clarity of the tags for scanning over time.

3. Bag Drops

A few airports are allowing offsite or remote bag drops for travelers, leaving them at a location like your hotel. It’s one less thing to worry about at the airport, but not many have adopted it. We nearly tried it out at a hotel in Las Vegas, but they needed the bags there too early so it didn’t meet our timeline. Aside from some minor issues, we think bag drops are a great idea, and expect to see more convenient systems in the future.

4. Bag Delivery

A delivery service called Airportr will allow passengers traveling to and from an airport in London to have their bags delivered, making the process less stressful. The VIP Luggage Delivery in the U.S. offers the same service now. Our only concern is the issue of security and the ability for a complete stranger to take a cartload of bags without being stopped.

5. Lost Luggage Improvements

Using the WorldTracer App on iPads, airline agents can scan your boarding pass and pull up your information quicker than trying to call the “hotline” for your airline, or visiting the lost luggage desk. You can even trace your own bag with other devices like the Trakdot device.

What are some baggage handling solutions you would like to see? What would make your own travel experience more enjoyable when it comes to dealing with your luggage? Leave a comment and let us hear from you.

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New Atlantic Luggage Line, Compass Unite (VIDEO)

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Atlantic Compass Unite 21 inch spinner

Atlantic Compass Unite 21 inch spinner

The new Compass Unite collection from Atlantic Luggage connects back-to-back, allowing you to roll two pieces with one hand.

Link2Go is an innovative new way to easily attach two Spinners together. Just attach Compass Unite Spinners back-to-back with the side Velcro straps, and you’re ready to go. Effortlessly maneuver two pieces of luggage through airports with just one hand, or comfortably roll four pieces at once when the whole family is traveling. Versatile and affordable, this lightweight collection is ideal for family travelers on the move. Discover why Compass Unite is the only way to roll.

Travel Wardrobe Essentials For Women

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Vacations can provide travelers with a much-needed escape from the stressors and distractions from the real world. But between synchronizing vacation days, arranging hotel stays, and purchasing plane tickets, preparing for the vacation may give you more stress than regular life ever did!

G. Rumiantseva A Girl in Sun-hat.

G. Rumiantseva A Girl in Sun-hat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To cut down on some of that pre-vacation stress, we’ve arranged a list of must have wardrobe essentials for women, based on a list by adventure travel writer extraordinaire, Narina Exelby. It’s time to stop wasting time worrying about what to bring and spend more time looking forward to your big trip. These essential items are perfect for any destination and will have you looking your best at all times.

  • Long dress: Because you never know when an invitation to an elegant event may appear, having at least one long, simple dress while traveling is a must. A word to the wise is to keep it neutral and basic. Neutral colors can fit in at almost any occasion and basic dress styles can be accented with jewelry or other items. If possible, go with a microfiber dress instead of cotton, as Narina suggests, as this material is more resistant to wrinkles. Cotton is fine if you’re on the beach or in the bush, but if you’re somewhere that wrinkles might raise a few eyebrows, microfiber works best.
  • Jewelry: The best way to accent a basic wardrobe is with jewelry, but try to not go overboard when traveling. Bring a few simple items, such as a necklace or bracelet, which can match any outfit. You want to appear fashionable but not over dressed. In some parts of the world, excess jewelry marks you as “rich,” and thus more tempting to thieves.
  • Hat: The type of hat you should bring depends on the type of area you are visiting. For more modest vacations, such as a short trip to a lake house, a simple ball cap may be all the protection you need from the sun. But for more exotic locations, a larger sun hat may be your best option. Also keep in mind that ball caps will be easier to fit in a small suitcase than a larger sun hat; if you need a large sun hat, make sure it’s one that’s crumple resistant.
  • Jacket: For those chilly summer nights or windy spring days, a single, light jacket should be packed. Avoid colorful patterns or bright stripes and settle for something more casual, which can be worn at any time. Often times, a regular denim jacket can do the trick. Avoid bright colors if you’re on safari, since that’s usually tells nearby predators that you’re available. And tasty.
  • Handbag: Possibly the least thought about item on this list and arguably the most important. A small (emphasis on small) handbag that can carry keys, lipstick, cell phone or any other necessities is vital for trips where you will be away from housing for extended periods of time. Try to avoid the giant handbags that carry everything. Not only will they get too heavy after a while, but they’re also a favorite target for thieves.
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The Travelpro Marquis Collection (VIDEO)

April 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

picture of travelpro marquis luggage lineMarquis combines lightweight design with the best of Travelpro’s “smart” technologies in one innovative collection for business and leisure travelers. Straight-rolling MagnaTrac wheels, Contour Grip and PowerScope Extension Handle all maximize comfort and control on a trio of Spinner styles.

This stylish collection also features 2-wheel Rollaboard luggage and matching Totes. With a large selection of seven Carry-Ons all under 7 pounds and several sizes for international travel, Marquis is the smart way to roll. Plus, every piece is backed by our reassuring Lifetime Warranty.

You can also download the Marquis hang tag here.

How Can Airports and Airlines Use Wearable Technology To Enhance Passenger Experience?

April 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s travelers are more connected to technology than ever before. From smartphones that stay glued to our hands, to smart watches such as the Pebble and Samsung Gear, and even to what we see with Google Glass, the modern traveler is permanently intertwined with tech. So how can airlines use this technology to create a better passenger experience? Here are a few predictions we can make based on what we’ve seen.

English: Photo of a mobile boarding pass (a 2D...

English: Photo of a mobile boarding pass (a 2D Aztec code bar code on an Orange San Francisco smart phone) on top of a paper boarding pass, printed after online check-in, for a KLM flight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The easiest way to improve a positive passenger experience is to get rid of the boarding pass. This old paper relic from the past can be replaced by an app that lets you check in to your flight. Most major airlines already have this kind of app, and we think in a few years, the digital boarding pass will become the standard, and the paper version will be used less and less. This could drastically improve the speed of checking in for your flight and shorten the amount of time wasted at the airport, creating happier travelers. Also, think of the elimination of paper from an environmental perspective across all the world’s airports.

Google Glass can be incredibly effective when traveling, especially for those inexperienced air travelers. The front display can act as a GPS device that actually directs you to your gate, as well as provide real-time updates of the flight status. And whereas you are liable to run into others around you when looking down at a smartphone or watch, that will not be an issue with Glass. Because the information is presented directly above your field of vision, you will not have to worry about trampling, or being trampled by, other travelers.

Or how about using your mobile phone to pay for your meals and snacks at the airport? Rather than carrying credit cards, many people in Kenya and other parts of Africa use the M-Pesa mobile payment system on their phones. And not just smartphones, but regular flip phones as well. Google Wallet is already making inroads into this area of tech, and we think it may become a standard form of payment in the near future.

All of this technology is a few years away from being implemented but once it is up and running, it can be used as a stepping stone to promote the convenience of the passenger. Soon afterwards, biometric data, such as finger and iris prints, can be utilized to identify passengers. Security officers could use tools similar to Glass to increase security measures.

The entire travel industry could be completely disrupted with this new technology. What are your thoughts about this “brave new world” of travel?

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Is Common Sense In Travel Dead?

April 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

When you’re traveling or on vacation, you want to feel relaxed and at home. When you feel relaxed and at home, you let your guard down, and things can get stolen. When things get stolen, your vacation becomes a nightmare, and you’ve lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Don’t let your guard down when you’re on vacation.

MCL-ETYCB Single Suite Hotel Room

MCL-ETYCB Single Suite Hotel Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Say you are going down the hallway to get ice in the hotel and just leave your door ajar because you’ll be right back or you leave your Kindle or iPad on your chair to go to the restroom. But when you get back, you discover your tablet is gone and your room has been burglarized. You’ve been the victim of a robbery, all because you assumed you and your belongings were safe, just like at home. This is why it’s important to travel smart and keep your guard up. You’re not at home, which means you have to be on your guard.

A recent article in USA Today said that travelers and experts believe that common sense in traveling might be dead. We don’t necessarily think that common sense is out the door — unlike your iPad and wallet — but these stories of carelessness are becoming more prevalent as more and more people travel. We are traveling more than we ever did in the past and as you know, planes are packed with people.

Technology is making it easier to travel. Your smartphones and tablets willl let you go anywhere and do everything for you so you don’t really have to think. And when you don’t know the smarts of traveling, you are more likely to be the victim of scams. Keep in mind that you are in a different place and need to keep smart and use common sense to avoid getting out of touch with reality. There are an increasing number of stories of horrible accidents that travelers get themselves into because they were not thinking. One of the culprits is an over-reliance on technology, and the other is letting your guard down.

Remember that when you’re traveling, you’re not in the cyberworld, but in the real world. Keep your eyes open, listen carefully, and be aware of where you are. And don’t let your trip or vacation turn bad because of a simple mistake you made. Stay smart and bring your brain when traveling.

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Dublin Airport Installs Self-Service Biometric Gates

April 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’ve ever stood in line at an immigration checkpoint, whether you’re entering another country or returning to your own, you know how long they can take — up to an hour or more, depending on the time of day.

So what if you could pass through an immigration point in seconds or minutes, instead of an hour or more?

Closeup - automated immigration checkpoint

Closeup – automated immigration checkpoint (Photo credit: ttstam)

A pilot test at Ireland’s Dublin Airport (no pun intended) is currently allowing about 1,000 passengers each day to pass through automatic immigration gates. SITA’s iBorders biometric gates use facial recognition to match your face to your passport and verify that you are able to enter the country, taking only about 7.5 seconds to get through. This is much faster than having a human look at you and your passport photo to make a comparison.

The new automated border control gates allow for more efficiency and stronger border control. Human error is ruled out and the system is more secure. While paper passports can be forged, facial recognition cannot unless you go through extensive plastic surgery or happen to be Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

This pilot program is testing the suitability of this system on immigration control and security. If the program goes well, the gate system might make it across the globe and you may be seeing it in an airport near you. This system may even save you the headache of long lines going through immigration next time you travel internationally. And there is even the potential of going through border control even faster than going through security, which has never been a possibility before.

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Travelpro Announces its “Win a Trip to the Golf Championship” Sweepstakes

April 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Sweepstakes runs April 1 through May 10, 2014

Travelpro, the original inventor of Rollaboard luggage and a leader in innovative, high-quality luggage design, is proud to announce its “Win a Trip to the Golf Championship” sweepstakes featuring a trip for two to the U.S. Open.

The U. S. Open Golf Championship is the second of the four major golf championships in the nation and is on the official schedule of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. This year’s championship will take place, June 9 – 22 at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina. From April 1 – May 10, Travelpro is offering the chance for a grand prize winner and guest to win a trip to one of golf’s most prestigious events.

111th U.S. Open Championship

111th U.S. Open Championship (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

“Travelpro has a history of providing flight crews and frequent travelers with innovative and stylish luggage that’s designed for the long haul,” said Scott Applebee, Travelpro International’s Vice President of Marketing. “We are pleased to offer a winner and guest the opportunity to witness the world’s most talented professional golfers at the iconic 2014 US Open Championship.”

The Sweepstakes winner will receive a $1,000 voucher for personal airfare and one travel companion. A two night stay at the legendary Pinehurst Resort in the Village of Pinehurst, where the game of golf is rooted in its history. One $300 prepaid credit card and two Travelpro carry-on suitcases, along with two 2014 U.S. Open Championship tickets for Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13. Each ticket will provide access to the SI Golf Group’s corporate hospitality tent in the Ross Village and complimentary food and beverage on the dates specified.

The Grand Prize Package Includes:

  • Two (2) U.S. Open Championship tickets
  • $1000 voucher for airfare
  • Two (2) night hotel stay (one room, double occupancy)
  • $300 gift card
  • Two (2) Travelpro carry-on sized suitcases

The sweepstakes begins April 1 and ends May 10. To enter or view the official sweepstakes rules please visit: http://www.travelpro.com/golf-sweepstakes/. No purchase or payment necessary to enter or win. The United States Golf Association which conducts the U.S. Open Championship has not endorsed or sponsored this promotion, or the prizes associated with this promotion in any way.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself in 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.

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Wearable Technology Improves Travel

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Wearable technology is having a positive impact on the travel industry, both for travelers and for people who work in the business. We recently read an article by Future Travel Experience about rising trends in wearable tech and what it’s doing for travelers, and that got us to thinking about what we could see wearable tech do in the future.

Google GlassWearable tech is basically any kind of technology you can wear on your body. Whether it’s a Google Smartwatch — think Dick Tracy’s phone watch — or Google Glass, the computer glasses, or even the FitBit, Jawbone, or Nike FuelBand fitness tracker bands, wearable tech is already making its way into the mainstream, which means travelers are already using it.

One idea the FTE article mentioned was for airport agents to use Google Glass as a way to scan passports and check boarding passes. If you’ve ever stood in a passport line, you know it can take a very long time to get through the process. But Google Glass could shorten the process, getting it down to a single second per traveler. That would speed up the passport check line greatly, improving the experience of international travel.

Or how about getting notified of your flight’s status on your Google Smartwatch? Receive a text or email on your watch, rather than fussing with your phone. You can even connect your Bluetooth earpiece to the Smartwatch and call your travel agent or the airline customer support line if you have problems with your flight.

The famous 2-Way Wrist Radio

The famous 2-Way Wrist Radio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you like to exercise, how about using your exercise device as a way to measure your walking during travel days? If you arrive early enough at the airport, or have a long layover, take some time to stroll around the airport rather than sitting at the gate for three hours. While it may not be your usual morning run, it’s at least a way to keep moving and get some exercise in. Use your FitBit as a way to track your steps, distance walked, and even calories burned.

As more people are embracing wearable technology, we may see it become a regular part of air travel, whether it’s the travelers who are wearing them, or the airport and airline professionals. The technology can ultimately be used to help improve the airport experience, which is something many airport designers are already doing.

How are you using technology in your own travels? Are there any items on your travel tech wish list? Leave us a comment or discuss it on our Facebook page. (Bonus points if you answer it from your smartphone from an airplane or airport.)

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