Chip Technology Keeps Checked Luggage in Check

January 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve reported here before about the increased use of RFID chips in checked luggage and luggage tags to tilt the odds that your bag will arrive with you at your final destination in your favor. There have been new innovations in the effort to reduce lost bags, this time from Delta. Once you see what they’ve been doing, you may never look at those little paper baggage tags the same again.

This year, Delta has implemented RFID technology into its complimentary baggage tags, eliminating the possibility of a bag being unscanned due to a smudged, wrinkled, torn, or obscured tag. Now, in every airport where Delta operates, its bags only need to be be in proximity to the radio scanners to be accounted for. As with the older tags, fliers can track their checked bags using Delta’s mobile app.

Delta Airlines demonstrates its RFID system on a piece of checked luggageImplementing these kinds of changes can be costly and disruptive because they require infrastructure adjustments. While some airports, such as Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport, have been using RFID for over a decade, any new tracking system is typically the responsibility of the individual airline.

Delta spent $50 million on the system, which included scanners, printers, and said tags. Widespread use of these types of tags has been slow to come online in the airline industry, according to the International Air Travel Association. But the deadline for all 265 member airlines to be able to fully track and trace all bags is 2018. And the system is expected to work, not only on an airline’s own flights, but also connecting flights with another carrier.
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This Travel Scam Hacks Your Phone

December 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

File this under the category “Now We’ve Heard Everything.” According to an article in Smarter Travel, the latest scam to target travelers involves what’s called “juice-jacking.” Travelers desperate for a charge plug into a public charging station that, unbeknownst to them, is masquerading as a data port to steal their phone’s private and personal data.

Once a phone is connected to the station, everything on the device is downloadable: passwords, photos, emails, messages, bank account information. Worse yet, additional malware might also be infecting the device. How can you protect yourself against this new hacking method?

Using a battery pack instead of an almost-too-convenient charging station can help you avoid the juice-jacking travel scam.

Using a battery pack instead of an almost-too-convenient charging station can help you avoid the juice-jacking travel scam.

For one thing, be wary of public USB-friendly charging stations. There’s a chance that it’s a bogus charging station, and instead of just charging your batteries, you could give hackers access to your mobile device.

Instead, always travel with your own power pack. Some of our new Crew™ 11 Carry-on models feature a built-in battery pocket and external USB port. No more digging for your accessories or relying on potentially unsafe charging stations. Just plug your battery into the internal charging USB cord, and then plug your normal charging cord into the port on the back of your luggage.
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Corporate Travel to Increase due to Cheap Airfare in 2017

December 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Emerging market activity in South America and Asia combined with cheap airfares is expected to afford more companies the opportunity for more corporate travel and to conduct business face-to-face with its clients in 2017.

2017 may see more corporate travel around the world. Delta's new A330 can make your trip a little more comfortable.According to Advito’s 2017 industry forecast, the outlook for various regions is the result of some tangible economic indicators, as well as some intangible appetites. Here’s how the forecast breaks down by region:

North America

North American business travel is expected to be strong, although concerns about the presidential election and a possible interest rate hike are creating some uncertainty for 2017. Continuing competition between the top three airline carriers will keep airfares cheap, while hotel rates will increase as the chains reduce the number of rooms they make available at a negotiated discount. They will instead seek to implement dynamic pricing for corporate travel clients, thereby decreasing their negotiating options and driving up rates between three and five percent.
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IRS Sets New Per Diem Rates for Business Travelers

December 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Ah, winter! That time of year when a young business traveler’s fancy turns to thoughts of travel allowances.

Each October 1, the IRS releases their new per diem rates that business travelers can either collect or declare on their taxes. The new figures allow employees to receive a set amount (per diem in Latin means “for each day”) to compensate for meals and incidentals incurred daily while traveling for work purposes.

Your lodging and food costs are part of your per diem business travelers' rates.

Your lodging and food costs are part of your per diem business travel rates.

Employers provide this benefit to employees in exchange for the filing of an expense report. Why is the expense report necessary? If the employer cannot produce this paperwork, the government views per diem reimbursement as income, which means it’s taxable. As long as the paperwork is filed and the amount expensed doesn’t exceed the federal daily limit, that money is all yours.

What if you’re self employed? These federal per diem rates don’t help you much as they only apply to meals, and you’d better keep excellent records for everything else related to your travel if you want to deduct it from your taxes.
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Workaholic Americans Impacting Economy by not Vacationing

December 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Americans wasted 658 million vacation days in 2015.

That’s nearly 2.2 vacation days for every person in the United States. According to Project Time Off, this is the highest number of vacation days they have ever seen.

A nice beach getaway makes a great vacation.

A nice beach getaway makes a great vacation.

More than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days. It is the highest number Project: Time Off has ever reported, far exceeding the previous 429 million count.

That’s unacceptable. Our bosses may love our commitment to the job, but it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for our country.

We understand the importance of vacations and taking breaks and what it does for our bodies and minds. But did you realize that by taking time off, you could be boosting the economy?

If every American used their vacation days, a whopping $160 billion would be added to the national economy, and another $21 billion generated in taxes. Plus, 1.6 million jobs would be created.
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Crew™ 11 Luggage Roundup: Spinner vs Rollaboard

November 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I was asked recently which of our pieces of luggage within the Crew™ 11 Collection works better for the business traveler, the Spinner (8 wheels) or the Rollaboard® (2 wheels). This is a tough call, because both of them are great products, but in fact there are reasons that one may work better than the other in certain situations.

Both the 21″ Expandable Spinner and the 22″ Expandable Rollaboard® are designed with the frequent traveler in mind. Each bag fits in most overhead bins, and has many features that make either an excellent choice for anyone who spends a lot of time maneuvering through airports and hotels.

Both Crew 11 models have the Suiter system, which protects jackets and dress clothes from excessive wrinkling. The main difference between the two with regard to this feature is that the Spinner’s suiter is a “drop in” version, while the suiter for the Rollaboard® is built into the lid. The Rollaboard® has a slightly larger compartment due to the 2 wheel design so it’s suiter can actually fold up into the lid.

Travelpro Crew 11 Group Photo

Travelpro Crew 11 Collection — with both spinner and rollaboard bags

Now, the biggest difference: the wheels. This is where most people make their choice. First, the Spinner features MagnaTrac™ self-aligning wheels. This patented design allows you to push the bag with one hand or pull it behind you, and it will always roll perfectly straight, with minimal effort or resistance. This 360-degree maneuverability alleviates arm strain that can occur when pulling a Rollaboard behind you.
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Business Travelers Can Now Schedule Uber 30 Days in Advance

November 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travelers who like to schedule all of the details of their trips now have another arrow in their quiver: Uber is rolling out a new program that lets you schedule Uber rides up to 30 days in advance.

The program, called Schedule a Ride, which rolled out in Seattle this summer, is the latest advancement for the company that pioneered a new category of ride sharing six years ago. Schedule a Ride is now available in 44 US and eight international cities.
An Uber taxi, suitable for business travelers
“Even though we’re an on-demand company, we totally get it. Sometimes you just want that extra reassurance that your Uber will be there when you want to leave,” Tom Fallows, Uber’s director of global experiences, told Wired.

The service will also send you a reminder notice 24 hours ahead and again 30 minutes ahead, and the standard cancellation policy that allows you to cancel a ride within five minutes of when the car is dispatched without incurring a penalty also applies to this new feature. Rates are the same as standard UberX rides, and surge rates during peak travel times will also apply.

The “Schedule a Ride” offering is in response to business travelers’ request for this level of predictability. As a nod to those users, Uber will offer priority access to those who have business profiles or whose profiles are linked to their company’s Uber for a Business corporate account.
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Beyond the Carry-on: Garment Bags

November 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Garment bags often get a bad rap for being an outdated “box on wheels” predecessor to the Rollaboard® luggage that is seen everywhere today. Not so!

We like garment bags because they offer a streamlined manner of protecting and transporting business apparel in a way that reduces wrinkling. If you travel for business, and are required to wear suits and semi-formal clothing, you may want to consider a garment bag.

For example, you can typically only pack one suit inside the suiter of a regular carry-on. But if you have several suits or jackets, the garment bag allows you to carry several business dress items virtually wrinkle free.

Travelpro Crew 11 Garment Bag

Travelpro Crew 11 Garment Bag

The Crew™ 11 collection features three models, a basic bi-fold and two sizes of rolling garment bags. As with the entire Crew™ 11 collection, all are made of high-quality ballistic nylon fabric with a Duraguard coating, and feature a large exterior pocket and metal hanger clamps to keep your garments secure. All are subjected to strenuous testing to ensure durability of all moving parts and abrasion resistance over the lifetime of the bag. A limited lifetime warranty is also standard for all three models.

The Bi-Fold has an over-the-shoulder padded strap that can be worn crossbody as well, and has a leather carrying handle. It opens like a book and features multiple accessory pockets for separating and organizing contents. A foam padded roll bar and adjustable hold down straps help prevent wrinkling.

Both the Rolling Carry-on Garment Bag and the 50″ Garment Bag feature a high-performance Rollaboard® wheel system with integrated four-point stability system that keeps the bag from tipping when fully packed and standing upright. They also feature our patented Powerscope Extension Handle which reduces wobble when fully extended. The large compartment in each has a padded roll bar and two adjustable hold-down straps for securing up to four garments, as well as compartments for folded shirts fresh from the cleaners and pants. There are also corner pockets for small essentials such as belts, socks, and toiletries.

Do you regularly travel with suits? Are you a garment bag user? What do you typically look for in a garment bag? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: TravelproLuggage

2016 Top Quality Rankings for Airlines, Virgin America Ranks #1

November 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For the past 26 years, Dean Headley, a researcher at Wichita State University’s business school, and Brent Bowen, Dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, have co-authored the Airline Quality Report, a quality ranking of the largest 13 airlines in the United States.

The report uses performance data gathered from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report to determine the intersection of public perception of each airline’s quality with the airline’s actual performance.

Virgin Airline's Molly

This year, Virgin America Airlines earned the top spot for the fourth year in a row. JetBlue jumped from fourth to second place, and Delta retained its third place position. The report examines performance in four categories: on-time performance, baggage handling, involuntary denied boardings, and customer complaints.

This report is an objective way for consumers to determine an airline’s overall performance and to examine its attention to whatever detail of the flying experience is important to them. The report found that overall performance for the industry as a whole improved over 2015, while the category that saw the most change was complaints.
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Avoid Higher Airline Prices for “Open Jaw” Flights

October 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Recently, the country’s three major airlines each implemented a little change to their pricing models that, if you’re not careful, can end up costing you a lot more per flight.

The change, says The New York Times, could make it up to seven times more expensive for those who fly what’s called an “open jaw” route.
british-airways-boeing-747-400-g-civh-departs-london-heathrow-11apr2015
That’s where you fly to a particular destination, but return home from a different one. For example, if you flew to Miami, but flew home from Orlando, that’s an “open jaw,” or multi-city flight.

We don’t want you to be caught unaware, so here are some things we suggest you do before you purchase a multi-city or open jaw ticket.

  • Check into the cost of two one-way tickets. There’s a very good chance the two tickets will cost less than the one open-jaw flight. The example we saw in the Times story showed a $1200 price tag for a Jacksonville, FL to Los Angeles/San Francisco to Jacksonville. But as two separate tickets, it was $400. Read more

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