Have you noticed that at the airport, when a plane is preparing to board passengers, there’s usually a group of people who hover? You know what I mean — the travelers who pace back and forth by the airline desk, ready to jump into line as soon as their section is called for boarding. Maybe these passengers feel as if the act of standing in line is an improvement on sitting in the waiting area. Maybe they just want to get on the plane and get settled. Whatever the reason, there’s something about boarding the plane early that passengers seem to enjoy.
American Airlines has picked up on this early boarding obsession, and here’s the the latest travel-related rumor – American Airlines is testing a new boarding procedure which asks passengers to board the plane depending on whether or not they have carry-on luggage. The test is apparently happening in several airport locations, and on randomly selected flights.In this new beta boarding procedure, the elite travelers and business class passengers are asked to board first as usual. But immediately following these groups, passengers without carry-on luggage are asked to board, regardless of their seating zone on the plane. At least, that’s the way it happened for John DiScala, frequent business traveler and editor of travel website JohnnyJet.com.
This test of shortening boarding time is likely a method American Airlines is using to both save money AND to make money. The idea is, getting the low-maintenance passengers in their seats first can potentially shave a few minutes off boarding time.
And according to DiScala’s story in the LA Times, every minute saved on boarding can save an airline $30. That may not sound like a lot of money, but it can add up fast. Plus, passengers who truly love the early boarding policy might be incentivized by this new boarding procedure to check their bags upon arrival, even if it means paying an extra luggage fee.
Whatever the reasoning behind American Airlines testing this new boarding procedure, it seems like process improvements and efficiency are the primary goals. Only time will tell if a new boarding procedure like this one eventually is rolled out for the rest of us to experience.
- American will favor passengers without roller bags (seattlepi.com)
- No roller bag? Then board first on American Airlines (seattletimes.com)
- Airline’s perk to speed up boarding time (fox13now.com)
Christopher Penn is an expert in technology, marketing, social media, and how all three can work together to create better business opportunities for you. We’re fans of his, and read his blog fairly regularly.
Due to the nature of his job, Penn travels a lot, and recently he shared some travel tips for a better travel experience. Now, we’re going to make your life a little easier by sharing them with you.
1) Treat your hotel coffee like a teabag. Genius! The free coffee in your hotel room is flavorless and not hot enough, but if you brew it starting with hot water and place the coffee pouch in your cup before you hit the “brew now” button, you’re destined for hotter, more flavorful coffee.
2) If you forgot your toothpaste, create a saltwater solution using water and two packets of salt from a fast food restaurant. It’s not the same as proper oral hygiene, but if you’re about to meet with an important client after scarfing down a quick meal, this tactic will suffice.3) Shower with the bathroom door open. Most hotel rooms have dry air which can leave you with sinus problems. If you shower with the bathroom door open, moisture from the bathroom will permeate the rest of the room, making your hotel room a little more tolerable.
4) Sign up for frequent traveler programs. Sure, you might have to unsubscribe from a lot of emails after a while, but frequent traveler programs often offer free perks like pressing your suit, or an occasional free upgrade to a better room.
5) Always use good manners and etiquette. Not only is being polite and treating people well the right thing to do, but occasionally the good karma will benefit you, too. People may not always help people they like or who are polite, but they rarely go the extra mile for people who are rude or mean.
6) If safety is a concern of yours, ask for a room on the second floor. You’ll be less susceptible to break-ins and if a true emergency happens, you can jump from a second floor window with significantly better chances of survival. We’ll take his word on this one.
7) Get water from the ice machine instead of the bathroom tap. The water quality is often better because it’s colder and filtered.
8) If you have several hours to kill and are terrible at ironing, load up the iron with water and then mist your clothes. Give them a little stretch and hang them up to air dry, close to an air vent if possible. Or use that free ironing perk you got when you signed up for the frequent traveler program from #4.
9) Bring an HDMI cable. If you have to practice a speech you’re giving later, you can use the HDMI cable to connect your laptop to the TV — most nicer hotels have HD TVs, which have HDMI slots — and practice as if you were on stage. Plus, if you’re a Netflix fan or brought some DVDs, your laptop will double as your movie projector.
Pretty great ideas, right? So here’s a call to all you road warriors out there — what are some tips and tricks you’ve learned from your travels?
- Secrets to Happier Hotel Guests in 2013 (hmghotelsblog.com)
- Coffee solution (timesonline.typepad.com)
- 21 Travel Uses for Ziploc Bags (travelbloggerz.wordpress.com)
- Making the Most Out of Business Travel (epicatravel.com)
- Hotel-room lock hack tied to ongoing thefts (nbcnews.com)
- 8 Business Travel Tips & Tricks (flashstorageguy.wordpress.com)
What if we told you that you could pack for eight weeks in just one carry-on bag? Sounds crazy, right? We thought that idea was crazy too, until we saw the video below created by John Holloway, owner of a travel outfitters store and manager of PackingLight.com. In the eight-minute video — which is worth watching in its entirety — Holloway demonstrates how to pack an entire rack of clothes into a carry-on.
It’s called the bundle method, and it’s a little hard to explain, but the video explains it perfectly. The idea is that you’re creating a bundle of your clothes, softly folded together, and laid flat. Using a layering and folding (but not creasing) process, Holloway was able to pack an entire rack of clothes into one rollaboard bag, toiletries and all! And he swears that when you unpack at your hotel, your clothes will be unwrinkled. It may seem too good to be true, but Holloway makes it look effortless.
We first heard about Holloway’s packing method through Christopher Penn, an expert in technology, marketing, and social media, and a frequent traveler himself.
Penn shared a couple videos of Holloway’s on his blog and he shared that using the Holloway packing procedure, he was able to pack a week’s worth of clothes in a carry-on with almost no ironing needed when he arrived at his destination.
Packinglight.com is a great resource for more tips on — what else? — packing light. On the site you can shop for wrinkle-free clothes, purchase travel accessories, and gather even more traveling advice.
Next time you have to pack for an extended trip, watch Holloway’s video and follow the packing method. Then after you arrive at your hotel and unpack your bag, come back to this blog and let us know if it worked for you.
Do you have any other insight into packing light? Share your thoughts in the comments.
There has been plenty of buzz this year about how airlines and airports are modernizing their service to customers by offering free wifi, customer service via social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and upscale shopping experiences. Now, United Airlines is partnering with BagsVIP to offer a luggage delivery service for domestic flights.
For a starting price of $30 per bag, United/BagsVIP will deliver your bags to a hotel, business, or residential address, seven days a week, including holidays. If your arrival destination is within 40 miles from the airport, the service says you will receive your bags within 4 hours of your flight arrival.The service is fairly easy to use: after making your flight reservations, just make a separate reservation for your baggage delivery. At the airport, check your bags as you usually would, but don’t forget that you still have to pay for any associated fees. When your bags arrive at their final destination, BagsVIP will be alerted and within four hours, your bags will be delivered to you. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to sign for them once they get there.
Even though many of us don’t mind waiting around for a bag or two after a flight, United’s luggage delivery service could certainly come in handy for many of us. A business traveler on a tight schedule, a family with a lot of bags and kids to corral, or an elderly person traveling alone could all easily find value from this luggage delivery service.
- Travel smartly with United airlines (articlecoin.wordpress.com)
Say farewell to the “Staycation” – for many travelers, budget-friendly tours of one’s own city have become a thing of the past. Not only has travel increased overall, but consumers are actually investing in luxury travel again, thanks to income levels returning to pre-recession levels.
Just how much is luxury travel increasing? According to an article in The (London) Guardian), the sales of luxury experiences grew 50% faster than the demand for physical goods. This change can be partially attributed to demographics – namely, the fact that the consumers who drove the luxury boom in the 1990s are now beginning to retire. Instead of acquiring material goods, affluent Baby Boomers are more interested in investing in life experiences.Demographics aside, many travel experts have noticed an overall increase in consumer confidence, meaning that travelers feel comfortable investing in high ticket, once-in-a-lifetime trips. In a recent Travel Weekly article, Dan Mahar, CEO of Tauck, a luxury travel operator in Connecticut, said “In the post-meltdown era, there’s been a resetting of priorities.”
In other words, consumers, particularly the affluent, are focusing more than ever before on making memories and spending time with friends and family.
According to the Travel Weekly article, this year’s luxury travel hotspots are all over the map, including exotic eastern locales such as Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. Once overlooked Eastern European hidden gems such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also becoming quite popular, as are exotic once-in-a-lifetime experiential trips such as safari trips to Botswana.
Another surprising trend is a large increase in consumers booking trips on luxury cruise lines. When it comes to visiting exotic locales via the high seas, travelers are willing to overlook the cruise industry’s recent woes. In fact, many travelers are booking cruises that run upwards of one month. Such cruises visit multiple exotic destinations on all seven continents, making them an appealing option for those that want to get a bit of variety during their trip.
- Affluent Travelers on Deck to Spend More Vacationing in 2013, According to a New Survey of High-End Travelers by Unity Marketing (prweb.com)
- Luxe Travel Trail Blazes with the Rise of the Virtual Agency (prweb.com)
- A Patagonia Spectacular With Tauck (timespentatsea.blogspot.com)
- Luxury Cruise Vacations on The Crystal Symphony Cruise (expertscolumn.com)
If you’re a parent, you’ve no doubt read your share of articles on travel with kids. Regardless of the duration of your trip – whether its an hour drive or a half a day of air travel – we’ve got some suggestions on what to bring with you so you don’t find yourself wishing you’d never left home in the first place.
We saw a recent post by Kristy Carlson on Babble.com that reminded us of what it was like when we were traveling with kids ourselves. Here are some of her recommendations, plus a few of our own.
1. Your tablet. If you have a Kindle Fire, iPad, or any other tablet device, this is a surefire way to quiet your kids. Tablets allow for movie watching, reading books, and playing games. Of course you don’t want your child to become addicted to electronics, but if you have a long flight ahead of you, your tablet device is a must-have.
2. Battery backups, chargers, and adapters. We can’t suggest that you bring your electronics without also suggesting that you’ve got an extra battery, charger, and an adapter. After all, what good does your mobile device do with a dead battery? At the very least, bring an extra charger cord.
3. A travel French Press. One of our favorite Kristy recommendations. If you need your morning cup of joe in order to function like a normal human being, consider bringing a French Press with you on trips when you’re not sure if coffee will be readily available.
4. A travel hand coffee grinder. If you’re the type who silently nodded your head when you read our previous recommendation of a travel French Press, consider getting a hand-powered coffee grinder. Bring your favorite beans as well.
5. Self-locking bags. A good, sturdy self-locking bag, like a Ziploc, can store snacks, toiletries, toys, and practically anything else you can think of. You can never have enough. Oh and there’s one more thing you can store in a self-locking bag that we think any parent can’t live without:
6. Huggies Wipes. For many parents, these are a life saver. Huggies Wipes aren’t just for babies’ bottoms. Did your child spill ketchup on their favorite shirt? Use a wipe to clean it up before it becomes a stain. After washing the shirt, you’ll forget the spill even happened in the first place. We’ve known people who continued to carry these long after their kids needed them.
7. Travel diaper bags. If you thought it was hard to change a stinky diaper while on a trip, it’s sometimes even more difficult to get rid of the offending diaper after it’s been changed. A travel diaper bag is something no parent should leave home without.
8. Hand sanitizer. After you’ve changed your kid’s smelly diaper, and before you have lunch or a snack, use hand sanitizer to get rid of any germs the diaper wipe may have left behind.
9. A carry-on just for kids. If your child is old enough, it will be beneficial for overall family packing capacity to provide them with their own piece of carry-on luggage. This will count as your child’s carry-on, rather than you sticking all their stuff in yours.
Airline baggage handlers get a bad rap sometimes. We never hear about the bags that make it safely to their destinations, unscathed, dry, and smelling like roses. We hear about the irreparably damaged guitars, the priceless belongings lost, and the rest of the horror stories in the life of travelers’ luggage.
But it’s a tough job, and somebody’s got to do it. Which is why we were happy to see an article from Fox News about what goes on behind those flapping plastic curtains at the airport. They interviewed a baggage handler for some real talk about what his everyday life looks like, and there were some surprising revelations.
The on-the-job environment is crazy: fast paced, loud, occasionally wet, snowy, freezing-cold or swelteringly hot, and often quite dangerous. Two words: jet engines. There are plenty of downsides to working as a baggage handler, but the biggest upside is, of course, the travel perks. Buddy passes and free standby flights are almost always part of the gig.
Now, on to your bags.
First of all: The logistics of flying are tough — there are so many moving parts in the process that it’s hard for everything to go smoothly — and as the handler says, airlines are only making money when they’re actually in the air.
If your connecting flight comes in late, for example, handlers have to rush to get your bag to the next leg. There isn’t much time to be delicate with bags and do their jobs with finesse.
Another eye-opener: It’s often not baggage handlers’ fault that bags are damaged. Loose pieces of material can get caught in conveyor belts and in turn damage straps, handles, zippers and more. And if you’ve bought a cheap bag with a handle that’s glued or sewn on — or if you’ve overloaded your checked bag — it can come right off.
Your bag may be lost or not make it to your destination for a lot of reasons, again — not always the handlers’ fault. If someone has marked the wrong airport code on your bag or it literally falls off the cart during an especially busy time, you may not see it for a while. And while handlers try to scan every bag that goes onto a plane, the scanners don’t always work the way they should.
We at Travelpro were happy to see that baggage handlers endorse four-wheel “spinner” bags — like our Crew 9 or Maxlite 2 Spinner bags — because they don’t have to throw them. They just glide right on.
What other airline employees’ jobs are you curious about? Would you love to be a fly on the wall somewhere in an airport? Tell us who and where in the comments.
- Why Do 26 Million Checked Bags Go Missing Every Year? (travelproluggageblog.com)
- ‘Musician’s worst nightmare’: Vintage Gibson guitar mangled by airline baggage handlers (news.yahoo.com)
- The Airline has lost, delayed or damaged your luggage….What do you do now? (lamarvacations.wordpress.com)
Ah, Real Simple magazine — that great publication dedicated to a more organized, saner, even more stylish life. The magazine is certainly marketed to women, but many of the tips inside each issue, from recipes and budgeting to the fantastic “New Uses for Old Things” feature, are universal and always helpful.
Real Simple’s website is a treasure trove of “life hacks,” and its “ 20 Tips From Air-Travel Insiders” is a great resource if you’re planning any trips in 2013. Travel pros from seasoned travelers to baggage handlers shared their best strategies for smooth, safe and secure travel. Here are five of our favorites from the story, from the practical to the “why didn’t I think of that?”
1. Know what travel documents you need to get where you’re going. There are lots of countries with complex entrance requirements beyond your passport. Visit travel.state.gov if you aren’t sure.
2. Bring your own blanket — and some sanitizing wipes. Airports and planes (especially those pillows and blankets) are breeding grounds for germs and illness, and those tray tables rarely get cleaned, so it’s never a bad idea to do a little cleaning yourself before you settle in.
3. Samples come in handy. Three-ounce (or smaller) samples of cosmetics, creams and other liquids are pretty easy to come by, whether from your favorite makeup brand’s department-store counter, your doctor or even the drugstore. Don’t break the bank buying special containers unless you have to.
4. Duty-free doesn’t always mean cheap. You aren’t necessarily getting a bargain at those airport shops. Smart phones have made it a lot easier to do a price check on the items you’re hoping to buy, so use a barcode scanner like Red Laser and see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. (And if you’re buying alcohol or perfumes, don’t forget the 3-ounce rule when you’re transferring to a domestic flight later on. Just because you bought it at duty free overseas doesn’t mean you can carry it in your carry-on in the US.)
5. Order room service from the road. If you’ve got a late flight (or you’ve been delayed), call your hotel on your way there from the airport. Order a bite to eat, and it’ll be waiting for you when you check in.
- What Are The Benefits Of On-Board Duty Free Shopping? (essentialtravel.co.uk)
- Mobile app uses social media to help travelers enjoy the airport (springwise.com)
- 5 Must Have International Air Travel Accessories (epicatravel.com)
- Things I hate about air travel. (justcassie.wordpress.com)
Marcy Massura, a southern California businesswoman and mom, has created a website all about the Glamorous Life, which she is obviously living. I really loved Mary’s writing, because she’s hilarious, and she’s got a great attitude about travel, with all its pains and annoyances, because she does it all the time for her job.
If you follow her tips and are vigilant about your packing, you won’t need to pay baggage fees, because your luggage will be so light, densely packed and well-organized, you’ll be dying to carry it yourself.
Marcy’s first tip: Make lists for each day you’ll be traveling based on your itinerary, and think of everything you might need. And then lay everything out, then organize it all by day wherever you decide to stage it.
She makes notes about which pieces go with what day’s outfits, then seals everything up in packing cubes. (Marcy mentioned eBags’ packing cubes, but I’m rather partial to Austin House’s packing cubes. They come in a set of three that includes three different sizes. Another great product is Austin House’s Shoe-Ins, simple drawstring bags that help protect your clothes and valuables from dirt on your shoes without adding much bulk to your bag.)
Her always-in-the-suitcase must-haves: make-up, a curling iron, brush, other hair stuff and a snack for when she gets in late and misses dinner. (Here’s where her experience as a mom really comes in.)
When you actually get to packing your suitcase, she says, pack the densest, heaviest items at the bottom of the suitcase, near the wheels. The lightest stuff, such as socks and underwear, can go in the zipper compartment of the lid. If you do it right, things won’t shift inside your bag, and everything will be happy once you arrive at the hotel.
One final recommendation from the Glamorous One: You’re not going to be out in the wilderness during your travels, so if you run out of something, all is not lost. In 99 percent of your travel situations, you’re going to be in a place that has stores. So don’t flip out if you forget something; there’s a good chance you can pop out and replace it with no trouble.