If you’re an avid traveler, you may have noticed that this year’s biggest airline trend has been something everyone can appreciate: convenience. Airlines are looking for new ways to provide faster, more efficient service to their passengers, so many of them are turning towards mobile technology to accommodate their passengers’ needs and stay ahead of the competition.
If you’re an avid smartphone user, you know one thing is true: almost everyone has a mobile app these days. Some are useful; others, not so much. In keeping up with the times, most major airlines now offer mobile apps, which allow travelers to check on flight status or find other basic travel information. However, there’s only so much you can do via most mobile apps before you find yourself calling a 800 number — something which United Airlines kept in mind when re-designing their mobile app this summer.
United Airlines’ updated app (available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry 10) goes behind the basic features, allowing travelers to manage their journey in real time. For example, the updated app is designed to ease the stress of flight delays and cancellations. When a flight is cancelled or delayed, a passenger may find alternate flights and travel options directly via the mobile app, as opposed to dealing with a crowded airport help desk.
In addition, United Airlines’ mobile app currently supports a mobile boarding pass, which allows travelers to simply scan the barcode on a screen at airport security checkpoints. This feature is currently available in over 40 major international airports. United aims to have this option available at all airports they serve by this coming fall.
In a recent statement, United Airlines’ Vice President of Merchandising and e-commerce Scott Wilson stated, “The new features and updated look of these apps give travelers increased convenience, flexibility and control. United will continue to invest in building powerful mobile tools for our customers with many significant enhancements scheduled to roll out over the next year.”
What other convenience features would you like to see United and other airlines include in future iterations of their mobile apps?
- FWA now accepting mobile boarding passes (wane.com)
- This Is What Boarding Passes Should Look Like (wired.com)
- I Will Never Print My Boarding Pass Again (intercall.com)
- 5 Ways Location-based Apps Enhance Travel (wcgworld.com)
- Airports and Airlines Struggle to Meet Mobility Expectations of More Than 60% of Travelers Surveyed, Despite WiFi Wake-Up Call 12 Months Ago (sys-con.com)
- How The Explosion In Travel Apps Makes It Easier For Marketers To Reach Affluent Frequent Flyers (embargozone.com)
- Air travellers in the slow lane on technology (itpro.co.uk)
With the cost of travel continually rising, everyone is looking to save a few bucks when booking airline tickets. However, when it comes to finding the lowest airfare, everyone seems to have their own, often differing, advice to share when it comes to when and how you should purchase a flight.
When it comes to saving money on air travel, many people insist that when you book your ticket has the biggest impact on ticket price. In fact, a quick Internet search will leave you inundated with a wide variety of tips on how far in advance you should book your ticket, the best day of the week and time of day to purchase, and the cheapest day to travel on. But is there any truth to these recommendations, or are these “expert tactics” simply myths?When it comes to selecting which time to fly, many people suggest travelling mid-week and during off hours — particularly on one of those dreaded red eye flights. If you’re hoping to use this tactic to save a bit of money on airfare, you’re in luck – avoiding popular travel times (such as Friday afternoon) can help you save a few dollars on the cost of travel.
Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to score a great deal on airfare by purchasing your tickets on a specific day of the week or at a certain time, you may not be so lucky. Up until a few years ago, it was possible to save money on travel by using this tactic, however, times have changed. While it may work on occasion, purchasing airfare at a certain time isn’t a guaranteed way to score a lower fare.
If you’re looking to score the best deal possible on an upcoming trip, your best bet is to do some research on average airfare prices for the route you’re flying, begin monitoring prices a few months in advance, and snap up your tickets when you find a good deal. Remember, prices can jump very fast, so it pays to simply strike while the iron’s hot!
- Proliferation of Websites has led to Easy Booking of Airline Tickets (besttraveldeals4u.wordpress.com)
- Understanding the Hidden Taxes and Fees Associated with Airline Travel (turbotax.intuit.com)
- 5 Ways to Get Great Deals on Holiday Travel (epicatravel.com)
- Killer Tips For Finding Cheap Airline Tickets (buddyjacksonsepicinfo.wordpress.com)
The perfect holiday gift ideas for relatives and friends who love to travel
As the holiday season quickly approaches, Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage are pleased to announce the “2013 Holiday Gift Guide.” Make this holiday a memorable one with a gift for the business, leisure or adventure traveler, from the innovative Travelpro and Atlantic lines of luggage.
“Whether your family member, friend or work colleague is a frequent business traveler or they are planning for an upcoming vacation, the ’2013 Holiday Gift Guide’ for travelers offers a wide variety of luggage and briefcases that make great gifts for the holidays,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage brands.This holiday season, Travelpro is proud to present the award-winning Platinum Magna 21″ Expandable Spinner with Suiter. The Platinum Magna line won the “New Product Innovation Award” at the “2013 Travel Goods Association Show”, thanks to Travelpro’s cutting-edge use of consumer research, from blogs, reviews, forums, Twitter and Facebook to hone-in on very specific consumer needs and wants. As a result, Platinum Magna features five new patent-pending technologies, including the unique Duraframe framing system, which lessens luggage weight significantly while providing strong protection from the impacts of travel. Moreover, Platinum Magna luggage always rolls straight with the MagnaTrac 8-wheel Spinner system that includes self-aligning magnetic wheels that eliminate the “drifting” that is common when wheeling other spinner luggage. The ease of travel makes it the ideal gift for travellers accustomed to crowded airports and busy schedules. This elegant piece of luggage is available at retail for $319.99.
Also available this holiday is the Platinum Magna Rolling Tote with Computer Sleeve. The Platinum Magna Rolling Tote is specifically designed for the modern day traveller with a built in business organizer and padded computer sleeve that fits most laptops and tablets. Both Platinum Magna items are backed by Travelpro’s “Worry-Free” lifetime warranty and are available in stylish sienna and black fabric colors. The Platinum Magna Rolling Tote is available at retail for $249.99.
For the frequent business traveler on-the-go, the Travelpro Crew 9 Business Backpack is a smart holiday gift choice. This checkpoint-friendly backpack has four deep pockets for storing laptop computers, tablets, smart phones, cables, folders and other business essentials. Adjustable straps accommodate users of different heights. An elastic quick loop on the back of the bag allows you to attach it over the handle of your Rollaboard luggage when moving through airports. Travelpro backs the Crew 9 collection with a lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. The Crew 9 Business Backpack retails for $149.99. The backpack is available in black and titanium gray.
Atlantic Luggage is also pleased to announce the Atlantic Lumina 24″ Expandable Hardside Spinner. Complete with a dual-wheeled spinner system and expandable packing compartment, the Lumina 24″ Expandable Hardside Spinner combines superior strength with 360 degrees of mobility. A unique polyurethane finish on the sculpted hardside shell creates a rich, satin texture. Lumina is perfect for this holiday’s chic traveller of all ages. Available in fashionable black, ruby and blue, the 24″ Hardside Spinner model sells at a retail price of $139.99.
This holiday, Atlantic Luggage is also announcing the introduction of the new Atlantic Debut 20″ International Carry-On Upright. Featuring the best of today’s fashion and lightweight design, Debut is available in eye catching pink and turquoise fabric colors. The International carry-on upright is perfect for female teenagers and travelling college students. The Debut 20″ Upright is available for $99.99 at retail.
Another holiday gift sure to please is the Atlantic Luggage Compass Unite 29″ Expandable Spinner. Featuring the revolutionary Link2Go system, two pieces of luggage can connect back to back with Velcro straps so you can easily roll two pieces with one hand. This makes it very convenient and efficient for families with children looking to travel this holiday and beyond. Additionally, customers can receive a $15 mail-in rebate when purchasing two Atlantic Compass Unite Spinner models and a $30 mail-in rebate when purchasing three Atlantic Compass Unite Spinner models. The collection is available in beautiful cobalt blue and black at an affordable price of $159.99
For 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.
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 the Atlantic Luggage website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations.
It’s no secret that celebrities tend to get the red carpet treatment wherever they go. You’ve likely heard of many instances where high-powered individuals have been allowed to skirt the law or gotten away with things the average citizen would be chastised or jailed for. However, unfortunately, for one rule-bending celebrity, American Airlines has decided to put their foot down in order to ensure all of their passengers play by the rules.
Several months ago, actor Alec Baldwin was booted from an American Airlines flight leaving from LAX for unruly behavior. According to sources, the actor refused to turn off his cell phone. When asked to power down his device, he reportedly became angry, ignored the seatbelt light, and stormed into the bathroom while calling the flight crew inappropriate names.
After being ejected from the flight, Alec Baldwin promptly took to Twitter to publicly express his frustration over the situation, stating, “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericanisbankrupt.”
Within minutes of posting this tweet, the actor’s tweet received hundreds of retweets and created quite a buzz online. Unfortunately for Mr. Baldwin, American Airlines quick-thinking PR and social media team decided to put their foot down. Within five minutes of the actor’s tweet, American responded with a message of their own.
The next morning, American Airlines posted an official statement to its Facebook page, and reporters and bloggers were directed to the page for further information. The post went on to receive more than 6,000 likes, 27,230 comments, reached roughly 38 million people, and arguably succeeded in making an important point: everyone should comply with FAA rules and not act inappropriately toward the cabin crew, regardless of their name or status.
Unfortunately, Alec Baldwin isn’t the first celebrity to have created an in-flight disturbance. Other unruly celebrity passengers include the likes of Josh Duhamel, Naomi Campbell, Ivana Trump – and famously, French actor Gerard Depardieu, who caused a two hour delay on a flight from Paris to Dublin after urinating in the flight cabin in front of other passengers.
Do you agree with American Airlines’ response to the situation? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
- American Airlines calmly handles celebrity blow-up (prdaily.com)
If you’ve flown out of Denver International Airport recently, you may have noticed that airport security has gone to the dogs… bomb-sniffing dogs, that is. In an effort to speed up security lines, the Transportation Security Administration is testing out a new program featuring passenger-screening canines (or PSCs) at several major airports throughout the United States.
The new program, which rolled out this summer, allows passengers who have passed canine inspection to move into the TSA’s Pre-Check line, where they can pass through the standard x-ray screening process without having to remove their shoes, electronics and so on. The TSA’s canines are trained to sniff for explosives, not drugs.
According to Carrie Harmon, a TSA regional public affairs manager based in Denver, “The canine can also detect an explosive odor or scent trail, after a person has transited an area, and subsequently follow the scent trail to the explosive source, even if the source is mobile.”Aviation expert Mike Boyd agrees, stating, “The dog takes care of that very, very effectively. The only reason we take off our shoes and do all that over stuff is because the other machinery really doesn’t know how to look at it. So this makes a lot of sense for everybody.”
Although this particular program is new, the TSA’s canine program isn’t. In fact, airport security officials have used canines to detect contraband and suspicious behavior since before the TSA even existed. According to Jeff Price, a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and the author of a textbook on aviation security, “The canine program has been around since the early ’70s. There is a lot of research over the course of the past five decades that the dogs are accurate. They’re the gold standard right now.”
So far, the response to the TSA’s new screening program appears to be quite positive. As one passenger tweeted, “Straight through security in two minutes with shoes on and laptops/liquids in bag. Testing new security procedures at Denver. Nice job.” According to Carrie Harmon, the TSA hopes to expand the program to more airports in the near future.
If you’ve ever wondered why airlines board flights the way they do, you’re not alone. After waiting to board (and disembark from) one too many flights, University of Illinois astrophysicist Jason Steffen decided there must be a more efficient method, and decided to see if he could find it. His recommendation? The best system would be to space the boarding passengers two rows apart, while filling window seats first, then middle and aisle seats.
It doesn’t take an astrophysicist to realize that most boarding methods are inefficient, as most passengers must block the aisle while stowing their baggage in the overhead compartments. Perhaps even more frustrating is the process of exiting the plane – those stuck in the rear of the plane must wait for everyone on the flight to retrieve their carry-on bags from the overhead bins.
Currently, the vast majority of airlines board in groups, with first-class and other elite passengers boarding first. From there, some airlines opt to board from the rear to the front, while others fill the window seats, then the aisle. Other airlines (such as Southwest) allow passengers to sit wherever they please – and pay extra for the opportunity to board first.
Some airlines are testing out new boarding methods. For example, American Airlines is allowing passengers without carry-on luggage to board first. United has cut down their boarding groups from seven to five and have added additional boarding lanes to cut down on traffic jams at the gate. According to United’s CEO, this method has already resulted in a 60% decrease in boarding-related departure delays.
The time delay isn’t just frustrating for passengers, it’s also costly to the airlines themselves. Researchers from Northern Illinois University recently found that every minute added at the gate resulted in a $30 increase in costs. It can also result in flight delays and missed connecting flights. In other words, it’s in an airline’s best interest to test better methods.
Do you have any thoughts on how airlines can improve the boarding process? Share with us in the comments section.
Photo credit: camknows (Flickr, Creative Commons)
Whether it’s free wireless internet, complimentary continental breakfast or simply a few bars of soap and a chocolate on the pillow, most hotels offer a little something extra for their guests. While upscale hotels have always gone the extra mile for their guests, some luxury hotels are now offering complimentary amenities so lavish, guests may feel they have stepped into an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”.
At the Beverly Wilshire hotel, for example, a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Phantom is available for rides anywhere within a three mile radius of the hotel. If you’d prefer to take the wheel, you may want to pay a visit to the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa – guests may borrow a Porsche at no additional charge. The only catch? It must be returned the same day.
If you’re a music lover, you’ll want to spend the night at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, where guests can borrow a Fender guitar. The hotel has a selection of over twenty Fender guitars to choose from, and will even provide a floor amp and top-of-the-line headphones so you can play into the wee hours without disturbing other guests. Speaking of borrowing top-of-the-line items, the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai lends out 24-carat gold iPads (retail value: $10,000) to their guests upon check-in.
If you have a penchant for designer fashion, you may want to spend a night in one of the VIP Suites at the W South Beach Hotel. Recently, the hotel offered guests complimentary pajamas – and not just any PJs, but a limited edition pair created famed lingerie designer Arielle Shapiro, retailing for $165.
Once you’ve become accustomed to living in the lap of luxury — or at least visiting for a short while — even the most basic of amenities won’t do. At the Kitano Hotel in Manhattan, even the toilets are luxurious. Each room is equipped with a $1,500 Toto toilet – and these are no ordinary loos. The Toto is a combination toilet and bidet featuring accompanying wall control panel, which allows guests to select from a variety wash and dry methods.
If you have caviar dreams and champagne wishes, you’ll want to book a night at one of these hotels and live the high life – until it’s time to check out, that is. What’s the most extravagant hotel amenity you’ve seen or experienced? Leave a note in the comments section or on our Facebook page.
Anyone who’s flown at least once can vouch for the fact that airports can be almost expensive as an amusement park. Out of all of the products for sale within airports, beverages may quite possibly be the most inflated in price. In fact, depending on the airport and the kiosk you purchase it from, a regular-sized bottle of water may cost you five dollars or more. With pricey add-ons such as these, it’s getting more and more difficult to stay within budget while traveling.
Why is the price of beverages so inflated in airports? Simple: supply and demand. Unfortunately, because Travel Safety Administration rules prevent passengers from bringing drinks through security, those who wish to carry a bottle of water with them onto their flight must suck it up and pay the price. While filling a water bottle in the bathroom is an option, it’s not easy. Airport sinks can be quite shallow, and the motion-sensor faucet makes it difficult to get a steady stream of water.Thankfully, airports have begun to take note of this issue and many have begun installing water bottle filling stations throughout their terminals. In 2010, Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports and San Francisco International Airport installed refillable water bottle stations throughout their facilities in an effort to not only accommodate customers, but also to cut down on landfill waste.
“Together, the two stations at O’Hare saved 220,717 bottles [within the first year of the program]” Gregg Cunningham of the Chicago Department of Aviation told MSNBC back in 2011.
Although it’s taken a few years for other airports to catch on, the trend has finally caught on. As of June, Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport began installing 52 bottle refill stations throughout the airport. Many of the existing water fountains will be retrofitted with anti-microbial copper faucets. The airport is looking to include touch-free refill stations as well.
Because these water bottle refill stations have been so well-received in existing airports, many others are expected to follow suit. Next time you’re getting ready to enter a TSA security checkpoint, dump your water but retain the bottle. You just may save yourself a few bucks.
- Airport Snacks on a Budget (livingbigonabudget.com)
- Franklin and Marshall adds new water-filling stations (wgal.com)
The new 787 Dreamliner is Boeing’s biggest aircraft launch since the 747 and is being touted as the most innovative aircraft to be launched in decades. Excitement surrounding this new aircraft is so high, one hardcore fan paid a whopping $33,000 to sit in on its inaugural flight. It has some big shoes to fill, and a big name to live up to. But what’s so special about the 787 Dreamliner?
On the technical side of things, the 787 Dreamliner is quite advanced and is built for not only speed and distance, but also comfort and efficiency. For example, it claims to be 60% quieter than other planes of its size and capacity. The plane’s fuselage is made of lightweight materials, resulting in less fuel usage, and less carbon dioxide emissions. Also, the 787 can reach speeds of up to Mach .85 (roughly 647 mph), has a range of 15,200 kilometers, making it the only mid-sized airplane that can fly long-distance. The Dreamliner even features a system that detects turbulence and changes wing control surfaces to counteract its effects.
For the passenger, the 787 Dreamliner promises a more pleasant, relaxing flight. For example, the plane’s cabin will also be pressurized at an altitude of 6,000 feet as opposed to the standard 8,000 feet. This enables passengers to absorb more oxygen during their trip, cutting down on in-flight sickness or that post-flight “hangover” feeling. Space-wise, the aircraft features 7ft 5in. ceilings and 30 percent larger overhead bins. In regards to seat space, however, it will vary – each airline will configure the seat layout as they see fit.
Window seat lovers will enjoy the 787 Dreamliner’s windows, which are 30% larger than average and can be tinted and dimmed according to preference – they can even simulate sunrise and sunset! The aircraft also features nine inch plug-and-play seatback entertainment systems, which is a welcome addition for those on long-haul flights.
While the 787 Dreamliner sounds impressive, do passengers feel that it lives up to the hype? In a recent article, FutureTravelExperience.com founder Daniel Coleman states that he found the 787 to be a promising evolution, yet a missed opportunity to redefine passenger experience.
Have you had the opportunity to fly in a 787 Dreamliner yet? If so, share your experience in the comments section!