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4 Up-and-Coming Travel Trends

Airplane seat-back advertisements.

Photo: Juliette Borda

Signs of the Times

In the latest anything-to-make-a-buck airline news, AirTran has become the first U.S. carrier to outfit its entire fleet with seat-back advertisements. The ads will be “tasteful, unobtrusive,” the company says. What’s next in the pursuit of profit? Fast-food logos on the flight-attendant uniforms?

Global Entry: Road Tested

I finally got to use the Trusted Traveler system to speed through customs at JFK recently. The fingerprint scanning machine worked fine, but an immigration man yelled at me when I tried to pass by his station. Turns out he wasn’t aware of Global Entry. My suggestion: Inform the agents about the program before opening it up to travelers.

Real-Time Airport Updates

The info on flight delays that’s sent to your mobile device always seems to be outdated. The FAA has recently expanded public access to airport updates (data.gov) as they happen. Trouble is, the raw info is nearly unusable as is—but great material for anyone looking to create the next viral travel app.

Paper is so Yesterday

First it was the death of paper tickets, now it’s paper boarding passes. Continental Airlines, which in 2007 became the first U.S. carrier to test paperless boarding passes (a bar code sent to your PDA or cell phone) has expanded their use to Frankfurt. Delta, American, and Alaska airlines all offer the passes, but only on U.S. domestic flights.

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