Keep your belt on!
Southwest Airline’s frequent-flyer members need no longer undress to pass airport security. Today, the carrier became the eighth domestic airline to offer TSA PreCheck, a program to pre-approve travelers for expedited security screenings.
The president of the US Travel Association, Roger Dow, calls the initiative “decidedly pro-traveler.” It’s meant to make travel easy, so that people fly—and fly often.
By the end of December, Pre-Check will be available to all members of the military at every airport in the country offering the service. At this time, military personnel can enjoy the perk at 10 domestic airports.
Next month, American Airlines and US Airways will join together, forming the world’s largest airline, thanks to an agreement with the Justice Department reached on Tuesday morning.
Going home for the holidays? Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year and to prepare, we'll be discussing airport and holiday travel strategies, tips, and advice this Wednesday, November 13th from 2-3pm EDT.
Ask our panel of insiders for their expert advice!
Mark Orwoll, T+L International Editor, @orwoll
Jennifer Flowers, T+L Travel News Editor and Trip Doctor team member, @TLTripDoctor
The Department of Transportation has added new rules to make air travel easier for passengers with disabilities. From ticket purchasing to check-in to the flight itself, the entire experience should be accessible within two years. Here are some of the changes you'll be noticing:
Airline websites will be easier to use for everyone: Becoming more accessible for individuals with disabilities—based on the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)—websites will actually become more accessible for everyone with improved visuals and clearer forms to fill out.
Same goes for automated kiosks: On top of being at varying heights for those in wheelchairs, check-in kiosks will also meet WCAG criteria. Every new kiosk installed must be accessible, until 25 percent of the kiosks at that location are usable by all.
1. The Bar Code
The International Air Transport Association mandated in 2005 that all 240 member airlines have to use boarding passes embedded with bar codes rather than magnetic strips—making it possible to print them at home and ushering in the era of paperless travel.
2. Flight Time
The practice of padding flight times to account for unpredictable tarmac traffic peaked around 2010. Airlines have since scaled back. This JFK-LAX flight went from six hours, four minutes in 2005 to six hours, 40 minutes in 2010. It’s now six hours, 15 minutes.
The TSA’s PreCheck expedited security program continues its rapid expansion, adding new partner airlines and airports to its ranks. If you’re a member, scan your boarding pass to see if you’ve been granted PreCheck clearance for a given flight.
It was just last week that the days of hearing “Please turn off all your electronic devices” on the loudspeaker before flight takeoffs and landings came to an end.
Of course, as with any big change, there has to be a trending hashtag and contest, right?
Delta has rolled out its first contest to award photos taken below 10,000 feet, appropriately using the hashtag: #below10kfeet. They’re encouraging flyers to “take that picture you’ve always wanted during takeoff and submit using Wi-Fi once enabled.” They’ll be putting two First-Class tickets to anywhere in the U.S. up as a prize for the best low-altitude photo taken on a domestic Delta flight.
A few weeks ago, I was scolded by a flight attendant for switching my iPhone into airplane mode instead of powering off. This week, however, we are living in a world where portable electronic devices can be kept on from take off to touch down. JetBlue celebrated its first PED-approved flight on Friday, allowing gate-to-gate usage from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Buffalo Niagara Airport. The video above captures this moment of joy in air travel history. With both JetBlue and Delta's approval of the policy, we can only imagine that more airlines will follow suit and adopt this tech-friendly stance.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
Flight delays and layovers in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just got a lot more bearable—you may even look forward to them—thanks to the new Centurion Lounge, which is setting the standard in the growing independent lounge sector. Entry to the 9,000-square-foot space from American Express (Travel + Leisure's former parent company) is free for Platinum and Centurion members, and $50 for all other American Express cardholders. (This also goes for the original location in Las Vegas, which opened last February.) Here’s what you’ll find inside those signature blue doors:
1. Massages. Facials. Manicures. At the on-site Exhale Spa, 15-minute treatments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Have a long layover? Sign up for one of each.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it would drop existing restrictions on the use of personal electronics during takeoff and landing, urging airlines to implement the changes on their own timelines.
This means that flyers will soon be able to use their phones, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets at all stages of the flight, as long as they are set to Airplane Mode.
Last month, as T+L reported, a committee set up by the FAA urged the administration to reconsider the current restrictions, finding them unnecessary from a safety perspective. Originally set in place to prevent electronic devices from interfering with a plane's equipment, the restrictions have come under scrutiny after experts concluded such fears of interference are groundless.
Unhappy with your 43B seat assignment? Consider a stopover in Copenhagen or Stockholm, where Anthon Berg Generous Chocolate Upgrader kiosks dole out treats for passengers flying with the worst seats, as rated by website SeatGuru.com.
Travelers simply scan their boarding passes—with the help of an Anthon Berg “stewardesses”—and, voila, the stewardess will give them a "chocolate upgrade." Someone in a middle seat near the bathrooms at the rear of the plane, for example, will walk away with an eye mask, a neck pillow, and a large bar of chocolate. Anyone with an aisle seat towards the front, on the other hand, will receive only a small chocolate sample.