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Airport and Holiday Travel Twitter Chat on Wednesday, November 13th

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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!

The Hosts:

Mark Orwoll, T+L International Editor, @orwoll

Jennifer Flowers, T+L Travel News Editor and Trip Doctor team member, @TLTripDoctor

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New Air Travel Rules Make Flying Easier for Disabled Passengers

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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.

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6 Things You Didn't Know About Your Boarding Pass

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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.

3. Security
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.

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Delta Gives Away First-Class Flight Tickets for Staying Powered ON #below10kfeet

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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.

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JetBlue Celebrates First Flight to Allow Gate-to-Gate Use of Portable Electronic Devices

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
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

New Centurion Lounge Opens at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport

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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.

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FAA Drops Personal Electronics Restrictions

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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.

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"Generous Chocolate Upgrader" Rewards Fliers in Worst Seats with Candy

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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.

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Virgin America's New Video Puts a Spin on In-Flight Safety

Virgin America's added a little twist to their in-flight safety video. Grooving nuns, rapping kids, and auto-tuning robots guide you through the airline's safety regulations. This won't be the last dance, either. Virgin America has already posted a casting call on Instagram for future video stars. And if you can't get down with the funk, Virgin America's offer—20% off flights for today only—is sure to make you jump. Simply use the promo code "GETDOWN" upon checkout.

Maria Pedone
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

ZÜCA's New Kid-Friendly Carry-On Lets Tykes Take a Seat

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I've always struggled to find a great carry-on—sturdy but not too heavy, functional but not ugly. But finding one to fit my kids' ever-expanding pile of provisions has proven even harder. It's got to be light enough to catch up with a 4-year-old, somewhat attractive, and seriously stain-water-slobber resistant. The new Mini-Carry All by California-based ZÜCA might be just right. Besides the adorable designs, a washable interior, and snack pouch, it has a cozy, built-in seat. This last tricked-out feature is what sold me. How many times have you begged your kid to get up off the airport floor and ended up with a loudly protesting forty-pound carry-on? I'm hoping this won't be the case on our next trip.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of ZÜCA

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