I love to travel. Obviously. I wouldn’t work here if I didn’t. And I love when I hear about advances in technology that can help make traveling easier. So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw our friends over at sister mag Executive Travel reported three new improvements that are underway that’ll help speed things up while you get to your destination, so you have more time to enjoy that beachside mojito.
The first will help you speed through the baggage check a little faster. How? By printing out your baggage tag at home, while you’re checking into your flight online. The technology was created by Unisys Corporation, and is currently being tested at Billund Airport in Denmark. When passengers show up at the airport, they simply drop their bags off at a special counter and head on over to security.
More than 34 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this Memorial Day weekend—and most are be driving. Pack these eight gadgets to keep your kids entertained while you’re on the go.
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CNN | As families prepare for air travel this coming Memorial Day weekend, United Airlines won't be offering early boarding to families in coach with small children.
Joining a handful of other carriers, United made the policy shift in late April with little fanfare.
Previously, families with small children flying coach were allowed on aircraft before general boarding, a convenience for moms and dads trying to herd their kids across the friendly skies.
"We figured it would be better to simplify that process and reduce the number of boarding groups," said United spokesman Charles Hobart. The airline does allow passengers with children traveling in first class or business class to board early. ...
Kate Hanni of flyersrights.org calls the move "very anti-family."
You know how annoying it is when the person sitting next to you on a flight is listening to their music so loud you can hear it? Now imagine that same scenario, but instead of loud music, it’s the sound of two people getting their freak on?
Yes, you read that right. And yes, I’m going somewhere with this.
Ryanair announced that it is planning on developing a custom app, which you could download onto your smartphone or tablet; with this app, you’ll be able to connect to the airline’s selection of in-flight entertainment. It’ll allow you to do lots of fun things, like gamble, play games, or kick back and watch some porn.
Once again, I have to confirm: yes, you read that right.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced this week that digital projections of "virtual customer care representatives" will appear this summer in three New York-area airports, guiding flyers to their gates and providing other logistical info.
The 2-D projections can't respond to travelers who ask them questions, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the authority. But that kind of technology may be added if the 6-month pilot project goes well, he said in a phone interview. "We’ll see if it works, you know," he said. "If people keep walkin' by it, then we wouldn’t renew (the contract for the avatars)."
Last Saturday, the Olympic Torch relay set off in Great Britain and began a 70-day journey through the United Kingdom that will end on July 27 at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The countdown has begun.
Set on making it across the pond this summer? It’s not too late—but you must act now! To inspire you procrastinators to begin booking, we present our last-minute get-to-London guide.
The good news: flights to the city’s hub airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City) are still available. Right now, a search of round-trip fares from major U.S. cities range from $1,100 to $1,500. Departing from Chicago, you’ll fork over about $1,200 for a round-trip economy ticket on Virgin Atlantic Airways (a seat in the carrier’s newly revamped Upper Class cabin will cost you $2,800).
These fares are steep—and getting steeper—but they aren’t higher than this time last year. “I don’t think airlines are price gauging,” says George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, a site that monitors ticket prices. “It’s still the summer season and we’re seeing reasonable fares for this time of year.”
You know how when you take a bus, and there happens to be that one person who opts to spend the entire ride on their cell phone, and it’s always a really loud conversation, and the whole time you sit there gritting your teeth and trying not to have a meltdown? (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.) Well this same pleasure is making its way onto a different kind of bus. An Airbus. Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330, to be exact.
JetBlue is holding one of its short-term, big-savings sales. Book today and you can fly between NYC and Nantucket for just $39. The sale covers travel between May 22 through June 21, 2012 and there are some blackout dates. The airline flies to all sorts of delightful destinations—St. Thomas, Turks and Caicos, New Orleans, Martha’s Vineyard—just looking at the list of places could launch an impromptu late spring/early summer vacation plan.
You may have heard the news: Spirit Airlines, one of the first carriers to implement a carry-on fee, will charge up to $100 per bag starting November 6.
That’s up from $45, the current carry-on cost for customers who wait and pay at the departure gate. Even if you plan ahead, you’ll still have to fork over a fee: the carry-on price at the airport kiosk will increase to $50 from $40. (Spirit considers carry-ons to be luggage stored in the overhead bin—passengers will still be entitled to a free personal item that can fit under the seat.)
What can you do to avoid a carry-on crisis the next time you travel?
We couldn't believe until we saw it. But it's real: Virgin Atlantic molded the likeness of the company's president, Richard Branson, into its ice cubes. Passengers in the airline's new upper-class cabin can look forward to "drinking with" Sir Richard starting later this month.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure.