Travel + Leisure Features Director Nilou Motamed takes to the skies to find out what—exactly—it's like to be a flight attendant.
Smaller carriers have upped competition with major airlines this summer, introducing new routes into large hubs. Virgin America is starting flights into Chicago O’Hare (a hub for both United and American), Frontier is adding service out of Denver, and JetBlue is now flying into Anchorage. Generally, when smaller carriers introduce discount flights, major airlines slash their prices on that route out of competition, to make it as painful as possible for the other airline. (When JetBlue started service in May between Newark and Boston, Continental dropped its fares to as low as $49 one-way.) For the average flier, this can also mean mileage bonuses and more options and capacity, as well as lower-priced tickets.
Alexander Basek is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure.
Waiting for a flight home for Christmas once, I ran into a blowhard I knew from college who announced that the only present he was bringing his parents was a bottle of extraordinarily good wine. He dropped and broke the bottle of red on the linoleum at LaGuardia before we’d boarded the plane. Blowhard frat boy or not, I felt bad for the guy.
I was reminded of this tragic holiday vignette when I heard about VinniBag, an inflatable bag that cushions your wine bottle (or bottle of olive oil or Vermont maple syrup or vintage McCoy vase) from the sharp, hard, pointy things of the world. The smart bags are reusable, deflate easily to slip in your luggage, and make an unbreakable and practical gift for Mummy and Pater.
Photo courtesy of Ellessco.
Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
BBC Travel's Passport Blog | As controversy simmers surrounding the levels of radiation used in full body scanners, a small company based in the United Kingdom has developed a machine that emits no radiation at all.
Last year, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began installing two types of full body scanners at airport security checkpoints across the country. L3’s Provision millimetre wave scanners beam radio waves through clothing to detect potentially dangerous objects hidden by terrorists. Rapiscan backscatter scanners use low-dose x-rays to do the same.
While both companies and the TSA say the radiation emitted by these machines is at safe levels, the scientific community has not reached a strong consensus either way....
USA Today | Airlines are rolling back the fare hikes they added following the partial shutdown of the Federal Administration on July 22. The move comes as previously suspended federal taxes are again being applied to airline tickets.
Since July 22, the FAA shutdown prompted some federal taxes to be removed from the cost of airline tickets. However, most major U.S. airlines opted to raise fares instead of passing that "tax holiday" on to consumers.
But, with the FAA impasses resolved—at least for now—the taxes are again being applied to tickets.
CNN | If you're traveling by air this month, there's a good chance the government owes you money.
Don't believe me? You can thank Congress and its inability to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. Here's how you can get your money back, though be prepared to wait a little while for things to settle.
Congress periodically has to renew the authorization of the FAA to do a variety of things, and one of those things is collecting taxes on air travel. As with everything in Washington, the left and the right all try to sneak in politically charged riders that prevent the FAA reauthorization from moving forward to fund important projects such as the NextGen air traffic control overhaul.
BBC Travel's Passport Blog | While in-flight wi-fi is fairly common on domestic US carriers, its availability on flights elsewhere in the world has been growing at a much slower rate, a frustrating issue for frequent travellers who have become reliant on staying connected at all times.
"In-flight internet makes my time in the air equivalent to time in the office,” said North Carolina-based Ramsey Qubein, who flies more than 300,000 miles per year on writing assignments. “When I’m flying overseas, it's frustrating that I cannot access my email. While I relish the time away from the office, it leads to a bit of mayhem upon landing when I am in no mood to handle multiple emails."
Gogo, the leading provider of in-flight internet in the US, began installing a network of ground-based wi-fi antennae throughout the continental US and southern Alaska in 2006, which has been key to its fast growth since the service debuted in 2008. …
Washington Post | Those blurry but revealing airport body scanner images that caused a public uproar last year are being replaced by a gray, cookie-cutter image of the human form.
After six months of testing at three airports, including Reagan National, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday that the new software would be installed on 241 units at 41 airports that use millimeter wave technology.
Software for an equal number of units that use backscatter technology is still being developed, the TSA said. Both work by bouncing X-rays or radio waves off skin or concealed objects.
If the government stopped collecting sales taxes, you'd expect prices to drop accordingly, right? Wrong way, Corrigan—at least when it comes to the airline industry. Last Friday, Congress failed to meet a deadline to fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which meant airlines were no longer authorized to collect a 7.5% federal excise tax and a minimum $3.50 segment tax that are built into published airfares. Instead of decreasing their airfares by an equivalent amount, most major airlines simply raised their fares in equal measure, giving the false impression that airfares remained the same. But some travelers who bought their tickets before Friday, when the tax was still included, are arguing they deserve a refund. And the chances of that happening are…?
If you've ever had to leave from or change planes at New York's JFK International Airport, you know that it is a mishmash of terminals always in some state of repair (or disrepair). But coming in 2013, Delta Airline's $1.2 billion renovated and expanded Terminal 4 will introduce an airy, modern, state-of-the-art space that may even bring back some of the long-lost glamour that once accompanied air travel. Check out the airline's recently posted video that gives a peek into JFK's future T4.
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter.