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TODAY Show: T+L 2011 World's Best Winners!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What are the best hotels in the world? Travel + Leisure's features director, Nilou Motamed, shares the winners of this year's annual World's Best survey. Plus, our readers also weigh in on the best cities, cruises, famiy travel, and more. Find a complete list of award-winners here, and start planning your next vacation today!

Qantas, JAL to Launch Low-Cost Domestic Carrier in Japan

eTurbo News |  The Qantas Group and Japan Airlines are believed to be in advanced talks about starting a low-cost domestic carrier in Japan.

A decision is expected this year, although both sides say the proposal has yet to be finalised. JAL says its investigations have been wider than a tie-up with Qantas subsidiary Jetstar.

The talks were put under the spotlight yesterday after the Japanese business paper Nikkei said the venture would be capitalised at between Y=10 billion ($116 million) and Y=20bn and would start next year.

JAL and Jetstar would each hold a 30 per cent stake.

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Virgin America Passengers To Test Google Chromebooks In-Flight

TechCrunch |  Google just announced that it is teaming up with Virgin America to allow passengers to “test-fly” the search giant’s new Chromebook computers for free. Virgin passengers will be able to use the computers onboard their flight and at select airport gates from July 1 through September 30, 2011.

As an incentive, flyers who check out a Chromebook will receive a free WiFi session onboard Virgin America.

Virgin says that at airport gates in San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Boston and in Dallas-Fort Worth will include Google “Chrome Zone” lounges starting this week, where passengers can learn more about the Chromebook and check one out for their flight. Google is also partnering with the Ace Hotel in New York to offer Chromebooks in hotel guests’ rooms.

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TSA Changes Pat-Down Procedures for Kids

Associated Press |  The government has made a change in its policy for patting down young children at airport checkpoints, and more are promised.

Airport security workers will now be told to make repeated attempts to screen young children without resorting to invasive pat-downs, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday. The agency is working to put that change in place around the country, and it should reduce, but not eliminate, pat-downs for children, an agency spokesman said.

There was public outrage in April over a video of a 6-year-old girl getting a pat-down in the New Orleans airport. She was patted down, John Pistole said, because she moved during the electronic screening, causing a blurry image.

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Should You Pay for Wi-Fi? Airports Explore Tiered Service

USA Today |  For years, one of the top if not the top amenity on many road warriors' wish lists has been free Wi-Fi at the airport. Slowly but surely, it's happening.

Take a look at the USATODAY.com Airport Guides, airport websites, and various commercial and user-generated Wi-Fi directories. You'll see there are now hundreds of U.S. airports offering travelers complimentary wireless Internet access.

San Francisco? Free. Orlando? Free. Seattle, St. Louis and San Jose? Free, free, free. Washington's Dulles and National airports? As of April, 2011, free as well.

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The Airplane of the Future Will Melt Your Mind

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I have seen the future of air travel, and it will be (to use scientific jargon) freakin' awesome. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus today released its report on what air travel may be like in 2050. And all I can say is hold on to your hat, Cap'n Sully, because it is going to be one way cool ride.

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Buy Dad an Airline Beverage Cart on eBay

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Ever wonder what happens to the bits and bobs of airplanes after they’re decommissioned?  You can find them on eBay.

Universal Asset Management buys retired planes and strips them to recycle their components.  The company runs an eBay storefront where you can shop for all your engine aft thrust fitting needs—from an entire A320 lavatory (!) to cockpit seats, galley carts, overhead bins, first aid kits, a row of luridly colored 747 seats, to more technical items like circuit panels, wheels, assembly valves, tail cones, and oil gauges.  The products that make the eBay store are not longer flight-worthy, of course, except for flights of fancy.  Those overhead bins would look cool mounted over a airplane-crazy child's bed...

Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Universal Asset Management.

TODAY Show: Don't Get Hit With Hidden Travel Fees

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure's features director, Nilou Motamed, breaks down taxes, fees, and surcharges some airlines are burying in the cost of plane tickets purchased through rewards programs.

Effective Today, American Airlines Requires Large Strollers to Be Checked As Baggage

If you're ever among the last to board a flight, as I often am, you're familiar with the sight of baby strollers, sometimes a dozen or more, parked in the jetway near the aircraft door. Long a tradition with family travelers, "gate-checking" strollers is commonplace on most airlines. Passengers often prefer to keep infants in their strollers until they enter the plane, leave the carriers with a crew member to be stored just before departure, and then brought back out onto the next jetway after arrival. But don't count on doing that with many types of strollers anymore if you're flying on American Airlines. Starting today, a new AA rule stipulates that "all strollers that are large, non-collapsible or over 20 lbs." must be checked at the ticket counter.

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New Drink May Cure Hangovers (and Jetlag)

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That zany four-pack Phil, Stu, Alan, Doug and their fifth wheel Mr. Chow are back with another mind-blowing bender—this time in Thailand—as The Hangover Part II hits silver screens today across the U.S. While no one may ever match the debauchery of their first go-around in Las Vegas, on a smaller level (I’ve never commandeered a cop car or abducted Mike Tyson’s tiger) I can relate to this buffoonish bunch.


Once on a 14-hour, cross-continental schlep from Salt Lake City to Brisbane, Australia, things got a bit foggy. When I peeled my eyelids open in the morning, I was met by a nausea only achievable when quaffing strong cocktails 3,000-feet above ground. On another trip, I found myself leaning against a pillar at the Acropolis in the sweltering European heat after indulging in copious amounts of Ouzo on the last leg of a connecting flight to Athens the previous night. Not even a Greek deity could have curbed that queasiness.


The plight of the red-eye flier is common. Who can resist settling in for a pre-trip potation? Luckily for travelers everywhere, the choice between in-flight inebriation and next-day functionality may be over.

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