USA Today | Travelers are treating in-flight Wi-Fi like a bag of peanuts: They'll take it, if it's free.
Airlines are spending millions of dollars to equip planes with Wi-Fi capability. But only a small percentage of travelers have used the service since it was introduced in 2008, numbers from providers and analysts indicate.
"It is certainly something everyone recognizes as a value, both to the airlines and the passengers," says Michael Planey, an industry analyst at H&M Planey Consultants. "The question is at what point do airlines or service providers make money or stem losses?"
Airlines and in-flight Wi-Fi providers won't disclose how much the service is used.
With a new year comes a rush of planning and, at T+L, we've already mapped out the hottest destinations of 2012. But even as we report on new discoveries and trends, it's worth looking back at what grabbed readers' attention in the past year.
In case you missed it, the most-read article of 2011 ranked dangerous U.S. airports, while also noting improvements that have made air travel safer overall; even former pilots posted comments weighing in on the controversial topic. Some popular articles like America's most beautiful college campuses touched on personal loyalties, while others shared insider recommendations to help you plan that next trip (how about an affordable all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica?).
So, take a look, and then tell us: what was your favorite T+L article, and what would you like us to cover in 2012?
1. T+L's Most Dangerous U.S. Airports
Airline safety is on the rise, but near accidents are still more common than you might think.
Cruise ships can be lifesavers—they get us away from the daily grind and inspire us to explore exotic places. But these floating cities can also literally save lives. And that’s exactly what happened yesterday morning, when Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity rescued two rowers whose small boat had sunk in the Atlantic.
In January, it’ll be two years since Haiti suffered the ravages of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Life there since has not been easy—some 1.5 million Haitians still live in tents, daily routines, health, and education are still impacted by severe lack of infrastructure, and tourism has all but evaporated. As of today, there are only 500 hotel rooms in the Caribbean country's capital city. But that’s about to change.
Travel + Leisure's international editor, Mark Orwoll, makes an appearance to comment on American Airlines' recent news that it is filing for Chapter 11. Watch to find out what the airline's new status means for travelers.
REUTERS | American Airlines and its parent company AMR Corp filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday to cut costs and combat soaring fuel prices and dampened travel demand.
American Airlines was once the largest U.S. carrier, but is now third behind United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It had been the only major U.S. airline to avoid a bankruptcy filing in the last decade and consequently has the industry's highest labor costs.
The airline hopes bankruptcy will cut labor costs after it failed to reach a deal with pilots and other work groups after years of fruitless negotiations. Analysts question, however, whether restructuring under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code will address operational shortcomings and bolster revenue.
The filing also leaves AMR vulnerable to unsolicited takeover bids by rival airlines in the rapidly shrinking airline industry.
"It completes the cycle," said Helane Becker, an analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co. "Every major airline in the united States has filed for Chapter 11."
Check out the latest openings and exhibits across the world’s cultural map, from New York to the Netherlands.
New York City: After an extensive renovation, the New-York Historical Society (212/873-3400) will show off its upgraded digs—complete with a new children’s history museum and Stephen Starr restaurant.
Washington, D.C.: As part of a project that included a three-part HBO documentary and a book, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s “Black List” portraits are now showing at the National Portrait Gallery (through April 22).
Bentonville, Arkansas: Until recently, the small town was best known as Walmart’s home base. But that’s all changing with the Moshe Safdie–designed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (479/418-5700). Walmart heiress Alice Walton donated much of the collection.
The before/after photographs are harrowing: in the first, a postcard-perfect Italian village, with pine-green shutters and lemon and rose façades, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. In the next, the same village buried in a horrifying avalanche of mud, its harbor now the color and consistency of cement.
On October 25, flooding from a freak rainstorm devastated the town of Vernazza, one of the five villages that make up the celebrated Cinque Terre in Liguria . Rivers of water and mud cascaded down the steep and narrow streets, burying the town’s lowest levels in as much as 13 feet of debris, while also overwhelming the railroad tracks that provided the primary way in or out of Vernazza. (Part of the Cinque Terre’s allure is that four of its cliff-hugging villages are accessible only by train, boat, or hiking trail.)
Travel Weekly | New rules are to be imposed to limit the number of cruise passengers visiting The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
Tour operators have until February 1 to incorporate the Galapagos National Park Authority’s new regulations, which are designed to protect the local animal and plant life, into travel programmes.
The rules will allow travellers to stay for a maximum of four nights and five days per ship, with a frequency of four landings within any 14-day period.
The archipelago’s 150,000 annual visitors have been mainly concentrated on the three islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal for the past 14 years. (Photo credit: T+L Photo Contest)
The government agency fined American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines' AMR Corp., (AMR, Fortune 500) a a civil penalty of $900,000 for delays that occurred earlier this year at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
Airlines are penalized for tarmac delays exceeding three hours. The department said this is the first time an airline has been fined since the rules on tarmac delays were imposed in April 2010.