UPDATE: The U.S. Department of State has issued an updated Worldwide Caution alert following the terrorists attacks in Paris, saying they "serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness." The caution offers a detailed assesment of threats to Americans traveling in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia, and Africa (predominately North Africa).
The news out of Paris this week has been heart-wrenching, to say the least—and unnerving for travelers with imminent plans to visit the City of Light. And even as Parisians go on high alert, Britain’s MI5 intelligence head, Andrew Parker, is warning of increased threat levels in the U.K. from Al Qaeda and extremists groups in Syria and Iraq. (The official threat level remains at “severe,” where it has been since August.) The country has stepped up security checks at ports and border points, especially on passengers and goods coming from France and the rest of Europe.
Just as the year’s latest and greatest tech gadgets are being introduced at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, another must-have tech-enhanced travel item is on the horizon and gaining buzz: smart luggage.
The managing director of the industrial engineering firm JPA Design, London shares how we’ll fly in the future.
Q: What’s on the horizon for airline cabins?
A: When you look at aircraft, there’s a fair amount of space between people and the ceiling, and we’re trying to make use of it. One idea is 3-D seating, which applies mainly to business class. Lie-flat beds will be stacked, one above the other. Most people’s reaction is to think about bunk beds, but it’s more subtle than that.
If you’re like me, you’re beginning the new year with a long list of self-improvement goals. Here are my top seven.
I’m going to get the most out of my miles and points (finally!).
Yes, airlines are doing everything they can to test our loyalty right now, including making it more difficult to earn miles. But those miles, along with points from hotels and credit cards, are still worth a lot in free travel, perks, and upgrades. So don’t let them gather dust—or worse, expire. A TripIt Pro($49 a year) subscription will both manage your itineraries and track all of your accounts in one easy-to-use place. If you want to get more advanced, consider a service like AwardWallet, which keeps tabs on expiration dates, or Points.com, the only program that lets you move points between accounts.
Principal and cofounder of West 8, an urban design and landscape architecture firm, on what cities will look like.
Q: How is urban planning changing?
A: The 19th century brought romantic parks to many cities, where children play and people walk their dogs. I’m interested in the next generation of urban havens. Our project on New York’s longneglected Governors Island is a good example, with an undulating park and astonishing harbor views.
We talked with Rafat Ali, founder of travel news site Skift, on what’s shaping the industry.
Q: What’s on the horizon for travel this year?
A: The use of design to enhance the experience. You’ll see a lot more of this in the future, whether it’s airports that help people move through them more easily or hotels that incorporate smart and simple elements. Electric outlets where people can reach them is an obvious example.
The founder of Peek, a tour- and activity-booking website, on how our screens will shape where we go next.
Q: What travel-tech innovations are on the horizon?
A: Mobile is big. Everyone is walking around with a computer in hand. Small companies can run their businesses on the go, and consumers can book online, whether it’s an activity, a hotel, or a car. Real-time availability will mean a profound shift to more last-minute planning and instant booking. You can see that with HotelTonight, and it will continue.
When it comes to travel, the theme of 2015 is all about shifting loyalty. Delta and United are both switching to revenue-based frequent flyer programs, meaning you’ll now earn miles based on the price of your ticket rather than based on the flight distance. Starting in February of 2015, we’ll see the elite status ‘cliff' and we will also see more people fall off because of the requirements that are going to be put in place. Here are four key trends to watch for:
Between trips to England, Israel, and his hometown in Belgium, Marc Stroobandt trained the staff of New York City's new Belgian Beer Café in proper serving techniques. Marc, a Master Beer Sommelier and Certified Beer Server within the Cicerone Certification Program with an honorary Knighthood in the Order of the Mashing Staff from the Confederation of Belgian Brewers, sat down with T+L's Laura Itzkowitz to share some expert travel tips for beer enthusiasts.