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Montreal's Airport Introduces New Security Checkpoint Reservation System

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Last month, the TSA debuted its first Precheck enrollment center at the Indianapolis Airport—with 300 more to open by spring—making an expedited security process more accessible than ever. Meanwhile, Canada’s Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International airport is testing another strategy to alleviate waits: a free, timed reservation system called SecurXpress. Here’s how it works: Enter your flight number and phone number on the airport website. Then, you’ll receive a text message, which acts as a ticket, with a reserved time for a specific SecurXpress checkpoint. Think of it like Disney’s FastPass. One text message is good for up to five people traveling together, and it’s up to you to get there on time. Unfortunately, the system only works on domestic and some international flights within Canada—but if it’s successful, maybe we’ll see it cross the border one day soon.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo Courtesy of Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

London Rolls Out New Parking Sensors—and App

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If you’ve ever gone around and around the block looking for a free spot, you know what a nightmare parking in the city can be. For the visitors and residents of Westminster, this takes an average of 15 minutes.

Fortunately, navigating London’s congested Westminster district just became much more simple—and high-tech.

Thanks to a successful trial of infrared sensors on five main thoroughfares, drivers can now use the ParkRight app on their smartphone to detect a vacant space as they approach their destination.

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Alternatives to New York’s Soon-To-Be-Banned Central Park Horse Carriages

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New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, often bemoans a “tale of two cities”—one rich, one poor. But lately he has been lamenting a different kind of tail—the ones on the horses that for decades have pulled the iconic tourist carriages through Central Park. De Blasio plans to ban the horse-drawn hansoms because, like many New Yorkers, he thinks the horses are undernourished, mistreated, and overworked, not unlike your typical Manhattan freelance fact-checker. And so, to keep the tourists coming back to the Big Apple, here are my alternatives to the Central Park horse-drawn carriages.

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Bullet Train Cuts Travel Time in Half From Paris to Barcelona

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Traveling around Europe just got faster with the new TGV train linking France and Spain. On Sunday, the inaugural journey began at 7:15 a.m. in Paris, and concluded less than six and a half hours later in Barcelona. That’s less than half the time it used to take.

The new line—which gives the world's fastest trains a run for their money—also links Lyon, Marseille, and Toulouse, and was celebrated by both French president Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as a milestone for international relations between the two countries.

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Turkey’s Marmaray Tunnel Links Europe and Asia

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Turkey opened its new tunnel connecting Europe and Asia yesterday. For the first time, travelers can cross the Bosporus Strait (and continents) in roughly four minutes, via the world’s deepest sub-sea tunnel.

This underwater tunnel between the European and Asian shores of Istanbul is the realization of a Sultan’s dream 150 years ago. Now, on the 90th anniversary of Turkey’s independence, it is truly united.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated The Marmaray Rail yesterday, after nearly 10 years and $2.8 billion dollars. The project is far from over, however. The tunnel is only a quarter of what Erdogan calls “a project for whole humanity.”

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Arrive Like LiLo: Ride in a Police Car at Hotel ZaZa

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Hotel ZaZa, a Texas mini-chain of boutique hotels, retains a fleet of vehicles available to guests at their Dallas and Houston properties. The kooky lineup includes an art car, a hearse, a car with Texas longhorns mounted on the grill, and a police cruiser.

If you want to make a dramatic entrance, the ZaZas will squire you there in idiosyncratic style. No one will forget your name after you pull up to a trade show in a hearse. 

Why settle for a plain old limo when you could join the ever-growing list of former teen stars slumping in the backseats of patrol cars?

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo: Courtesy of Hotel ZaZa

 

A Grouchy Cabbie is One Thing; Pestilence is Another

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You know you have a problem with your city taxis when NYC's cab system is lifted up as a role model.

Indeed, New York cabbies offer charming, sanitary and justice-based services, at least perhaps compared to the taxi drivers in San Francisco. According to a Bay Area publication, San Francisco's complaint line got 1,733 calls last year related to the city's cab drivers; it was a 13 percent uptick from the previous year, and almost double the 900-complaint goal put forward by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

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Rent a Car by the Minute with Car2go

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When by-the-hour car-sharing services such as Zipcar and Hertz on Demand arrived on the scene, they upended the traditional model for short-term rentals. Now it’s their turn to be upended. Taking a page from bike-sharing programs, the latest car-sharing services offer by-the-minute rentals. The most traveler-friendly of the half-dozen or so services that have recently emerged is Car2go ($35 one-time membership fee), which rents smart cars in five U.S. cities (Austin; San Diego; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and Miami), and 15 more across the globe (Toronto, Berlin, and Amsterdam, among others).

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$100 for a Carry-On Item?! Ship Your Luggage Instead

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Spirit Airlines announced last week that beginning November 6, passengers arriving at their departure gate with a carry-on bag would be charged $100. If the passenger paid for the carry-on when they booked the ticket, the fee would drop to a who-could-possibly-object $30. For a carry-on bag!

New fees like these continue to be tacked on to airfares—and not just by cut-rate airlines like Spirit—plus travelers who actually pay for and check suitcases have to suffer through the vile rugby scrum at the baggage carousel. Options, like the ScotteVest, the jacket that conceals a Radio-Shack’s worth of gadgets, exist, but, um, our international editor Mark Orwoll looks better in it than I would.

LuggageForward.com, a baggage expeditor that uses UPS, FedEx, and DHL, offers prices that are (still) attractively competitive. Pay them $99 to pick up a 50-lb. suitcase a few days before your flight and it’ll be waiting at your domestic destination when you arrive. If Luggage Forward doesn’t get it there on time, they pay you up to $200.00 per day per item, up to $500. (The company also serves international destinations. And can transport awkward items like skis, bikes, surfboards, and golf bags.)  

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California Okays Autonomous Cars on Public Roads

Growing up I was always fascinated by science fiction movies and television, particularly because they showed off the possibility of technology to come. Though many ideas seemed like pipe dreams, there was always that What if? factor that I latched on to.

So you can imagine my excitement when I read about Google’s development of autonomous cars. (Robot cars!) To further that excitement, I just learned that California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has signed a bill that will allow these autonomous cars to drive along the state’s roads, right alongside vehicles driven by humans. (!!)

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