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Trip Doctor: How to Make a Tight Flight Connection

tight flight connection

Do...

Ask to be moved closer to the front of the cabin just before landing, so you can make a quick exit.

Run straight to the gate for your connection—even if it’s past your departure time.

Don’t...

Despair. A flight won’t wait for one passenger, but system-wide delays might result in a lucky break.

Book tight connections through large airports. Anything less than a 90-minute window is unrealistic.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

 

Illustration by Paul Windle

Trip Doctor: Airbus Announces Wider Seats for Some, Narrow Seats for Most

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At last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Airbus announced that it would soon offer airlines the option of extra-wide seats in coach on its A320 fleet. Good news? Debatable.

Yes, the aisle seats in the new configuration would be a spacious 20” wide (two inches wider than the current 18” seats). But to make room for the extra width, the middle and window seats would each shrink by an inch.

As Dominic Perry from Flight Daily News reported, the new configuration plans are based on airline, not passenger, feedback, and are meant to increase revenue, not comfort.

Airbus aircraft interiors marketing manager Stefanie Von Linstow explained at the Expo that airline feedback has shown preference for the aisle seat to be the widest. "Passengers in the window seat are already happy, and those in the centre seat might not be willing to pay as much for the extra width," Perry quotes her as saying.

Von Linstow admits that the new configuration is a response to what she politely labels a "growing population," and that it would be a "revenue-boosting solution that keeps a lot passengers happy."

No doubt, passengers paying a premium to be in an aisle seat would be content. As for the two-thirds of "growing" coach passengers sitting in the narrowing seats, it remains to be seen just how happy they'd be.

Photo credit: Reuters/Corbis

Trip Doctor: Foldable Carry-On Bag

carry-on bag

Q: I refuse to check bags. Can you recommend a favorite carry-on? —Kaito Tsunashima, via e-mail

A: If you can take only one suitcase, consider the new four-wheeled Biaggi Contempo roll-aboard ($219). It weighs just seven pounds and folds for easy storage (perfect for under your hotel bed). It’s not as roomy as checkable versions, but you can always have your clothes laundered by the hotel. A fresh feel is often well worth the nominal fee.

Mimi Lombardo Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @TLTripDoctor on Twitter.

Photo by Sam Kaplan

Trip Doctor: Just How Clean is Your Hotel Bedspread?

hotel bedspreads

In the past few years, nearly all major hotel brands have phased out their polyester bedspreads in favor of duvets with easy-to-clean covers. Westin, Marriott, and Hilton, along with Four Seasons, Le Méridien, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis, all wash duvet covers between each stay. Some hotels simply use sheets to shield you from duvets. Make sure to sleep under the third sheet in these instances.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

 

Photo © Louis Laurent Grandadam/Corbis

TripAdvisor Launches GreenLeaders, Just in Time for Earth Day

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How green is your getaway? To determine exactly how evironmentally responsible your destination is, TripAdvisor has lauched its GreenLeaders program. In the works for over a year, GreenLeaders rates green hotels and B&B’s on a scale of five levels, and broadcasts the exact details of what each of those properties is doing to operate on an energy budget.

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Trip Doctor Series: Cooking Schools (New Orleans)

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You could spend months exploring the rich culinary traditions of the Big Easy. Below, a program to whet your appetite. For more ideas, check out T+L’s April food issue’s Global Guide to Cooking Schools.

The School: Louisiana cookbook author Amy Cyrex-Sins runs the Langlois Culinary Crossroads program in New Orleans, offering half-day courses in a converted grocery store in the Faubourg-Marigny neighborhood.

The Class: If cornmeal waffles, pecan scones, and butter bean ragout are your thing, sign up for the Cajun and Creole Brunch, a three-hour morning class that focuses classic New Orleans breakfast dishes.

Jennifer FlowersJennifer Flowers is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.

 

 

Photo by Anna Davis

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending April 19, 2013

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ABC News's Genevieve Shaw Brown gets the scoop on a new program called Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP, for short), that brings therapy dogs to LAX to help ease the nerves of wary travelers. (Nikki Ekstein)

Want a discount at your favorite restaurant? Put away your phone! CNN Money's Erin Kim reports on phone-free dining. (N.E.)

Here's a fascinating interactive graphic from The New Yorker that breaks down the average income for residents surrounding each of the five boroughs' subway stops. (N.E.)

Read More

Tech Thursday: Mosey.com Launches

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There’s no shortage of tools to figure out how to make the most of your limited vacation time. Launching today, Mosey.com jumps into a crowded space of itinerary planners and micro-guides—but with a few unique features that make it stand out. Like our own Weekend Getaways or The New York Timeswonderful 36 Hours pieces, Mosey offers condensed itineraries for travelers, but here, they hover closer to a short four hours. Want to try a bar crawl in New York’s East Village or art-hunting around San Francisco’s Mission District? Mosey offers focused, niche adventures, each compiled by users looking to serve as digital tour guides. Naturally, each Mosey can be shared via social networks or kept private—but just scrolling through user suggestions provides a lovely way to get inspired.

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Trip Doctor: How to Get a Good Airplane Seat

airline seats

Q: How can I get a good seat on my flight if I don’t have elite status? —Anne R., Bozeman, Mont.

A: As airlines reduce their schedules and pack more people onto planes, economy passengers are increasingly feeling the pinch. Adding insult to (squashed-knee) injury, carriers also reserve covetable window and aisle seats for high-ranking loyalty-program members. But you needn’t get stuck in the middle. Here, some ways to find a better seat.

Choose your flights by cabin layout.

Seatguru, our favorite online airline-seat-map compendium, has recently added a new flight-search function that lets you filter results by comfort as well as the usual factors (price, duration, etc.). Mining the site’s trove of cabin data to assess both seats and in-flight amenities, Seatguru offers you an overall “G-Factor” rating of “Love it,” “Like it,” or “Live with it” for each flight—and tells you how much it will cost to trade up for a plane with more legroom or a seat-back entertainment system.

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Carnival to Spend $700 Million in Ship Improvements

Carnival Corporation, parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines, will spend up to $300 million dollars making important changes to Carnival ships, plus another $400 million on vessels from its other lines, which include Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, and Cunard. The entire Carnival Cruise Lines fleet will undergo an overhaul, enhancing the 24 ships’ emergency power capabilities and fire safety technologies.

In an interview with USA Today’s Gene Sloan, Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill pointed out that the company's ships are already safe. "It’s not a safety issue. Carnival always will operate ships that are entirely safe," said Cahill, noting that nobody was injured in February's Carnival Triumph debacle and the subsequent Carnival misadventures in March.

The expansive (and expensive) overhaul will ensure that passenger comfort is not compromised in the unlikely event of future mishaps. Skift's Samantha Shankman,has a different take: She calls the overhaul, while needed, a PR stunt, “first and foremost."

Carnival also posted a video on YouTube which can be seen above.

 

Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

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