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We’ve seen electronic boarding passes and other unique ways to hop aboard your flight, and now Air France is adding their version of some newfangled technology to the boarding process.
The carrier’s new boarding business is all about near field communication—or NFC—as they’re partnering up with a local mobile provider to get the technology up and running. Basically passengers using Orange mobile smartphones will be able to touch here, tap there, and wave their device in order to make their way through the airport.
Alaska Airlines / Airlines / Food Travel / In-Flight Dining / In-Flight Meals / Airline Recipes / → All Tags
Here’s something to improve your morning, as it combines two of our favorite things—airlines and breakfast. Alaska Airlines adds some fun stuff to their blog now and then, and just the other day they included a recipe for some good looking oatmeal that they serve up in first class.
We’re hardly travel nutritionists over here, but we have to say that the ingredients below look pretty good. Most importantly they also look pretty darn tasty.
Airline News / Seats / Airlines / Budget Travel / LCCs / Travel News / → All Tags
Remember when Ryanair announced a few years ago that it was going to experiment with "standing seats" on its flights? The airline said it would be able to offer tickets at extremely low prices, but ultimately the idea got shot down by a regulator, mostly due to concerns over seat belts and safety.
Despite those questions, we found the idea peculiar yet intriguing, especially for commuter flights of an hour or less, say, from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, Philadelphia to New York, New York to Boston, etc. Would it be so bad to stand for 45 minutes if the cost was significantly less? A new study released this week has once again brought up the concept, finding that airlines that remove seats in favor of a "standing section" could fit 20% more passengers and offer significant discounts on tickets - as much as 44%.
Don’t expect to be cuddling up with the latest in in-flight blanket technology anytime soon, but the folks over at British Airways are testing out a new wool blend in the cabin—complete with embedded electronics.
Basically it’s a mood ring but in blanket form, as the thing has tiny little LEDs inside of it that change colors to blue or red depending on someone’s feelings. Travelers wear some kind of band thing on their heads, and then their feelings and what not are transmitted to the blanket over Bluetooth. Blankets that are blue reflect cool and comfortable travelers, and those that change to a shade of crimson indicate that there might be some stress going on—or that they need a refill on their drink.
Airplane News / Travel Delays / Airline News / Airlines / Airplanes / Embraer / → All Tags
We’ll admit that this isn't exactly the most exciting piece of airline news, but if you’re traveling over the next few days we figured you’d like to know what’s going on with your airplane.
Carriers like American Airlines are busy checking out some of their Embraer E190 jets, as a couple bits and pieces might be loose. Engine pylon bolts might not be as tight as they should be, and the airplane manufacturer has recommended that airlines go ahead and check things out—you know, just in case.
Air France realizes that passenger load fluctuates, and since their product is perishable (once a plane takes off, those unsold seats are lost revenue) , they’re hit the chalkboard to brainstorm creative solutions for maximizing passenger comfort while still flying full planes.
The result are new business class cabins across their long-haul fleet, with the unique ability to change up the cabin class when premium travel slows. These seats can be switched into economy class seats, ideal for periods like the summer when tourist and budget traveler numbers to Europe are high and the expense accounts are more likely to stay home.
Last March we posted a very neat little video tracing the paths of the roughly 30,000 flights that enter, leave, and just generally hang around European airspace on a summer day. It began in the early morning with the planes coming across the Atlantic, and then as the day wore on it developed into well-managed chaos. The emphasis here is on "well-managed": the visualization was produced by Britain's NATS, the country's biggest provider of air traffic control, and the organization responsible for keeping all those planes from colliding. They weren't exactly bragging, but they weren't exactly not bragging.
Then about three months ago NATS posted a new video. This one is all about the future and it is - bluntly - creepy as all hell. It's supposed to be a futuristic look at how commercial "air traffic control" is inevitably going to be subsumed by commercial "air traffic management," which is both a real airline industry thing and something that is actually kind of interesting for travel geeks.
Beer Travel / Airline News / Airlines / United / United Airlines / In-Flight Comfort / In-Flight Dining / → All Tags
There’s another carrier adding a little craft beer to the beverage cart, and this week it’s United bringing a hometown favorite right into the cabin.
Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery has been tapped—ha—to send over plenty of 312 Urban Wheat Ale over to United Airlines. The sudsy stuff will be offered up on flights across the globe, and the ale will even be available in United Club locations across the United States. It sounds like things should be on the menu beginning on July 1.
It’ll be $8 for those in the back of the plane, and those up front in business and first class can score some free of charge. If you’re enjoying a little while awaiting your flight you can expect to hand over $3 for a drink in the United Club.
Best of all there’s going to be a little bit of an in-flight happy hour on Tuesday—we’re guessing July 1—to welcome the new beer to 35,000-feet. Passengers flying between Chicago and Houston on United Flight 312 will score a beer for free.
Nok Air / Airlines / WiFi / Airline News / In-Flight WiFi / In-Flight Entertainment / Low Cost Carriers / LCCs / Budget Travel / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / → All Tags
WiFi is scheduled to arrive is set to arrive at Nok Air sooner than later, and it sounds like Thaicom are the folks behind the in-flight Ku-band technology. Installations are moving quickly, and the system could be up and running as soon as this July or August. The plans are to start with six planes as soon as possible, and after that they’ll move into installations for 30 more.
Tiger Airways / Tigerair / Tigerair Mandala / Indonesia Travel / Low Cost Carriers / Airlines / Airline News / LCCs / Budget Travel / → All Tags
There’s many flavors of Tiger Airways from which to choose, as the low cost airline offers up a few different options while holding down headquarters over in Singapore. However, now there’s one less option, as over in Indonesia the carrier known as Tigerair Mandala will no longer be climbing to cruising altitude as of July 1.
Apparently the cash and fare funds weren’t exactly pouring in, and after thinking things over it was decided that it would be best to just shut things down. In a statement they provided the following reasoning and rationale, as to why things would no longer be heading up in the air. “Mandala wouldn't be able to sustain its operations and the airlines key shareholders decided to cease funding the carrier."
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We’ve all been there, and it’s not a fun time. The baggage carrousel goes around and around, and pretty soon you realize that your bag is delayed, missing, or something worse. Apparently this kind of situation is more of a problem over in Europe, as a new report indicates when it comes to baggage delays and mistakes things are worse there than they are here.
Things are actually three times worse in Europe when compared to the situation in the nifty fifty. According to the folks over at Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques—or just SITA to their friends—airlines over in Europe kind of screwed things up with around nine bags for every 1,000 passengers or so last year. Numbers in the United States were just over three bags per thousand travelers, and not surprisingly those awesome airports in Asia did the best—just under two bags per thousand flyers.
Airline News / Air New Zealand / 787-9 / 787 / Boeing / Boeing 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / Airlines / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / → All Tags
Good news for fans of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—like us—as the latest and greatest version of the airplane has been cleared to take to the skies.
Just the other day regulators and rule makers in both the United States and Europe gave the green light for the plane to continue on its way to the commercial skies. The approval has been granted to the bigger and badder version of the plane, as this one is the 787-9. It will be roughly 20 more feet in length when compared to its 787-8 sibling, and of course that means there’s room for a few more passengers as well.
So far there are 26 different airlines and aviation enthusiasts that have placed an order for this plane, and all in all Boeing is getting ready to deliver 413 of the new jets. Air New Zealand is scheduled to be the very first to fly the 787-9, and their plane should be reaching cruising altitude—complete with commercial passengers—before the year comes to an end.
[Photo: Midland Intl. Airport
[Photo: Midland Intl. Airport