Tag: Travel NewsView All Tags
Travel Booking Sites / Travel Websites / RouteHappy / Travel News / Travel Tech / Airplanes / Travel Hacks / → All Tags
"I'm thinking of flying First Class for my big vacation trip!" - Friend
"Not on [redacted airline] you shouldn't! It just won't be the First Class experience you're imagining. Try [different airline] instead; at least it's lie-flat seats." - Us
"Ooh, okay. What else would I get?" - Friend
Cue a two-hour phone conversation that only ended in exasperation on both ends, after googling and browsing airline websites 'til we were blue in the thumbs. If only Routehappy.com had existed last week.
Routehappy actually went live last Friday, which may have been too late for our first timer friend in First Class, but it's right on time for a traveling public increasingly paying attention to the availability of perks on planes. At its heart, Routehappy is a flight search and booking website built and powered by self-proclaimed #avgeeks. At its full potential, it's an educational tool to make you the most informed traveler on the entire
Congress's emergency fix to sequestrationthe one we told you about earlier this week, where they let the FAA off the hookis having an interesting effect on travel journalism. Specifically, it's causing journalists to write about travel. Even more specifically, it's causing journalists to write about travel politics. We already have a very firm opinion on what happens when Congress starts to tinker inside the travel industry. But it's always nice to have details.
For instance, a Bloomberg politics blogger was very much not happy about Congress's fix ("erupted in fury," "appalling," "even more self-serving than you probably imagined," etc). So like any good politics blogger, he decided to question the motives of the politicians who voted for it. It turns out that U.S. Senators and Representatives fly a lot, and so there.
The post is a little bit paint-by-numbersCongress gets perks, those perks cost money, be outraged!but it's fine as far as it goes. There's a genre, the blogger met genre expectations, whatever.
Travel News / Passports / Barbie / Toy Travel / Mexico Travel / → All Tags
She's been a veterinarian, an Olympic gymnast, a marine biologist, an 80s rock star, a mermaid and the president (many times over). She's Barbie, and her range is even unencumbered by nationality. The newest Barbies are additions to the classic "Dolls of the World" collection, and one in particular is causing quite the uproar.
A "Mexico Barbie," complete with a traditional Mexican dress and a pet chihuahua, has a passport has an accessory. Yikes.
Delays / Travel News / Travel Snapshot / ATL / Airports / Delta / Sequester / → All Tags
Passengers crowd a gate desk with questions about connecting flights during a sequester-imposed delay
$85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts is bound to cause more than a few frowny faces, but though the furlough of federal workers began gradually in March, it's just these last couple weeks that've seen the cuts slash more than just the government workforce. With an estimated 10% of the US' air traffic controllers furloughed each day, airports can't handle the volume of flights they're used to and, thus, the flight delays and cancellations have begun.
We were stuck in one ourselves, luckily only a two-hour delay of a Delta mainline flight between two of the busiest airports in the countryAtlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Newark-Liberty. It's not the airline's fault in the least; the weather was excellent, the plane was at the gate ready to fly, and yet passengers sat in confusion as the delay was announced as "due to the federal sequester."
Last March the TSA created a media firestorm by announcing that it was changing its policies and letting passengers carry small knives - along with some sporting equipment - aboard airplanes. The people who routinely scream that TSA should loosen its restrictions became very quiet for some reason. Instead all the people who support stringent TSA restrictions began screaming. And they screamed a lot. We used the entire episode as a case study in why we can't have nice things.
Fast forward to yesterday. TSA declared a take back. They're not going to loosen the restrictions until after they hold some hearings. How long those will take is unknown. And to think: some people actually believe that TSA is incompetently stumbling from one short-sighted policy to another without any sense of overall strategy.
Yesterday, Virgin America not only launched its new three-times daily flight service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas but it also unveiled its new seat-to-seat ordering service on the Red in-flight entertainment system. Yes, it means what you think it means--you can buy drinks and snacks for your friends, your colleagues or perhaps your new crush and have the goodies sent right to their seat.*
David Cush, CEO of Virgin America, told us that the new service evolved from the seat-to-seat chat platform on Red but the real inspiration was that "people were doing it anyways." So now instead of flagging the flight attendants down, passengers can just take the onboard happy hour into their own hands.**
Here's how it works:
Space Tourism / Virgin Galactic / Science Travel / Richard Branson / Space Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
We haven’t heard that much from Virgin Galactic recently, but that doesn’t mean the space ship team hasn’t been hard at work behind the scenes. They’re still doing their very best to ensure that space tourism becomes a reality sooner than later. That’s definitely good, since from what it sounds like, the space flight carrier already has more than a few customers on the books and ready to go.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two just finished its latest round of testing, and thankfully things all went according to plan. The latest aerial endeavor was known as a "cold flow” test. They haven't lit the rocket engines on this sucker just yet, but it means they've completed pretty much everything else—so that means they’re ready for the next step. The ship’s contrail was even visible for the first time, so now we know how awesome the thing will look like when it blasts away from earth.
We’ll try not to take a side in this debate, but we did want to chime in to remind you that your pocket knife can go on vacation again, beginning this week. April 25 is the big day in which the TSA loosens up some of their rules, and small pocket knives are no longer a big deal. You're again welcome to carry them onboard the plane with you, rather than stick them in your checked bag. The metal detector may beep, but upon closer examination you’ll be waived right through the security line.
We’ve mentioned this a couple times before, but it sounds like the lifting of the rule is still happening, despite complaints and comments from a number of different groups.
Delays / Travel News / Boston Travel / Emergencies / Terrorism / → All Tags
A photo from the Boston Marathon scene earlier this week
As a manhunt takes place for those responsible in the bombings of the Boston Marathon of earlier this week, the entire city of Boston is on lock-down (subway "T" service and the Amtrak between NY and Boston is suspended), airlines continue to help out travelers trying to travel to and from the city.
Boston-Logan International Airport is still open and flights are operating as normally as possible, though travelers can expect very high security within the terminals.
Current waivers, which allow customers to switch their flights and travel days at no extra charge, are available for most of the US carriers, plus some international ones. Here's the list, complete with links for more details:
Airport Security / Airline Security / TSA / Travel News / JFK / → All Tags
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote yesterday that "the dreaded [TSA]... has gained a reputation as part authoritarian goon squad and part crime syndicate." We thought was unfair. In the first place, it seems a little bit sweeping to say that "authoritarian goon squad" is part of TSA's official reputation. How many people actually go that far? Like real people.
More importantly, the SMH forgot to include how any description of TSA's actual reputation involves being really, really stupid.
Hallelujah--Tax Season is over and it's back to throwing all your receipts in a box and not worrying about it until this time next year, right? Right!
If you were lucky enough to score a fat refund from Uncle Sam, you may also be watching The Travel Channel a little more often and daydreaming of white sand beaches or new passport stamps. Well, let us help.
Here's 14 places worth your tax refund cash (and how to spend it once you get there):
· Bali, Indonesia
· A tour of China
· Costa Rica
· the Eastern Caribbean
· Florida's Gulf Coast
· Napa Valley, CA
· Orange County, CA
· Puerto Rico
· Vegas, Baby!
· Washington DC (why not?)
· Yellowstone National Park
A famous still from the movie "Airplane"
Update 5:15pm: American Airlines confirms that their systems are back up and running and the rest of the day will progress as normally as possible. Of course, over 700 flights have been hurt by the outage, so don't expect AA phone lines or customer service counters to have short waits.
Just after 2pm, our omniscient friends at NYCAviation tweeted "Ground stop in effect for DFW, LGA and ORD for @AmericanAir only due to computer issues, affecting many flights." Little were we to know that was only the start of major hiccups, as the severity of a system glitch ended up grounding all American Airlines flights from around 3pm EST until what is expected to be 5pm.
That's only two hours, but two hours is two hours too many for a major international airline, and American had been experience intermittent issues since just after noon. For example, USA Today reports that "more than 520 flights on American and regional affiliate American Eagle had been canceled as of 3:15 p.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightStats."