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Travel Tech / WhatsApp / Facebook / Technology / Social Media / Travel News / → All Tags
Sixteen billion dollars.
That's how much Facebook just handed over to WhatsApp, the free SMS messaging app. When all is said and done, the deal is closer to $19 billion, and it's a shocking sum to pay for a company that offers its services for free to users.
Regardless, we've heard "are you on WhatsApp?" the world over, and it's especially popular in regions of where Facebook is not. For example, in India WhatsApp boasts 35 million users, which sounds incredible until you hear the total for globally active users of WhatsApp tops 430 million. This is approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume, and today's news will surely help the app reach and quickly surpass the 500 million milestone. Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype's 300 million users in 2011, so WhatsApp's price does seem right.
Still, $16 billion is a heck of a lot for an app which has famously shirked advertising income, but the result is a simple-to-use, simply designed, free service that fulfills a basic modern need.
Not to be outdone, it seems like Chicago, or at least someone in Chicago, didn't like the fact they lost the title for "home of the tallest building in the US." If all goes to plan, the honor may head back to Chi-Town from NYC's One World Trade Center. That's if the city's newest addition, the Chicago Spire, actually gets off the ground.
For the past ten years, the project to permanently change the iconic skyline of our third largest city has had its ups and downs. Ground was broken at 400 N Lake Shore Drive in the Summer of 2007 and, once the financial crisis hit in 2008, the project went bankrupt along with the many investors attached to the building. For almost six years, nothing but a giant hole in the ground occupied the site, giving little hope for a reemergence of the project.
The next time you are pre-departure wining and dining at Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Lounge in Heathrow, keep an eye out for staff sporting Google Glass. Since we know that there's nothing fashionable as yet about Google Glass other than its rarity, Virgin Atlantic is dispatching the fresh tech for its functionality.
For the next six weeks, the airline will be providing a seamless customer service experience with the help of Glass. Lounge staff will have the ability to give passengers flight information, weather at their destination, and even translate foreign languages on the go. Of course all that can come from a simple Google Search, but Glass has the cool aspect to it. Eventually, Google Glass would even be able to inform staff of a returning guest's dining preferences or favorite drinks, providing a personalized experience.
Social Media / ET 702 / Ethiopian Airlines / Twitter / Hijackings / Travel News / John Walton / Aviation / → All Tags
At Jaunted, we strive to bring you the news, not be a part of the news. Today, we did both, and we wanted to take some time to talk about that.
Thousands upon thousands of retweets and shares, and even more regurgitation by general media, of our early and comprehensive coverage of this morning's Ethiopian Airlines flight 702 hijacking started the week. The news of the situation first broke out and took hold thanks to the diligent research and tweets of John Walton, aviation journalist, former contributor right here at Jaunted, and current Director of Data for Routehappy.
The bulk of the action transpired online around 6:00am local time in Geneva, or midnight in EST. The Twitters of John (@thatjohn), and of our own Editor, Cynthia Drescher (@JetSetCD), quickly became the top source accounts for updates on the situation (even yielding a recommendation from Twitter's Director of Data, @smfrogers), despite being 4,000 miles removed from Geneva.
Floats, beads, king cakes, and plenty of adult beverages are all part of the Mardi Gras experience in New Orleans. However, one thing that has not been part of the fun and festivities is a tourism campaign. That’s all changing this year, as the state of Louisiana is throwing out some cash in hopes of getting a few more visitors to check thing out.
For those who are interested we’re a little more than two weeks away, as the festivities reach their finale on Tuesday, March 4. So even if you don’t have plans to attend—there’s still time to change things.
Social Media / Money / KLM / Facebook / Twitter / Travel News / Travel Tech / → All Tags
We've said it before and we'll say it again now: KLM consistently kills it on Facebook. Even beyond Facebook, the airline does stupendously across the board with social media, and it's no wonder considering they employ 130 social media "agents" to answer the approximately 35,000 interactions on Facebook and Twitter every week.
With so much online action, KLM is now set to up their game by accepting payments via Facebook and Twitter, for everything from flight bookings and seat reservations to flight changes and extra baggage.
Travel News / Passports / Visa / Turkey Travel / IST / Istanbul Travel / → All Tags
You've booked a ticket, bought a guidebook and Netflixed a documentary; it's official that you're excited to travel to a new destination. That is, you were excited until you read that the country requires a visa. We're not talking about the plastic credit card, but a little piece of paper or sticker that means you've filed paperwork and paid for the privilege to cross a border.
Obtaining a visa can either go the hard way (like Brazil) or the easy way (like Australia), and we're thrilled to announce that one visa-requiring country has made the decision to take their process completely online. Beginning April 11, 2014, Turkey will require visitors to file an e-Visa.
Instagram / Social Media / Tourism / Photography / Australia Travel / Tourism Marketing / Travel News / Tourism Boards / → All Tags
Social media is one of the best ways for travelers both real and "armchair" to have a window into new destinations and inspiration for yet more travel. When it comes to Instagram, there's no other account that gets as many likes as the folks behind the Tourism Australia profile. These are the same people who posted the full-frontal pic of a kangaroo? Yeah, same guys.
The @Australia account belongs to the tourism board and uses photos snapped by locals and visitors, then uploaded and tagged with #seeaustralia. On average, each Aussie post receives around 8,200 likes, which is in stark contrast to an average 360 likes for photos on other tourism board accounts.
Marijuana Tourism / Pot Tourism / Denver Travel / Colorado Travel / Drug Travel / DEN / Travel News / The Health Center / → All Tags
With all the questions surrounding the process of buying pot in Colorado, we had no choice but to get a glimpse for ourselves. So we sent our Assistant Editor Will McGough and photographer Ryan Dearth to the Health Center in Denver to cut through the cloud of smoke surrounding the State's newly legalized recreational activity.
Find Your Local Farmer
There are currently over three dozen independently owned and operated stores in the Denver met area from which to choose. Each offers its own unique product from its own growers, so for the most part, no two stores carry the same marijuana. Having no bias, we threw a dart and landed on the Health Center located near Capitol Hill, the "hippiest" of Denver's inner-city neighborhoods.
Infographics / Hipmunk / Travel News / Surveys / → All Tags
Ever wondered how members of a certain generation prefer to travel? Well, wonder no more with Hipmunk's newest research project drawing differences between Generation X and Millennial travelers.
The search engine surveyed just over 3,000 travelers and returned with some interesting information on what 18-34 year olds (the age group that Hipmunk considers Millennials) and 35-56 year olds (Generation X) look for in a flight experience. After gathering the data, we would only expect a fun infographic as the outcome.
Airline News / SkyTeam / Travel News / Garuda Indonesia / Gol Airlines / Uzbekistan Airlines / → All Tags
The opening of a new year brings new opportunity to the world's three largest airline alliances. Some movement, along with a few new entrants in the major alliances will not only strengthen networks, but open up new destinations for using those hard-earned miles. Finally, we'll have a look at what's happening with SkyTeam for 2014.
After a few years of some massive expansion in Asia, the Middle East and South America, the SkyTeam has cooled down a little to take time to ensure that all of its members can get along happily. Last year, we thought perhaps Garuda Indonesia would be a full-fledged member of "Sky" by now. Alas, the Southeast Asian airline needed a bit more time and will finally enter the alliance this year, in 2014.
Airline News / Star Alliance / Travel News / Avianca / TAM / US Airways / Air India / → All Tags
The opening of a new year brings new opportunity to the world's three largest airline alliances. Some movement, along with a few new entrants in the major alliances will not only strengthen networks, but open up new destinations for using those hard-earned miles. Today, we have a look at what's happening with Star Alliance for 2014.
These next months will see the largest alliance experience a slew of fond adieus and welcomes. Like we mentioned last week when we talked about Oneworld, Star is set to say farewell to US Airways and TAM. The TAM move to Oneworld with merger buddy LAN creates a considerable hole in the Brazilian reach of the alliance, hence discussion of Avianca Brazil becoming an affiliate airline to the alliance.